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I had several signs that I should have stayed home from Road America this weekend. At 6 a.m. on the way to the track I started smelling smoke, then a lady pulled along side waving frantically and pointing under my Cadillac. The foil backed, sound deadening insulation I had installed above my Flowmasters for Car Craft RSE had gotten hot enough to ignite inside the foil, flames were going just ahead of the gas tank. After putting it out with the fire extinguisher and removing the smoldering mess, my 3-4 year old battery took a dump. Called a tow truck for a jump start, had an encounter with a police officer, total time sitting on the side of the road 2 ½ hours. Made my way to the nearest Walmart installed a new battery. Got to Road America 3 hours
late. On my first "A" group session I overcooked the brakes on the second lap and modified my driving technique by throwing the Cad into the corners to scrub off speed. After about 8 laps I was black flagged due to the metal trim on the front edge of the vinyl roof coming off and waving in the breeze. I guess it wasn't designed for the140+ mph speeds I was hitting. During the session I passed a S2000, M3, WRX, SVT Cobra. After bleeding all
the brakes I hit the track for the second session the car started making noise on the warm-up lap. I thought I may have flat spotted a tire in the first session. At the end of the front straight, entering turn 1, all hell broke loose, severe vibration followed by a loud bang and then the rear of the car pole vaulted into the air. I managed to keep it upright and on track and coasted to a stop on an access road by turn 3. The heavy duty, custom
drive shaft I had installed prior to RSE, twisted in the middle and broke near the rear. I did have a drive shaft loop near the front, but it came apart behind it. The floor pan is moved nearly a foot from it's original shape in places. The exhaust is junk, the trans main shaft is junk, the floor pan needs some massive massaging, and the rear end needs inspection, can you say "Winter Project". After a day like this maybe I should rename
the car "Christine" instead of "Cadillac Attack"? I had the rest of the rest of the weekend to do lap times on the other cars,
my Cadillac had lap times in the top 15% of the 118 street cars
participating. (23-26 seconds per lap faster than some other well known Pro-Touring/G Machines in attendance)
Andrew Borodin (April PHR Cover Car) gave me the honor of thrashing his 70 GTO in a couple sessions of the B group, in the second session that I drove his car we were literally passing every car on the track including a couple ZO6's, Stealth TT on race tires, Firehawk, Mustangs, M3's, etc. I loved his GTO's manual 14" 6 piston Wilwood brakes, it is one fast, very balanced car!
Despite my problems I had a great time, met some great new friends. Andrew saved the day by loaning me his trailer rig. I'm putting this event on my annual "must do" list.
And I'd recommend everyone to attend this event, Road America is a world class 4.2 mile track unlike any other.
My son Dale is getting used to this kinda stuff, he said, "Dad, stuff like this happening just adds to the adventure".
That other mag, Popular Hot Rodding was covering the RA event, with Rich Chenet shooting photos, look for it in a future issue.
I guess I'll be driving the Ultima GTR (aka: Yellow Peril) on Power Tour this year after all.
Jeff schwartz www.worksstand.com/jeffs.htm
 

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Sorry to hear about the problems.....But here at the shop, We all had a good time reading the story! It reminds me of some of the weird stuff that happened when I was racing a lot in the '70s and '80s......

It sucks, but it's a great story!
 

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Jeff I saw your cadillac a few times before. It was in car craft more than once correct? The first time or two was just little pics I think but then I saw the big layout for the compatition. I wanted to do something similar with my DeVille but it is a sedan so I'm not sure yet. Love the car, Im glad to see you went with cadillac power after the olds crapped out.
 

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Hello Jeff,

Glad to see a Caddy in the mix with some of the cars you mention. Sorry to hear bout your problems. I hope you can get her fixed and back on the track. Where is the track you mention? I'm sure its not even close to me, but I would love to drive it sometime.
 

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1994 STS - pearl white
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Sorry to hear about the bad luck, but I think you have to look at things this way:

You were able to put out the fire before the car incinerated.

The battery tanked. Always inconvenient, but not that surprising since it was 3-4 years old. And we all know that they quit at the LEAST opportune time.

You had mechanical problems. If that stuff didn't break on the track, they may have let go on the way home, out in the middle of nowhere, where you would not have had help close at hand.

You were able to keep the car upright & coast to a safe exit from the track. The car didn't end up wrecked in the weeds and you didn't end up in a hospital.

The floor pan can be beat into submission (don't know about you, but I would ENJOY that) & it doesn't trash the appearance of the car.

Despite everything, YOU HAD FUN!!!

Bad luck, great story. Nobody got hurt. Everyone had fun. The car's fixable. That's racing!
 
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