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1998 Adventures

Summit Point August 15th

As if the Miller 200 wasn't enough, Rick travels to West Va. for a regional race. More later!

August 6th-9th Pro/Cart Miller 200 @ Mid-Ohio

Pro Racing!!  Such a deal!  Let me paint a picture.   Competitive! Brash! Bold! Asshole! Money! Conceit! Cold!  Agressive! and on it goes...... If this type a racing is in good spirit, I must be drunk!  Our team went for fun and just to be there!  We spent a lot of time the last two weeks changing engines in both cars and car setup.  We wanted to be competive.  Thursday is an official practice day and we needed track time.  Too bad it didn't work out that way ...........

Thursday k

After sleeping in the parking lot again, we pull into the track and try to get setup for first practice as soon as possible.  This race requires the use of special tires and we have to get 2 complete sets mounted. We miss first session and get ready for session 2.  We are on the track about 10:20 am and the beginning of our wild weekend is about to get underway!!

Jeff and Greg are on the course for about 3 laps when Greg comes in and the engine is not running.  He says the car is low on power.  Rick checks the car and finds out the oil pump belt is missing. Greg's car had a brand new engine in it and the belt just disappeared.  This engine was tested and shipped with this belt on it. The engine sounds bad and ends Greg's session.  Jeff's car is having a ignition problem but he puts in some laps.

We return to the paddock and Rick immediately starts the engine removal from Greg's car. By noon, the engine is out and disassembled.  The engine is still hot from practice, but we can tell it will be cold for a long time to come.  The engine is scrap. Damaged beyond hope. We're going to need our old engine for parts, buy a new engine at the track or we don't race this car.  We start to make arrangements while Jeff goes out for another session.  Other race teams watch and shake their heads.  Everyone has a spare engine but no one will sell one.  Even the engine builders at the track are no help. Patty concocts a  master plan which Alex executes perfectly to get us our spare engine from the garage in Cleveland.   It goes something like this..

    Where a Greg's car keys?  In Cleveland!   Have cousin Lou and Lisa check to make sure! Found Them! Send Alex to the garage and page us from his cell phone.  Send Jason over to help Alex load the engine in Greg's truck.  Alex pages, we call Alex from a cell phone and tell him exactly what we need.  Alex loads the truck.  Lisa picks up Ricky and the Truck and brings the engine to Mid-Ohio.  Now the work begins!  The engine arrives on the stand.   We disassemble the old engine and begin swapping parts from the new engine.   We find out the cylinder head we want to use is damaged and must be rebuilt. It's 8:00 pm and we are starting the head overhaul.  The cam bearings are burnt and the cam is damaged and must be polished and we have nothing.  No emery paper, no sand paper, GOOD!  Pieces Parts all over the place.  I mean alll over the place.   By midnight, we have an engine that should theoretically work.  Everone else in the paddock is gone or sleeping. It's muggy, we're dripping with sweat, every one is on edge, and we still have 3 hours to go. Jeff, Greg, Don and Rick are the only one left standing.  The engine is in by 2:00 am.  We crank the car just to make sure it runs.  It does!  Don says good night and the boys finish buttoning up.  We have to wait till dawn to run the engine and set the timimg. My Gosh!  It's only THURSDAY!!

Friday

Rick is back at the trailer by 6:00am waiting for the sun to come up.   He has to work in Cleveland today, so the plan is to set the timimg, go to work, let them go out for their only practice and get back in time for afternoon qualifying.  

Rick arrives just in time for qualifying at the end of the day.   Greg says he thinks his car is low on power but he only got 3 laps in during the practice because a piece of bodywork flew off.  Let's see how they run.  Greg qualified but there was still something wrong.  Jeff had wiring problems that took some laps to fix. We also discovered a cam timing error on Greg's car. There is still second qualifying in the morning. I hope we do better.  Other race teams seemed surprised to see us, but we made it.

Saturday

Morning Qualifying is always tough for us.  On the track at 8:00 am and go 130 miles per hour.  Greg's car runs better, but our lap times are worse. Both cars will make the show!  And a show it was. 

The Race

Because the CART race is on Sunday, our race was Saturday afternoon. It was to be a 22 lap race. Aggressive is good word for these guys.  First lap, 3 guys gone!  Full Course Yellow! Clean up the Mess! 2 more laps, Crash!! Full Course Yellow! A few more gone!  Clean up the Mess! 1 more lap, Crash!  Greg is gone! Full Course Yellow!  Clean up the Mess! 1 more lap. Crash!! Full Course Yellow! Clean up the Mess.  In all, 6 laps were run under green.  The rest of the time was spent following the pace car!! GOOOD! Jeff fell out of the race with mechanical trouble on lap 9 and that was it for our PRO weekend.  We stayed Sunday and watched the CART race and everyone went home to collaspe.

Nelson July 31st Practice Day

Jeff and Rick spent a practice day at Nelson on Friday.  Our goal for today was to try and turn some fast laps time.  The day went well and we recorded almost 100 laps.  As the day went on, the floor got loose and starting beating your feet as you were driving.  I guess we had the car too low!  At the end of the day, Rick did a few lap sessions and confirmed that Jeff's engine was low on power.   The Pro race is next week and we have a lot to do....

Mid-Ohio July 25th

This is a double regional race sponsored by the Fort Wayne region.  It is also our practice for the upcoming Pro Race. We have races both days and we hope to learn a lot this weekend.  The weekend does not start off well. We leave Friday for the track and when we get there, the bus refuses to re-start at the gate entrance.  We end up spending the night sleeping in the parking lot.  We change fuel pumps at the track and bus started OK on Saturday morning.

