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"Swamp thing" JBC enduro car!


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Had another work night last night to make "final" preparations for the race next weekend.


Sam started by painting and installing a radiator guard - made from Home Depot expanded metal "pet door" or something like that.

Perfect size right out of the package.




Jeff set about cutting the fenders and installing the flares.








No hesitation at all destroying those nice freshly painted fenders!


Sam also set about trying to repair the wheel we bent last year at ORP and unfortunately (but not surprisingly) cracked it in the process so we now find ourselves in a mad dash to find a spare 15x8 JNC 006 (cheap Rays C28N copy) wheel.








Sorry I don't have a picture of the damaged wheel.


I ordered a replacement through https://sparktecmotorsports.com/ this morning.  I talked with Danny (awesome customer service!!!!) and he's submitting my order to https://jncwheels.com/ but with the holiday Monday (news to me as of about 10pm last night) shipping might be tight so we are still hoping to find a local replacement.


Other than that, Jeff welded on the new mirror mounts and Sam and I spent the night re-installing all the other stuff we took off for paint.  I even added stainless gutter trim! 


With the flares installed, it looks the part now but really needs some color!


The sticker package for this race series is getting pretty massive so Friday night the car should look pretty different.







Edited by carterb
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On 5/24/2020 at 3:11 AM, terolla said:

What side view mirrors are you using?


These replacement Toyota mirrors from ebay




22 hours ago, Lockleaf said:

#betterbeforepaint. 😁  you guys get too professional looking you will outgrow us!


That's the magic of thumbnail size pictures on a call phone.  : ) Believe me!  There is still work to do on the exterior.  Hopefully it is done by us and not our competitors.


12 hours ago, ace028 said:

This has to be one of my favorite threads here, looking forward to updates.


Glad you are enjoying it!  This is been quite an experience for us.


On 5/23/2020 at 12:57 PM, rosso said:

Wow! - race car! Great job in the transformation. Look forward to hearing your race reports..


Thanks Michael!  We'll keep 'em coming.

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We got together Wednesday for another "quick" job before the race.  Jeff wanted to change swap the rear end out of his tan autocross car (4.44 R190 LSD) into the Swamp Thing (4.11 R180 LSD).

We are hoping the lower gear ratio will give us more grunt out of the slow turns and on the long straight away since we have to push so much air driving a brick on wheels we can't even reach past 5,600rpm in 5th gear!

The job was made so much easier on Jeff's new lift!  Oh man!  I want one!!!!




As previously reported, here is a pic of that damaged rim after a brute force straightening attempt




The new rear end is supposed to have a lower breakaway torque too which we hope will help us on the track - especially since this weekend is supposed to be WET!



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We got together this morning for some last minute details before hauling the car down to the track to Pacific Raceways this evening.


Sam got the new seat belts in and seat mounted




We are worried about rain this weekend and whether or not our windows will fog up.  Jeff found a Tesla (!) blower motor in his attic.  (only Jeff....) 

He made a mount for it with three 2" outputs.




We got that mounted in the car to stock defroster vents plus a bonus central vent.




Then we had to make sure the car actually works before loading it onto the trailer.




Jeff says yes.






We figured this was the first and last time we could drive the car around the neighborhood without it looking like it obviously should NOT be on the road.


To the trailer then...




Not a minute too late - I got a call that our replacement wheels from JNC showed up.










I was able to get them to the tire shop and mounted before we had to leave for the track.  Quite a productive morning for sure!




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We got to the track about an hour before they were supposed to let us in but there was no one at the gate so we just drove in anyway.  Shortly after we met up with the LuckyDogRacingLeague crew and they gave us a pile of stickers to put on the car from all the series sponsors. 


Hope you like 'em!










Then it was just hang out for about two hours waiting for tech inspection.  They were running drag races during this time - which we couldn't watch because rules...  We were soon surrounded by everything from old Novas, Barracudas, Camaros  etc to new Hellcats, Mustangs and even an R10 and a McLaren - plus the odd rail dragster, slick-shod pick-up truck, and an RX7 which was the loudest and smokiest of the bunch.   Man those drag cars are stinky!  My eyes still sting.  You would figure motors that big could burn all the fuel being dumped in them but nope, most of it apparently comes right back out the exhaust pipes as they sputter around the pits waiting for their turn on the strip.


Gave us time to dream about the weekend ahead, talk to a few fellow racers, and wonder what the weekend has in store for us - it is supposed to be a wet one!



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21 hours ago, slowlearner said:

Nice quick cleanup… but I gotta say, I LOVED the broken and ratty vibe you had before. It was the sort of look that said, "If you try and swap paint with me, you'll catch a social disease." 😄



All you guys that preferred the Ratsun look - stay tuned...  It may be making a comeback.  : )

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a beautiful Friday afternoon, we returned Saturday morning to thunder, lightening, and rain.  Lots and lots of rain! 




