The Night Shift

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The glamour of racing continues long after the crowds have retired to the casinos. Last night the main action was in the Sport paddock where the hot rod engines were getting the attention they demand.

One constant in racing, any kind of racing, is you are going to be working on your go-fast machine at night. And if you are at the racing venue, you’ll be working on your hot rod outside in the dark. Reno air racing is no different.

The real epic so far this race week was the engineer rave in Karl Grove’s pit on Wednesday night. All six of his water-cooled cylinders were replaced and it turned into a late-night scene with all hardcore Sport racers pitching in to get the beast running by the wee hours of the morning.

By contrast the scene above is of the more typical bother. Keven Eldredge’s crew is seen attending to Relentless’ troubled wiring, while farther down the row an ignition system was being replaced—both mags and the harness. With no shore power electricity available in the Sport class tents illumination was provided by an array of flashlights, camping gear and rental car headlights.

The other group often found tuning or changing duff cylinders are the Formula 1 crowd. A quick stroll through the Biplane / F1 hangar last night showed no such activity, with only small groups relaxing around their planes. Life is good when you can enjoy the moment and get to bed before dawn.

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Pumping avgas and waxing flight school airplanes got Tom into general aviation in 1973, but the lure of racing cars and motorcycles sent him down a motor journalism career heavy on engines and racing. Today he still writes for peanuts and flies for fun.

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