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[FOT] Turkey Bowl Race Report

Subject: [FOT] Turkey Bowl Race Report
From: "John Herrera" <>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 13:32:13 -0500
Who would have thought that the weather during the weekend after 
Thanksgiving would be perfect for racing in Wild and Wonderful West 
Virginia? Or that the first race in a freshly-built car by a new owner would 
be almost trouble-free? The Chief Boffin of the High Speed Triumph Research 
Laboratory, for one, did not. Events, however, proved him wrong.

Newbie FoTer Steven Groh, owner of the green and red ex-Bill Manning #3 
Spitfire, entered VRG's Turkey Bowl vintage race at Summit Point's main 
circuit. This was his first event in his new toy. HSTRL provided some 
support in the persons of the Chief Boffin (me) and Adjunct Boffin Craig 
Wensley. Oh-Dark-Thirty Friday brought sunny skies and temperatures in the 
60s for practice and the weather stayed that way all weekend.

Steve turned 1:38s right out of the trailer. The head gasket leaked oil onto 
the engine and Steve reported vibration. We decided to live with the small 
oil leak for the weekend. The vibration proved to be rubber build-up on the 
left front, which Steve scraped off with the scariest hunting knife I have 
ever seen. The lap times dropped steadily through the day as Steve became 
familiar with the car. Steve's smile just got bigger and bigger as the fun 
meter went toward max.

Andy Konopka (sp?) arrived with his green #24 Spitfire and family. Thanks 
Andy for the tire pressure advice! Andy replaced a head gasket at the track 
and his car suffered from low power all weekend.

Scott Janzen brought his green #31 GT6 Friday night, accompanied by Rich 
Rock. Every Triumph there was green! Scott's engine missed Saturday morning. 
Scott's pit was full of activity as Rich, Craig, and Scott chased the miss. 
They replaced this and adjusted that all to no avail. At the end of the day, 
the activity had stopped and the crew stared at the engine with many a 
furrowed brow. Scott then declared himself to be Beaten by Equipment, and 
put away the tools and parts spread all over the area.

Meanwhile, Steve's lap times continued to fall. On the grid for Saturday's 
race, #3's gear-reduction starter failed and we had to push-start Steve. The 
Marshall held him until dead last so Steve had fun passing cars and dicing 
with a big Healey. Steve decided to live with the dead starter and just 
push-start the car for Sunday's race.

Sunday morning, Steve decided to change the starter for a stock one he had 
brought. Rich and Scott changed it out and we got #3 on the grid just in 
time for Sunday's race. In fact, I was buckling Steve in while the car was 
still on jackstands and Rich and Scott were putting the finishing touches on 
the starter installation! Old #3 ended up second in class to a yellow Alfa 
and about seventh overall. It looked like he was catching the Alfa, but the 
race was a couple laps too short! Lap 13 was a 1:33.81. I don't know, but 
that seems pretty good for 1300cc on treaded tires. And the first time out.

I think Steve was very pleased with his little Rocket. He never put a wheel 
wrong all weekend as the lap times fell. Bill Manning did a great job in 
prepping the car for it to do that well right out of the box. And, as Craig 
would say, "Steve's no slouch as a driver."

I am thankful that Steve allowed me to contribute my mite to his weekend. I 
just wish Andy and Scott would have had a better time!

Dr. John R. Herrera
Chief Boffin and Managing Director
High Speed Triumph Research Laboratory, Soggy Bottom Facility

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