Monday, April 25, 2016

What a Way to Start the Summer!

I missed last week.  I know.  You should've been there...

Last week was beautiful weather in Southeastern WI.  It was in the 70s with barely a cloud in the sky, and it's only half way through April!  It also happened to be the start of Summer car stuff in the area.  I had a packed weekend with tons of awesome car stuff going on that I had to get ready for and go to.  By the end of the weekend I was exhausted and happier than I could've imagined.  The weekend couldn't have turned out any better (unless, of course, if I had posted something on here).

I got out of work Friday night, and I had a list of things I really wanted to get done on my car before I entered it into the show on Sunday.  I had to swap my snow tires for my summer tires, rotate my tires, detail the interior, fix the fact that all my leds had already gone bad in my cluster since last summer (don't buy cheap eBay led lights, save yourself!), unplug the remote trunk opener, and I'd love to fix the wandering door lock actuator in the passenger door.  I decided to start with the dirty tire job before doing the cleaning, so I broke the front lug nuts loose and jacked it up in the middle because my jack is junk, and I didn't want to waste the time of lifting at all four corners.  I got the lug nuts off of the passenger side, but I couldn't even hammer the rim loose with a dead blow.  I decided that the rotation would be a no go and reinstalled the lug nuts.  The back came off real easy which made me happy after the ten minute job of jacking the stupid thing up.  I still have a crappy jack (haven't bought a new one in that paragraph), and it pumps slowly and has a jack handle that sticks about six inches past my back bumper when lifting the pumpkin in the middle of the rear.  I literally need to lift the body off the suspension with the jack handle every time to get a halfway useful pump on the jack.  It's downright aggravating.  Or I could just buy a new jack.....  Anyways, I got the wheels off, but I lodged one of those junky two-piece lug nuts in the socket I was using.  I grabbed another socket to finish the job, and I had all the tires swapped before I killed the time to figure out why I couldn't get the nut out.  Once I had the socket stuck on the nut, and a punch stuck through the other end of the socket and through the top of the lug nut, I reminded myself that I have yet to find the time to mount my vice on the workbench in my garage, and I needed a new lug nut.  (I swear I replace two of these per tire every time I take them off.  Junk.)  I went to the Zone where I work and used their vice to empty my socket which worked wonders, and i bought a new lug nut and torqued it on in the parking lot.  I went around the rest to double check their torque too.  Never hurts to be safe.  I then spent the rest of the night hanging out with my buddy Dave who got roped into replacing an elderly gentleman's starter while we were both there.  It was a fun night, and I got nothing else done.  Snow tires off?  Check!  Anything else done to the car for the show Sunday?  Nope.  Good night?  Yes.

I love how good my car looks...  Don't look at the other side.
After about seven hours of sleep, I got up for Saturday, and you know what Saturday meant?  Chump Car racing at Road America!  Sadly, I don't have a race car, but I do have a camera, so I went with my brother to watch some cheap cars duke it out on the track.  We had a blast watching the racing.  It was cool cars on an even cooler track.  There were maybe thirty people spectating like us because most of the people who came there were there to race, so we had pretty much free reign to wander around and check out all the cool viewing areas in all the different corners.  I'd love to go back and see what it's like during a race with a lot of spectators.  In about a month, Road America is having their Vintage Racing Weekend, and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna find a way to get to that.  There was a '66 and '73 Mustang on track during the event, and it really makes you look forward to the vintage races there.  I got to take some pretty neat pictures at the track, and we got to see some pretty awesome action going on there.  Some of our seats were even quite close to the action.  I took over 1,200 shots at the track that day, but I've thinned them down to my favorites of the ones that turned out or were close and showed some epic action.  There are a few shots below, but you can see more here.

