Last Chance Rationals – HPR

September 4th 2010 we were at High Plains Raceway for the final event of the season. This event was a combined National and Regional race as a test approved by the SCCA. The weekend started off right with both practice and qualifying going smooth and Matthew Wolfe put the #73 Spec 7 on pole. The race started off great and Matthew was out to an early lead. On lap 3 was when it got exciting. Going into turn 8, the tightest corner on the track, Matthew’s clutch stuck to the floor on the down shift. After a foot dance to pop the pedal back up and finally getting the car back into 3rd Matthew continued on. Now what to do? Matthew already had enough points to lock up the championship but so far he was undefeated this season. Well he decided to drive the rest of the race in mostly 3rd gear. He would only shift to 4th down the back straight and then back to third at the end of the straight. Shifting without the clutch was slowing him down a little but he was still able to maintain impressive lap times given the situation. Matthew was able to manta his lead, uncontested, and keep his winning streak alive.

When Matthew got into the pits he started to check out the car. As the clutch held up but would not release he assumed it must be the clutch master cylinder so he was off on a quest to find one. Luckily Rob Godby had one he had pulled off a parts car. Rob generously gave it to Matthew and he was off to replace it. After replacing it the clutch still would not disengage. Even after bleeding it multiple times it had the same issue. At this point the only thing Matthew could think was it was the clutch fork. Wendy and the kids (Landon and Adam) were getting tired as it was getting late so we decided to retire for the night and take up the fight in the morning.

September 5th 2010 we arrived at the track early ready to get to work on replacing the clutch fork, which luckily we had an extra on the spar transmission we bring to the track. Matthew got the car up on jack stands and had the transmission pulled back, clutch fork in, and transmission in with plenty of time before the practice. It still was not working. At the insistence of Tom Abbot Matthew went looking for a clutch. Luckily Terry Klein, an ITA RX7 driver, had one and was willing to part with it. Matthew pulled the transmission again and started to replace the clutch. To Matthew’s surprise the clutch had exploded and all of the friction material was jammed on one side. This is why the clutch was not disengaging. Matthew replaced the clutch and got everything put back to gather just as his group was going out for qualifying.

Matthew suited up, strapped in the car and started the car. As he went to pull away the car stalled. What now? Check the fuel pump. Sure enough, the wire had been knocked off. Re-attached the wire and he was off. As he got to grid all of the other cars were already on track. He was sent out and put the hammer down. On his second lap the car started to buck. Out of fuel! Forgot to put in fuel in all the excitement. Luckily the one full lap was enough to put Matthew on pole.

As Matthew returned to the pits Rob cam walking over. He had blown his transmission in qualifying. Luckily we had a spare and set off to change it so Rob could run in the race. After replacing the transmission Rob was good to go and Matthew had 30 min to rest before the race.

The race again went well for Matthew and he was able to keep up his undefeated season.

The season started out changing an engine at the track and ended with pulling three transmissions. What a great season. Thank you to all of our competitors and friends for making this such a great season.

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