The CoolFords Racing Team was awfully excited about the 24-hour ChumpCar World Series at Spokane, WA. It was out first big racing news of the summer with GI SHO Racing. Congratulations to the team for their hard work and respectable finish, all of them made it home safe and alive.
CF - What was the game plan on the eve of your Chumpcar Spokane race?
GI SHO - We arrived 24 hours before the start to set up our pit area and get the car though tech inspection. We checked and double checked the car and flushed the brake fluid. We walked the track and gave the drivers who had never been at Spokane before a chance to see it at a walking pace. After that we all went out and had a great meal and discussed the driver order and pit assignments for the race. Everyone turned in early for a good rest before the carnage sure to take place over the next 2 days.
CF - Did your game plan change right before the start of the race?
GI SHO - We took off the new pads & rotors and installed a good matched, used set from a past race because at the 7 hour mark we were going to get time to change from day to night configuration and we put the new stuff back on at that time
CF - How did the SHO handle on the track?
GI SHO - The SHO handles very well on this track, especially in the hands of an experienced driver. We have to be carefull not to over-throttle it in a corner and spin the inside tire because we are running the stock open differential.
CF - The 24-hour ChumpCar World Series is an endurance race. So, how many cases of energy drinks did Team GI SHO slam?
GI SHO - We did pretty good without a lot of "energy enhancements". We slept in shifts and had lots of water, Gatorade, coffee and snacks on hand.
CF - Did you drag your wife there?
GI SHO - I did. This is the 3rd race she has attended but the first "away" race where she could not run home if needed. She was actually a tremendous asset to the team and helped out in every aspect except driving the car. She's already getting involved with planning our next race and has recently taken over the book-keeping duties.
CF - How often did you rotate drivers and when?
GI SHO - Chumpcar allows a driver to be in the car for a maximun of 2 hours at a time which works out great because that's about as long as a tank of fuel will last.
CF - Daryl, how many hours did you drive?
GI SHO - I personally drove for a total of 4 hours. Most of my time was not in daylight.
CF - What happens if you need a restroom break?
GI SHO - You tough it out until your shift is done. Honestly, you don't really think about those things when doing something like this. The concentration required to maintain control of the car in a chaotic environment and plan your moves on track takes over everything else.
CF - Was there are point in the race where it was essential for you to change strategies?
GI SHO - Yes, twice. We had a driver get sick and had to change the rotation schedule, and we had issues with wheel bearings and a tire that blew out. We sat out for the last 2 1/2 hours of the race because we ran out of spare part. I took it back out for the last 10 minutes with a badly vibrating LF wheel bearing and not a lot of brakes and ran it at 1/3 pace so we could take the checker.
CF - Were there any other SHOs there?
GI SHO - We were the only one.
CF - What was the prize for winning the race?
GI SHO - 1st place took home $1,500 and a cool trophy
CF - How do feel about make it in the local news on KREM.com?
GI SHO - I thought it was pretty cool that our car was seen on TV and for Chumpcar to get some media coverage.
CF - Have you ever driven at Spoken County Raceway?
GI SHO - My first track day there was in 2006. I also ran the 24 hour race there last July. All but 2 of our drivers had been there before.
CF - I came across a pic of you guys bleeding the brakes. Was this part of pre-race preparations? Or did something screw up during the race?
GI SHO - We bled the brakes twice. Once before the race and again at the 7 hour break when we changed pads & rotors.
CF - Did you use any simulators aka gaming consoles; i.e. PS3, to prepare for the race?
GI SHO - I don't personally train for this in a "virtual" sense. I do watch a lot of videos on YouTube and go over previous race footage.
CF - What was the mechanical biggest problem you guys had out on the track?
GI SHO - Over-cooking the front wheel bearings. The brakes can get VERY hot and Spokane is a very curvey track. We brought 2 spare spindles with used bearings thinking we "might" need them if there is any impact damage and we bend a spindle. As it turned out we blew out 3 of the 4 wheel bearings we had. The 2nd failure on the left front was actually on fire when it came in to the pit.
CF - You stated on your Facebook fan page that you expected to finish 14h. What place did you finish at? http://www.facebook.com/pages/GI-SHO-Racing/103436909711126
GI SHO - We officially finished 14th out of about 55 entries. The 1st place car had over 100 laps on us.
CF - What are some of things you could had done differently to place higher?
GI SHO - We are working on a better wheel bearing package and a brake cooling system. Bottom line..If we're in the pit, we're not putting laps on the board.
CF - When is your next race?
GI SHO - Officially.... Portland on Halloween weekend. We might run the Rat Race at ORP on labor day but the car needs a lot of work to be ready for another race that soon.
CF - Are you looking at doing ChumpCar: Corkscrew Christmas at Mazda Speedway Laguna Seca?
GI SHO - Have never run there and would eventually love to do it, but it's not on our schedule this year.