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LIVEBLOG: ChumpCar at Gateway Motorsports Park, Day 2

Eric Rood September 22, 2013 All Things Hoon, ChumpCar, Featured, Motorsports, Racing 7 Comments
Sunday_lede

Photo: Steve Davis

Welcome to Hooniverse’s live blog of ChumpCar World Series’ “Backmarker Blues” at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. I’ll be here posting live updates as both of this weekend’s races unfold at GMP. You will find the newest updates at the bottom of this post (If you want to read the race history, start from the bottom and work up). You can read the weekend preview here and follow ChumpCar’s live timing here or via Race Monitor on your mobile device. Want to participate or suggest some coverage? Leave a comment below and tell us what you’d like to see.

Today is a six-hour race starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. (Central Standard Time; all timestamps will be CST) so be sure to check back often throughout the day and refresh your browser to get the most recent updates. Click here for the liveblog of yesterday’s 12-hour race. But enough of the formalities, let’s get to racing.

 rat_patrol_motor

8:10 a.m. I’m back at the track less than 12 hours after last night’s checkered flag and still dumbfounded by the excellence of Rat Patrol’s Triumph TR7, sporting a carbureted 1.6-liter Mazda Miata engine. Making the rounds this morning, yesterday’s P2 car, #999 Fubar Racing, are in the process of swapping in a new right-rear wheel bearing for their BMW E36 but need to find a press first. They may or may not make the green flag. The #74 Beat the Devil Racing E36 is struggling with clutch issues; the team think it might the clutch slave cylinder. Everyone else seems headed for the green flag and most of the field is already pre-gridded on pit road.

breakfast

8:16 a.m. The cornerstone of crapcan racing is good food. The #20 Nim4maniacs Ford Crown Victoria’s chef was busy preparing a hearty breakfast of biscuits, gravy, and seasoned potatoes for his racing crew. Again, I wish Hooniverse had Smell-O-Vision so you could enjoy the aroma of a hearty American V8-caliber breakfast.

 

Got_Gear_Tow_Wagon

8:32 a.m. The #184 Got Gear Diplomat sits next to its tow wagon, a Buick Roadmaster wagon. I should correct my information from yesterday; the Diplomat sports the 318 cubic-inch V8 rather than the 360. They also earn Midwestern rock fan bonus points for sporting Local H stickers on both the race car and the TowMaster.

8:42 a.m. Pit road burbles to life with engines warming up at idle before the grid at 8:50. Yesterday’s race winner, Kentucky Spirits Yellow, will start with a three-lap penalty based on their margin of victory. With Fubar Racing still on jack stands, this could be a wide-open race.

8:50 a.m. The field is gridding at the end of pitlane. It looks like the #4 Four Car Garage Motorsports BMW E36 will start on the front row next to the Holy Rollers #66 Acura Integra. Not that it matters; the field usually sorts itself out within a lap or two.

 

fubar_press

8:59 a.m. The field grids behind them, but Fubar Racing are currently pressing out their wheel bearing with the car on jackstands at the other end of the pit. One minute until grid rolls out. There will be a single pace lap for transponder checks and then green flag racing, probably around 9:03 a.m.

9:03 a.m. Green! Green! Green! Four Car Garage Motorsports jumps out to an early lead with Kentucky Spirits nad Holy Rollers just behind, although both of those are working off Margin of Victory (MOV) laps. Trailing behind are the #771 White Lightning Miata and the #399 EggBoy Racing Taurus SHO.

9:11 a.m. Kentucky Spirits white #130 Nissan 300ZX gets flagged for a fuel leak; they’ll be called into the pits to resolve that.

9:15 a.m. After spending most of yesterday on jack stands, the #10 Rusty Bucket Racing Nissan Sentra is out on the track and turning laps. Nineteen cars took the green flag this morning.

 

9:17 a.m. Here’s video of the two-wide start from just past the start/finish line.

9:28 a.m. After just 25 minutes of racing, EggBoy has started to reel in Four Car Garage Motorsports after passing the White Lightning Miata. The gap back back to P2 is just under eight seconds with the top two cars running similar pace.

