Miata 96


Crazyness! The teams had to drive a Miata through timing lights, stopping in Pit Lane. The driver stopped the car, turned off the ignition, put on the parking brakes and raised the headlights. On a signal from the marshal, the rest of the crew came over the pit wall.

The car was jacked up, and the two wheels on the right side were replaced. The headlights had to be cleaned, and the driver was given a drink - a bottle of water that had to be finished between the two heats.

The tools and tires had to go back in place, and the team went back over the wall. When they all raised their hands, the driver was given the all-clear to start the car and drive through the lights to stop the time.

Going into the finals, the fastest time was a 1:04 and change. Miata.net1 was trailing a distant third, thanks to a time of 1:14. It didn't look good, despite their enthusiam and organization. They were the first team to start loosening lug nuts before the car was clear of the ground - a technique soon copied by all.

Miata.net1 was the first team to compete in the finals. The first stop was a 1:05 - their best yet, but not nearly good enough in this level of competition. The tri-national team gathered together and focused on the upcoming, final stop. Well, they we're doing a lot of cheering, but they looked nervous.

Tires squealing, Teri Cardell came into the area and stopped. As soon as the marshal saw the engine go off, everyone else swarmed the wall. Gary Fischman was operating the wrench for the rear wheel, Ray Glass was working the rear jack, Petra van den Berge was on the front jack and headlights, and Keith Tanner was handling the wrench on the front wheel. For once, no lug nuts got stuck, the car cleared the ground just as the nuts came off, and the car was in and out of the pits in an amazingly short time.

The team had set 1:00 as the goal, and the timer had to double check the clock - 0:53 ! A penalty was assessed due to a miniscule speck on the headlight, but the time was still 6 seconds better than anyone else was able to do all day! For their efforts, each member of the team picked up a 105-piece tool set.

Thanks to Dave Denuzzo and Lee Maddy for taking the photos.

Keith Tanner

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