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Just back in the hotel in Rolla.

We had some fluid leaking from the power steering line fittings that Bronson and I brazed on. Chris tightened them up and off we went.

Shortly after leaving service, I knew that something was wrong with the power steering. Shortly thereafter, it was gone.

We had three stages and I knew that it'd take all my manly buffness to wrestle T-4 through the stages without power steering. It was pretty rough, and now I know what the WRC guys go through.

Worst part was when the wheel jerked on one corner and my elbow slammed into the rollcage. Ouch. I'll be wearing my wrist splints to bed tonight.

So, we knew the power steering pump would eventually fail and likely seize if the fluid was leaking out. Sure enough, after the next stage, it was chirping like a chipmunk under the hood.

About halfway into the stage, we started smelling smoke and seeing sparks/embers coming out from the hood vents and into Dave's footwell. He was pretty sure we were on fire, but I told him it was just sparks(optimistically). We had also found a crack in the headers and I was worried that if the power steering fluid was pooling on the skidplate, the blowtorch temperature heat coming out of the cracked header would ignite it.

Anyway, we pushed the pedal down and kept on. Eventually, the smoke stopped and the sparks subsided, but not before we launched over a cattle-grate jump smoking and sparking! :-)

With the alternator belt gone, we knew we were running on just battery power. We shut down all unneeded electrical items and I ran with just one set of HID's on, figuring that once lit, they draw less than normal halogens. Of course, driving with the HID lights on the road made many people happy! ;-) We got about halfway to Salem and the HID's started to flicker. Not good. Dave said to find a spot to pull over and I pulled off near a driveway.

We flagged down a fellow competitor, George Georgocopalus(? SP) and he towed us the rest of the way to Salem. Eventually all trace of electrical activity faded from T-4 and we were just a shadow trailing George's car on a tow rope. He was going about 55, so it was a bit hairy and took some concentration.

We made it back to the final Main Time Control without penalty and the boys are still in Rolla fixing the issue. Pat Moro gave us his spare pump. Chris blobbed some weld on the headers and we went to Auto Zone and bought a new belt and power steering fluid.

Just got a call that there is a leak below one of the fittings that we brazed on. They told me they thought they might try brazing it again, but it's nearly impossible in the car. I told them to head to Autozone and find some good that they can plug the damn hole with.

Who knows how long the repair will hold(if at all) and how far we'll make it tomorrow. Snow is forecast, and that should make things interesting! :-)

Up at 06:00 tomorrow and won't be done until tomorrow night.

Dave Mirra is doing great and is in third place.

Thanks for all the support-we'll push as hard as we can tomorrow. We were in 4th in the Regional event, but lost about 3 minutes with the lack of power steering. Not sure where we sit currently. With all that's happened, we're just happy to still have the chance to continue. :-)

Thanks for all the support! Cheers! John

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