ARCA Buckeroo Memphis Report

As Randy had reported, Memphis will be a top rate oval. It's wide, smooth, and fast with plenty of room for three wide racing.... Friday... We arrived and began by standing in a long line for our garage credentials. Both the credentials and...

As Randy had reported, Memphis will be a top rate oval. It's wide, smooth, and fast with plenty of room for three wide racing....

Friday...

We arrived and began by standing in a long line for our garage credentials. Both the credentials and the garage arrangements are by points....we didn't have any because this was our first race this year. We finally got set up in the pit area out in the open. There were 24 inside garage spots available and there were 40 cars...we were outside. After setting up and getting our tires mounted we had a lot of set up to do to get the radials to work. We let everyone else go out during the first 1/2 hour of practice and then went out to the track. As soon as the car entered the track the rain drops started to fall. I warmed up the engine and the new rear end we just installed and waited to see if the rain would continue on the track. It did on one end of the track but not hard and the practice continued. I tried to stick the car into the dry turn... the car wouldn't turn in the corner and we were way off on the rear end ratio. Back to the pit, started changing the gear and the rain came in.... hard. This was OK for those in the garage who kept working, we were stuck in the trailer watching it rain.

Saturday..

Practice went much better with the gear change. Our tired motor was weak and showing signs of smoke in the corners from a leaking valve guide. When I would get back on the throttle, the car would puff smoke. This would get worse. The car still wouldn't turn. The radials were not reacting to our front end geometry. I kept adjusting the camber, but it didn't seem to help. I was giving it 1/4 to 1/2 degree adjustments on each session and it still wouldn't turn. I needed to be giving it 2 full degrees or more. Our tire temps were awful in the front. Qualified 27th. Car still not handling and with a weak motor....we're in trouble.

Did a lot of thinking at the hotel room on what we could do. Talked to another couple of drivers who were having similar problems with their short track cars and the front end.

Sunday...

Threw out our front end setup and started over. Gave each wheel a ton of camber, twice the amount compared to what we were used to running. Reset our caster, ackerman and toe and got ready for the race.

Race started and wow...the car is handling in the corners. Began passing quite a few. At lap 15, here come the leaders, Kimmle and Schact and they lapped me and the car in front of me before the yellow comes out for a blown motor and crash in turn 4. The track crew, not being experienced, took forever cleaning up the mess. And I mean forever. My car overheated on the yellow, but I stayed on the track. When the green came out, I was down a cylinder. The cylinder with the oil problem was fouled and wouldn't clean out until the temperature came down. I went from low 25 second laps to 28 second laps and moved back in the field fast. After the motor cooled down during the race action, there was another yellow and I got the motor to run a little better but it was still off a ton and smoking worse in the corner. But we were handling.....

With ten to go the car started cutting out coming out of corner 4. Seemed electrical but would happen at the same spot in the track about every other lap. Looked at the fuel pressure, seems to be OK. We hadn't added any gas so I came in and got a little. Went back on the track and the problem didn't go away and started to do the same in the other corner. We nursed it home to finish 10 laps down in 22nd place.

We found the ignition coil was overheated. This is mounted inside the car and was way to hot to touch.....hmm.

The motor comes out this week for a much needed refresher. Next race for us will be Shady Bowl in Degraff, Ohio and then the next night in Toledo.

Good overall experience for us. We didn't wreck the car and the motor is savable for a rebuild. Found out that short track racing on the radials is another ball game.. but one we could play now that we know a little bit about what to expect.

Mike Buckley ARCA #48

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Series General
Drivers Mike Buckley