ENGINE FAILURE SLOWS FIRST DAY AT HOUSTON FOR MICHAEL TODD DAVID HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 2) - - Proverbial "hiccups and burps" occur at inaugural events, but the same affected Michael Todd David and the PDR Enterprises-Water Joe/Autodesk...
ENGINE FAILURE SLOWS FIRST DAY AT HOUSTON FOR MICHAEL TODD DAVID
HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 2) - - Proverbial "hiccups and burps" occur at inaugural events, but the same affected Michael Todd David and the PDR Enterprises-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing team during first day activities of the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Friday, Oct. 2. Morning practice, which began at 8:30 a.m. (CT), was a literal "write-off" when David suffered an engine failure on the first lap of the session due to a broken piston. The disappointment was heightened in that the piston and engine block were brand new.
A readily available rebuilt motor and diligent work by the PDR crew combined to place the Water Joe/Autodesk Ralt RT-41 back in the line-up for provisional qualifying, which ran between 1:00 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.
David showed steady improvement throughout qualifying and cautiously worked his way around the 1.527-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit to 14th fastest (1:13.674 = 82.09 mph) midway through the session. When it ended, David was 18th overall in a 25-car field but was the fastest Ralt entry at 1:12.011 = 76.388 mph.
"The day didn't start well," said David. "I only ran one lap in the morning practice before we lost a rod in the motor that literally blew a two and one-half inch hole in the engine block. We had a little over two hours to replace the engine and the PDR team once again got the job done - and with time to spare. For all intents and purposes, qualifying for me was a combination of warming to the track and practice. It's too bad the reality was it counted as provisional qualifying. I had to take time to find and learn the proper drive lines during the first part of the session. Then I was able to build some speed to where we were feeling comfortable with the fresh motor and set-up. We have to make some gear adjustments to prepare for tomorrow's qualifying. I also have fresh computer data to absorb, but I still think we have enough time before the race to become more competitive."