Saturday

Our first practice sucks!  Both cars are in after just a lap or two.  We are having trouble with the new tires we purchased and the cars aren't sticking well. Jeff's car broke a brake line and he had to come in. Greg slips off the track, knocks the nose loose and the car won't handle and Greg's carb picked up a flat spot that we couldn't find which was causing motor problems.  Morning session scrapped.  We recollect ourselves and try to prepare for the race in the afternoon.  

Saturday's Race is better than saturday's practice. Greg placed 15th overall and 13th in class while Jeff placed 41rst and 16th in class.   They were having a very hard time with these new tires and the decision is made to purchase new rubber for tommorow.  We still haven't found the miss in Greg's car.

Sunday

We spent most f Sunday re-adjusting the cars to the new rubber and trying to finish better than Saturday. Except for Jeff losing a sparkplug wire, the day went well. Greg qualified 11th in class and Jeff qualified 15th.  Both cars finished the race and that ended our prepare for the Pro weekend.!!

Nelson's Ledges July 18th

The bus decided to not make it home after Mid-Ohio, so we had to go retrieve it from a rest stop during the week.  Seems to be some kind of fuel problem.  Luckily, we don't need it for this weekends race.

This race is a National.  The fastest guys in the area are participating in this race. This is Greg's first opportunity to get some experience on this track whereas last time, his engine broke.   

Friday

Greg and Rick went out to the track early for some practice laps. Practice went real well and we decided to pick up a new set of tires for this weekend. Just getting some laps in will help this weekend.  We are seeing some time in the 107's which is about 3 seconds off the track record.

Saturday

Saturday is practice and qualifying.  The guys are fast!!  Jeff's car breaks for the first time and he misses doing any major damage.    A bolt that holds the front wheel on breaks, but he manages to get the car off the track with very little damage.  A new bolt and a few adjustments, and he is good as new.  Saturday afternoon Greg qualifes 14th overall and 12th in class and Jeff qualifies 18th overall and 13th in class.  A few Geis employees stop by for a visit on Saturday including Valerie, Dave Krol, George, and Rick Goebel.  After qualifying, Jeff and Rick decide to stay the night and check out the Ledges for after hours recreation.  We found a few bands playing at the Ledges' and get this..... We found a Tavern in Garretsville called Hot Shot's!!!

Sunday

Sunday's race was dominated by a couple of really fast guys.   The track record holder was there and a few others almost as fast.   Nelson is a fun track that requires a lot of speed.  These guys were fish tailing and sliding all over.  We saw a few not so bad wrecks where the cars just were going to fast to stay on the track.  Although I don't have the final results in front of me, I believe we finished something like 10th and 12th.

Mid-Ohio July 4th

The week before!

After the engine bit the dust, we decided it was time to repaint the car while we were at it.  Monday after the Nelson race, we ripped the engine out and sent it to be rebuilt.  Then we started prep work on the body work. It took a few days to prep the body and 3 days of painting to get it finished.  A lot of 1:00am nights.  We finished the paint on Wednesday and were supposed to put the engine in on Thursday.  No such Luck!  Our engine didn't arrive until Friday afternoon the day before the race.  We spent Friday afternoon installing the engine and doing setup on the cars. We finished at 10:30pm.  Load the trailers and go.

Saturday

This is a double race weekend.  Qualify in the morning and race in the afternoon both days.  This morning, it is drizzling on and off.   We decide to go out on slicks anyway.  Cars are spinning all over the track but Greg and Jeff do well. The are 61 cars in our group!  Greg qualified 15th in the rain. Jeff qualfied 38th.  The race was in the afternoon and the track had dried and the weather was good.  The number of cars starting this race was staggering.  We would do well just to stay out of trouble with all the traffic and nutty drivers on the course.  The race went well.  Greg finished 12th overall and 10th in class.  Fantastic!  Jeff finished 38th.  Only 49 cars finished the race. Greg beat the guy he purchased his car from by 22 spots.  Go Greg!

Sunday

Sunday was another qualify in the morning and race in the afternoon event.  The weather was good and no rain.  Greg qualified 13th and Jeff qualified 38th. Both of the teams we purchased our cars from were there but each had mechanical problems.  Greg actually would start 12th because the 12th place car could not start.  This Race was the best yet.  Early in the race, Greg moved up to 8th place and it was exciting to be able to count the fast cars going by with Greg being one of them.  Remember, there was 60 or so cars in this race.  Greg finished 8th in the race and Jeff finished 30th.  This was our best weekend yet!

Nelson Ledges June 20

After returning from Summit Point, we had to take the engine out of Greg's car and replace the front main seal. We've been lucky lately in that we haven't had to change the gears much.  This race is a National and our first at Nelson.

Saturday

We arrive about 7:30 am.  Jeff and Rick setup our site and get the cars ready for first round of qualifying. Being a national race, there are a lot more participants than we expected.  Jeff and Greg go out for qualifying.   Greg's car makes a strange noise and loses power.  He comes into the pits after just a few laps and we found a short in a wire. Jeff seems to be doing ok just getting some track time in.  We repair the short and wait until afternoon qualifying.   Jeff and Greg go out to qualify in the afternoon and after about 1 lap, Greg has troubles.  He pulls into the pits and we here a ROD knock. The engine is damaged and he can not continue. This will be the first race where one of our drivers can not start the race.

Sunday

Greg's car won't be in competition today!  Jeff, on the other hand is qualified and ready!  Two of the most experienced Nelson drivers are here today and they are certainly fast.  The race starts well and Jeff is off to a good start.  Nelson is a fast, but bumpy track.  Jeff is doing fine, but having a hard time keeping up with the fast guys.  At one point, the leader past 4 cars on the backstretch in the grass.  He had weeds hanging off the front wings.   A couple of other cars mixed it up on the fronstretch and one car ripped the radiator out of the other.  Jeff avoided any major mishaps and we chalked this weekend up to experience!