Having *attended* the drivers meeting in advance over Zoom due to COVID19 restrictions, there was nothing to do but make last minute bolt checks, Rain-ex the windshield, and assure ourselves that the Tesla defrost motor was up to the challenge.  


Sam headed out first in practice for 20 minutes and returned after a yellow flag was flown for a VW Jetta that found the wall after hydroplaning at the kink on the main straight.  Did I mention it was wet?! 


My view from our "pit" while Sam was on the track.




Jeff and I watched as cars came into the pits and some were so fogged up we couldn't even see the drivers.  Sam came in and looked halfway okay.  He reported that under speed it's much better. 


Jeff was next and had about the same experience as Sam.


Then just like that practice was over and we had 20 minutes to grid our car.  We fueled up and established a game plan (try to stretch our stints to 2hrs if possible so we'd only have to make two stops) for the day's 6 hour race.  That kind of mileage is not possible for us on a dry track here but we figured maybe with the slower rain speeds and potential for yellows, we just might be able to do it.


As Jeff began helping me into the car, Sam grabbed the GoPro.  We have not used it yet but I made a mount for it so we had to at least try it out and see what we would capture.  Sam accidentally pressed a button that captured a bunch of unintentional shots as he was installing it in the car.  Here are some of the better ones:


Just as Sam pressed the button you can see our pro pit setup!




Me belting up with Jeff lending a hand




Our shift lever is not broken, it just looks that way.  We have it *reversed* because our seat is so far forward we can't reach back that far when it is installed correctly.




Here's looking at you Sam!






Edited by carterb
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Hopefully we will be able to post and release the footage soon but for now, you will just have to read the story. 


Might want to grab a box of tissues...


We deliberately took our time getting to the grid as I had no interest staring in the middle of a pack of cars in a rainstorm.  This was set to be our first real rain race.


Rocky stopped by our pit in his Red & White BMW and I ended up following him through the puddle laden pits and down to the grid - lining up last in line next to a 2nd gen RX7.


They gave us the thumbs up to head out onto the track and after what seemed like a very quick warm up lap, the green flag flew and the race was on!


Visibility immediately went close to zero on the straight but cleared back up a bit as speeds slowed in the braking zone for turn 2, a long left hand 180 degree carousel corner.  The back and of the pack was taking it nice and easy which was fine by me.  Soon we were headed downhill to a hard braking zone for turn 3a and 3b switch backs before heading out to the lower "straight" which includes turn 4 which is a left-hander indistinguishable from the right-handers before and after, both of which get no number.   We are all still going quite slow at this point just following each other through the turns.  5 left, 6a right, and 6b left come next before we climb back uphill bending left at 7 and then a long left hand carousel turn 8.  At this point I was on the outside of a old 70's (?) green Ford F150 race truck.  As he started feeding in throttle I could hear him break traction and I squirted by to lead him through the right hand turn 9 heading onto the straight.


I took the entire straight at partial throttle due to visibility issues and concerns over hydroplaning after listening to Sam and Jeff.


Lap 2 had me catch a Mustang convertable at the end of 3b.  I followed him through the lower portion of the track still feeling very slow but very unsure of the limits and such at this point.  I happily followed him part throttle down the straight (at least I think I was following him - couldn't see a thing) and through the start of lap 3 where we all passed the tube frame STP liveried car that had spun off 3/4 of the way around turn 2. 


Still in no rush to make any moves but finding I was certainly much faster than the Mustang I started thinking about where I could safely overtake.  I waited for the climb out of turn 6b and passed on the inside of 7, then had clear sailing going into lap 4.


Kind of nice being able to see on the straight this time.  Turn 2 had claimed another victim - this time a yellow Camaro which was off in the dirt trying to get back to the track as we passed by.  I could hardly believe Rocky was still just in front of me.  I figured he'd be long gone.  Going through the 3s he put an black RX7 between us and it looked like I might be able to get him at 7 too but I wasn't far enough beside him to take the apex so I let him through, then went under him at 8.


Speeds were starting to pick up and I was beginning to really fell the grip in the corners.  Lap 5 started with Rocky and I going under a white 2nd gen Neon in turn 2.  First time passing someone here that was still on the pavement.  : )




Still not pushing the car at all but getting more comfortable all the while.  I was really beginning to enjoy the drive.  Going into 8 I could see quite a few cars in front of us.  Still not going full throttle down the straight but building speed and confidence in the car and the grip - no changes to the immediate order as we start lap 6 and continue through the back straight and up to turn 8 again.  Then I suddenly find myself on the inside of Rocky's quarter panel and I'm thinking "come on come on!!!  I'm certainly not going to pass you before the straight!" but he powers out and leads me through turn 9 and away we go getting ready for Lap 7.


