Power failure in Orlando showed we’ve got what it takes to tackle adversity and progress in 2018, as we face every challenge and keep rising to the occasion.
The worst thing that can happen to a competitor is to suffer equipment failure just before you head out to battle. But that’s exactly what happened to us right before our Top 32 battle at FD in Orlando. I was about to drive the car to the start line when it suffered an electrical problem which meant the ECU didn’t function and it failed to start. We already had suspension issues before qualifying, but this team keeps showing that we come back stronger and stronger from each and every challenge. I was confident after a good qualifying result in Long Beach, so despite these issues in Orlando I felt like I improved on my first run of 73 and the judges agreed to give me a 77 on my second. That put us 27th and facing a battle with Ryan Tuerck in 6th.
We had arrived in Orlando early Thursday morning and went straight to the track for practice, after which we discovered that part of our suspension was bent. Our buddy Marcus Fry from Marcus Fry Racing Enterprises in Redwood City, California, burned the midnight blowtorch (literally) to cut a new piece and amazingly had it shipped overnight direct to the track. The next day, our crew of Eugene Feygelman and David McKnight fitted them to the car just in time for us to make Friday pre-qualifying practice.
This problem meant that the team were already up against the clock, with more adjustments required during practice as I got used to the new car setup on the heavily banked circuit in Orlando. This layout in the humidity of central Florida is considered one of the most challenging of the season for suspension setups due to its elevation change and uneven surfaces. It’s a huge contrast to the concrete tunnels of Long Beach and requires big adjustments for the car and drivers. With a long bank on the part of the track using the oval circuit, it then sweeps into a severe bump where the car has to adjust to the flatter in-track section for the final front and rear clips. After qualifying, the team found more issues with the rear suspension but with great tips from Matt at Fortune Auto, the car performed better and better in top 32 practice on Saturday so we were ready to face Tuerck. I went to fire up the car… and nothing.
To say I was devastated is an enormous understatement. For all of us to travel across the country, have everyone pull together and get over the issues we had, making adjustments so efficiently; to qualify as we did in the circumstances, then on Friday have the car feeling better than ever… after all that, for it to fail to start because of a sudden and unexpected problem was super, super tough. But that’s racing. After the disappointment of not reaching the start line was gone, I got some perspective from hanging out with the team. We’re lucky to have amazing sponsor support this year, and the quality of our team isn’t just as technicians, it is also as people. That’s why we keep coming back stronger and stronger. We expect everyone involved in Project Wreckless to tackle adversity head-on and so that’s how we treat it as well. What was awesome to see was the way the team dealt with these problems and how well we’re solving issues whenever they come at us. Add to this the support from our sponsors and people generally just coming up to say hi and tell us they love the car and what we’re doing… we know 2018 has a lot more in store and that we’re going to surprise people. We’ll keep our heads up, knowing that we’ll be ready to take on everyone in Atlanta this weekend. Having isolated the electrical issues and made the necessary fixes, keep your eyes open: The Wreckless Racing E92 of FK53 will be one to watch in Georgia.
See you all there!