9:31 a.m. The Rat Patrol Triumph took Turn 1 wide and scattered some of the cones that mark the turn-in to the infield. The Triumph must be sticking to its usual autocross roots by collecting one of the cones in its undercarriage.

9:35 a.m. Kentucky Spirits Yellow took an excursion and may have caught some of the tire wall on the infield section of the course. The driver has taken the 300ZX to the garage to get it checked it out and/or repaired. The #20 Nim4maniacs is in with smoke from the right-rear tire, which was an issue yesterday. The team replaced an axle seal, but they seem to be having the same symptoms. Meanwhile, the Rat Patrol Triumph will visit pit road because they also collected the Turn 1 cones yesterday.

9:46 a.m. EggBoy has narrowed the gap to about three car lengths behind the P1 Four Car Garage Motorsports E36. The two have diced all the way around the circuit for the last four or five laps and have virtually nothing between them performance-wise.

9:52 a.m. The battle continues to rage at the front of the field. EggBoy passed Four Car Garage into Turn 1 a couple laps ago, but traffic on the infield balked EggBoy and allowed the E36 to sneak past. EggBoy again had a good run onto the banking, but lap traffic gave the advantage to Four Car Garage. Still matching blow-for-blow and EggBoy again passes on the inside to Turn 1.

kentucky_spirits_wrinkled

9:58 a.m. The Kentucky Spirits driver wrinkled the 300ZX pretty well, although the roll cage was completely unfazed. The team were checking the engine bay’s seam welds and hoping to straighten out the sheet metal.

10:03 a.m. The #35 Monkey See Motorsports is in the tire wall between Turns 1 and 2 and stuck there. The driver is fine, but the car is unable to move on its own. Because it’s in a high-speed braking zone, the race will go to a full-course caution. EggBoy had gapped Four Car Garage at the front of the field by 10 seconds or so, but the yellow flag puts them nose-to-tail for the restart.

 

Lead_battle

Photo: Steve Davis

 

10:09 a.m. Monkey See is now unstuck and we’re back to green-flag racing. EggBoy gets a good jump on the restart and holds a 1.5 second lead over Four Car Garage. Both cars are managing traffic like pros and creating a terrific dice.

 

10:15 a.m. Here’s video of the field streaming through Turn 1 on the race’s second lap. The #112 Lowered Expectations Integra gets a bit out of shape but hangs onto it, despite locking up.

Monkey_See_Wall

Photo: Steve Davis

10:19 a.m. The Monkey See Motorsports BMW E30 checked in with the team, who checked the car out an sent it on its merry way after it spent a few minutes stuck in the tires. The incident dropped them from P8 to P13.

10:27 a.m. Fubar Racing have replaced their nuked wheel bearing and made it to the track. Meanwhile, the front of the field are all turning very quick laps. Holy Rollers have made up a couple of their handicap laps to reach P7 and are on a mission to get back to the front, which will be no small feat with the six cars ahead of them consistently turning 1:15s and 1:16s.

10:30 a.m. At the race’s quarter-distance mark, here is the running order:

1. #399 EggBoy Racing (Ford Taurus SHO) – 69 Laps
2. #4 Four Car Garage (BMW E36) – 69 Laps, +8 seconds
3. #771 White Lightning (Mazda Miata) – 69 laps, +35 seconds
4. #426 Danger Zone Racing (Honda CRX) – 68 Laps
5. #63 Miaro Racing (Mazda MiataO – 68 Laps, +6 seconds
6. #130 Kentucky Spirits (Nissan 300ZX) – 67 Laps
7. #66 Holy Rollers (Acura Integra) – 66 Laps
8. #112 Lowered Expectations (Integra) – 65 Laps
9. #184 Got Gear (Dodge Diplomat) – 62 Laps
10. #132 Cummings ZX2 Racing (Ford Escort ZX2) – 61 Laps

Great battles for P1 and P4 right now with Four Car Garage Motorsports working down the gap to the top slot. Kentucky Spirits’ white car is in for a driver change at the 90-minute mark.