Summit Point (W. Va.) June 13

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This weekend is Greg's anniversary so Rick and Jeff get to take on the D.C. Region's top guns.  We spent the week changing the engine in Greg's car and getting both cars setup. We had a couple of problems to resolve also. Jeff's car had a high speed miss and Greg's car had an coolant leak.

Friday June 12

We hit the road at 4:30pm. The trip was uneventful until we arrived at the track at about 11:30pm.  The paddock area was completely full and we had nowhere to setup.  After 40 laps around the paddock, this drunken racer staggers over and helps us clear a barrier to get in a spot.  We back the trailer in and drop it off.  There is no room for our vehicles or motor homes.  We unload the cars and setup the canopy. The canopy opens up just a mere 6 inches from this $50,000 motor home.  Now it starts to rain and the wind is getting very strong. It looks like our canopy might take out the side of this motor home. (More on this later). It's 2:00am, we're tired and in desperate need of rest. 

Saturday June 13

5:00am a major thunderstorm hits!  I wonder if the canopy blew out.  5:30am the rain stops and dawn is just breaking. I can't sleep! This is my first race. I'm worried about the canopy.  I go check it.   Everyrthing is OK.  All the other sane people are still sleeping! I think I'll walk the track. When I get back, everybody is still sleeping.  I can't take it! Jeff! Get up! We go to the trailer.  Coffee!  Fred and Sherry arrive! We are supposed to qualify around 10:00am.

We drive our cars to the false grid at 10:00.  Rick's first time in traffic. This should be interesting.  1 minute to go.  Rick starts the car, pushes in the clutch and the clutch line breaks on the starting line. All the other cars hit the track.  Jump out of the car. Fluid everywhere!  Grid workers say Go anyway.  Get back in the car.  They push me off.  Someone blows a whistle.  Stop!  Car Dies!  They are pointing at the fluid!   The other worker say go anyway. I'm cranking the car in 3rd gear trying to get it to start as I pull on to the main straight. Oh! Fun! The car finally starts! Eee Hah! Now, all the cars are going a million miles an hour and my tires are cold and I've never been on this track much less in fast traffic. Keep cool Rick.  Pick high lines so the fast guys can get by.  My tires finally get warm and I get used to banging gears without the clutch! Now let's learn this track.  Meanwhile, Jeff drops a wheel and takes a mud bath. We find out later he broke a sway bar control. Jeff qualified 10th and Rick 11th.   Well, at least I qualified.  There is a qualifying race this afternoon.    Wrong!!

Remember the canopy?  Well, mother nature had a few plans for us.  Major thunderstorms.  Lightning, thunder, big boomers, wind, you name it!  We were all at the trailer. 14 little kids, 6 adults and some other assorted animals.  When the rain hit, everyone jumped in something!  Fred's truck is full of people, the trailer has a nursery in it. Little Ricky is flipping out from the boomers and demands to be taken home! In the middle of all this, the canopy turns into a kite. I call it the canopy kite. Jeff and I hook tow straps to the canopy and wrap them around our waist to hold the canopy down while thunder and lighting strike .1 second apart.  The tracks PA system gets knocked out.  The track floods on 2 turns.   I LOVE RACING!!  Our afternoon qualifying race is cancelled.  We call it a day and go out for Pizza.

Sunday June 14 Raceday

The clutch line is fixed and we got to run the hardship practice in the morning.  Rick spins the car on the mud in a turn and his lap times suck.  The track is slick from all the rain.  After practice, we get the cars ready for the race and have lunch.

THE RACE!  These guys are bunch of maniacs.  The green flag waves and the cars are off.  Turn 1 is a major slow right hander off the main straight.  On lap 2, Rick got mixed up in a rather odd mess.  2 cars come into the turn too HOT from behind.  As Rick is turning, 1 car spins, and the other car goes airborne right next to Rick.  What a view! It looks like the car is going to roll on top of Rick.  Rick fades left, drives thru the mud and back out onto the course as the pack drives away.  Now the tires are wet and muddy and the car won't stick.  I'm not sure what happen to Mr. Flying Formula, but he didn't finish the race.  Rick hunkered down and tried to catch as many people as possible.  There was cars off the track on every turn.  One bright red car was stuck like a bug on the side of a hill on the one of the fastest turns on the track.  It was pointing straight up and down on this hill and never rolled backwards. Everytime I came around, I questioned if I wanted to go faster on this turn. Jeff stayed out trouble and both of us finished the race. Rick finished 9th and Jeff 10th. We are still waiting for pictures and there is good chance we will have a purlizter photo for you.  Stay tuned!

 

Mid-Ohio May 30th Weekend

Thrash week!!  This week was our first experience changing engines.  Jeff's engine didn't test well after the race and we decided to swap engines. First we tried a new cylinder head, but that didn't fix the problem. This was our first National Race and we didn't want to have any problems, so ...... Thursday  night, 4am we were just finishing the swap.  We still had a lot to do!

Friday, May 29th  Emotional Rollercoaster 101

First National Race,  First Home Race, and the  First time we can show off in front of our friends.

It's 2:00pm and we still have to put the cylinder head back on Jeff's car and get it running.  Not a good thing!  4:30pm the engine is running and sounds good.  We need to load the trailer and head for the track, but Jeff's car is still not set up. We'll finish at the track. We load the trailer and pull out at 8:30pm. 

Disaster Strikes!!

