Sunday, December 30, 2007

Final Result

Final places are determined by the total number of laps you have run. So with what we completed before we were out, we ended up in 22nd place. That is out of 71 entries.

Could have been worse!

Just about 10 minutes after we went out, another car flipped about 5 times right in front of our pit. This is his wheels sticking up in the air after he came to rest. This picture right as it happened, the race was still going on and the green and red car was swerving around the flipped car. The driver was fine. That is bill in the blue jacket with white stripe, the second person on scene.


With just 19 minutes left, and after over 13 hours and 40 minutes of racing the Johansson Brothers Racing Supra gave it up. We think it was a piston that broke, but it died. We are out.

Scott driving towards checkered flag

Carl gives some info on track conditions to Scott during the final drivers switch. It is 2:01 and the race goes until 3pm. We currently sit in about 21st place.

Carl Now driving- 2 Hours to checkered flag

Car still running fine, John brought it in, now Carl is driving. We had to come off a second time for fuel, because the pumps were not pumping during out first stop, so that kind of hurt us, but we are in about 25th place. Duct tape still holding. By one informal count, about 35 of the 70 cars that entered are still in the race.

Duct tape still doing it!

Carl signals Steve to come in so we can put John in the car. So far so good on Coolant leak, the duct tape seems to be holding.

By the way, you should be able to click on the pictures to make them bigger if you want a better look.

Depending on duct tape

Steve is out driving. The car is still going, so that means the duct tape is holding the cooling system together. Just in case, Scott jumped in Grandma Dungan's Buick and drove the speed limit to the local Walmart to get equipment for the backup plan. So if the tape goes, we hope to go with plan "B" which is hose clamps from Walmart. So far they are just sitting there as backup.

Excitement Continues: COOLANT CRISIS

During the big pit stop we had an unexpected problem: our radiator hose was spurting out coolant. That is a race killer if it can not be stopped. We scrambled looking for any kind of hose or pipe to fix it with. We checked everything short of the plumbing in the bathroom. In the end the best we could do was to duct tape it and send it back out. We now see how long it holds. Steve is now in the car.

Major Pit stop preps

We are prepping for the first big pit stop of the day. Here Scott uses a sign to communicate with Driver Troy to bring the car in on the next caution flag. While in the pit we will change drivers, check the tire lug nuts, check oil, check the air pressure in the tires, and check other parts of the engine that we are worried about and have been monitoring closely. This is all hands on deck, all team members have assignments.

1st Driver change

9:57am we trade Todd out for Troy in the drivers seat, so far all is well. We have moved up to 25th place in spite of getting on the track too late for any warmup.

2 minutes to spare

We got the car started at 8:48am. It took 'till 9:05 to get it adjusted and running well enough to put on the track. The rest of the cars were already on the track running warmup laps. We then had to drive to the fueling station and fill up. We finally got on the track at 9:12am, and the green flag fell at 9:14. Todd, who is driving the first shift had one lap to warm up, then it was full-on racing.
We are off. We start the day in 39th place, continuing to slowly move up in the standings.
When you fuel you need 2 guys in full fire protection suits. Todd is in white putting in the fuel, Carl stands by in blue with the fire extinguisher. Here they are fueling under pressure, as the rest of the cars are already on the course, circling waiting for the start.

Day 2 Drama-Will we race?

We arrived at the track on Day 2 and are in a bit of a drama. The second day of racing starts at 9am and we started trying to start our car at 8:30am when the drivers left for their morning meeting. When the Drivers returned at 8:45am we still had not gotten started. All mechanics on Deck.. John, John and Steve are trying every trick they know.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 1 over

Steve, John, John, Troy & Bill watch the night racing. What looks like streaks of light in the sky are the lights of the racecars on a hill out on the track. Only the front straightaway is lit, so you see your car streak by, then about 1:45 later it comes by again. All you can see on the rest of the mile and a half course is headlights, so you never can tell how your car is doing. Whenever a car spins or comes off the track you don't know if it is your team or not, you have to wait and see if it shows up on time at the front straight.

Day 1 is over, we are checking over the car, and stowing it for the night. We have not gotten standings yet, they will be posted later.

8:20 Driver Change

Another car flipped on the course, so they stopped the race for about 10 minutes. Carl pitted, and Scott jumped in for the final driving shift. If luck holds we'll end the day in fine shape. Above I am working at my blogging stati0n. It is a laptop sitting on top of a toolchest on a flatbed trailer. I flip the tarp over the computer when I am not on it to keep it dry. Notice my breath, it is cold out here.


Bill has been the team timer, spending most of the day up in the observation tower taking times.

7:14 Driver change

Above you see our Supra, racing under the lights.

Carl is now out on the track, we are in good shape.. we have run for about 6 hours, with just under 2 to go for the night. We got new rotors, had to dispatch John & John to Chico, 25 miles away, but we got them.

