Qualifying, Final Day: Devil’s Playground

The team arrived at Devil’s Playground at 4:30 a.m. From this location, RJ will race Big Red in the upper section to the finish line at the summit, some 14,400-feet high. The day started with a clear sky and at a cool, damp 32°. It was the coldest day of the week, but everyone was in good spirits, and they all had their routines down. This was a big day for everyone on the team, as it was the last qualifying session before running the race. RJ’s qualifying time is not super critical at this point. A good time will improve placement in the starting order. The critical part is that everything needed to go smoothly with Big Red. If anything went wrong, it had to be fixed by race day morning at 2:00 a.m. RJ stands proudly next to Big Red. Check out that hot work light 

t 6:00 a.m., the clouds were coming up from the valley floor. RJ and Big Red pulled up to the line to make his first qualifying run. RJ made one good run with Big Red, but the clouds encased the starting area and put a damper on qualifying. At least he fulfilled the requirement and earned good placement on the starting grid. The bonus was there were no big repairs or big chassis adjustments required before running the actual race on Sunday. More runs would have been better, but the crew was happy to put a race-ready Big Red in the trailer and go back to the hotel to prepare for the PPIHC Fan Fest later in the afternoon.under the rear of the car. This wasn’t only so the crew could see what they were doing; it also helped warm the oil in the dry sump tank. Engine and drivetrain operating temperatures are important so parts don’t break.