I wasn't with the BUS at the time, but I guess the alternator quit working and the bus was dying going to Mid-Ohio.  Greg, being the king of  improvise, hooked at set of jumper cables to a 110volt industrial battery charger and ran the battery charger off the on-board generator the get the 75' long rig to Mid-Ohio. But, the problem didn't stop here.  When I got to the gate,  the BUS was stuck at the gate and absolutely refused to move an inch further.  We tried to hook a strap to the BUS and pull both BUS and trailer, but the 500,000 pound combo would not move. We broke the strap.   It has been a very trying day for Greg! We decide to unhook the trailer and try again.  Floyd, Rod, Jeff, Greg and Rick push the trailer back away from the BUS on a floor jack.  A nice track worker hooked the trailer and took it to the paddock for us.  We were then able to pull the BUS inside the gate close to the trailer.  We finished setting up camp and got some rest.

Saturday May 30th

6:00am We still have car setups to do!! We have to take the cars to a flat area where we can do setup.  We need to go to Tech at 8:00am.  Floyd and Rod were a great help setting up the cars, shutlling parts to and from the trailer and making sure we had everything we needed.  Greg and Jeff went out for practice and everything went well.  Afterward, Jeff needed to do a valve adjustment.  In between sessions, Rick hung out in the pits stealing any piece of info he could get. Gregg and Jeff qualified 35th and 37th in the afternoon. Rick crawled under the Bus and yanked the starter.   Floyd and Rod went to find a starter in the local yokel town.  Fred and Sherry arrived to help out the mentally depleted team.  We needed batteries for the BUS and the nearest Wal-Mart is 30 miles away.  Fred and Sherry jumped on it and made it possible for us to get the BUS running again.  What a Day!!!

Sunday, May 31 RaceDay

It sure does look like rain. There is a tornado watch.  Eee Hah!   The loyal Geis associates who showed up are:  Mike and Lou Rittenour, Phil and Max Teaford , Debbi Ritterback,  Vidya,  Rick Goebel ,   Fred Geis, Sherry Hochard, Cousin Lou, Tom Barcus, Otto Falkenburg, Floyd and Pat North, Peggy and Rod Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. Martin, Lisa Belluardo and of course Manfred (Fritz). 

If your name is not listed and you promised to show, Shame on YOU!!

The Race.  Just let me say, these National Guys are Fast!!!   Gregg and Jeff started from the back of the pack.  The race got underway and so did everything else.  Five or Six laps into the race, Jeff spun and got stuck on a rumble strip. The corner workers had to pull him off with a truck and strap. That was the end of Jeff's day.  Greg on the other hand continued to hang on and as luck would have it, other drivers smashed, crashed and burned while Greg moved up the ladder.   Late in the race, Greg's car developed a miss.  He kept going and going and going!  When the race was over, Greg finshed 28th.  Up 10 spots from his starting position.  You would think that this was the end of the story.  Not quite!

When Greg came off the track, we found he lost a water pump belt and the engine overheated pretty badly. Time for another motor job.  E hah!  After watching a few more races, we pack up and head for the hills.  The BUS dies going down the road.  We stop at a gas station and a storm knocks out all the power.   Rick goes to the next exit to get 40 gallons of fuel in cans so we can get the Bus home.  END of Story.

Gingerman Raceway May 9th Weekend

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We had to repair a little damage to the right rear of Greg's car, but other than that, we were ready to go again to Michigan just west of Grand Rapids.  We changed gears in both cars, packed the Bus and motor homes and we were on our way. 

Friday May 8th

The drive to Gingerman was quite nice.  Beautiful weather, clear skies and no breakdowns.  We passed a town called CLIMAX but we didn't have enough time to enjoy it.  We arrived around dusk and set up camp. This was our first chance to see the track and drive around it in the golf cart.  Beautiful Track.   It is brand new facility with a lot of open run off area if you miss the turns.   The track had a lot of good viewing areas and even hot showers.

Saturday May 9th

Practice and Qualifying was around 10:00 am.  We tried to solve a gear noise problem with Jeff's car and ended up selecting up different gear combination instead.  I forgot to tell you we had this wee problem with Jeff's engine in the shop.  We took the valve cover off and some oil spilled on to the exhaust. Anyway,  both cars go out for qualifying and there is some smoke coming from Jeff's car. The race official waved the "Meatball" flag at Jeff to let him know something was wrong with his car. The next time around, the official waved a Fire Extinquisher at Jeff.  Of course, Jeff thought to himself, I have one of those too!   Finally Jeff comes into the pits and someone tells him his car is on FIRE!   Jeff came out of his car like a piece of toast in a toaster!  It wasn't as bad as some people thought.  He couldn't finish qualfying, but after we cleaned up the oil, they let him race in the afternoon.

They race went well and was rather uneventful.  This was good for a change of pace.  Greg finished 5th and Jeff finished 6th.  Both cars we in good shape and very little had to be done for Sunday's Race. This was a good thing.  We had plenty of time to look at the computer data, enjoy dinner and a beautiful sunset in South Haven, Michigan.

Sunday May 10th

Morning discussions, check over the race cars and get ready for Sunday Qualifying.  Everything looks good.  Both cars performed well.   Jeff had time to learn the track better and Greg worked on improving his racing line.  Sunday's Race in the afternoon was similar as well except Jeff needed to do some lawn work.  To be fair,  Rick suggested using first gear on a couple of turns Jeff was having trouble with.  This was related to the gear problem on Saturday. Anyway, a few spins, a little grass collection, and both cars finished the race. Greg finished 6th and Jeff finished 9th.

The best part of this story is,  Both Greg and Jeff can now compete in their first National Race.  Mid-Ohio May 30th. Be There!!  

