Robert Stout misses win 13 by 3 Minutes In a season that has seen Robert Stout win 12 times you would think just finishing a race would be a given. Unfortunately mechanical difficulties would cause three DNF's at the National Auto ...
Robert Stout misses win 13 by 3 Minutes
In a season that has seen Robert Stout win 12 times you would think just finishing a race would be a given. Unfortunately mechanical difficulties would cause three DNF's at the National Auto Sport Association Mid-West regional event held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL.
The Lucas Oil number 57 TRAXXAS Pro-Challenge Charger equipped with Kumho Tires, E3 Spark Plugs and Hawk Brake pads was plenty fast enough to win all of the three races held over the weekend as Stouts lap times were again at a track record setting pace but the car never ran for the full 30 minute race times for Saturdays two events and the 40 minute race on Sunday. Car owner Ken Stout said "No excuses here but it has been a tough and frustrating weekend. Our crew chief is home with the flu, Robert and I are also under the weather and this car hasn't given us a break. We have had an issue for the last three events but could not nail down what it was as it was so intermittent. I think we finally found the culprit Saturday night but won't know for sure until the next event. It appears as though the foam inside of our fuel cell is deteriorating and even though we have a very fine mesh fuel filter in place there are still enough particles getting through to plug up the baskets in the fuel injectors causing a significant lose of power and dropped cylinders".
Stout qualified on the pole for Saturday's race but only survived the first four laps before pulling in. After a mad thrash to replace what the crew thought was a collapsing fuel hose Stout just made the call for the second race of the day only to pull in on lap one. Robert and Ken took every fuel line on the car off Saturday night to be inspected and cleaned to prepare for Sundays race. Robert said "It was a long night after a frustrating day but we think we found the issue so hopefully it was worth it. Dad didn't want to pull the foam out of the cell even though we think it is the problem as it would seriously compromise the safety of the car in an accident so we just cleaned everything as best we could for Sunday".
Again Robert qualified first overall and in class. The two man crew again cleaned everything in the fuel system after qualifying and before the start of the race. Ken said "I told Robert it would probably happen again but maybe we would get lucky enough to last for the full 40 minutes".
It was not to be! Stout started first in class but seventh over all as NASA started the group by classes. Within the first three laps Stout had passed everyone working his way up to first overall. Now it was just a matter of time and time won. With three minutes left in the forty minute race the car started missing. Two laps later the white flag indicating one lap left in the race came out and Stout's car was barely running forcing him to pull off the track.. Robert said "Now that is frustration!! After all the work last night and leading for 37 minutes while looking at the white flag knowing I wasn't going to make it just sucks! Hopefully when we replace this foam this issue is over with".
Still leading in the points Robert and the team will take a mid summer break and prepare for the next NASA event to be held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August.