10:38 a.m. Four Car Garage Motorsports just nips past EggBoy off the oval banking and completes the pass heading into Turn 1. Four Car Garage leads after running P2 for 32 laps.

10:46 a.m. The #57 Meaty Balls Civic is having a tough weekend; the car is in the garage again getting a new radiator. Kentucky Spirits Yellow’s Nissan donned a car cover and has migrated to the trailer after getting bent up in the tire wall earlier. Their second car, #130, runs P8 currently.

10:49 a.m. Rat Patrol’s driver just set the Triumph’s fastest race lap of the weekend with a 1:23.132, which is still two seconds slower than any other team’s fastest lap. They managed a Top 10 finish yesterday and currently run P14, which isn’t too bad for a a car with British pedigree running on 460-treadwear all-season tires.

miaro_stop

11:02 a.m. The top teams are all changing drivers currently. The P4 Miaro came down first but stalled at pit in, forcing the team to push the car back to its pit space. It returned to the track under its own power and the team even managed to clear its agricultural work from the Camaro grille bolted to its nose.

11:12 a.m. First driver changes are complete and the field shakes out mostly in the same order it had been in. The podium picture remains the same: Four Car Garage Motorsports leads White Lightning by 13 seconds with another 35 seconds back to EggBoy in P3. Danger Zone Racing run in P4 and Kentucky Spirits in P6 on different fuel strategies from the leaders.

 

11:18 a.m. Here’s a great video shot by my workhorse amateur photographer Steve Davis across Gateway’s infield last night looking toward Turn 7 just before sunset.

11:27 a.m. Holy Rollers’ second driver is also on a mission, having run down the #130 Kentucky Spirits 300ZX and passing them in the Carousel to take P6. They’ll have their sights set on the #63 Miaro squad for P5, who are 33 seconds up the road.

11:34 a.m. The Holy Rollers Integra has halved the gap to Miaro in the last four laps with consistent 1:15 laps. The #97 Team Optima Ford Mustang that struggled with power-steering issues for much of Saturday just broke into the Top 10. The gaps at the front of the field remain about the same as they were after driver changes.

11:41 a.m. Contact in Turn 1 between the #181 Punisher Racing Caprice and the #426 Danger Zone Racing Honda CRX puts the CRX in the wall. Full-course yellow to sort it out. CRX driver is OK and car is moving again. Both cars will be headed toward the penalty box to figure out what happened. Somewhere in the middle of that event, Holy Rollers snuck by Miaro Racing to take P5, which then became P4 with Danger Zone in the wall. The CRX looks mostly alright, minus a bent front fender.

11:43 a.m. Holy Rollers make an unscheduled stop just after taking P4. Teammates are taking a look under the hood but don’t look like they’re in a hurry. White Lightning has since taken P1 from Four Car Garage Motorsports and the standings continue to get shaken up. After a challenging day yesterday, the team must be flying high in first place.

Grid

Photo: Steve Davis

 

11:45 a.m. Here’s how the grid looked this morning with Four Car Garage and Holy Rollers on the front row.

11: 46 a.m. White Lightning’s hotshoe has stretched the gap at the front out to 13 seconds while EggBoy has narrowed the gap to up to P2 down to 18 seconds. Overall, just 30 seconds separate the front current podium positions. Miaro Racing holds P4 over Kentucky Spirits by 18 seconds, as well.

11:51 a.m. How’s this for a quirk? Yesterday’s winner, Kentucky Spirits, will finish dead-last of today’s starters with 21 laps and the car on the trailer. Yesterday’s last-place car, White Lightning, turned 74 laps and sits in P1. If they win, I’m almost positive it will be the first two-race weekend with two teams to finish in first and last place each.

 

meaty_balls_radiator

11:54 a.m. The #27 Meaty Balls Honda Civic returns to the track with a cooling system refresh. They run P19 of 20 cars with nowhere to go but up.

