NLS Racing #977 and #799 Race Report
Carolina Motorsports Park
We got to debut our new giant race trailer, you couldn’t have missed it if you were there. It’s not really ours, our great friend and driver Ryan was gracious enough to let us slap our name on the side of his work hauler. Thanks buddy. Our Friday test session went about as smoothly as possible. We got to do a little test and tuning, getting everything dialed in. The only issue we had was a leaky fuel jug.
Ready to race.
A great draw for Saturdays race had us beginning near the front. Our driver in the 240 had a little trouble getting up to speed, but was able to recover and drive back to 4th by the end of the first stint. That’s when things turned south. The engine would not run right after the stop, never even making it to pit out. Off to the garage to diagnose. After changing every sensor and component on the engine, we finally found the intake manifold gasket had sucked in allowing tons of extra air in. Back to the track to confirm our fix and get a little seat time for Sunday’s race. Now in the heat of the day, our cooling system issue reared its ugly head. Parked it for the day while our crew chief drove 2hrs back to Hickory to gather up some parts.
So now we were focused on the 300 while the 240 sat. It was running great, until it wasn’t. The harmonic balancer broke the pulley off. And guess where the spare balancer is? You guessed it, back in Hickory. Another drive home. New balancer installed, but its off a newer model with serpentine belts, not the v-belt we currently had. By a stroke of luck we had the pulleys needed in the trailer. All fixed up and back to racing. Near the end of the next stint, our driver report the clutch slipping. He took it easy and had no more issues. Pit stop and driver change completed but we never made it onto the track. Now the clutch was slipping badly. Race over for both cars now.
Another long night of wrenching on both cars was ahead of us. We split up and tackled both cars at once, finishing up around 10:30. A quick drive around the pits to confirm all was good, then a much needed shower and sleep.
We were confident in our repairs and started the race almost last. We had a lot of ground to make up, so we started our fastest driver in the 240. He settled in quickly and got as high as 2nd by the end of the first stint. Second driver in and he started reporting a soft brake pedal. So we decided to pit immediately after the red flag and swap out the RF caliper. We had everything prepared and barely lost 2 laps under green. Meanwhile the 300 was making steady progress, actually led the race for a few laps during the pit cycle. Always cool to have your renters say they led laps. A couple of driver changes later and now the 300 is having brake issues. We had a leak somewhere and had to pit several times to top off the fluid. Our rental drivers did an amazing job of adapting to the situation. They managed to beat our main car and bring it home in 6th. Unfortunately our caliper swap didn’t fix the issue with the 240. We dealt with having to pump the brakes on the straights as well as short shift due to a high RPM miss we developed Sunday. It was mentally and physically exhausting. Throw in the heat and it was one of the toughest couple of stints we did. Out of contention for the win, we elected to do shorter stints to give our drivers a break. Finished up in 7th one lap down from the 300.
All things considered, we’re pretty happy with the results given the level of competition there and the challenges we overcame. Sunday’s race also confirmed our cooling system fix worked. So now we prep for the VIR24 just a few weeks away. A huge thanks to our renters who did an amazing job. Tyler James, Kevin Hanrahan, Ryan Ackerman, and Vincent Coker. You guys rock and are welcome back anytime. A special shout out to Scott Autrey and Bryson for all your hard work. Wives, girlfriends, family and friends, we love you all. Cliff Beisler, our crew chief, and drivers Corey Danley, Jeremy GB, Cory Brown, Daniel Koehler all played our roles and got the job done. Thank you to the Deal Bros. M.S.E. for all your support. Thanks ChampCar Endurance Series for the best racing around. Sorry for the long post but a lot happened this weekend.