Blackhawk Farms Raceway April 26th Weekend

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Our lastest adventure takes us 2 hours north of Chicago to a town called Rockton which is 1/10th of a mile from the great state of Wisconsin.   The chills and spills continue beginning with our maiden voyage of THE BUS!

Thursday April 23, 1998

    We spent the week finishing car setups and making new checklists so we don't forget anything.  The cars are ready on Wednesday and the only left to do is load the cars and tools.  Greg spent much of his time getting the BUS ready for its maiden voyage.  He decided a 75 foot train (BUS & Car Trailer) wasn't too much so he had a hitch installed, finished wiring the fridge, and loaded her up.  Mind you, this BUS has never seen the freeway. This becomes important later.

Friday April 24th, 1998

    It's noon and time to go!  We pull out and head for the turnpike. The BUS is first, Jeff's motor home is second and Lisa's Toyota is 3rd.   The BUS is pulling the trailer quite nicely.  We are on the turnpike for a few minutes and Greg notices the temperature is reading 220 degrees.   We all know water boils at 212 degrees, right?  Let's watch it closely for a while.  The temperature seems to be holding and only goes up if we go faster.   We should be OK!  As we are comfortably cruising past Lorain, Ohio, BLAM! Shit comes flying out the back of the BUS, Lisa slams on her brakes and dives right, and Jeff goes veering off some other way with the motor home and trailer.  What happened?   The BUS blew a rear tire.  No problem! We'll just put on the spare, right?   WRONG!!  It would take a 600 pound man and a tire wrench 40ft long to gets these lugs loose, much less have the right tire tools with us.  Call Rich's Towing Service!  While we are waiting, let's pull up a few lawn chairs and have a snack.   MR. Highway Patrol decides life isn't exciting enough and pays us a friendly visit.   Finally, the tire is changed and away we go.  Now we are near Elmore, Ohio and the BUS decides it would rather be a roadside monument and just slowly dies.  OH BOY!   We're having fun now!  We are stuck in Construction Zone with trucks whipping by while Greg and Rick investigate the pores of the bottom of the BUS.  It looks like the fuel pump is bad.  Jeff was in front of Greg and he couldn't stop, so he opted to do the historical tour of Elmore while Rick went to Woodville to get a new fuel pump from the local NAPA store.  The fuel pump is changed and it is 6:15pm when we finally pull back on to the turnpike.  The rest of thr drive is pretty un-eventful and we roll into the track at 2:30am.

Saturday April 24, 1998

    Everybody is up and at the track by 6:30am.  We get the cars ready and setup our site for the weekend. We need to get annual inspections for our cars so while Jeff and Greg go to a drivers meeting, Rick and Michael push both cars to Tech. Now we meet Mr. Military for the first time.  He has a butch haircut, combat boots, camaflouge fatigues, a Beret Cap on his head and drives a Jeep. Drivers must have their safety gear inspected at each event which includes their suit, helmet, gloves, socks and shoes.  Well, Greg finds out his Megabuck Helmet doesn't meet SCCA specs. OUCH!  We have a very depressed and upset Greg right about now.  What's even worse, both Jeff's and Greg's helmets were purchased at the same place and time and Jeff's helmet passed.  Meanwhile, Mr. Military informs Rick that both cars need a battery hold down to pass TECH.   Rick fabricates some hold downs quickly while Greg tries to locate a helmet he can use for the weekend.  We get both tasks accomplished and we are ready for the first practice.

Both cars complete their warmup lap and as Greg comes past the Finish Line on the long straight, he turns right and the left rear wheel flies 300 feet into the woods as his car skids across the pavement.  A stub axle, which was unknowingly damaged at Indy, sheared off!  Greg is OK and the wrecker gets called.   The mad hunt for parts begins and we locate another FC team that has the parts we need.  After a hasty deal and some metal thrashing, the car is back together and who arrives? Mr. Military!  He wants us to take apart the other side of the car so he can inspect it.  Done!  The day gets better though.  Both Greg and Jeff get a few serious lapping sessions in and we collect some good data for our computer system.  But where is Fred and Sherry?  Today's session is a school and the last session of the day is some practice starts followed by a race.  Greg takes the C Checkered Flag on the first 1-lap practice start and then they re-start for the race. In short order, Greg moves to the front of the pack!  Rick, Lisa, and Patty are on the front straight watching as Greg holds the lead for about 5 or 6 laps.  Then Jeff begins moving up and gets right behind Greg.  Boy, does this look cool!   Both cars are in front all by themselves! Jeff's times keep getting lower and lower! Once, Jeff drifts out to pass Greg but falls back in. WOW! We've never seen times this quick.  It looks like Jeff wants a piece of Greg's ass. As they come around for the next lap, Jeff pulls out and PASSES Gregory Geis. OH SHIT!  Rick's in trouble! Lisa's screaming! and Fred & Sherry showed up just in time! Here's Hot Shots Racing dicing it up!  Please don't crash each other.  Jeff leads the rest of the race and the boys come in 1rst and 2nd.  A Great End to a rough day.

Sunday April 26,1998 - Raceday

    First round qualifying is at 10:30am.   It rained all night and it looks gloomy.  The track is dry and Rick goes over car setups.  Greg gets a new set of tires mounted.  Jeff has his rain tires mounted.  Both cars go out for qualifying.  Greg completes 4 laps and comes in.   He is having a hard time seeing as it is starting to rain and his helmet is fogging.  Jeff stays out. Greg qualifies 6th and Jeff qualifies 8th. Second round qualfying is 1:40pm. 