12:00 p.m. Here are the Top 10 at the halfway point of today’s racing:

1. #771 White Lightning (Mazda Miata) – 132 Laps
2. #4 Four Car Garage Motorsports (BMW E36) – 132 Laps, +30 Seconds
3. #399 EggBoy Racing (Ford Taurus SHO) – 132 Laps, +3 seconds
4. #63 Miaro Racing (Miata) – 130 Laps
5. #130 Kentucky Spirits (Nissan 300ZX) – 130 Laps, +17 seconds
6. #112 Lowered Expectations (Acura Integra) – 126 Laps
7. #132 Cummings ZX2 Racing (Ford Escort ZX2) – 123 Laps
8. #97 Team Optima (Ford Mustang) – 123 Laps, +35 seconds
9. #184 Got Gear (Dodge Diplomat) – 118 Laps
10. #66 Holy Rollers (Integra) – 116 Laps

12:02 p.m. EggBoy and Four Car Garage drag down the main straight side-by-side for P2. EggBoy leaves the braking for just a touch later and sneaks by into Turn 1, taking P2. The gap to White Lightning at the front is about 30 seconds.

12:05 p.m. Kentucky Spirits drops onto pitlane for the second time today. They appear to be running 90-minute stints, which will give them an extra stop to make. I didn’t see if they took fuel or not, but if they did, they could be fueled to the end, meaning that their final stop will be a driver change only and not subject to the five-minute minimum for fueling.

12:2o p.m. EggBoy leads Four Car Garage by just a sliver with less than a second between them at the line last time. Four Car Garage just got caught up in traffic and it cost them a couple seconds.

holy_rollers_overheat

12:24 p.m. Holy Rollers sit on jack stands while their overheating B18 motor cools off. The team have refilled the radiator with water and will go back out to try to test the car for the upcoming Chumpionship at Road America in October.

12:26 p.m. The #144 Rat Patrol Triumph sits P11, just grinding out laps and now only four laps behind the P10 car.

BMW_Graveyard

12:32 p.m. The garage currently resembles a BMW graveyard with #35 Monkey See Motorsports again scavenging parts from a team member’s dailiy driver for their E30. In the background, #74 Beat the Devil Racing have pulled the E36’s transmission and are working on the clutch still. Fubar Racing just returned to the track after a 45-minute absence, during which time Four Car Garage Motorsports was the only BMW actually running on the track.

12:37 p.m. Lowered Expectations’ #112 Acura Integra has very quietly run an excellent race and is P5 at the moment. Their driver has held the Kentucky Spirits Nissan 300ZX at bay for the last half hour or so, maintaining a gap of about six seconds throughout. They trail Miaro Racing by a full four laps, so they’ll need some help to pick up a spot.

 

Crown_Vic

Photo: Steve Davis

 

12:42 p.m. Nim4maniacs’ chopped-up, modified Ford Crown Victoria has struggled to be competitive this weekend, but there’s no mistaking the booming V8 when it’s on the track. As it rumbles down the main straight, the bassy 90-decibel exhaust note shakes the entire timing building.

 

130-112

Photo: Steve Davis

12:49 p.m. The battle between Lowered Expectations and Kentucky Spirits still rages for P5. Lowered Expectations’ driver is using traffic to maintain a two-second gap back to the Spirits’ Nissan 300ZX. Lots of good clean racing there with the #59 Back-N-Off Integra running the two cars battling for position. The Back-N-Off team are having a nice run, currently P9. The battle is interrupted, actually, with Lowered Expectations pitting to change drivers.

12:53 p.m. The last spot in the Top 10 is your typical Dodge Diplomat vs. Triumph TR7 battle, which should harken back to the classic days of Le Mans and Can-Am.

12:56 p.m. Last round of driver changes begins now. EggBoy Racing into the pits from P2 while White Lightning’s Miata spins in Turn 1 while leading; Fubar’s #999 E36 into pitlane for a stop-and-go as the possible culprit for that incident. Miaro Racing also enters the pit from P4.

