So it’s now day 3 of the 2010 One Lap of America. We awoke in the cheese capital of the world, Plymouth, WI, with one goal in mind… find a fuel pump for a Chrysler 440. You may remember that when we arrived last evening our pump was pissing fuel all over the place. Had it not been for the torrential rains we drove through, it’s a distinct possibility that we may have gone up in a ball of fire. Fortunately, though, we made it to drive another day. As luck would have it our hotel was right across the street from a Car Quest auto parts store. This was great until they told us that, not only did they not have a fuel pump in stock, but that all the surrounding auto parts stores were dry as well. Now maybe it’s me, but I would’ve thought that since Chrysler put the 440 in EVERYTHING, from cars to motor homes, a fuel pump would’ve been an easy thing to sort out. I was however, very wrong.
My buddy Johnny “The Wrench” Sigismondi was on hand and assured me that we’d find a way to solve the problem – he was right, but it took us both the long way around to get the job done. Part 1 was deciding on pulling our mechanical pump and replacing it with an off the shelf electrical pump that was kind of a universal fit type deal. Johnny is a mechanical whiz and is the type of guy who, if given enough time can make a tactical nuke out of a paper clip and a Tylenol. Seriously, he’s that good. The big problem for us though was time, as we needed to change the pump and then get to Road America in time for our session. If you miss your session during an event you get a DNF for the day and it totally kills your standings in the points. Johnny, however, worked his magic and was able to get the new pump installed in enough time to get us to the track.
We quickly gassed up the Charger and jetted over to the track. I unpacked my suit, got changed and headed for the starting grid. Just as I got there though we got some bad news. A gentleman who was driving a new Cadillac CTS-V had overshot Canada Corner at Road America and not only went off track, but flipped the car upon exiting the course. Thankfully he was all right, but his off track excursion did slow the day down. Once everything was cleaned up though it was finally time to hit one of the best road courses in the United States. As the green flag dropped I hit gas and was unfortunately met quite a bit of stuttering as the car chugged forward. That off the shelf electric fuel pump simply did not move enough fuel to feed the big Holley 800 double-pumper that sat atop my motor. I completed two lap and sheepishly pulled into the pits feeling defeated.
This is where the story gets interesting, for as we sat contemplating our next move a gentleman by the name Peter Brace came up to us with a suggestion. Peter said that about 1 hour away in his storage facility sat his 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II, and under the bonnet sat a Chrysler 440 that came out of a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T. He then mentioned that it was his first car but he hadn’t run it in about 5 years, but if we wanted the fuel pump off it was ours as long as we promised to send it back when the race was over. HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL BATMAN!!
Still running the electric pump, Johnny and I limped the Charger about 65 miles to the storage facility and the Belvedere, swapped in the new/old mechanical pump and hit the road for another 600 mile run through Wisconsin, Illinois and then hopefully, in about 148 miles – Iowa. Hmm… I guess I forgot to mention that we are still on the road. Tomorrow’s event takes us to Mid America Motorplex were I’ll hopefully be able to compete in some more road course action. Check back in tomorrow for another update on our run in the 2010 One Lap of America.