Jeff is having carb problems.  Rick looks over the carb and makes some adjustments.  Meanwhile, it starts to rain!  Greg has to mount his rain tires. Jeff changes his tires.  Shocks on both cars need adjusted. Wing adjustments need to be made.  It is pure madness under the bigtop.  Just before it's time to go out, Rick discovers the batteries on both cars are dead! It turns out, a certain switch must be on for the batteries to charge.  We have been charging nothing all weekend!  A couple sets of jumper cables and set the battery charger for SUPER output and we get enough juice for the cars to run. The second qualifying session is called spinning in the rain.  Rick, Lisa, and Patty are talking to the track officials and listening to the radio scanner.  It's those Hot Shot Car again!   One is in the mud and the other is in the field.  No damage!  They had both qualified earlier anyway. It was good experience and the cars are no worse for wear.   Jeff is still having carb problems. Michael sets the air pressure in all 15 tires (one broke earlier) just in case the sun comes out.

Two hours until the race.  Rick rips Jeff's carb apart but finds nothing wrong. Change the sparkplugs, check the timing, try a coil.   Nothing helps.  Just set it the best you can.  Here comes the sun! Wonderful! Change all the tires! Recharge the shocks!  We are one slick short and the tire dude is gone!  Guess Greg will have to race on one rain tire. Make sure the batteries are charged right this time! We are ready. The race starts and our cars are doing fine.  This one little yellow sucker keeps hanging on Greg's tail.  About 4 laps in, the yellow sucker manages to get past Greg. Jeff is holding his own with little problems.  The leader is smoking everyone.  With a 20 minute race, we need about 10 minutes of racing for each car to officially finish the race.  Technically, it is half the laps completed by the leader. We are 7 laps complete and 10minutes 23 seconds into the race when the little yellow sucker and Greg mix it up. The little yellow sucker somehow bounces off the track and back in to Greg's right rear tire taking him out of the race.  The leader completes the race in 16 laps. We don't get an official finish for Greg, but he had a great time dicing with the little yellow sucker.  Jeff completes the race. Greg's car comes in on the hook and we inspect the damage.  Another wheel and an upright need replaced.  You would think this is the end of the story.   WRONG!  We still have to pack up and get ready to leave. You see, there is this 75 foot rig and a swamp between us and the road.  Let's just say that THE BUS is not really good for 4-wheeling.  You can use your imagination for this one.  One other tidbit, on the way back, 11 hours later,  Jeff explodes a rear tire somewhere near that Elmore town. Enough Said! 

Indianapolis Raceway Park-April 4th Weekend

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Thursday, April 2, 1998

    It has been thrash week.  Jeff's motorhome had to have a new hitch installed. We were waiting for 2 revamped distributors to arrive.  We decided to check Greg's clutch and ended up replacing the whole assembly with a much, much, better than new assembly.  Only thing was, we had to do special machine work to the transmission and thanks to cousin Lou, we were able to make everything fit.  But.... , somewhere along the way, we lost some o-rings and clutch fluid poured all over the floor.  After breaking Greg's car in half 3 times, we got the clutch working.  We worked every night this week until 2:00 am.  Where is all the help you guys promised???  We sweated parts deliveries to the very end.   We received the last parts on the last day. Packing the big trailer was quite interesting also.  Race Car, Canopies, Golf Cart, Golf Cart Trailer, Tools, and a generator all had to fit.  We are ready!!

Thursday Night: The drive

What an interesting experience.  Jeff never drove a motorhome, much less drag a trailer.  After nearly clipping a pickup truck and going 45 miles an hour on 71 south, Jeff's  confidence increases admirably.  Now we are going 85 miles an hour and Greg is having trouble keeping up.  Did I tell you, Rick's race computer was down and so he decided to setup a new system while Jeff drove to Indy.  We fired up the generator in the motor home to get 110 volts and keep it running for 2 hours after we reached Indy to finish the computer setup.

Friday: Doomsday

First Track, First Lapping Session, First Crash!!   Yes, today was an adventure.  First we setup our site.  This took much of the day.  Everyone helped setup the floors & canopies.  We unloaded the cars and Rick began final preparations. The skies are cloudy and it looks like rain.  It's about 4:00 and we are ready to get Greg and Jeff on the track.  Greg heads for the track and Rick is helping Jeff.  This is the first time Jeff ever tried to move his race car.  Jeff  releases the clutch and ckckckckck......  The car emits an excrutiating sound that sounds like the transmission is gone.  Kill the engine.   Not this session.  Let's go watch Greg.  We get trackside and BAM!   Greg hits the wall.  Here comes the flatbed.  Now we have a car with no transmission and car with no front end.  Greg's car snaps the front end off back to the brake pedal.  The wind is whipping a 100 miles an hour and it starts to rain while the temperature drops into the 40's.  Wonderful!!! It's 4:30pm and we need parts.  Luck for us, the race computer works and we have phone numbers for people in Indianapolis.  A couple of phone calls later, we find someone in town with spare parts.  We are supposed to meet at 8:00 pm.  Jeff rips the rear wing and transmission apart on his car so Rick can check the gears.  Greg and Rick go and find the parts and wait until Chris makes us a custom bracket for the brake and clutch cylinders.  It's 10:30 pm when we get back to the track and its bone-chilling cold. We disassemble Greg's car and repair the brake and clutch cylinders.  We also inspect and reassemble Jeff's car.  Everything looked OK.  It's 1:00 am and we need a shower and sleep.

Saturday:  Things are looking up!