1:03 p.m. EggBoy look to be throwing some fresh rubber on their Taurus SHO. Meanwhile, #74 Beat the Devil Racing have turned their first lap of the race at, though they’ve returned to their pit stall after that single lap. The Monkey See Motorsports E30 is also turning laps again.

1:04 p.m. White Lightning and Four Car Garage Motorsports pit from P1 and P2, respectively, for their final driver changes.

 

4CGM_Pit

Photos: Steve Davis

White_Lightning_PitEggBoy_Pit

1:10 p.m. The podium position teams have all made their driver changes. Four Car Garage Motorsports cycle out into P2 about 18 seconds ahead of EggBoy Racing, which could prompt the fourth intense battle of the day between the two teams. White Lightning returns to P1 with about 40 seconds in hand. Miaro Racing made two stops within five laps, which cost them P4 to Kentucky Spirits. The Spirits’ 300ZX has a one-lap advantage over Miaro, but it will have to make one more driver change.

1:14 p.m. EggBoy returns to P2 by outbraking Four Car Garage into Turn 7. EggBoy’s driver already pulled nearly three seconds’ lead by the start/finish stripe. White Lightning puts Four Car Garage a lap down, as well.

1:22 p.m. Holy Rollers heads behind the wall while #74 Beat the Devil Racing has turned seven laps. The Rat Patrol Triumph pits from P11 after being shown the “Fix-It” flag for dragging exhaust.

rat_patrol

1:25 p.m. Gratuitous TR7 photo.

1:31 p.m. At the three-quarter distance mark, here is the current running order:

1. #771 White Lightning (Mazda Miata) – 199 Laps
2. #399 EggBoy Racing (Ford Taurus SHO) – 199 Laps, +1:12
3. #4 Four Car Garage Motorsports (BMW E36) – 198 Laps
4. #130 Kentucky Spirits (Nissan 300ZX) – 194 Laps
5. #63 Miaro Racing (Mazda Miata) – 193 Laps
6. #112 Lowered Expectations (Acura Integra) – 188 Laps
7. #97 Team Optima (Ford Mustang) – 185 Laps
8. #132 Cummings ZX2 Racing (Ford Escort ZX2) – 182 Laps
9. #184 Got Gear (Dodge Diplomat) – 175 Laps
10. #59 Back-N-Off (Integra) – 175 Laps, +50 seconds

Kentucky Spirits is in the pit for a schedule driver change with the team on 90-minute stints. They’re fueling the car, which means that the mandatory five-minute minimum drops them to P5 behind Miaro Racing, down at least two laps. Team Optima is also making their final driver change, which could set up a good race to the end with the Cummings Escort.

1:37 p.m. In looking at the P9 battle between the Got Gear Diplomat and the Back-N-Off Integra, the Integra should be good to the finish while the Diplomat will need one more driver change. Cummings ZX2 in for a driver change as well, so Team Optima’s four-lap lead remains intact.

1:43 p.m. Kentucky Spirits cycles out to P5, three laps behind Miaro (P4) and two laps ahead of Lowered Expectations. The #184 Got Gear Diplomat will pick up a black flag for his third off in the last half hour, which will cost them P9.

1:51 p.m. I was a bit too hasty in my judgment of Got Gear. They came out a second behind the Back-N-Off Integra and both cars had some back and forth for position for about three laps. The Diplomat looks to have made a pass stick and pull out a couple seconds on the Integra. Beat the Devil are no longer in last place, having passed up the trailered Kentucky Spirits 300ZX.

 

cummings_zx2

2:00 p.m. Just one hour left. The Cummings ZX2 Escort has run a solid race and sits P8. The P6 Lowered Expectations makes a final driver change. With a five-lap lead, they should exit the pits without losing position.

2:07 p.m. White Lightning’s lead over EggBoy remains around 1:10 or just under a full lap. EggBoy nips at Four Car Garage’s heels all the way around the track to put the Bimmer a lap down.

