car racing, Daily Prompt, driving, humor, serial fiction, Stories, thoughts, writing

Chequered Flag: At The Workshop

When Danny and Rick got to the workshop, only three minutes late, the team was still riding high on the previous days win. There was a buzz that lit the place up, everyone was smiling and everyone was wandering around with a sense of purpose. The few members of the team that didn’t make it to the race were of course full of congratulations for the win and apologies for not being able to make it.

The race car was sitting in the work shop, parked between the gantry for the hoist, it hadn’t been lifted off the ground but the fact it had been removed from the transporter and parked there told Danny and Rick that some of the team either had a late night or a very early morning.

The post race debrief was a time for all the crew to discuss the race and how everything faired. While the debriefs after a winning race were usually a cheerful discussion about the race and what happened the same couldn’t always be said for losing race debriefs. Although the team had a strict policy of not letting people play the blame game, they were a team and therefore won or lost as a team, sometimes the debrief after a race loss ended in raised voices and heated exchanges.

During the debrief each section of the team got to talk about how their section faired, tyres, suspension, engine transmission etc. They used computer data to back up their information and compared both track data and historical data to keep track of how things were going. If there was points where the car was under preforming they could see it, if there was points where the car did better than their historical data suggested they looked at why and recorded it for future reference.

Although Danny was the driver and he felt every bump and thump, and heard every squeal and rattle, often at high speed his input was invaluable but not always agreed with. Computer data often told a different story to what Danny felt behind the wheel and it was hard to argue with computer data when it so accurately analysed every component on the car hundreds of times every minute.

When Danny and Rick brought the .034 of a second time drop to the attention of the crew there was was a mixture of stunned and happy faces around the table. Then when Rick brought up the race data that he and Danny had gone over at the ‘Barrow the previous night up on the large screen at the front of the room the entire team just stared.

“How the hell did you find that little nugget?” Dave asked from the head of the table.

Rick shrugged and said he was just looking over the data and something struck him as odd so he dug into the data a little deeper.

“Then Danny and I spent a few hours at the ‘Barrow last night going through everything until we were convinced exactly where the problem came from.”

“And where did it come from?” Dave said.

Dave was never one to beat around the bush, instead of asking if they found the problem in the time they spent analysing the data he actually assumed they’d found it. Often when people brought such information to the table at debriefs Dave not only assumed the bringer of the news had found the problem, he assumed they’d also found the solution.

“It’s in the left hand suspension.” Rick reloaded a few screens and used the red laser pointer to pin point the data. “Check out the readings. This is from yesterday,” he pointed to one set of figures. “This is from practice,” he pointed at the next set. “And for reference this was from our track day last month.” he pointed at the last set of figures. “

Looking at all three sets of figures together it was easy to see the problem, but if it wasn’t for Rick’s thoughts during the race such comparisons probably wouldn’t have been made.

“This is why I was complaining about the bent steering arm and no one could find anything.” Danny spoke up. “I blamed the accident with Fittzy for bending the steering arm but him pushing me into the wall actually helped alert us to a potential issue.”

“Should we congratulate him?” Dave said with a smile.

“We already did, yesterday when I stood above him on the podium!” Danny replied with a smile. There was a some applause and cheering which lasted about thirty seconds.

“So what’s the solution?” Dave asked interrupting the cheering.

“Replace the front left suspension and steering components.” Rick said.

For the next thirty minutes ideas bounced around the table all related to the suspension issue Rick had found and when the debriefing was adjourned all the crew had something to do. The team had a week and a half to get the car prepared for the second race of the series and no test days in between which meant that any testing of parts or the car itself would need to be done with computer simulations and in workshop tests.

The second race of the series was held on a dedicated race circuit, not a street race like Markstown was which meant the track was less punishing on the vehicle and most of it components but they still wanted to get rid of as many bugs as they could before hitting the track and Rick’s suspension bug was one of those.

As Danny and Rick walked across the workshop floor toward where the car was parked Danny’s phone rang, it was Tracey.

“Tracey I can’t talk at the moment, we are busy.” he paused and let Tracey tell him they needed to talk.

Because he thought it might add a little weight to his discussion and might convince Tracey to leave him alone Danny told her they were chasing down the bug that Rick had discovered and they needed to get back to work, but Tracey insisted they needed to talk.

“Maybe we should have talked three months ago instead of you just walking out. Maybe we should have started talking six months ago when you decided to just go quiet and not tell me what you were feeling. Maybe there is a lot of things but right now the only thing I need to worry about is work. I’ll talk to you when things settle down.”

Danny hung up the phone, he was slightly embarrassed that one side of the conversation could be heard by some of his friends and fellow workers, not because of the situation, they all knew what was going on, but because personal stuff didn’t need to be brought to work. He put his phone on silent and vibrate, his theory that he wouldn’t bother even looking at the screen too see who was calling unless the ringing was persistent.

Rick and Danny set about connecting the computer to the car and readying themselves for the next lot of test to prove definitively what was going on in the car. It took nearly forty five minutes to set the car up and just as they finished and were about to run the test they heard the sound of approaching high heeled shoes on the concrete floor of the workshop. None of the girls that worked in the workshop wore high heels, even the girls from the office knew the workshop was no place for heels and wore flat soled shoes so the noise was coming from a visitor.

Both Danny and Rick looked up at the same time and saw Tracey less than six steps away. Rick swore under his breath while Danny said nothing but breathed deeply.

Previous Racing Story here.

3 Comments

  1. He needs to get rid of her permanently. The problem is I think he still loves her.

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