This brings a new definition to Hand Grenading a Porsche 911 Race Motor a
How to Have a REALLY, REALLY Bad Weekend.  Is it Monday yet?

It all happened on a nice day during a PCA Club Race at Fontana Raceway, June 2003.  I was headed down the back straight at about 130mph, the motor was pulling great and at the end of the straight, poof.  Actually the sound was like a large wood chipper spinning at 8000 RPM.

+ =

The weekend even started out shitty.  My wife and I got home from Petaluma on Wednesday and there was a huge water leak from the hot water heater in the master bathroom that was pouring downstairs into another bedroom.  What a friggin mess. 

We arrived at the track Wed evening and  Thursday test day ON the track wasn't so bad.  I felt my way around the absolutely stunningly cool racetrack without my crew chief and actually did ok.  Off the track, it was a different story.  Later that day, the refrigerator completely stopped working.  I'd parked the RV on a hill at my house and had apparently "fried" the cooling unit by having it turned on and on a hill.  Only $3,200 for a new one.  The repair last guy I called in Fontana (I went down the list of about a dozen) felt sorry for me and couldn't help me but he suggested I bang on the until with a BIG hammer to loosen whatever was inside the coils that made them stop working.  Amazingly, that worked.  The fridge was saved. 

Friday came and I went out on the first warmup session with the car and everything was fine.  Next session I'm about 2 laps into it, headed down the back straight, the car is pulling great and then - poof, the motor is toast.  I knew it was bad the minute I heard it and immediately shut the whole thing down.  Think of what a big woodchipper would sound like if it was spinning at 8000RPM and you stuffed your Porsche 911 motor into it all at once.  Not good. Thank God that I had a metal firewall. I was always a little freaked out about what would happen if a motor "disintegrated" and shrapnel started flying....

I came to a stop in front of some corner workers and they came running at me with fire extinguishers. I actually didnt even know I was on fire. They put it out and said "don't worry, it's not too bad". I sit there for the rest of the session and then the tow truck comes out and tows me to the pits.

Now I'm at the pits, crying over my motor, my charred paint job and my blistered graphics, trying to take all this in and a couple of hours later, the 50AMP power cord on my motorhome decided that it needed to stop using the Neutral power line.  Basically the Neutral line keeps all voltages at 110V.  When it stops working, you send 220V thru all of your appliances all at once.  What happened next was a huge plume of smoke in the RV cabin right as the TV caught fire.  After disconnecting the TV and throwing it out the front door, I cleared the smoke and disconnected all power to the coach and checked all the other appliances.   I discovered that the DirecTV receiver was blown up also.  Then I noticed the fridge would only work on gas, not 110v.  The AC portion of the fridge was now blown up.  Shit, 2 hits in 2 days on that poor thing. Now it doesn't deserve to live.  To make matters worse, the Heart  Power Inverter/battery charger (it takes 12v DC from the batteries and turns it into 120v AC) had taken a direct hit from the power surge and it wouldn't throw the power transfer switch OR charge the batteries any longer.  It was toast. 

The rest of the weekend was mostly without incident except all of our websites (bushwacker.net, bushwacker-racing.com , porscheracingclub.com, 911cup.com, venturecrossing.com, etc) are ALL down and so is email - our ISP has been hacked and hacked bad. (It's now Wed and it's STILL down. It's been down since Saturday).

At this point, you'd think that we couldn't have any worse luck.  You'd be wrong.  So we're driving home from the track (8 hours) and I stop at a rest stop and discover that the trailer connector had come loose from the motorhome and the plug end had been ground off by dragging on the ground.  all the wires had shorted out, fuses blown and was a complete mess.  Ok.  That's it.  nothing else can happen.  That is until we hit the pass between hwy 80/680 and 37 in Sonoma.  A huge gust of wind comes out of the North, the RV swerves and the gigantic awning on the side of the coach is now tearing and ripping itself off  it's tracks and I'm doing 55mph.  We pull over and wrestle the thing off the coach and decide to deal with it later.  Lets just get home.  I've never wanted Monday to arrive so quickly ever before.

When it rains, it pours.  In this case, we had a Hail Storm, then Lighting struck.  The Earthquake happened next and the Tornado finished us off.  Just remember:


 Needless to say, I've been keeping a VERY low profile for the last few days...

This is what I saw once they 
towed me in from the track.
Funny thing I didn't even know I 
was on fire until the Fire crew
told me.
Opening up the hood, metal was
That's a valve, a wrist pin bushing,
and bits of the cylinder.
What I saw when I pulled off the engine cover at the track.
The end of the rod was slammed
into the piston, crushing it.
221.85 Kb
260.18 Kb
Nice Pauter rod slamming
the piston into the head
The piston was actually upside 
down in the cylinder
The valve was broken off the stem.
The rod end actually felt fine - 
clearances and play were good.
349.35 Kb
228.62 Kb
241.91 Kb
You can see the valve was broken by the stem actually bending.

Chain ramp destruction. This was the right lower chain ramp.

different angle - chain ramp destruction, rt lower ramp.

All rockers were pitted

A MUCH happier time, for sure.