Thursday, August 06, 2009

GreaseCar, Second Place in the vaunted Baja 500!

Baja Racing Goes Green!

Greasecar Motorsports Team Report:

Yes, we did it. We finished this race and in 2nd place. Here’s how it all unfolded…We finished getting everything together Thursday night in order to leave by 5am. Yeah, right…leave at 5am…well, we got close, we took off for Mexico around 5:30 which for this team is on time. Nothing very exciting happened on the way down. We had 20+ gallons of “race fuel” with us on the trailer and the Mexican border guards didn’t even look at it. We were afraid that the grease might get confiscated due to the rules of not allowing race fuel to be transported.

The buggy looks good in Mexico, doesn't it? Must be the light.

Once in Ensenada, we went straight away to Baja Joe’s house where we dumped all the gear and loaded up only the essentials into the cars that we were taking back to town for contingency and tech. We rolled into town about 11am and got in line for tech. As soon as we arrived people started checking the car out and asking all sorts of questions. I, of course, gave them the specs on the car. 478HP, 845ft lbs of torque. as well as getting 73mpg.

John pushing the car through contingency.

Tony found some super strength Rogain at a local pharmacy.

We signed up, rolled through contingency and passed tech with out a hitch. It was the first time for me, in 3 years of doing this stuff, that we were relaxed and confident that the car was dialed in. We weren’t up till 3am and up at 6am working on the car the day before leaving. We were rested and ready to go. There might’ve even been a Tecate or two consumed during contingency, but who can remember.

John securing one of the much needed spares.

They're almost in the car. Shaun is thinking about something...


Shaun and Kyle took off from Baja Joe’s house and headed for the start line with Tony and Bob following them to see them off. John, Jerry and I headed down highway 3 to the RM80(race mile 80) to top off the tank and give the car a once over. I think they took off from the start line around 11am. By the time they got to us, #500 had come and gone. That’s not surprising since Perry McNeil was behind the wheel. If you don’t know who he is, google him and you’ll find out. [Editors Note: He's a Baja Legend] By the time he handed the #500 car over to Kevin Carr, Perry had passed 48 cars. Included in those 48 cars were 10 and 12 class cars.

When Shaun and Kyle arrived we topped them off with grease and did a once over on the car. Everything looked good and they were off. They were making great time until around RM160, the got a flat. #500 was gone, but #519 was still close. As they changed the flat, #519 pulled away. We wouldn’t see them till much later.

In the pits at RM80...5 gallons of grease and they're off...

John, Jerry and I headed for the driver change area at RM225. Communicating with the car was great up to now. Mark in NYC and Jason in Las Vegas had been sending out texts as often as they could. I really don’t want to see what my cell phone bill is, but I’m sure it’s gonna be good.

At RM225, we met up with the Checkers pit crew and waited for the car to show up. Cell reception was spotty at best and getting messages was tough. Only until Shaun and Kyle were about 10 miles away did we find out. They pulled into the pits and John and I jumped in. A new spare was strapped on to the car and we were off…

Baja Sunset...only 7 more hours to go.

John was cruising. It felt great to be back in the car. Sure, I would’ve loved to have been driving, but it wasn’t my turn so the co-driver seat would have to do. All we had to do was catch #519. At first that seemed like a possibility. On one section we were flying. I looked down at the gps and it has us going 80.4mph. I knew the roads were going to get bad, they always do, but I thought at least we’re going to make up some time now…

The we hit the rock. Neither John or I saw it. It didn’t sound good. I crunching/popping sound. We knew pretty instantly we lost the tire. We found a place to pull off. I was hoping that we wouldn’t have to use a spare, but I was thankful that Shaun gave me the jack and lug wrench lesson. We hopped out of the car and saw that the tire was a goner as well as the rim which was missing a large chunk. I started with the lug wrench only to find that the 19mm socket was cracked in 4 places making it impossible to loosen the lugs that Shaun had Godzilla’d on. We tried a locking pliers, but couldn’t budge them. Then I searched in the tool bag for another 19mm. I found one as well as the 3/8″ driver. With out the leverage from the big lug wrench I couldn’t loosen them. I had to grab the hammer and hit the end of the driver until I got all the lugs off. We secured the jack and hopped in the car, but not before having to re-build the tool bag that had developed a few large holes in the bottom of it. Once we got going, we had lost over 25 minutes. It was the longest tire change ever.

At this point we just tried to drive steady and not hit any more wheel killers. Especially since we weren’t going to have another spare for 20+ miles. We met up with Tony who gave us a spare and good excuse to take a much needed leak.

As the night went on we traveled over mountains all the way to the Pacific ocean. At one point, we were on a “road” that was right next to the ocean. Had it been daylight still, I’m sure it would’ve been a spectacular view.

We kept driving and finally arrived at the finish line at 3:02am. 14 hours after we started. Had we not had the 2 flats, we would’ve been in much sooner. All the guys were there at the end and it was great to see them. We got back to Baja Joe’s and swapped stories and had a much needed beer. At around 5am we finally went to bed only to get up a few hours later for the awards ceremony. Kevin got first place and Shaun received the trophy for 2nd place.

Baja 500 2009 Team, crossing the finish line..3:02am...very tired, very thirsty...

the next day...checking out the car

other side...missing a little bit of the paint and we're gonna need a new Greasecar sticker.

Shaun with Kevin Carr after receiving their trophies.

We headed back to Tony’s house in San Diego. It was great to be heading back not only having finished a race, but coming in 2nd place. There’s still a lot of work to do in order for us to be more competitive, but we know what we have to do and are looking forward to the next race, the Primm 300 which Mark and I will be driving. We’ll have to flip to see who goes first. Back home, safe and sounds.

Thanks to everyone who helped us out over the weekend. It really means a lot to get the text messages letting us know where the car is and how fast it’s going.


4 Responses to 2nd Place in the Baja 500!!!!!
Jay Silver says:
June 10, 2009

we have in-car video footage of when the #604 truck ran over the front left tire and then almost ran itself into a tree. It then backed up and smashed into the front of the grease buggy. I've been trying to cut the clip down and convert it to a quick time file, but no luck...I'll try again today in between loads of laundry.

mark andrew said:

June 09, 2009

thanks for the VERY detailed post... kind of feel like i was there.... it took me 14 hours to read it. just kidding... nice job! again, wish i were there! watching the car on the web was great... but only made me want to be in mexico with everyone! mark

Ethan said:
June 09, 2009

Nice job guys! Good job on the photo's Jay, way to stay classy. What's this I hear about getting hit by a trophy truck? Is that what the scrape is from?

trevor said:

June 09, 2009

Hey good job on the write up Jay and good pics

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