2:09 p.m. Lowered Expectations completes their pitwork, which includes rehanging their replacement muffler. They re-enter the race in P6 with a lap lead over the Optima Mustang. Got Gear’s Diplomat makes their final driver change and drops to P10.

2:19 p.m. White Lightning laps EggBoy Racing coming out of Turn 7 onto the oval banking. EggBoy has fallen off the pace for the last 10 laps or so, most of them clocking in at over 1:20.

2:26 p.m. Cummings ZX2 is in the pits for a driver change to give each of their team members a crack at the wheel. It costs them P8 to #59 Back-N-Off, but the difference in position is negligible. They will likely not drop out of the Top 10, in any event.

 

Expectations_Integra

2:30 p.m. Lowered Expectations managed a seventh-place finish yesterday despite a busted muffler limiting drivers’ stint times to about an hour. The team slapped on a muffler from another team onto their Integra and have again ticked off laps like clockwork on their way to their current spot in P6.

2:45 p.m. The top three cars are running in formation, albeit on different laps. EggBoy and Four Car Garage have been running nose-to-tail for the better part of 30 minutes and White Lightning just passed them both to make P1, P2, and P3, visually.

 

leaders123

Photo: Steve Davis

2:51 p.m. Here are the leaders through Turn 7 in formation. They looked headed toward a formation finish, but EggBoy just breezed past White Lightning to get their lap back, though it seems unlikely they’ll run the P1 car down with 12 minutes to go.

2:55 p.m. Meanwhile, Cummings ZX2 has tracked down the Back-N-Out Integra and passed them on the banking to take P8 back with just eight minutes left. The rest of the Top 10 looks pretty set.

3:01 p.m. The #771 White Lightning Miata gets the white flag with a 57-second lead.

3:03 p.m. Checkered Flag! White Lightning goes from last place Saturday to first place Sunday with the win. EggBoy Racing takes second place while Four Car Garage Motorsports becomes the only team this weekend with two podiums, a pair of third-place finishes. Here are your Top 10 for Sunday’s six-hour race.

1. #771 White Lightning (Mazda Miata)
2. #399 EggBoy Racing (Ford Taurus SHO)
3. #4 Four Car Garage Motorsports (BMW E36)
4. #63 Miaro Racing (Miata)
5. #130 Kentucky Spirits (Nissan 300ZX
6. #112 Lowered Expectations (Acura Integra)
7. #97 Team Optima (Ford Mustang)
8. #132 Cummings ZX2 Racing (Ford Escort ZX2)
9. #59 Back-N-Off (Integra)
10. #184 Got Gear (Dodge Diplomat)

Miaro, Kentucky Spirits, and Lowered Expectations all take home two Top 10 finishes this weekend. Kentucky Spirits Yellow becomes one of two teams this weekend with a first- and last-place finish.

 3:10 p.m. The Top 5 head for impound and I’m going to break down my gear and make hay for Chicago. Look for a wrap-up post this week and some photo consolidation.

Thanks to the ChumpCar World Series staff, the Gateway Motorsports Park personnel, safety workers, and racers for their hospitality and enthusiasm. Also, I can’t thank my friend and photographer Steve Davis for enduring 18 hours of racing at occasionally ear-exploding volume.

  • krek

    Thanks for the excellent coverage this weekend! I spoke with a team who was at GMP and learned more from this blog than being on site.

  • mark

    good SHO, eggboy!

  • Mike S.

    Eric and Steve, that's for great coverage of the race. I hope to be reading more of your ChumpCar coverage in the future.

  • Sjalabais

    "12:24 p.m. Holy Rollers sit on jack stands while their overheating B18 motor cools off. The team have refilled the radiator with water and will go back out to try to test the car for the upcoming Chumpionship at Road America in October."

    …as in Volvo B18? Noooo?

    Great coverage, nice videos and photos.

  • Izzy's Cages

    Great reports! Interesting to read what was going on while I was piloting the EggBoy SHO on the last session!

  • Douche McGee

    I wish I had known ab out this – would love to have come out to see some of it