We raced in the combined Super Late model race at Charlotte County Speedway in Punta Gorda Florida on 3/29/3009. The car was real fast, but a sight wobble coming out of turn four on our qualifying lap put Jonny 4th in qualifying. The track officials decided to invert the top ten cars, so we started in the 7th position. The car was working real well during the race and we moved all the way to second place behind Joe Winchell. Jonny Kay was right on Winchell’s bumper trying to pick his spot to get around him, when the caution flag came out with 9 laps to go. When the flag man gave the "one lap to go" green signal, I told Jonny (over the 2 way radios) to clean up the tires and get ready for the restart. Jonny snapped the throttle and jabbed the brake pedal several times (as we usually do) to clean off the tires and get a little heat back into them. Just then, Jonny came over the radio and said a control arm broke on the rear end and we were done for the night. Sure enough, when we got the car into the pits, the upper control arm of our three-link suspension had a broken rear Heim joint (a ball and socket joint used on aircraft and race applications for its strength and low resistance when pivoting). We were lucky it broke on the warm up lap and not during the race, or Jonny could have lost control of the car and wrecked. We are going to put the Heim joints on our normal maintenance / replacement schedule for the car. This $40 part probably cost us well over $3000. Hopefully we got our bad luck for the year out of the way.
Jonny kay A-best Forklift car in tech inspection before the race on 3/29/2009
Jonny Kay wearing one of our new Autobahn Performance Inc. shirts
Here you can see the broken Heim joint. Notice that the ball is still on the shaft for the upper control arm mount on the rear end. The Heim joint opened up and stretched due to the torque that was applied to it when it failed.
Dave Sears, Tami and Dan adjusting the tire stagger prior to qualifying