So. Last night – Thursday, February 10th 2010 – was the Late Night Racing League’s first Truck race of the season (sponsored by MLDesigns). I’ve pretty much been waiting for this race now for the last couple months, I couldn’t wait to get back on the track with the bunch of guys I run with and start turning some laps.
However, I had a real fun issue right from the start.
I have two installations of NASCAR Racing 2003 Season on my system – one for my own personal use for offline racing and championships (mostly running the NNC08 Nationwide mod), and one for my LNR online racing. I keep them separate simply because it’s cleaner for me to do so – I generally delete any non-player car from my LNR install to keep the series\car directories down. So it was with some chagrin that I opened up NR2003 to start a testing session at Daytona to ensure everything was running smoothly – only to find that I couldn’t see a single setup in any of my setup folders in the sim.
I tried a number of different things, but none of them worked. Finally, in exasperation because practice was almost half over, I placed the NTS09 Truck series folder in my offline NR2003\series folder added all my setups to my profile, and my settings .inf files. That allowed me to actually get in and race.
I had a pretty good setup… I’d taken a public one from SetupGuru.com and made a couple modifications to it. It ran smooth and clean in the draft and would suck up nicely to a truck in front of me once I got a couple truck lengths behind it. So I was looking forward to a good race and finishing well.
Our first 21 laps of the race were caution free. We all ran really good, one guy (Steve) blew his clutch but was able to drift to the apron and away from the pack. There were more than 20 guys racing. The first incident occurred when one of the guys decided to pit a lap early… the driver immediately behind him didn’t expect him to brake as suddenly as he did, and they touched. This created an accident that collected up at least 3 other trucks – all right in front of me sliding down towards the tri-oval as I sped out of turn 4. I was able to drive through them all and take the yellow at the line in 12th position (for those who don’t do this kind of thing, when wrecks like that happen in front of you it happens so fast you have no time to even think. It’s only afterwards – after you’ve somehow managed to thread your way through sliding and careening trucks at 190 miles an hour – that you get that “holy crap” feeling).
We all came into the pits under the yellow – I took four tires and gas and got out… but then decided to come back in on the last yellow lap to top off with gas, which put me round about 15th place in the field once the green flag flew.
Out we go again, and I raced hard in the high line for about six laps or so… when “BANG!!” my engine blows up. No water temp overheating warning light. No over rev light. No oil pressure warning light. Nothing. Just one second I’m screaming along behind a truck at 192 miles an hour, the engine wide open… the next second silence save for the truck engines around me. The instantaneous loss of acceleration on the rear of the truck started it fishtailing, and before I could get out of the way of the guy behind me we just barely touched – his front bumper lightly brushing my rear bumper. That of course exacerbated my slide… I slid sideways down onto the apron in turn 1, and then the momentum carried me back up across the track up into the outside wall.
Thankfully no one else was collected up in my slide… but I wasn’t very happy. This isn’t the first time I’ve had engines blow for no apparent reason.
Turns out however, that there was apparent reason.
My rpm philosophy was off. The truck physics rpm horsepower peaks at around 8000 to 8500 rpms. I had my truck running – in the draft – at just over 9100 rpms. While not enough to cause an over revved warning light, that high of an rpm for sustained periods seriously damages the engine. After I found this out after discussing it with some of the more experienced guys, I thought back on it and realized that in almost every case where this same sort of thing occurred I had the engine revved up too high.
Well. There’s a lesson learned. Hopefully the same won’t happen again tonight at the SuperSpeedway Series Talladega opener, or the Cup Series Daytona opener on Friday.