Sunday, May 24, 2009

race day

(x-posting to panda and mystery machine blogs)

Hello from Reno-Fernley. We're on the second day of racing at Goin for Broken, and shockingly, both the Mystery Machine and the Panda car have been running well so far. We had some excitement getting the minivan through tech inspection on Friday - suprisingly enough, the tech inspectors were less than thrilled with the broken wheel stud on the driver's side front wheel. The lug bolt is insanely difficult to replace, so Laz and Jinnah did a hero run to pick n pull in Sparks to get a whole new steering knuckle, which we fitted in gathering dark and howling dust.

Meanwhile, Laz successfully bribed his way through a very special bullshit inspection - he unwisely laid down some very fast laps in the practice session before going through inspection, so they pulled Ling Ling aside for special inspection as a "real race car". (The special judge they called in is a cheating expert; he took a quick look underneath and proclaimed her an *actual* piece of shit.) Laz smoothed things over with a super smooth bribe:

Judges: What, you aren't even going to try to bribe us?
Laz: We hadn't gotten to the hard sell yet. (Whips out the whiskey from the trunk) 
Judges: Oh, well then. This is good stuff. You guys are good to go, no penalties.

The Mystery Machine is a HUGE hit, which is a relief, because we're also the slowest thing on the track (surprisingly, there are actually a couple of cars slower, but we still hold the record for the slowest fastest lap of any team). For a while, Ling Ling and the Mystery Machine held the single fastest best lap and slowest best lap in the race.

They started timing the race when the Mystery Machine crossed the starting line, so for a full two seconds, Jinnah was leading the race. (Subsequent, we fell into our role as mobile chicane and had the whole race lap us repeatedly. Driving the minivan is like driving through a swarm of bees, with other cars whipping past constantly. We've taken the tack of being very polite about it, holding a steady outside line, which has garnered us a lot of good will. (Another team came up to thank us for being predictable while being passed, and gave us a hat as a token of gratitude. :-) )

Pandamonium has not yet seen a revisit of the electrical issues from last time, and is currently running around tenth overall. 

The Mystery Machine has done pretty well through simple consistency, and is currently around 46th place, much to our surprise. After the last-minute scramble to get her race prepped, just seeing her running around the track feels a lot like winning.

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