These are the kind of moments where a hush usually falls over the shop – not in awe of the moment, but to be able to hear any creaking, popping, or cracking that might occur due to the failure on our part to get everything right! Doesn’t matter how well you prepare – everyone always holds their breath during the first few moments. Although I wasn’t there for the big moment, I can guess what happened next – the guys started bouncing the rear end up and down, gently at first, and then with gusto. It’s what I would’ve done, anyway. Then I’d immediately be looking for a celebratory beer.
I don’t know what the post-landing celebration in Michigan included, but I do remember what the first communication from the crew was. “This thing’s crooked!” Of course, my first thought was that one side was higher than the other – which is an easy adjustment – but they followed that news with a picture of the car. The passenger side rear wheel was hanging out of the fender and the driver side tucked in. They had already checked the lengths of all the links, so what was wrong? We had used the FARO laser measuring system to determine the centerline of the chassis, and mounted the brackets in the car accordingly.
It turns out that the car had been backed into the wall in turn 2 at Texas Motor Speedway. A new quarter panel was installed, but the body is pushed over to the left a bit. We’ll need to figure out what we’re going to do about that, but for now, we’ve got a show to get to. We also knew that we were going to end up pushing the rear axle centerline a little further back than the rules allow, but we’re going to fix that later, too. We’ll move the fuel cell forward a few inches and then remount the IRS unit. Until then – we’re off to the show floor!