So, we found that axle in Michigan. We verified that it got out in the overnight UPS, so up at 5AM this morning to drive 5 hours to Black Horse Garage to meet it. We got the old axle out easy enough.
Our only remaining hope was to try and weld the broken one. Vinnie at Blackhorse gave his best (the old axles are cast manganese steel – not a fun weld). He got it stuck together, and it ran true in rotation! Nice touch. Probably not enough to trust to Florida, but at least we can take the Start!
We bolted it all back up, refilled the differential, and offered rides around the block. Well, 3/4 of the way, anyway. Same thing – bang on clutch-out and then nothing. Sigh. We rolled it back to the garage and onto the trailer. Our race is run.
But wait! We called Race Director Jeff Stumb and he said – use the Imperial! As it happens, Black Horse Garage is closer to Melrose, NY than it is to Ogunquit, ME. But we left all our stuff in the hotel in Maine and we have the room keys with us here. We called the hotel and then Team #63 (my son, Ethan & his Navvy Nick Jones). They will collect our stuff in Maine and bring it to the first evening stop in Lowell, MA! The hotel said we can mail their keys back. What a Plan! We hauled up home is less than 4 hours, rearranged the disastrous mess in the garage there (from our pre-race prep rush), moved some of the the other cars out of the way, fired up the Imperial, unloaded the Speedster and called it a night. OK, we had some consolation food, first.
In the morning, it’s minimal Imperial prep: fluids check, Timewise speedo mount, change from parade tires to race tires, clean that one tricky brake…., get a valid state inspection, load it up with the tools and stuff, tery to transfer at least the #61 Sticker; and go, stopping to return the U-Haul (we’ll get hit a pretty penny for the extra 400 miles we put on it today!). Then we hightail it for Lowell to meet the others at the first day’s end! Though the kindness of others, we’re back in the Race (OK, with the whole first day’s run missed, we’ll not be in contention for a win, but then, we probably weren’t anyway – but SO WHAT – we’re running…. THAT is the Great Race Spirit!
Florida here we come (The Imperial will look good there, anyway). jc