The Cosmonauts returned to NJ in May, this time a bit better prepared. The Real Hoopties of NJ 2014 race went quite well. An overall finish of 56th out of about 150 cars was by far our best finish ever, although still not in the top third! It wasn’t mechanical issues that slowed us down this time though.
Our only real wrenching of the weekend was being forced to do a windshield swap the Friday of the race. When we rolled up to the NJMP track tech for the test day on Friday they informed us that the windshield had too many cracks. No amount of negotiation would sway them, but they did say that running with no windshield was allowed. This seems like some bitter safety irony, but we could run with that. 24 Hours of Lemons requires a windshield to run, although they have always allowed our mildly cracked unit in the past. Not wanting to miss out on the test day we decided to replace the windshield. We found a used windshield in Philly and sent someone out to grab it. In parallel we kicked out the old windshield so we could run the test day with no glass. An interesting experience! Turns out driving with no windshield is extremely loud! At 50mph the wind is much louder than the engine, and at 100+ it is deafening!
Friday evening we put in our new windshield. We used urethane adhesives which means it shouldn’t go anywhere. After a quick alignment we were ready for the race on Saturday morning.
The race went dead smooth. The car ran flawlessly the whole weekend. With the car running so well we found we actually had to pit and refuel, something we didn’t have much experience with in the past since we had spent most of our time wrenching. Our pit strategy needed work, but we got better. Saturday we were running strong but racked up 4 black flags (mostly spins) about 2 hours from the end of the day, landing us in the penalty box for the rest of the day.
Sunday we ran the whole day, taking the checker at the end. Three black flags but kept it clean enough to stay on the track!
We were all very pleased with the car’s performance. No oiling issues at all. Consistent oil temp, water temp and oil pressure all weekend long. The car seemed to be a bit down on top end power, something we think might be related to the oversensitive knock sensors in the 1MZ, but otherwise it ran like a top. We were hitting a bit over 120mph at the end of the straight, which is pretty respectable. 306 laps, no mechanical issues. We are hoping to work on our strategy and driving a bit more for the next race, and possibly some suspension improvements. With stock suspension (from 86) and double the factory horsepower, it is a bit of a handful!
Follow the team on facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/TheCosmonaughts
Here is a link to the first 40mins of our Sunday session: Cosmonauts on Youtube!