[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [Fot] Our weekend at the Glen

To: Larry Young <>
Subject: Re: [Fot] Our weekend at the Glen
From: Greg - Lunker Hilyer <>
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 01:06:05 -0600
Hello all,
Connie, Barley and I still haven't really processed the whole Glen  
experience yet... probably 'cuz we're not home yet. Thanks everyone  
for all the great pics and videos that have been posted. As has been  
said numerous times of the event, the REALLY special part was putting  
faces and cars to so many FoT names. The road coarse reenactment was  
truly surreal... the stuff of boyhood dreams to a guy like me. To  
have a club, a track and a town honor the cars that I happen to be  
partial to and fortunate enough to own, is a rare alignment of the  
stars, planets or some-such. A tough act to follow. Thanks so much to  
Joe, Jack, Tim and Gary and of-coarse Kas along with all the rest who  
made the event possible. Glad to hear the destination is Portland for  
next year. Kind of my old stompin' ground. I've never been on the  
track there but have spectated enough to know it's got to be a fun  
one. SIR [Pacific?] in Seattle would be great since it's my home town  
and a track I actually know, but I understand the cluster of such a  
large event. If it's the weekend before Kastner Cup/Portland I'll  
likely combine it with that long haul [New Mexico is a long way from  
anywhere but within reach of most anywhere - put please don't book us  
a track in Newfoundland Joe]. I kind of figure that if one is in the  
general neighborhood of a distant place, one ought make the best of  
it. That theory is why we are now in Brainard Minnesota.
After the race we toured up to Niagara Falls with our friends Reno  
and Claudia who had come for the race [from France - serious Triumph  
junkies]. We parted ways Tuesday afternoon and headed home. Didn't  
make it very far that day - I was finally and totally spent. Weeks of  
12-14 hour days to allow for time away and getting the car ready  
after a major freshening, 1900 miles in about 60 hours Abq NM/Glenn  
NW, a high adrenaline five days at the track and then trying to  
entertain friends and I was done. Period. Speaking of adrenaline,  
then there's the story of my shift knob. Sometime on friday or  
saturday, I came to the realization that a nice gentle up-shift would  
cost me about 1.5 car-lengths with you guys so enough of that! Well,  
in sundays feature, I broke the knob clean off... I don't mean  
another cheapo knob lost it's set screw or anything, but broke the  
shank of the shift leaver - don't know how many ft/lbs that might  
take but I did it. I also had a major/minor problem - I was using 2nd  
to try to get my open diff to hook up a bit coming up the hill [turn?  
- never did get the names and numbers right]. with the up-shift to  
third, the knob went a flyin'... I think it hit the dash, bounced odd  
my knee and disappeared - until the next time I used the brakes.  
After that it was a game of approaching a corner, looking around the  
floor to see which petal it was under this time, kinking it out of  
the way and repeating the process. This little private game went on  
for three laps. As long as that front straight is, I found that it  
goes by pretty quick when one is looking, reaching and kicking  
everywhere trying to get the damn thing to show itself. Going into 1  
the only thing I knew is that it wasn't under the brake petal last  
time i looked. Third time around I spotted the little guy - right  
next to my right heal - only way to get it was to lift [painful but  
necessary] and kick it over to the left foot. It worked for an  
instant but the right foot got back on it before the left could  
respond and back under the seat it went. Next lap I got it in my  
field of vision under the clutch petal, worked it back within reach,  
grabbed it, and just about hurt myself trying to get it wedged  
between my legs and under the crotch strap. The rest of the race was  
actually quite enjoyable.
Anyway, wednesday morning we were finally putting miles behind us on  
the way home. Fun and funny how a bit of windshield time can sooth  
the spirit and give perspective. Around noon I started thing about  
Brainard. My friend [and new Foter] Bill Swope had told me about and  
invited us to join them up in Minnesota. 40th anniversary and grand  
