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Wed Jul 31

We got to the track early for our first test session at 0830. Clair came in after two laps because he got black flagged for leaking oil (but he leaked no oil - it was a corner worker's mistake). Clair's comments were 'low on power, was pulled by Shannon Ivey's Camaro down the straight', and the oil pressure was pegged. We backed off the adjuster a couple turns and in the next session he said the pressure was now too low; between 15 to 20 when hot. Edward didn't run at all.

We consulted Richard Morris, or engine man since 1981, and he suggested we turn up the adjuster and go with straight 50 weight oil instead of 20-50. We found the oil but too late to pick it up, so that will have to wait until 0700 tomorrow morning.

Jake Mellits flew in Wednesday night in from our shop to add to our support team.

Thu Aug 1

Clair ran the first practice session with the new oil and it was worse. Hot oil pressure was between 10 and 15 lbs, and the oil temperature was climbing past 240 when the short session ended.

2019 Indy

I consulted with Richard again who suggested it sounded like a supply problem and that the first place to look was the line between the tank and pump.

We went to Earl's supply on Gasoline Alley and got fittings and black dash 16 line to replace the two piece old stainless steel braided line in the car that had been spliced with a fuel filter body right in the middle (left).

The change in that one line turned out to be exactly what the car needed.

Amazingly, Richard diagnosed the problem long distance and provided the solution on the phone. What a guy! We had run the car with dangerously low oil pressure in every session so far, and we were thinking this ship is sinking and this line change was at best a long shot, but thankfully, that was not the case!

Johnny Rutherford showed up while we were changing the oil line and he took the car out for the first test with the new oil supply line. That was unfortunate because he never looked at the gauges, but he did say the low pressure light only blinked a couple of times. It had been on the whole time for Clair, so we were cautiously optimistic.

Forrest Fox, a TV cameraman / producer showed up with all his gear plus one other cameraman to capture the dual stories of Clair and Willy. He was a constant fixture in our garage and his enthusiasm for the show built steadily as the race weekend progressed. He was also pursuing the father /son relationship and the unique approach both father and son have to racing. Apparently the subjects of his previously filmed episodes were not quite so win oriented!

2019 Indy
2019 Indy

Edward ran Jim's car for the first time in this session and turned a 1:37.297 for the fastest time of the day by two seconds, and of course he ran it on old tires. We had yet to put new tires on Clair's car either, so Johnny's session was run on very poor rubber.

Fri Aug 2

Our first session was at 0830, and it was going to be main qualifying session, since the next session would be run in much hotter conditions. Edward went out in Jim's car on old tires again! Everyone on the grid was on stickers but Edward.

Edward made an out lap and then pulled off with no power. He got flat towed in and we found out that he had hit the turn one apex mount so hard that the alternator power pole hit the frame and shorted out. On top of that, the starter died. The alternator short caused a small electrical fire that took hours to sort out. Klutt ran a 1:36.5, so Edward would be on the outside of the front row.

In that first qualifying session, Clair qualified on new tires and ran a 1:42.8 which was only 6th fastest among BP cars. After this session, we decided to change the oil again, this time from the 50 weight back to Torco 20w50 synthetic.

Jim's car wasn't ready for the mid-day Pro session, so Willy would have to run the car for the first time in Qualifying 2 later in the afternoon. JR ran the 37 car and turned a fastest lap of 1:48, which was plenty good for an 81 year old that hadn't been in a race car for a quarter century.

In the afternoon session, Willy ran a 1:39.4, the fastest time of the weekend for a pro. Alan ran the next session with a 1:43. Later JR came over after the session with a time sheet and pointed out that Alan was 5 seconds faster than him and suggested that Alan wear his driving suit and helmet in the race! Edward looked over the data and gave Alan some pointers in two areas that would help a lot.

Sat Aug 3

2019 Indy

The usual crowd attended the Pro-Am pre race ceremonies.  Edward was more serious than usual, if that is possible.  He was to start on the outside of the front row, with Klutt on pole. 

Clair and Johnny were announced together, and Johnny was virtually mobbed by well wishers.

2019 Indy

At the start, Edward got a great jump on Klutt and led into turn one. On that first lap, Klutt got by Edward under braking after the Hullman straight. Edward stalked him for a couple of laps before making a passing attempt under braking on the banking and Klutt put Edward's left front fender into the wall.

The next lap Edward got by under braking for Turn 1. Klutt pitted on the following lap, and Edward came in a lap later. Willy got on track with an 18 second lead and started running 42's. Brabham in Klutt's car was running 40's. He caught and eventually passed Willy with about 15 minutes to go. After leading for only a couple of laps, Brabham had to retire Klutt's car with an engine problem, handing the lead back to Willy who was 18 seconds clear of second place Bobby Labonte in Gary Klutt's car.

Willy continued his 1:42 pace until a brief full course yellow bunched the field. When the track went green again, Willy's lead was down to 3 seconds with about 8 minutes to go. Before the yellow, Labonte had been running 1:41's. Jake had the headset for Willy's radio, and Alan told Jake to tell Willy that Labonte was now only three seconds behind him and to pick up the pace! Inexplicably, Willy had been running consistently three seconds slower than he ran in his first practice session, but he responded to the radio call by running 1:40's and lengthened his lead by about a second a lap. Why he wasn't running 1:40's or even 1:39's when he was racing for the win with Brabham is the mystery. Of course, it didn't matter in the end. Willy finally got the win and a win is a win.

