THE OLDSMOBILE UPDATE
"AMERICA'S TEAM AT LE MANS": THE BID FOR RACING'S TRIPLE CROWN
Saturday, June 15, 1996; 9:00 p.m.
SIX HOUR NOTES
ON THE ROCKS. Jim Pace had a big "moment" in the Riley & Scott Mk-III at 7:30 p.m. at the high-speed Indianapolis Curve. The car sustained minor damage as it went off course into a gravel trap. Pace was able to extricate the car from the gravel and drive back to the pits, where the Riley & Scott crew removed a large pile of rocks from the radiator inlet, brake ducts, and cockpit. The crew installed four new tires, and the car returned to competition at 7:36, having lost two more laps to the leader.
8:00 (five hours): Pace is 17th, 70 laps completed, four laps behind the leading TWR Porsche of Reuter/Jones/Wurz.
8:14: Pace makes routine stop for fuel. Crew checks brake rotors.
8:50: Pace brings car in for scheduled major service. After refueling in pit lane, the car is pushed back into the garage for new brake pads and rotors. Once inside the garage, 12 crew members swarm over the car. Several more buckets of rocks are removed from the cockpit. Wayne Taylor replaces Pace. The car is serviced and back on the track in 13 minutes and 56 seconds.
"I came through the fast sweeping turn before the Indianapolis Curve and didn't get the car slowed down enough," Pace reported. "If you go perfectly straight, there's an access road, and I thought I could buy myself some time if I went for it. The brakes were locked, and I tried to ease off on the brake to get the car turned -- but as I came over the rise, the car went straight into the gravel pit.
"The nose dug in, took a big scoop of gravel, and dumped it in the car. There was about a cubic yard of rocks in the driver's compartment. The car still felt great in the corners, but the brake pads were getting thin and the pedal was going soft, so I had to move up my brake points. It was time for a change."
9:00 (six hours): The Riley & Scott Oldsmobile is 17th, 95 laps completed, 8 laps behind the leader.
"We're good for another six hours on the new brake pads and rotors," said crew chief Mark Scott. "One of the rear rotors was cracked, as we had suspected."
The 4.0-liter Aurora V8 has run flawlessly for six hours, requiring only one quart of oil at the 6-hour mark.
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