We saw this guy get a little squirrely a few times, but this was the only action I caught on camera.
I don't know how this car classifies as a chump car, but I sure loved watching it!
Gotta love seein' that smoke
Everybody coming back in after racing on Saturday.
This was our transportation/photography platform that day.
We left the track and got dinner at Racer's Hall on the outskirts of Plymouth (love that restaurant), and then found ourselves meeting our mom in West Bend for some custard.  We took the amazing drive up hwy 67 on the way there, but the more leisurely hwy 28 was our return trip.  Both are quite entertaining with great views, but 67 is far more twisty and tight than the smoother, more relaxing 28.  When we left the custard shop, I saw a guy across the street with another Vic like mine only a few years newer, so I drove over to investigate.  After a good chat with the guy, I proceeded home.  I had noticed an odd vibration in the morning on my way to meet my brother, and now that I'd picked my car back up and got it out on the highway, I was noticing it again... and more.  I stopped to look at it, and when I got going again, I made a few calls, and decided to go back to my buddy Dave's shop that night too.  I wondered if I had hammered too much and wrecked a wheel bearing.  I pulled up outside, and there was a truck in the shop already.  After he left, Dave went to look at my car.  He had seen me the previous night at the Zone and knew what I had been up to recently on my car.  I didn't want to tell him what I thought the cause was because I didn't want to taint his diagnosis.  He walked out with a torque wrench, and I asked if he wanted to test drive it.  He said no and began to check my lug nuts.  On the last tire (the front left), he put the wrench on, and with no effort it fell to the ground.  He walked away in shock.  He came back, removed the socket and proceeded to loosen four out of five lug nuts by hand.  Turns out that when I was busy hammering my rim and saying choice words when I gave up on the rotation, I forgot I had broken both sides free so I could jack in the middle and only have to lift the car twice for the whole job.  I was feeling lucky and stupid all at the same time, and excessively grateful I hadn't gotten a wild hair to drive separate to the track that day through all the fun, tight corners.  After a while, he decided to take his monster truck out for a few laps of the strip in town as it was Saturday night, so I tagged along in my car.  We stopped at the Zone and grabbed the manager who was just closing up, and eventually, I convinced Dave to let me shoot his monster truck in the streetlights behind the mall.  Some other guys pulled up while I was shooting and talked to him about the truck.  Photos below with more to see here.

This shows the guys talking but also gives a perspective on the sheer height of this thing!
67,000 original miles, 4.0L V6 5-speed rwd
He originally built it as an attention grabber for his friend's dealership, but he recently bought it back and is planning on redoing the front suspension and adding a divorced transfer case to make it actually a 4x4.  Pretty sweet truck though.
After such long days Friday and Saturday, I was very relieved to know that the WCEC (Wisconsin Car Enthusiast Club) Season Opener car show was scheduled for 1pm.  That is, until I drove by at 12:30 and the place was already packed.  My cousin and I ran through the car wash and got our cars looking as good as they were gonna get, but decided the line to get in wasn't worth not seeing the cars inside.  Eventually, we came out and brought them in after a big group of people left halfway through the four hour show.  (Don't even get me started.)  I was a neat show with a lot of good looking cars, but they weren't the kind of cars I normally get revved up about.  The group is a lot of younger people who can afford and like to buy newer cars.  I can appreciate them, but not in the same kind of way that I do older cars.  There were a lot of customized ones, but there were also a lot of barely customized or sleeper customs at the show.  It turns a lot more into "look what I can afford" with newer cars instead of "look at my original idea."  I'm not saying that wasn't there too; I'm just saying that it isn't as common.  It's just as easy to say "Oh look, another Sti, Civic, or Miata" at that show as it is to say "oh look, another Camaro, Mustang, or Corvette" at a car show with an older demographic.  But when you see an integra or an S2000 with a WWII motif or a Baja Bug that's gone radioactive, or a custom hardtail '48 Panhead, that's where it gets cool, original, and makes you stop to take a closer look.  I wound up unintentionally meeting up with the guy I went with on Power Tour, and him, my cousin, and I went out for supper and cruised back on home with windows and top down.  Again, pictures below, and more to see here.

This thing was a cool blending of old and new with the WWII motif and the fender that said, "Finish him!"
This thing had a wicked awesome look, and the driver totally matched its don't give and F, out for vengeance vibe.
I found a friend to park with.
This thing is a sweet drift car, and i'm hoping to see it again at Automotion 2016
Nearly twins, these Celicas are a '78 and a '79.
The '79 was sporting 250 miles on a rebuilt engine and a very fresh paint job.
All in all, my weekend was great!  (I followed it up by going to a giant swap meet and car show this weekend, but I didn't take hardly any pictures.)  I was so happy seeing the racing and all the cool cars and getting to show my car for a little bit and meeting all the cool people that I did at the show... it was the best Summer kick-off party I could've imagined.  I slowly fell asleep Sunday night thinking about the car show, and in my half asleep mind, I kept hearing the different cars firing up as they left the car show.  It was the best way to fall asleep I've ever experienced.  I can't wait for Summer.

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