by Chris Barrington

Installment 9 - Mud, sweat and tears.

I thought I'd start off getting last minute details in order before my first event by doing something really stupid. Frustrated by a loose seat bolt I slammed my drivers side door and broke the window into a million pieces.


Thankfully my brother had an extra drivers side door glass lying around, so my little mishap didn't end up costing me. Moving on... Steel lugs are a must for the track, so they went on next.


The factory rear-view mirror is fine for the street, but limited on the track. I bought a 17" panoramic mirror from I/O Port Racing. It's supposed to clip onto the existing mirror, but that put it out way to far from the windshield and WAY to close to the driver. I chopped up my factory mirror to accept the screws for the new mirror.


One cooling fan took a shit on me, so I picked up a good used unit from Frank (Legoland). I also picked up a decent belly pan from him. I'm REALLY glad I did -- read on.


Being a novice, I thought tow hooks would be nice. I picked up the biggest set of these babies I could find at Home Depot, then painted them red. The stickers came from eBay.


Battery terminals are required on the tech sheet, so I fabbed some up using the caps that came on the ends of my new torsion bars. It's a little cheesy, but it does the trick. I finally got both cooling fan switches mounted too.


Bling-a-licious gold flake brake pads!

After the corner balancing and alignment, I re-torqued all bolts and marked them with a paint pen. This is the easiest way to feel confident that you're not going to fall apart after each run.

Big thanks to Michael Jaffe for the cooling fans and shroud. He really came through in a pinch. I also cut down the belly pan to clear my front sway bar and nearly blinded myself in the process. Don't cheap out on safety glasses people!


I was getting an odd vibration on a test run, so I opted to pick up rebuilt axles from Kragen ($66 each). Not a bad deal, but I nearly missed my event when they only sent one...then promised I would have the other in two days, and finally came nearly two weeks later. Idiots! But I digress. I cleaned and painted the bolts as well, since I wanted to paint lines on them as well after I torqued them.


With the axles installed, tow hooks in place, cooling issues resolved and alignment/corner balancing done she's ready for the track! First event was a PCA Auto-X. No issues, other than my power steering pump shaft working it's way loose. Next event was an HPDE at Buttonwillow (NASA). Car ran great! Driver did not. Two 60-70 mph slides into the mud SUCK! The belly pan really helped keep a majority of the mud out of the engine bay though.


This summer I'll be attending more Auto-X events and a few HPDE events before the seat(s) and the safety equipment get installed. Got to save up and work more OT!