Saturday morning we get to the track.  Jeff and Greg go to a drivers meeting. Rick starts Jeff's car and lets out the clutch.  Same noise, but it moves.  Let's drive it and see what happens.  Rick crusies the pits.   The car is OK.  Jeff comes back from the meeting and its time to go driving.   Did I mention, Jeff's car has starter problems?  We get it started and after 5 or 6 stalls, he makes to the track for lapping.  Did I mention Greg's battery got crushed? Did I mention the children?  Lots of children in our pits.  They like to play with tools and car parts! Fred, Sherry, and Ethan show up and offer their help. Lisa B occupies the children while Lisa R and Patty go looking for motorcycle batteries. Rick and Greg keep working on Greg's car replacing bent parts and setting up new wings and nose assembly until the girls get back.  Jeff continues to do lapping sessions.   The girls return and no batteries.  The weather is still cold and frustation levels are high.  Greg goes for batteries while Rick continues to work on Greg's car.   Finally, about 3:00, the car is ready and we send it on the track. YELLOW FLAG and here comes the tow truck.  Now what!?  The brakes are locked up.  The new used parts we bought aren't functioning correctly.  We resolve the problem but it's to late to run.  I hope tommorrow is better! Other than starting problems and a hesitation, Jeff's day goes quite well.  Lots of track time.  Today is the first time we stop before 1:00 am. Dinner sounds good!

Sunday: Race Day

It's a beautiful morning!!  Jeff doesn't have his race tires yet.  We go to Goodyear and they don't have the compound we want! Qualifying is at 10:30 am.   Jeff goes to Hoosier to see if they have an equivalent tire.   They do!! The guy that runs the tire machine is 80 years old and needs massive doses of Geritol.  We begin to wonder if he can possibly mount and balance these tires in time.  He does and Jeff gets his tires on the car.  Both cars are ready on time and both Greg & Jeff are ready to go. Qualifying is rather exciting as both Jeff and Greg decide not to come around when they should.   First, they are close to each other. Then almost a minute goes by before Greg shows up.  After Greg goes by, Greg goes by again, but where is Jeff.  Well, they are playing spin city on the back of the course of course.  All in all, they do turn some respectable lap times and get  starting positions of 7th and 8th in their class.   Both guys did a little lawn mowing so Rick had to fix-em up before the race.A couple of hours later, both cars are ready to go and Rick decides to adjust the wings to put more pressure on the back tires.  We are still having starting problems with Jeff's car but we get both cars to the grid on time.  The race went quite well and neither driver felt compelled to mow grass.  It should be noted that the wing adjustment did slow them down, but both finished the race and the weekend was a success.   Greg finished 6th and Jeff finished 8th. We should be proud that both of our drivers officially completed their first race and by the time we reach Chicago,  all the bugs should be worked out.

It was a great learning experience for both drivers and crew.  The emotions over the weekend caused many hearts to pound for the Hot Shots Racing Team and was quote an exhilirating experience.

February - March 1998

Hi!  We're back from Georgia and getting both cars ready for Indy.  Our first race is April 4th at Indianapolis Raceway Park.  It is a 2.5 mile road course.  Jeff disassembled his race car and spent many hours tediously learning his new trade. WET-SANDING!!  After mega-hours of water, paper, and ruined Dress Suits (Jeff has style), the body parts are ready for painting.

Jeff had his first experience painting and did quite well.  The parts look good and no visible runs.  Only one bad thing!  This mysterious important part (the nose cone) was hiding under a tarp and didn't get painted.. OOOPPS! 

Jeff's next new experience is replacing every bolt on the car.  14 orders later, he still doesn't have all the right bolts but ...., he found some interestingly damaged parts which really needed replaced. Jeff also found out something else.  Everything costs $500.00.  Front spindle is broken....$500, Gears need changed....$500, new tires....$500 etc, etc.. We also found some rusted & frozen bushings and brake pedal parts.  Everything is on order!

Then there's the Motor Home.  The ex-RED CROSS BUS!!  We completely stripped the interior and Greg began designing his new home away from home.   All of the 110 electrical work has to be re-done. Wires from nowhere are everwhere.   The carpet guys show up and it's 20 degrees outside.  They spend 3 days installing new carpet everywhere. Imagine being in an enclosed motor home with carpet glue all over the walls and ceiling and can't open the doors because the glue won't stick or dry!!!  Those guys got a permanent buzz!!  A couple of new sofa beds, full size refrigerator, micorwave/oven, complete megawatt stereo system, a few tables, lamps, and light fixtures later and voila... a party bus!!!

It's mid-march and we still have to reassemble Jeff's car, change oil, change 2gear sets, rebuild 2 carbs, and setup both vehicles.  We are going to be very busy.

 

January 1998 Skip Barber Racing School

Our School is complete! What a blast! The Skip Barber 3-day competition course was the best 3-day course of any kind I have attended. Lots of car time, Lots of Fun, and well worth the money. We were driving Dodge Formula cars and did they ever take a beating.

On February 2 & 3, 1998, we will be in Savanna, Georgia at the Roebling Road Race Course for testing and tuning. Details of that bit of excitement will be posted here after the event.

We are waiting the arrival of our Data Acquisition computer system which will give us detailed race car and driver results.

Jeff Martin of Geis Companies joins Hot Shots Racing and initiates the purchase of second Formula Continental 95 Van Diemen Race Car.

February 1998- Roebling Road Race Track Adventure as seen by Rick Rossi

Monday, January 26, 1998

    We received our new CDS data acquisition computer.  Thrash! Install the computer.  We need SRAM memory cards for the computer.  Can't find them.  Internet. Search through 10,000 hits.  Find 2 companies. One guy is too cheap.  The starter needed replaced.  Try and install the starter and guess what, it doesn't fit.  Now mind you, the original starter was made in Britian and if you could find one, it would be $300.00 and you couldn't get it for a month.  This starter is supposed to work.  Let's grind and fit.   It works like a charm. 

Tuesday, January 27,1998

  Call the second company.  Order 2 cards next day air.  Second FC Race is delivered. More install the computer.  Make 3rd new seat.  Expando foam grows all around Greg and traps him in the car. 

