BAM RACING ELIMINATED WITHOUT TURNING A LAP Rain washes out qualifying; field set by 2008 points Intermittent rains swept through California on Friday, completely washing out practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on ...
BAM RACING ELIMINATED WITHOUT TURNING A LAP
Rain washes out qualifying; field set by 2008 points
Intermittent rains swept through California on Friday, completely washing out practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday. According to NASCAR's rule book, the starting lineup for the Auto Club 500 would first be set by the top 35 in 2007 points, then all winning drivers from the previous year would be eligible, next all previous champions, and finally 2008 points. For BAM Racing and driver Ken Schrader, this meant that the late race tire problems the team suffered in their Gatorade Duel in Daytona, not only eliminated the team from the Daytona 500, but from the Auto Club 500 in California as well.
2,390 miles separate the BAM Racing shop from the California International Speedway. Two truck drivers share the load in getting the Qtrax.com Dodge Charger, a back-up car and all the related parts, pieces and pit equipment to the racetrack. It takes them around 40 hours driving straight through.
Both the primary racecar and the back-up car are handmade, purpose-built from the ground up. Hundreds of man hours are invested in each car as it makes its way through various incarnations. Fabricators, body men, mechanics, machinists and set-up specialists work on each car, massage each car and prepare each car to be as perfect as they can possibly make it. Every piece is machined to be lighter or buttressed to be stronger. Each component is tested and precisely mounted.
After thousands of hours of development, the powerful Gillette Evernham engines are installed in each car. A final stop before loading is the chassis dyno, where all systems are checked to make sure the horsepower numbers are as they should be, to make sure there is nothing dragging in the entire drivetrain.
Back in January, 15 crew members were flown out (along with the 2 truck drivers that transported the cars 4,780 miles - round trip) to test for 2 full days so that the BAM Racing Dodges would be well-suited to the California track.
16 team members were sent back to Fontana to attempt qualifying; travel expenses, per diems and hotel rooms all had to be arranged. The transporter was parked in the Garage Area and the primary car was unloaded. The car went through NASCAR's multi-step inspection process. Tires were leased, checked and re-checked. The owner's and driver's motor coaches arrived and were set up in the infield in their assigned spaces. Last minute adjustments were made to the car as Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau, the car owners, arrived to support the team through practice and qualifying. The entire road crew as well as general manager, Eddie Jones and the car owners were all in attendance as driver Ken Schrader prepared to take the Qtrax.com Dodge out for practice. All systems were go.
After an enormous amount of effort . . .
after tremendous expense . . .
and after meticulous preparations . . .
. . . intermittent rain throughout the day on Friday led to all practice and qualifying being cancelled. BAM Racing, Ken Schrader and the Qtrax.com Dodge Charger were forced to head back to Charlotte, NC without ever having turned a lap on the racetrack. "Discouraging" isn't a strong enough word.