re-opening of a redesign of a very historic old track. $20 entry fee.  
New to everyone. Almost, sort of, kind of, on the way home. I had  
been thinking of it and talking about it since before we headed east  
- almost in jest. By wednesday afternoon I was thinking seriously  
enough to say it out loud to Connie [I knew Barley was already in  
favor]. "If it's really on   , and if you're up for it, and IF I can  
get to the bottom of that high speed vibration, and if we turn right  
soon, we could make it. 30 minutes later we had a plan - press thru  
to Indianapolis and get a room. Pull the drive shaft and see if I can  
get to the root of the problem. An easy fix for the vibration was the  
determining factor. The next morning, a couple calls lead me to  
Indianapolis Rack & Axle [great guys, GREAT service]. Pulled the  
driveshaft in the hotel parking lot, and took it 10 miles up the road  
for a exam. Sure enough, it was .030+" out. Likely from when Connie  
parked it on a K barrier last year but undiscovered since the car has  
never been on any track nearly as fast as Watkins Glen - the vib  
could only be felt at well over 100mph when it would come in with a  
vengeance [more on that later]. Straight and true driveshaft in hand  
in under 45 mins., and we were headed north. Yeah, Indianapolis  
Indiana is not the shortest route from New York to Minnesota but  
still in the neighborhood as I like to say. 13 1/2 hours later we  
were again fried, but in Brainard. Friday had a couple practice  
sessions that were the first laps ever on the reconfigured track.  
They've taken the old 9 turn, 3.5 mile, flat-out track and turned it  
into a 13 turn 2.5 mile circuit with some fun technical stuff.
When the Glen planning first started to get momentum  last winter, I  
sent out a message saying I was in if someone would promise rain. Joe  
replied saying "it always rains in Watkins Glen in September" and I  
knew I was in. Some say "be careful what you ask for". I'm learning  
to be very, very specific. When I mentioned my rain wish in the our  
paddock last weekend, I almost got lynched. And I have to admit that  
I wasn't being specific enough. We got It, but Saturday practice and  
the last race Sunday was not what I had in mind and it didn't help  
anyone. Today was a whole different story. Gloomy, foggy and cold  
this morning - no point in going out in my view - lots of drivers  
that had just gotten there this morning who had therefor never been  
on THIS track and lost of potential for mayhem. The very first race  
on this new track was our vintage group at 1:30. By 11:00 the foggy  
mist rolled in. By 12:00 it turned to definite rain. By 12:15 I put  
on those brand new, 8 year old, borrowed, slightly treaded Kuhmo  
Victoracers  on steel wheels who's only scrubbing was the drive from  
the track to the village and back last weekend. By 1:00 it way  
raining buckets and though giddy, I was also getting a bit nervous.  
Unusual... what if my huff and puff was all bluff? After all, I've  
never actually raced in the rain [not much opportunity in the  
desert], I just know that I kind'a like slippin' and sliden' and have  
always thought of slippery as the great equalizer. Damned if I didn't  
win the thing!!! In all honesty, only because the GT350 with the  
bubblegum rain tires broke a few laps from the end, but hey, you  
gotta finish to win. Getting by the crazy-fast Mini - THE car for the  
conditions was the part that really blew my mind. Didn't know I had  
won until I got in. Couldn't figure out how the Mustang got out of my  
sight, but the visibility was that bad... I had no idea he had come  
in, only knew he was gone. Pictures of us coming into the new turn 12  
[the toughest and tightest turn on the track show a literal bow wake  
ahead of the cars. WHAT FUN!!! In the second race it dried out  
unexpectedly fast and the under-inflated, lousy hard tires weren't  
quite quite up to the task and I was happy to get a third behind the  
deserving crazy-fast mini and a very well driven 'vette. If tomorrow  
is dry as forecast, I'll likely get my tractor powered butt handed to  
me on a plate.
Todays dose of adrenaline is nearing it's end, getting low on beer  
and 8:00 am drivers meeting, so goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Greg "Lunker" Hilyer
TR4 #314
Albuquerque NM 

Fot mailing list

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>