TRV Team Runs Competitively But Drops Out With Electrical Woes With 42 Minutes to Go MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 11 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., and Tom Volk of...
TRV Team Runs Competitively But Drops Out With Electrical Woes With 42 Minutes to Go
MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 11 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., and Tom Volk of Blissfield, Mich., both drove very well and the Toledo, Ohio-based TRV Motorsport crew performed admirably, but electrical problems knocked the Supreme Exhaust System Products/Purity Farms/Racer Parts Wholesale Riley & Scott Chevy #95 out of Sunday's 2-hour and 45-minute VISA Sports Car Championships American Le Mans Series race at Laguna Seca Raceway just 42 minutes before the checkered.
The team qualified 15th, ran as high as 14th, and ended up 33rd in the official rundown in the 43-car field. They were 15th overall in the top class, prototype.
The race was televised on CNBC.
"We were running competitively with the other cars in our class, but we can't seem to get rid of the gremlins," said Volk, the team owner as well as a co-driver.
"Electrical problems put the Supreme Exhaust System Products/Purity Farms/Racer Parts Wholesale car out," Schroeder said. "We changed the battery once and then we changed the alternator. At the very end, the alternator belt went. When I came into the pits that last time, every alarm there is on the car was on."
At the team's last race and most of this weekend they were plagued by an intermittent yet persistent miss in the car's Chevy engine caused by a problem with their engine management system. After a great deal of work by everyone on the team, engine builder Todd Hertel and the supplier of the system, MoTec, that problem did not occur during the race Sunday.
"The good news is the engine miss seems to be finally solved," Volk said. "The miss and the electrical problem seem to be different problems, but we won't be sure until we can go home and go over the alternator," he explained.
There were additional challenges even before the race started. When Schroeder took the car out for the warm-up session before the race, he reported it had no brakes. The TRV crew completely changed the rotors and brake pads on the front of the car and the pads in the rear in the pits during the half-hour that existed between the end of the warm-up and the time all cars had to be on the grid for the start of the race. Schroeder bedded the new brakes in on the pace laps prior to the green in addition to warming up his Goodyear tires and his engine, and both drivers praised the crew for their work in solving that problem so quickly.
On his seventh lap around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course, Schroeder, one of two drivers competing here this weekend who also ran in the 1999 Indy 500, set his fastest lap. That was a circuit in 1:21.952, which wasn't too far off of the 1:21:100 (93.344 mph) he ran Saturday to qualify 15th. He ran in 14th or 15th until he came into the pits 47 minutes into the race for fuel, four new Goodyears and to be relieved by Volk.
Volk was suffering from a very bad cold this weekend but he didn't let that affect his performance, keeping the car in the same position, 14th, until the electrical problems forced him to pit. They changed the battery at that point and Schroeder got back into the car, but the stop had dropped the team back to 28th place. When a new battery didn't solve the problem they tried changing the alternator, but that didn't do it either. The last time Schroeder pitted there wasn't a belt on the alternator, as it fell off somewhere on the track. At that point they could not improve their position or fall back any further so they just called it quits for the day.
Schroeder drove about an hour and 15 minutes and Volk drove for about 45 minutes. Both drivers said that traffic was really bad.
"At one point two GT3 cars were fighting it out coming out of turn two, banging together, and they almost hit me too," Volk said. "The BMW ended up deliberately spinning the Porsche out. That was just one close call I had. Another time I came into the corkscrew and one of the Intersport cars was sideways on the track. Jeret had the same situation in the same place with the same car but a different driver. Neither one of us spun out; we successfully avoided being in accidents and there isn't a scratch on the car. Both of us made intelligent decisions on what the car could or could not do, and we were also lucky."
The team was without an engineer this weekend, but Volk said he was pleased with the progress that the team made with the car in that department. "I particularly want to compliment Jeret on that, because he did most of that work along with our team manager, Mike Madden."
The series' season finale is slated for Nov. 7 on the road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That is a change from the original site, San Diego.
"I don't know if we'll go to that one or not; we'll have to think about that," Volk said.
"Everybody worked really hard, and I really wish we could have finished," Schroeder summarized. "It was a long weekend for all of us."