Greetings from from Ypsilanti, Michigan!
Rallying in Michigan today was mostly about dealing with other race cars not being where they should be. There is this massive ‘Franklin’, powered by a giant Hall-Scott truck engine, called ‘Zeus’, which is best described as a blunt instrument. Behind Zeus was the Japanese team in the Toyota 2000 GT. Both of them ‘backed into’ the car a minute in front of us, who had to drop back 20 seconds to avoid these two cars trying to be in the same spot at the same time. Eventually this whole furball backed into our minute, causing us to have to back up 20 seconds.
What we were doing was planning to file a ‘time delay’, which is designed to compensate for things that happen on the course that are beyond our control. Time delays are there to prevent us from driving like mad men to catch back up to our time. The tricky part is that they must be done in 10 second increments, so 20 seconds is just far enough back to allow you to perform stops and turns without running up on the bumper of the car in front of you.
Generally we try to avoid time delays whenever possible, because they can be hard to get exactly right. But there are times when there is no other way to stay close to our time, as we needed to do today. We have a form that we fill out requesting the time adjustment and the reason for it, and we turned it in to the checkpoint worker at the lunch stop. She phones it in to timing and scoring, and if approved the adjustment is made before we finish the day. Despite the mess we were in, we corrected it to only a :04 error for the leg, pretty good under the circumstances.
There is one other trend we are seeing, now that we have 3 days left: we have the second best score overall of any team running a 1950’s, 1960’s, or ’70’s car. Our raw, or base, scores are as good as the teams in the top 10, but they have ‘age factor’ working for them, and their handicaps are making it tough for us to keep up. That is as is should be, because those cars are more delicate and harder to drive. Our car is really fun to rally, but despite a good effort we dropped back a bit and we’re 17th overall again.
For the fun stuff, we visited 3 museums today: the Hudson Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana (really nice quality restorations), the famous Gilmore Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan for lunch and the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Michigan. Lots and lots of Hudsons to look at today, but there were Studebakers driven to every stop.
It’s not over yet, and while we know we can’t win, our original goal of a top 10 is still within reach, and the hardest rallying is still ahead of us. So far 15 teams have had to drop out of the race due to mechanical problems, which is somewhat less than usual. The ACM Studebaker Daytona is still performing brilliantly and if its team can do a little better with it, we can still get ‘r done.
Steve, Janet, and Allison