STPR In Review - Thoughts from the Crew Chief
All in all this was another successful stepping stone in the build process. We're down to the tweaks and little changes to keep fast over longer distances. The hydraulic e-brake needs an adjustment to better lock with less effort. The sloppy shifter bushing was disappointing on night 1 and the time lost from hanging in between gears was heartbreaking considering how well the car initially started the Super Special Stage for her. There were no issues from the jump, despite Amanda's initial concerns on the first pass. We are finally nearly done with wiring gremlins and have gotten the Spiider DCCD working well so that Amanda was able to start combating traction issues in the loose gravel more successfully. The car is progressing just ahead of her comfort and confidence; which is far better than holding her back on her re-acclimation to life on stage.
On Sunday, June 24th, the Wicked Big Meet will be a great chance to come chat with Amanda about her love of rally and how this build has been a journey rather than just an assembly and transaction process. Several members of the NSR and TurboTime crew will be there to chat about the little things that make "Stitch" such a special and tailored build; one that doesn't just integrate cool little innovations, but also Amanda's personality. The next challenge after his (Stitch's) beauty shots will be NEFR in July. We will be making a few more improvements prior to this next test, along with the usual small repairs (an oil pan comes to mind).
Once again the Noble Star family was a true joy to work with, especially the Rally moms! (It was more of a working vacation!). And as always, the crew of Bryan McGrath and Mike Butler were in sync and helpful when we were fixing small issues, and ran like a Swiss
watch during services. Having Ian Kessler back for STPR and FNG Ryan Holzbaur was fantastic as they meshed into the crew with the same well oiled accuracy and cool headed work. I cannot say enough great things about the folks that crew with us for this team. Amanda has inspired some wonderful people to come work in adverse conditions and do it with smiles, enthusiasm, and precision.
It was great seeing Jessica Beliveau fall into her rhythm as co-driver over the event and seeing how Amanda responded more and more positively over the weekend to her encouragement. It was certainly a stressful event, and better car to service communication will be at the forefront this season as the multiple offs; especially both of those close to us (Louie Jonas and Villa Cseh). However, most certainly the few red crosses and injuries, that remind you how tense it is waiting for an "it wasn't us, we're ok" call when your driver and co-driver have cell service again.
A huge thanks to all of the volunteers that make this event possible, but also so great, ESPECIALLY under such stressful conditions. Thanks to the spectators that keep the sport growing; having so many people passing through service with questions and support creates a really a great atmosphere, and the support you get from other teams when things get tense and dark was heartwarming. It was amazing being in a packed fairground stadium, a large crowd for the many small dirt circle track events all across this country, watching grassroots rally teams battle like the big boys and getting the same love, and of course getting to see the big teams run the same course was amazing. Fantastic event, great team, happy car, happier driver=success.
-Ryan Davis, #853 Crew Chief