We made it to Day 7! The race wasn’t over, but we could smell the finish line! We decided to get up early for once, and we hit the road about an hour before sunrise. The car was cruising great at 75-80mph (allegedly) all morning long. The only mishap was when we actually ran out of gas! My Holley dash blocks the fuel level gauge on the OEM dash, so I couldn’t see how low the fuel level was. I had looked earlier and thought we could make it much further, but obviously I was wrong. Luckily we coasted right into a gas station and filled her up and hit the road again.
As the sun rose and the temperature along with it, we started having more fuel system problems. It was just before noon, a few miles before the first checkpoint of the day, and about half way to Great Bend. When we got to the checkpoint we were greeted by our new best-friend Fred from 1320 Video.
This time we moved our sprayer nozzle from the cooler in the front of the car to the pump in the rear. Now Robert could pump our little sprayer like crazy and keep the pump cool-ish. It wasn’t perfect, but it bought us enough time that we were able to limp down the road by taking 10-minute breaks every few miles.
Just before the second checkpoint, to keep things interesting, the Raceweek Gods decided to throw us a new spin on our fuel system problem. When we replaced the fuel pump in Kearney the day before, we installed a variable speed pump and were running it on low speed. This had an unexpected side effect. The car still uses the factory fuel tank, which is a saddle style tank with two sides. The return fuel flows through the driver’s side and picks up fuel in a siphoning device and carries it over to the passenger side tank, where the main fuel feed is located. With the OEM pump (and our high-flowing pumps earlier in the week), there is enough flow so the siphon works correctly. With our variable speed pump running at only 30%, the siphon mechanism didn’t work and we ran out of gas (again!) with the gauge showing 1/2 tank – unfortunately the WRONG half. We were fortunate enough to have fellow Raceweeker (and 2nd place in the 14.0 class) Chad Williams stop and give us enough gas to make it to the next station where we filled up. Thanks Chad, I owe you!
Even with the pump running at 30% speed and a full tank of gas, the temperature kept making the pump die and we had to pull over every few miles. It was excruciating, but we eventually made it to the track with plenty of time to spare. A quick inspection of our CV boot field repair revealed that it was once again flinging grease everywhere, so instead of making a pass we just broke the beams and called it good. It was not the way we wanted to finish, but we DID finish!
In the end, we were the slowest car in our class (Limited Street) of those that finished, but there were 5 that didn’t, so I consider that a success. I owe many thanks to my Co-Driver – Robert Mumford – because there is no way I would have finished without him. Every time I was ready to throw in the towel he was there to pick up my slack and allow us to power through the rough patches and get this thing finished. Thank you Robert!