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el_jefe
05-15-2017, 11:29 AM
So I spent Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway to see the GT Live tour (www.gtlivetour.com). A friend of mine (Jeff Lepper, or neonracer88 as he is known on some forums) was racing in the Grand Am race (ST class, if your curious), and as I haven’t seen him in almost a year, I wandered over to the paddock to see how Team Cobalt California (http://www.teamcobaltcalifornia.com/) was doing. What a difference a full team makes! When he lived here in Arizona, the race team consisted of two or three guys who were willing to spend all night threshing on the car the night before to get it ready on time, and usually we would be twisting wrenches right up to the time it left pit road. Now it was a sense of poised calm, the cars sitting in silence, tools stacked, a few guys wiping the cars down to make sure that the sponsors money is well spent and all the logos are visible. Jeff and his father Tom were relaxing (as much as one can) with their respective co drivers, and we had a chance to catch up for a while.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/051306_1335.jpg

Race time: The co driver went out first; this was to be a 2-hour race, so there is plenty of time. After about 35 minutes the 48 car (Jeff’s) was in 21, and about to get lapped, so they pulled it in for a pit stop and driver change. The computer showed that the car would have enough fuel to make it through the rest of the race, so Jeff jumped in and off he went. After another 20 minutes or so, the 98 car (Tom’s car) came in, and Jeff’s father jumped in. Now the race really began (no offense to the co drivers, but they are simply not in the same league as Jeff and Tom. They are people that pay for the chance to drive, while this is what the Leppers do. Kinda like the difference between a AAA ball player and a major league player). So things are going well, the 98 car (which had been doing well the whole race) was up to 6th, and Jeff had moved the 48 car from 21st to 8th, when Tom brought the 98 car in with trouble. Three of the rear right lug nuts had sheered off, and he was fortunate to have not lost a wheel. After a quick look, the decision was made to replace the lugs and wheel and go back out to finish the race. He was too far back to be in contention, but it was better to finish than not.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/051306_1741a.jpg

In the 48 car, more trouble was brewing; Jeff was unable to get any water from his drinking tube. (a note: it was 105 that day, probably 130+ in the cockpit, and he was wearing a full nomex racing suit and helmet. It’s possible to lose 10 lbs with good hydration in a racecar) To make matters worse, his right foot was getting cooked by the exhaust running under the car. Despite this, he was still moving up, until the car started suffering from fuel starvation again with 10 laps to go. (apparently the fuel computer is retarded) He came in for a splash and go, just enough time to get sufficient fuel to finish the race and headed back out, but had lost 6 positions already. Suffering massive dehydration, he doggedly hung onto 14th, but there was not enough time left to regain the lost spots. Some of the crew and I were standing on the trailer watching the cool down lap when Jeff pulled 48 in, and screeched to a halt in a clatter of floor tiles. This was the first indication that we had that all was not well (the guys with radio contact were on pit road, and were sprinting back at that moment) we made it down from the roof as they came pelting in, and grabbed jeff as he struggled out of the car. Beet red, we pulled him out of his suit as he literally collapsed. After getting him water, and covering him with wet towels, we removed his right shoe to find the heel bright red and already blistering. About this time Tom came in with the 98 car, and parked it behind 48 and jumped out to check on Jeff. As we got him cooled down, shouts of “Fire! Fire!” rang out from the trailer next to us. The 98 car had flames emerging from the engine compartment. The extreme heat was enough to melt a wire loom, which then dripped on the exhaust manifold and ignited. If not for the sharp eyes of the Locke team, it could have been very serious.

Anyway, things began to calm down after that. Jeff was driven over to the medic station, and diagnosed with 3rd degree burns on his heel. I was delegated as watcher of Gaby, Jeff’s 1 year old daughter, as neither Jeff nor his wife Lisa were in any condition to deal with her at the time. We had fun as the teardown started, all the equipment was put away; the cars cleaned up and trailered. The team ate dinner and headed back to the hotel (or the strip club, depending on age and energy levels) and I made the hour long drive back home.

Broken5hift
05-15-2017, 11:33 AM
wow. now thats a fucking weekend. hows your friend doing?

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 11:37 AM
wow. now thats a fucking weekend. hows your friend doing?


his foot hurts like hell, and he was making the 12 hour drive back home to the bay area yesterday. I haven't talked to him today.

gspeedaddict
05-15-2017, 11:37 AM
Damn,hes a gamer!

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 11:41 AM
Damn,hes a gamer!

Yeah, he's pretty hardcore, even if he drives a Cobalt now. :rofl:

svt2srt4
05-15-2017, 12:14 PM
sounds like a hard core race weekend:thumb:

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 12:29 PM
Corvette Cup car had a bad night:

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/th_051306_2051a.jpg (http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/?action=view&current=051306_2051a.flv)

SwervE
05-15-2017, 12:30 PM
turns? how do they fit them all in a 1/4 mile?

j/k. Sounds like an exciting event. Makes me miss the motocross weekends.

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 12:31 PM
Cell phone vids:

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/th_051306_1925a.jpg (http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/?action=view&current=051306_1925a.flv)

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/th_051306_2037a.jpg (http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/?action=view&current=051306_2037a.flv)

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/th_051306_2102a.jpg (http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/?action=view&current=051306_2102a.flv)

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 12:32 PM
turns? how do they fit them all in a 1/4 mile?

j/k. Sounds like an exciting event. Makes me miss the motocross weekends.


For the 2 wheel crowd!

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/th_051306_1533a.jpg (http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/?action=view&current=051306_1533a.flv)

SwervE
05-15-2017, 12:34 PM
DAMN, THEY HAD A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY.


caps lock ftl

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 12:38 PM
Yeah, they had drifting and time attack too, but I missed it. Also a car show, auto x, and rally x. They had a motorcycle wheelie sim, it was a bike on a trailer, and it kept you stable as you rode a wheelie. Pretty cool.

gspeedaddict
05-15-2017, 01:11 PM
For the 2 wheel crowd!

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/th_051306_1533a.jpg (http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a86/orionis996/Video/?action=view&current=051306_1533a.flv)
noice!!!:thumb:

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 01:39 PM
noice!!!:thumb:


I have about 10 minutes of bike footage, I am gonna upload it on streetfire or something in a minute. Its much better than the cell phone vid:thumb:

timmy
05-15-2017, 02:44 PM
I watched some of that on tv yesterday. What happened to the SRT? I never saw it on the track.

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 02:46 PM
I watched some of that on tv yesterday. What happened to the SRT? I never saw it on the track.


It made it 5 laps and had to retire. That is actually Jeff's old car, it has bad mojo.

You might have seen me standing on top of the trailer, after they came off turn one and went into the infield. I haven't seen the video, I forgot to Tivo it.

el_jefe
05-15-2017, 03:07 PM
I have about 10 minutes of bike footage, I am gonna upload it on streetfire or something in a minute. Its much better than the cell phone vid:thumb:


Well, fuck. Streetfire is ony good for upto 150mb, and this is like 500mb. It's only like 10 minutes. Stupid video editing program

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