There were 2 Miatas immediately in front of Rocky as we went through 2 and he had one beat by the time we got to 3a.  I followed the group down through the back straight and all the way through 8 and 9 and back onto the front straight for lap 8.


I was pretty close to the first miata (red & blue) at the entrance to 2 and got by him on the inside.  Rocky had got another one and now two as he exited turn two.  I went outside the first one at 3a but he stayed in it and got back in front of me by 3b.  He stayed high so I went low - giving me a poor exit out of the corner but a 2nd gear exit plus Jeff's lower geared rear end allowed me to pull past the multi-colored miata at "turn" 4 which was great because I wasn't going to fight anyone into turn 5 at this point. 


I was still taking it easy and driving well within my limits and the limits of the car and the conditions.  I was honestly surprised to be racing forward instead of just falling back at this point. 


Rocky cleared he last miata in the pack and I was now right up on his bumper as well going through 6a/6b.  I thought I might have a chance on the inside of 7 but we pulled up the hill at about the same speed before - to my surprise - he waved me by in the inside anyway.


Clear sailing around 8 then and I short shifted to 4th gear to set up turn 9 (as I had been every lap to this point) but just after the mid point of the corner, the rear end suddenly stepped out to the left, sending the car sliding on the wet track.  I fed in some opposite lock but it wasn't enough, or wasn't fast enough, or my ticket had already been punched, and the car was sliding sideways, making an arc towards the outside wall.


Just before coming around a full 180 degrees, the left front struck the wall going backwards which immediately accelerated the car's rotation and the left rear made an equally heavy impact before spitting me back out onto the track for an additional 360 degrees of rotation.


I was able to feed in steering input to keep me from sliding back out onto the racing line (turn 9 is blind - mind you) before coming to a complete stop.


Sure it was terminal I shut off the power and waved to the marshals to let them know I was okay.  The same could not be said for the car. 


The car was hurt but I was crushed!  My first thoughts were of sadness and disappointment for Sam and Jeff knowing that our race weekend was over with only 20 minutes of drive time each.


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I watched from the drivers seat as the red and blue miata went by followed in close order by the group A leaders just a few seconds later.  They would certainly have caught up to us in the next lap or two which would have made things allot busier that's for sure.


The marshals arrived at the seen in pretty quick order and made sure I was okay (I was).  They then had to wait for all the rest of the cars to pass - they pulled them off the track -  and then directed me out of the car and into the recovery vehicle.  They were impressed and pleased that the car appeared to have kept all its fluids inside where they belong.


They put me in the cab of the wrecker and then collected our car - driving us back to turn 8 where the pit exit is.  *note*  The radio number for the wrecker drivers was 510 so thumbs up for that!  : )




He dropped me off at the ambulance for a check over (The EMT's agreed that I was okay) before releasing me and the car to our pits.


Nothing left to do at this point but share the photos.  Some of these are NSFW and should definitely not be viewed by children under 17 years old.


Sam looking for leaks.




So much crumple!  : (




Almost looks okay from this angle








Sad Sad Sad...


So sorry Jeff and Sam.  I killed the Swamp Thing...





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We packed up the pits and loaded up the car (not easy with the disfigured exhaust and left rear trunk floor pressed up against the tire) and headed back home.  Not even lunch time yet.  : (






This view gave me lots to consider on the hour plus drive home.




When we got back to Jeff's, the car didn't look any better.




We immediately put it up on the lift to see what we couldn't see from the top side




Like another broken rim!




This time the right front if you can believe that!  We think the sway bar shifted over and knocked it.  Still holding air too!






Edited by carterb
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What seemed so promising just a couple weeks earlier:




Now was reduced to a smashed up pile... Or was it?


First let me just say that Sam and Jeff are amazing team mates and didn't give me a hard time at all.  We all understand it could have happened to any of us at any time - and will probably happen again.  And we all just want to get back out onto the track, so how do we do it?


We discussed many ideas from pulling an all-nighter (and many body panels) and getting back out on the track the next day, to swapping the drivetrain over to Sam's caged shell racecar project, to caging my VG30 wagon project and racing that next, to finding a whole 'nother 510 and swapping parts over.   By the end, we agreed that we can save The Swamp Thing with a front end graft and some panel banging in the rear.  Work gets underway this week in preparation for racing at Shelton the last weekend in June.  I immediately started gathering and ordering crash replacement parts.








Let's do this!  Stay tuned...


Edited by carterb
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