Barber recap

Discussion in 'Racing MINIs' started by rsstopper, Apr 11, 2010.

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  1. rsstopper

    rsstopper New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    I am very sorry to report the terrible results at Barber. Lady luck really left us out this weekend.

    1) 197 = Sarah was 'punted' off the track on lap one by Nic Johnson in the #10 Kinetic KIA. It WAS NOT a racing incident. We filed a formal protest with Grand Am.

    We have the video . . . Sarah put a clean pass on the KIA and he responded by ramming her in the right rear and sending her into the ARMCO. It tore the front end off the car. There is substantial damage. At the post race interviews the A** H*** was bragging about the intentional hit. :mad5::mad5:

    Hopefully Grand Am will take some action but regardless, Sarah and VJ's day was done without completing a lap. :mad2:

    2) 198 = BJ set the fast lap of the race. He was flying. About mid race the header/exhaust broke. The heat was dumping on the fuel cell. BJ brought the car to the pit where if caught fire. Thank God the race crew and the fire crew were on the ball. They got him out without injury but the car is really BAD. It will be sidelined for a while.

    3) 197 = Dicky (Riegel) drove the first stint at a safe and quick pace. He turned the car to Owen at the 75 minute mark. Owen was then a 'man-a-fire'. He stormed through the field like everyone else was parked. At the two hour mark, now in third place with enough fuel to run to the end, the ECU gave it up. :incazzato:

    The engine went to fault mode and he was done. He came back to the pit. We recycled everything and got him back on the track. He climbed back to 16th and it faulted again. We parked it. Owen had the second fastest lap of the day.

    The cars were the class of the field. We deserved a podium . . . actually a win.

    Certainly luck is part of the game . . . and we had none today.

    I feel really bad about disappointing everyone. We have our work cut out for us as the schedule tightens up. The 197 is already at the body shop. The 198 however will not be on track again for a race or two. we will take this opportunity to completely rebuild it . . . wiring . . . fuel . . . exhaust, etc.

    As far as the ECU's go . . . Grand Am has approved the change to a Bosch racing engine management system. We are working on it. We hope to be on track with the Bosch by Lime Rock. At that point, the electronics problems will be behind us.


    Randy
     
  2. Jason Montague

    Jason Montague New Member
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    Jan 5, 2010
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    :cornut: God Bless Y'all and good luck with Grand Am.:Thumbsup: Jason
     
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
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    Oh wow, what a rough weekend.

    I had looked at the results and saw the cars listed in not the best positions. This left me wondering what had happened. Thanks for the recap and here's to better results!
     
  4. TGS91

    TGS91 New Member

    May 8, 2009
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    get em' next time Randy!
     
  5. Mrsideways

    Mrsideways New Member

    Apr 12, 2010
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    Randy, Bummer!
    What are the ECU issues? I haven't experienced any ECU problems on track and I haven't heard of anyone else. What are the issues it's having? I'm hoping this isn't something I'll run into.
    Wiring harness issues from crash damage maybe?
    Ian
     
  6. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    Dec 22, 2009
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    What will happen if they decide the first lap incident was not "just one o them racin deals", as Earnhart Senior used to say?
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    Apr 23, 2009
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    If I remember from scanning the results, not only did BJ clock the fastest lap of the race, but Owen had the second fastest lap!

    Here's hoping that Kia driver takes some sort of penalty. It won't fix 197 or give the race back to you but he really needs to be slapped around for taking that kind of attitude to the track.
     
  8. HelpMe

    HelpMe New Member

    Apr 12, 2010
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    To do list for Mini's:

    1) Cut all the zip ties on your fire extinguishers (that was really sad)
    2) While installing those ultra expensive Bosch units, go ahead and install EXTERNAL Cut-off switches on the cars!! (so people don't have to risk their lives reaching inside of a car that has already lit off 2-3 times to turn the power off)
    3) Watch your cars a little closer. Every team behind you down pit wall watched that car leak fuel, and watched you put the kitty litter down to soak it up. All of us saw it leaking? Why didn't you?
     
  9. beaner

    beaner New Member

    May 5, 2009
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    #9 beaner, Apr 12, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
    and your agenda is what? If you have issues with Randy or RSR, there are better ways of handling them than this format. Grow up
    Greg
     
  10. Eric@Helix

    [email protected] New Member
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    May 4, 2009
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    Let me guess Help Me: you were the stone that punted Sarah. Am I right? Judging from your first (and only) post, your future career change from moving chicane to safety steward awaits.:D
     
  11. roach13

    roach13 New Member

    May 14, 2009
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    The cars have to meet Rolex specs. It's hard if not impossible standing behind the pit wall to see anything, you've got all the teams tents ..ect. I've pit crewed many times and it's a busy place, things happen real fast.
     
