Topic: Heartland Parked from team Flat Face Racing’s perspective
The garages were large, clean, and the doors opened easily. The bathrooms were clean and generally offered plenty of capacity. The showers functioned and provided a hilarious mix of cold and scalding hot water. The paddock was huge and looked to be recently resurfaced. The RV hookups worked as expected and we were glad we brought extra extension cords (they were located a couple tens of feet from the pavement). We would have preferred RV hookups in the paddock area in front of the garages but such is. Being in the infield was pretty neat in general. I personally saw three frogs hopping about.
Tech was straightforward and efficient. Our Miata is less-cheaty than many so the BS inspection was no biggie. We bribed with Costco beer and some other oddball stuff to get the cool stencil painted on the trunk. Checking in and whatnot was simple and quick. The Lemons staff was helpful. There was more than enough food at the potluck and folks were their normal awesome-selves.
Holy damp it was humid to this Colorado native. Luckily the temperature was relatively mild (at least per the previous week’s highs it could have been far higher). Sporadic rain and cloudy skies Thursday through Saturday. It rained most of the day Sunday.
The first domino in our cascade of mechanical miseries was a loosely attached radiator cap. This led to an overheated engine in practice and all the fun that followed. The list of things that went wrong is long and varied. Mostly we failed the car through issues with installation and overlooking some details leading to us having to redo several things. With the help of some Samaritans we tried to locally source an appropriate head for the motor but I ended up driving eight hours roundtrip to Tulsa as all the convenient leads dried up. We finally took to the track around 4:30 on Saturday for a few full-powered laps before cylinder #2 lost compression for the remainder of the weekend.
The track was fun and varied. Wide with a smooth surface. The pit out was a bit dicey at first and the addition of cones along the merge line was very welcome. The blind rise toward the end of the front straight was a fun feature to talk about. Very cool track.
We amassed three black flags during our time on the track: one was from a break in concentration, two were due to downshifting to second gear mid-turn on a soaked track, and all three were spins. The rain made the driving a challenge but we still had a good time. It really was a fun track to drive.
Scrappy the racecar:
Our poor car ran on three cylinders for most of its time on the track which consisted of a few runs on Saturday and all day Sunday. Susan constructed a window piece to help mitigate the spray coming around the windshield and into the driver’s face which helped immensely. The windshield wipers worked great and our lack of HVAC was only an issue when first coming onto the track, where after the view would soon clear. Our radios worked well and we ended up only running cool shirts after the first stint on Sunday.
Despite mostly self-inflicted mechanical issues we managed to put in 132 laps of racing. Through endless complaining about our problems we earned the “I Got Screwed” award and beat the only other Miata in attendance (they put a rod through their block in practice proving the point that things could always be worse). While I have no doubts it could have gone smoother the experience was a good one and we’re already ramping up (and replacing the engine) for the next race in a few weeks. Assuming scheduling works out we’re planning on coming to Heartland again next year.