A few months pass, and I was working at my new job in Michigan. I was still driving the Duramax, and early March shows no signs of spring with a snowstorm bringing 8" one evening. The car is in the shop back in Ohio. We are still checking things over, and I have no place to store it here, because we are in a temporary apartment until we close on our house in Midland.
Eventually, the timeline ran short. I made an express trip to Ohio to pick up the car. One the way home, I stopped at to see my friend Paul (The Alignment Whisperer) at Tire Discounters in Dayton. With the final adjustments in hand, I headed back to snowy Michigan. In tow, I had a car that was way heavier than I expected. At 3687 pounds including the driver, I wasn't going be setting any records for the lightest Evo around. At least the corner balance was on point.
I still needed some time to check everything out myself, and I wanted to get the car out to a road coarse somewhere before we got to the OLOA starting line in South Bend. For nearly a month, I had been planning to get to the spring opener at Gingerman on a Sunday in early April. I didn't book anything in advance, because I knew that the weather could change. I waited as long as I could, and kept checking the weather. The 24hr forecast said snow and ice in South Haven, so I knew we needed a change of plans. and made a made a decision at noon on the day before the event. I made some calls, and left a voicemail for the person running MVP track time. They were hosting a 2-day event, and I was hoping that I could get on track for Sunday. I jumped in the shower and started getting ready to head out. Ashley did everything that was necessary for us to take an overnight trip, while I ran to the local U-Haul to pick up a trailer and get fuel for the weekend. We left Midland around 2:30pm, and drove the nine hours to NCM. Because we couldn't find any place to keep the dogs, they came with and hung out at the race track for the day.
It didn't take long to find another hiccup with our setup. I was noticing that the car was bucking and going lean coming out of turn 10. I could get 1-2 laps without any problems, and then things started to get weird. With the surge tank installed, it made absolutely no sense. The car should have had all the fuel it needed, under all conditions. Feeling defeated, I went to talk to the event host and let him know that I was going to wrap up early because the car wasn't acting right. Before I could turn and walk back to the truck, he told me "Go talk to Wayne". An ace mechanic and moped enthusiast, Wayne was also a frequent visitor to the track with MVP. I described the situation, and it didn't take us long to start troubleshooting. After I explained how the surge tank was set up, we suspected that the problem was coming from the main fuel tank. He opened things up and had a look at what was happening when I started the car. Without missing a beat, I hear "Well there's your problem". One of the end caps of the lift pump had a major crack in it. Effectively, it was turning my main fuel tank into a Jacuzzi tub and was blowing air into the surge tank. We got into his truck, and drove to Autozone. Wayne had a plan. We get to the counter, and he asks the clerk for a fuel pump for a 92 Mustang with a 5.0L V-8. Weird. So I pay for things, and we head back to the track. In his rolling workshop (Diesel Econoline van), he builds a pigtail harness so that we can connect to the factory connectors for the fuel pump. Once installed, he told me to go back out onto the track and let it rip. What followed was one of the last sessions of the day. 40 straight minutes on track without any interruptions at all. I nearly ran the car completely out of fuel. Everything was perfect, and I couldn't be more grateful that Wayne was hanging out at the track helping people. If he hadn't been there, who knows if I would have been smart enough to figure out the issue in time for OLOA. Recently, he opened up Lin's Specialty Automotive about 30 minutes down the road from Road Atlanta. Though he specializes in BMWs, I have first hand experience that he can fix just about anything. Anyone headed to GridLife South may want to bookmark this place in the event they need some mechanical help.
We finally made it back to Midland at 2:30am Monday morning, just in time for me to get a few hours of sleep before work. With the last of the testing before OLOA out of the way, I was confident that we'd have things ready to go on day 1 of OLOA. With all this backstory finally out of the way, I'm spending the next several weeks detailing the adventures from the 2016 One Lap of America.