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Still Racing After All These Years (Part VI)    by Butch Kummer

Road Atlanta is an awesome, awesome track. The elevation changes, blind turns and high-speed sweeping corners make it an extremely demanding track to drive, but when you get it right, it’s one of the biggest adrenalin rushes allowed by law. On the opposite side of the same coin, it is VERY tough on equipment and will bite you on the butt if you’re not careful. In two National races this year I have yet to see even the green flag, much less a checkered one.

Looking for the silver lining to my weekend, the good news is that the engine ran fine (and puts out 469.2 hp on Dynolab’s chassis dyno), the car really WILL turn 1:33’s at Road Atlanta and I don’t have to buy tires before the next race. The bad news, of course, is that I don’t have to buy tires before the next race. Seven laps into the first session (and after turning a personal best of 1:33.89 backed up by a 1:34.19), the car quit pulling as I accelerated in second gear up the hill out of Turn Five. After trying both third and fourth gears without luck (the engine ran, just no "go"), I coasted out of harm’s way and hoped it was either the transmission (we have a spare) or the driveshaft (easy to fix). Once I came to a stop, however, the collection of relatively large, hot, metallic parts and pool of 85W90 under the rear end suggested that the problem might be terminal. It still bears closer inspection, but it appears the internals of the differential came apart and actually broke the rear end housing in half. My racing weekend was done.

Although I wanted to run Kershaw, I have to run at least two more SCCA National races to even qualify for the Runoffs in October, so I’ve ordered new parts and will be heading to Savannah for the Double National July 1-3. We’re still looking for the new car to be ready late July, but I’d rather have already secured an invitation to Mid-Ohio before we start learning the new ride.

See you at the track…