On September 25th, the Bingham’s Best Case Baja team traveled to Podium One Racetrack a few miles outside of Louisville, Kentucky to compete in a four-hour endurance race known as Midnight Mayhem. As a regional competition sponsored by the University of Louisville, the race organizers announced the governor for the Brigg’s and Stratton Engines (standard models on all cars) would be set to 4200 rpm, 400 rpm higher than SAE’s designated value. A faster car demanded that drivers know the cars handling characteristics on turns and jumps better than before. A trip to the test track in Medina earlier in the semester allowed the team’s drivers to learn the car’s capabilities. Time had to be spent in the shop prior to the race, repairing the damages from the last four-hour endurance challenge in Rochester. The team remade several busted suspension linkages and fabricated a failed rear brake rotor mount from high carbon steel instead of low carbon. After a few quick fixes the team and their crew of a dozen Baja rookies had high hopes for the race. Car 48 had shed 100 pounds of floatation gear since the Rochester Wet World Challenge and the CVT tuning had been tweaked to perfection.
The race started in a land rush fashion with 34 cars all racing to make the first corner first. Senior driver Rob Daniels maneuvered the car carefully yet aggressively and Case sat in 5th after the first few laps. It wasn’t long before the jumps and turns sent Baja cars flying off the track back to their team trailers for repair. Car 48 kept going. Three pit stops and 58 laps later the car thundered across the finish line taking 2nd place in the competition. The University of Louisville earned first place and Baja powerhouse, Tennessee Tech finished 3rd.
The race at Louisville proved that Case’s simple, durable design could win. Furthermore, Case proved its stature among Baja teams by beating 8 of the top 20 finishers in Rochester. This fall the team hopes to begin fabrication on its 2011 car which will compete in a national competition Pittsburg, Kansas.
By Rodney Nelson, Posted October 7, 2010