2019 Indy

With about 4 minutes to go, Lyn St James spun Jim Heck's car hard into the wall on the front straightaway with the car coming to rest perpendicular to the racing line in the middle of the track. It was a nasty looking crash with parts and fluids all over the track, and it brought out the checker a few minutes before the scheduled end of the race. Lyn spent the night in the hospital but was released in the morning sore, but with no broken bones.

2019 Indy

The podium celebration included Willy doing the Ali shuffle on top of Jim's car! Alan screamed at him to get off the car, but Willy was unfazed and over the moon euphoric. We had finally done it!

Clair ran a drama free race, running longer than the leaders before handing it over to Johnny Rutherford. Clair ran 1:44's, and Johnny's fastest lap was a 1:49, but he was all over the map with several laps in the 1:50's and a couple over two minutes. Even with that pace, Clair and Johnny finished 8th overall, and 4th in BP. They only missed the podium by one position!

Their pit stop cost them 22 seconds more than the stop and driver change done by Edward and Willy. Had they done a better job of getting Johnny under way, they could have had a shot at the podium.

2019 Indy

Willy was a perfect gentleman with friends and fans alike, as were all of his rather large entourage.  They were all wonderful, including his new wife. 

After the race the crew immediately got on Clair's car to prep it for the first Group 6 feature race at 1600.  Clair's fast lap was a 1:43, and he finished behind two Mustangs to take third in BP.

Sun Aug 4

It was to be a really big day! The one-hour enduro is starting at 0800, and Alan was the designated starter. The oil cooler fix looked temporary and cobbled together, but it also looked likely to be effective. Everything looked like we should win this one!

We were gridded second, with an unknown BMW in pole position, and a sports racer that looked like a Sports 2000 third. You would have to assume this BMW had to be faster than us, as he was gridded ahead of us. We felt we would blow off the BMW and the sports racer at the start, and thaought our real competition was going to be John Cloud and Curt Vogt in the #23 blue Mustang that was gridded a couple rows back.

We blew everyone away at the start and Alan said he could barely see anyone in his mirror after the first lap when he went under the bridge on the Hulman straight. After that he never saw anyone in his mirror except people he had lapped, and then only briefly. After about 10 laps in we radioed him to slow down but he said he couldn't understand the transmission, so the next lap we showed him a sign that he was 30 seconds ahead of second place. He didn't slow down at that, either. When he did come in he was 50 seconds ahead of second place. He had been running 1:41's and 1:42's and said it was fun and he didn't want to slow down!

2019 Indy

Clair joined the race with a about a 37 second lead over Curt Vogt. Our only concern was a yellow, which would have bunched the field and given Curt a chance. Fortunately there was no yellow, and Clair brought it home with a solid run of 1:43's, 1:44's and 1:45's to win by 30 seconds. It was a very satisfying win!

The oil temp never got above 240, and we ran 32 laps; seven more than the winners ran in the Pro-Am race. We had tweaked on the oil pressure problem after almost every session all week. At a minimum we adjusted the pump, but we also changed the viscosity of the oil twice, from 20w50 to straight 50 weight, then back to 20w50. We also changed the dash 16 oil inlet line and then finally, for this race, we added an oil cooler and that finally dialed it in! After some relaxing minutes away from the garage, the guys got back on it again getting the 37 car ready for the feature race at 1330, for which we saved our last set of sticker tires.

Next up was Group 6 Feature race 2, and if Clair could win, it would be a clean sweep for our Indy weekend. Unfortunately Clair came in second. The guys that had beaten him in the first feature race were all underweight, so they were gridded at the back of the pack. Clair had a big lead at the start but eventually that pesky Jag caught up with him and took the lead.

For the weekend Clair hit for the cycle. He had one 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd and one 4th! He, Alan and Johnny Rutherford ran that car 130 laps and never spun, never hit anything and never made a mistake.


Duntov Motor Company is the exclusive licensee for the continued production of the authentic original Corvette Grand Sport.  Duntov Motor Company is the exclusive licensee for the manufacturing and distribution of the updated street version of this famous car. We service what we sell. We also restore and service 1963-1982 Corvette race, street and performance cars using original and replacement parts including front and rear suspension, brake calipers, brake rotors, brake pads, both J-56 and stock brake caliper pistons, and Corvette stainless steel parking brake parts. We offer the finest original U.S. built Corvette spindles and GM stub axles, along with remanufactured Corvette differentials for both street and race cars. We build both new and rebuilt Corvette trailing arm assemblies for 1965-1982 Corvettes, and offer Corvette street and racing springs and both steel and composite leaf springs in a wide selection of spring rates. Check out our Corvette parts section for shocks, sway bars, upper and lower A-arms, Corvette ball joints, tie rod ends, pitman arms, idler arms, shocks and U-joints.

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