Wednesday, January 28,1998

More install the computer. Jeff specs the new car and records all pertinent data. Starts preparation for paint work.  SRAM cards arrive.   Take first live readings from data acquisition system and calibrate sensors.

Thursday January 29,1998

New Penske shocks arrive. Go to garage to check for fit. 2 fit properly 2 don't.  Next air shocks back to Penske to re-clock shocks to fit front.  Make arrangements to have delivered to Roebling Road Monday morning.   Final prep Demon 1 and load into trailer.

Friday January 30,1998

Load trailer.  Decided to take an extra carb in case we needed it.  Take everything but the kitchen sink and the rain tires. (Rick's bright move! more on this later.)  Hit the road.  Wait!!   Do we have a flat tire? No!  Is there enough air in the trailer tires? Yes!  Why are we swaying down the road like a kite.  Greg:  Do you know how to adjust those anti-sway bars?  Rick: No! But let's give it a whack.  Pull over on 77 south.   Adjust anti-sway bars.  Is it better?  Much, Much, better.  Is it good?  Until a truck blows past you.  Does it get any better?  Only because you get used to it.  So here we go, blowing and swaying down 77.  When was the last time either one of used a trailer brake?  Before computers were popular!   Let's see what happens if we adjust this button. 

Saturday January 31,1998

Rick wants to drive through the mountains.  Second semi sends the trailer and Rick tries to hold the accelerator.  Sway to the left, then right, then left, then right, etc..... Step on the brake stupid! Rick's stomach falls out.  Sweat pours off his forehead.  It's going to be a long drive.  After a while, we learn to use the trailer brake to keep everything straight.  It still doesn't feel good when you get passed but at least you can control it.  After driving through West Virginia, Rick needs to change his underwear. Hands are cramped from squeezing the steering wheel.  Greg's Turn.

Sunday February 1, 1998

Greg pulls into Roebling Road Race Track.  It is a closed event and we can't stay.  It's supposed to pour rain for the next 2 days and guess who didn't bring the rain tires.  Let's see if we can find someone to put grooves in our new racing slicks on Sunday.  Tire Shop #1 closed.  Tire Shop #2 closed, but a service truck is there and the headlights are on.  Joe Febeets comes out the door and Greg asks him if someone can mount some tires and put grooves in them.   Joe says "You want to put grooves in racing tiiires?"  Yes! "Sure! I caan doo that! I gots to go down the road and change a tiire. I be back here in about an hour"  Ok!  We get something to eat.  Roll the car out of the trailer and put our tires in the parking lot.  Joe comes back and we tell him we need our tires balanced. "Oohh! I can't doo that."  How much just to change them?  "Fifty dollars a tiire!"  Whaaat?  "I could do this at your hotel"  How much?  "Thiirty Doollairs for all foe.  But my boss won't let knowun groove tiires" OK!  See you at the motel at 5.   Joe shows up and wants to take our tires down the road to some alley.  Rick says no.  How about changing them behind this garbage dumpster screen fence.   Ok.  Tire #3 won't blow up.  Joe pulls out the BLASTER!  600 millions pounds of pressure all at once! Poof! The tire seals.  Dinner and a movie and pray for no rain.

Monday February 2, 1998

6am wakeup call.  Rick looks out the window 64 times before 7.  It's still not raining.  Head for the racetrack.  Track Manager lets us set up under a shelter with electricity, tables, and even a compressor.   Empty the trailer.  Check the tires.  Setup our Beacon.  (sends infrared beam to the car to trigger lap times.)  Greg can't drive before 8.  Try and get Greg into his new custom seat.  He looked like a squished donut popping out the top of the car.  Get a hammer!  Beat the seat into submission.  Still no rain! 8 o'clock.  Drive before the rain comes.  Greg puts down the first 17 laps. The car seems to have a flat spot.  Let's change the carburetor and air box.   Change SRAM cards for the computer and Greg drives 9 more laps.  Master movie man Rick makes movies of the ground and sky while Greg drives.  Rick checks to see if the computer system is recording data.  It is working perfectly.  The car is breaking up on long straights.  Bring the car in and change points and reset the ignition timing. Still no rain!  Greg goes back out for 13 more laps and records his best lap of the day.  The car is running great.  Rick's turn.  Rick drives the car for 9 laps and notices a delayed throttle response.  Let's rebuild the carb.   It's 11:30 and we want to test the changes.  Greg goes out for 3 laps and the throttle sticks.  Bring the car in.  Greg goes for lunch.  Rick reworks the carb.  Still no Rain! After lunch, Greg goes for another 11 laps.  Delayed throttle is fixed and the car runs well.  Change SRAM cards and Rick goes out for 9 laps.  Rick forgets to trigger the computer system and no data is recorded for this session.  Greg goes out for another 15-20 laps and he forgets to trigger the computer system.  Rick goes out for the final lapping session of the day for 9 laps.

Results:  Both Greg and Rick's best lap times were 1 minute 16 seconds.  Top speed by both Greg and Rick was 132.54 mph.  Highest rpm was 7100.  Fuel Consumption was 15 gallons.  The course was 2.02 miles. There was no rain!  The car ran very well today.   

It is supposed to start raining and they expect 5 inches by tomorrow.  Let's get the heck out of here!!  Pack the trailer, check out of the motel and put down some miles before it starts.  We almost make it to Charlotte, North Carolina before the rain catches us.  It's about 9:00 PM.  We keep going until to 2am Tuesday morning.  Rick watches the temperature continually drop until we get to the mountains of West Virginia.  It's 34 degrees outside,  there is frost forming on the road and it is pouring rain. Not good!  Let's stop and wait till morning.