6:30pm Driver Change

Troy completes his successful shift, heading orders from team ownership: STAY OUT OF TROUBLE. Here he reports to Steve on his work, Carl preps Todd to head out for his shift.

5:54 restart

Troy is now out on the track, race restarted at 5:54pm. There was a fuel spill that stopped the race.

Here you see some evidence of Steve's racer skills.. notice the white paint on the fender just above the black stripe. He just kissed some white tires. Troy is in the car waiting for the restart, Todd & Carl are checking the air pressure in the tire.

5:33pm Race suspended

at 5:33pm officials stopped the race due to a problem on the track. Steve brought the car in and we gave it a quick once-over and Troy is now sitting in the car waiting the restart.

We are now racing in darkness, it is still dry but 42 degrees, so you can see your breath and it is tough to keep the fingers nimble.

Moving up & Car Update

We are still running strong and steady. The latest standings have us up about 20 places to 44.

We are starting to have minor issues with the car. We may have a problem with the front oil seal. We also know that our brake rotors are warped. John calls auto stores all over Northern California trying to locate a set. If we find any we'll replace them overnight.

4:20 Driver Change

Carl's driving shift ended at 4:20, when Steve took over. We also fueled the car on this stop, here is Steve driving out of the pit, starting his driving shift.

The non-Johanssons on Team Johansson

The 3 non-Johanssons on our team are John (red suit), who is an old friend of Carl's and is a wheat farmer in Kansas. Todd, holding the water bottle is Carl's neighbor and in the army. The second John, in the black hoodie is another Wheat farmer from Kansas, he is a friend of the first Kansas John.

3:18 Driver change

At 3:18 John hands off to Carl. We have seen the first set of standings, and we have stuck to our plan to start slow . We are in 60th place of 71 cars. Part of that is because the judge thought our car was a little too nice, so he gave us a 20 lap penalty. Any finish in the top half of competitors will be a major victory, as we are racing against teams that race every week, and many who have run this type of race many times before

2:25 - 1st Driver Change

Scott turned some great laps, and most importantly kept us out of trouble on the course for the first hour. We now have John, Carl's friend from Kansas driving. Above is Scott on one of the first laps of the race.

We are racing!

Scott has buckled into the car, and we are underway. So far so good, Scott is following the plan and driving conseratively. Steve says "You never win a race in the first hour, but you can easily lose in the first hour"

Our competition

Because we got out car late we did not have time to customize it. Here are some of the cars we will be racing against. This event is heavy on fun and having a good time, a sense of humor in customizing your car is appreciated as you can see.

Day One - Noon

Going over the car with final preps

Noon Saturday: The drivers meeting has started, all 6 Team Johansson drivers are down getting last minute instructions from the race organizers.

Weather has stopped drizzling, track is very wet. It is still pretty darn cold.
Our strategy is to drive safe for the first half of the day and stay out of trouble. The first 4 positions of our driving order is set, Scott will lead off, then John (Carl's friend from Kansas), then Carl then Steve. Each driver will try to do 45 minutes, but that may be impossible. We will have to wait and see.

Battle the elements

The brothers watch along the pit wall as our maroon Supra clears the tire wall slalom at the start of the front straight. Bill is driving, Scott Troy and Steve are watching. Notice the hats, gloves, it is cold here.

Test day was 45 to 50 degrees and raining all day. Everyone was very cold by the end of the day. The track was wet most of the day, but in all our laps by all 8 drivers we did not have any mishaps. We were all supposed to drive cautiously, to protect the car for the actual race. Most of us did. Mostly we just stood around watching the car run, and trying to stay warm.

Test Day

Scott welds a new muffler onto the car
Everyone arrived a day early to get the car out on the track to get a little practice driving. Our first problem was that the car was too loud, so we bought a muffler and welded it on. We had a few other minor mechanical problems, but were able to fix them and get about 4 hours of running the car on the track. Carl, Steve, Troy, Scott will all be drivers on race day. Our other 2 drivers are Todd, Carl's neighbor in Fresno, and John, a farmer from Iowa. Jack and Bill are Pit crew on race day since they were later to sign on for the trip, but got to run a number of laps on test day.

Team Johansson Arrives

Scott, Carl, Troy, Bill, Steve and Jack behind the camera walk the race course
during lunch break on testing day.
For the first time in nearly a decade all 6 Johansson brothers are together. They have assembled in Willows California at the Thunderhill Racecourse to run in the "24 hours of Lemons", an endurance race where teams are only allowed to spend $500 bucks on their racecar (not including safety equipment). Carl picked up an '88 Toyota Supra for 100 bucks, and had a friend rebulid the engine. He then stripped the interior, welded in a racing seat and safety cage. Troy, Bill, Jack and Steve flew in from Michigan, Scott drove over from Utah, and Carl is up from Fresno.