Road America Michael David Review

TOUGH RE-START ENDS RACE EARLY FOR MICHAEL TODD DAVID AT ROAD AMERICA ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 17, 1998) - Michael Todd David and the PDR-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing Team were dealt a disappointing card at the start of round 10 of the ...

TOUGH RE-START ENDS RACE EARLY FOR MICHAEL TODD DAVID AT ROAD AMERICA

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 17, 1998) - Michael Todd David and the PDR-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing Team were dealt a disappointing card at the start of round 10 of the 13-race KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship at Road America, Aug. 16, when a broken ring and pinion ended David's day on a race re-start.

David, who started 18th in the PDR/Water Joe/Autodesk Ralt RT-41, had not suffered a mechanical DNF (did not finish) in nine previous race starts this season. However, a second "standing start" was called by Atlantic series officials following an aborted first attempt. The ensuing dynamics of a second start in combination with how the first race start unfolded played a key role in the mechanical failure.

"Repeating standing starts is always overly stressful on motors and drive train components such as gears and axles," said PDR engineer/driver coach Bob Lobenberg. "During a standing start the rear tires are broken loose and spin up much like a dragster burnout. This is necessary to get a good start. The secondary benefit is to heat up the tires for good first lap grip in the corners. However a second standing start held only minutes after the first creates the likelihood of too much grip when the clutch is engaged resulting in stresses on the drive gears and axles that simply are not engineered to take it. Road America presents its own built-in hardships on the drive trains due to the transfer of additional weight on the rear tires caused by the uphill starts. Had the restart occurred after the tires had enough time to cool, the stresses would have been far less and our Ralt probably would have been able to endure the restart."

"The start was something I don't recall experiencing before," said David. "The red light flickered, and I immediately started. It was a good launch and I improved two positions right away. However, nobody moved in front of me. I stopped inches short of Rutherford's rear end. That's when my crew chief, Scott Gelvin, called and told me to continue. Then the series called an aborted start.

"I thought we were only going to have a single standing start. The series ruled in favor of a second standing start. That hurt my gearbox and we ended up losing a ring and pinion." Despite failing to score a championship point, David maintained his hold on 14th in the driver standings with 32 points.

The next stop for the PDR Enterprises/Water Joe-Autodesk Racing team will be round 11 at the Vancouver Molson Indy, Saturday, Sept. 5, in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

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Series Atlantic
Teams HART