  12. rsstopper

    rsstopper New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    Helpme has some valid points. I welcome constructive criticism . . . and he has some. However, he is misinformed

    1) There were two (EXTRA) fire bottles on the pit cart that had zip ties on, they were NOT the pit bottles and were there as potential spares. They were zip tied for transportation. In retrospect, that is a BAD idea. It will not happen again.

    2) External cutoffs are NOT required by Grand Am. They will be next year and will be incorporated as quickly as possible. However, Helpme, (who must have been there watching the situation unfold), did not really understand where the fuel was coming from. It had nothing to do with the pumps . . . had the switch been external, nothing would change. We asked the fire crewman to cut the wires to the master switch as a precaution. The switch was off but we wanted to make sure the power was truly off . . . was the switch fused by the fire?, etc. The Fireman was the guy with the face mask, fire proof coat and other gear required to enter the car. At that point the fire was definately out.

    3) I wish some of the observant crews down pit lane would have said something. We DID NOT know fuel was leaking. Come on guys, we are not stupid! A problem developed with the fuel fill vent line, HIDDEN UNDER COVER, that cannot be seen. The car came to the pit earlier and we fixed what we thought was a clamp. The ultimate problem was caused by a broken exhaust header that was blowing hot exhaust, heating the fuel cell AND the fuel. The fire was caused by those heated fumes. That's why the fire would not go out. The superheated fuel was being pushed out of the cell. I say again . . . I wish someone would have said something because in the confusion of pit lane it was not seen nor understood.

    We learn from our mistakes. There are some engineering and design issues that need to be addressed. There are some procedure and training issues that need to be addressed. We are dealing with them now.
     
  13. Newbs49

    Newbs49 New Member

    May 23, 2009
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    hey Randy

    If the header broke, how did the fuel cell heat up in the boot of the car. Doesn't you exhaust exit out the side of the car. Not looking to start something, but something doesn't sound right. Haven't seen the car in a year so I'm not sure. Did a line up frt. start the fire. :confused:
     
  14. rsstopper

    rsstopper New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    I was just trying to make a complicated explanation simple . . .

    The fuel cell is mounted below the floor about a foot behind the driver's seat. The majority of the cell is below the floor. The exhaust system flows directly out of the engine and makes a 90 degree turn to the passenger side where it ducts out in front of the tire. The actual location of the cell is why we send the exhaust out the side. There is no tunnel to send it out back.

    The muffler is in front of the 90 degree turn. The muffler is re-packable. While I have not personally seen the failure, it is my understanding the pipe/muffler failed allowing the heat to flow directly toward the cell. It is still about 18" away but at speed, the air will flow straight out the back. Since the failure was after the muffler there was no obvious noise to attract our attention.

    It was a 'perfect storm' of failures that allowed this whole scenario to unfold.

    We have plans to change the design . . . add some heat shields, etc.

    If I was starting with a clean sheet of paper, the whole design would change. The current arrangement goes all the way back to the Tony Nuzzo racing days and was the Grand Am approved design at the time. We just copied it. Four years later and thousands of racing miles later, we realize the design needs some updating.

    So there it is . . . the long story for a short answer! :D

    Randy
     
  15. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Thanks for sharing all the grisly details. It's cool to get so much information from a race team - not sure I'd have the same experience if I drove a Porsche. I'm sure it's agonizing to have to deal with these technical failures while the cars are running so well on the track, but we've all been there (albeit on a much smaller scale). It's really interesting to see how the evaluation and design happens on a professional race car.
     
  16. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
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    Randy have you found exactly where the fire began, understand the fuel cell getting hot but sense it apparently didn't explode, where did the fuel come in contact with the ignitor?

    Thanks for all the info.
     
  17. rsstopper

    rsstopper New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    Hard to tell. The heated fuel was dumping over board . . . I assume through the discriminator valve, at least initially anyway. . . the fire source appears to just be racing fuel as nothing else would burn in that area other than some wiring and maybe a little paint.

    It appears the majority of the fuel remained inside the confines of the cell or one would expect a bigger fire / an explosion / both. There also didn't appear to be any source of ignition other than the exhaust.

    I do know that the fire kept re-igniting until the fire dept put water on the cell to cool it down.

    Randy
     
  18. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
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    Had you just filled and/or how far through the fuel load were you when the fire occured?

    Thanks
     
  19. rsstopper

    rsstopper New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    We were thinking we had about 1/2 a tank. In reality we had a lot less. We think the fuel was being pushed out the vent.

    But honestly . . . we have no idea at this point.

    Randy
     
  20. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    #20 minimark, Apr 14, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
    Wow, that'd be a heck of a lot of expansion/pressure for the fuel to push itself out of a less than half full vented fuel cell....Lucky there wasn't an explosion. Might consider getting the fuel cell manufacture's thoughts on the vent system and incident.
     

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