View Full Version : My 2012 RTTS Experience

04-09-2012, 08:38 PM
This thread is to show you all what went down this weekend between me, my g/f Kim, my Monte Carlo, and her 04 Mustang Cobra. If you are my friend on facebook then you have already seen most of this...but not the drama on Sunday. My name is Douglas Lutes on facebook if you want to friend request me.

Get out some tissues b/c it gets aweful sad at the end...

04-09-2012, 08:39 PM
pre race sponsor decal install at my home shop...


04-09-2012, 08:41 PM
Thursday morning before the event. Getting the second trailer ready after the U-Haul I rented left us feeling un easy. We got this brand new 20' "BigTex" trailer as a loaner for the weekend.


04-09-2012, 08:44 PM
About 20 miles into the trip this decides to happen...and in traffic non the less!!


So I take it off the trailer and decide to drive the monte to the event...here's proof.


04-09-2012, 08:51 PM
Friday morning comes around and Kim and I go to register our cars...and get the event sponsor decals.


Kim and I head out to get both cars ready for a Bangshift.com photo shoot.


I go to start my car and there is a wicked noise coming from the engine. OH NO!!!! I gather some tools and some friends and we dive into the car to see what's wrong. People are thinking it might be a loose bolt holding the flexplate to the converter or a cracked flexplate.


The Farrington's and I unbolted the torque converter from the flexplate and started up the motor. It sounded perfect and had 65psi of oil pressure so that means the engine is ok. We put back on the TC and the noise came back...we are all thinking that the converter is coming apart from the inside. This ends my weekend...for now.

Sneak peak of Kim's 04 Cobra photoshoot.


After all this excitement we all went to the track for some parade laps and a really good dinner.


Kim's Cobra getting teched after dinner...


04-09-2012, 08:57 PM
After we all got back to the host hotel the bangshift guys went out to get some beverages. In their travels they happend to pass by a trans shop that as still open at 9:30pm...and there was a sweet 69 nova on the lift. BINGO!!! Kim and I headed over there. After explaining our dire situation the owner said he actually had a stock monte carlo ss torque converter in stock and that he could put it in the next morning. I agreed and had his buddy tow the car over to the shop...


04-09-2012, 09:03 PM
the next morning the guy who owns the shop called me at 7am. Kim and I are already getting ready for the race that day. He starts talking in a foreign language I can't understand but I can make out" come to the shop". I have Kim drop me off there and send her on the way to the track without me. I felt really bad for sending her alone but she handled it very well. I'm very proud of her at her first event! Anyways...I get there and the trans is out of the car on a trans jack. He shows me what happend. Apparentlly.....the TC broke the front pump gears. He took the front seal off to show me the cranage. There were the two "key ways" on the front pump...and they were all chewed up. The shaft of the TC was destroyed. This sealed the deal on the fate of my car for the event.


We put the trans back in and called in another tow to get it back to the host hotel.


and there she sat for the rest of the day...while all her friends were out playing.


04-09-2012, 09:07 PM
So after the car was safe and sound back at the hotel, I called a taxi to take my a$$ to the track!!!


I get there and Kim's run group had already done one session on the big track. I helped her prep for the autoX.


04-09-2012, 09:09 PM
After the autoX it was time for her second big track session. I ran over to the timing tower and hung out with Brian Finch and had a cool vantage point of the front straight.


04-09-2012, 09:09 PM
tell us more

04-09-2012, 09:14 PM
Her run group ended up not having another session on the autox for some reason but they did have one more session on the road course. Right as Kim was pulling out of the pit road her clutch pedal went right to the floor. She called me and told me this so I headed over to the pits. She got towed over there by the track workers.


Turns out good ole' lead foot snapped the cable in two!!


So we call AAA and they come get her cobra. She decided to stay with her car and I stayed at the track.


We called every parts store in sounthern NJ...no one had a clutch cable in stock.

04-09-2012, 09:16 PM
So now it's time for the Speed Stop Squared Challenge. I was just there hanging out taking pics and video.


04-09-2012, 09:20 PM
The finals consisted out of a best 2 out of 3 between Billy Utley and Tom Farrington. Here's the first coin toss.


Second coin toss b/c they each won one!


Final line up...


04-09-2012, 09:23 PM
Billy ended up winning that event b/c Tom skidded out f the braking box by a front bumper...it was sooo close!!!

Awards Ceremony...


I ended up winning the Hard Luck award b/c my car was a non driving POS that entire weekend lol!!!!!


Road Course times...I'm so very proud of Kim!!! It was her first time on a road course.


04-09-2012, 09:46 PM
Saturday night we all went to dinner at Benegans.


Random Sat night pics...


04-09-2012, 09:48 PM
So here is the stuff that no one has heard about yet.........

This is Sunday morning getting towed by to my home shop...141 miles away in Maryland.


04-09-2012, 09:50 PM
Arriving at home...finally!!!


04-09-2012, 09:52 PM
Since Kim's issue was a simple snapped clutch cable I decided to put her Cobra on the lift to take the old one out. Upon lifting the car up in the air...I immediatelly saw this carnage!!! I almost didn't want to tell Kim.


04-09-2012, 09:57 PM
Yes you are seeing that correctly. The "J" hooks on the tow truck tore and ripped apart the underside of her car!!!! Since this is a unibody the floor ascts as a structural part so I have no idea how this insurance claim is gonna play out. You can touch the carpet from the gashes.

Of course AAA hasn't returned a single phone call today and I haven't contacted the tow company yet. We did put in an insurance claim for the damage and they said they would go after the tow company for the money to cover the costs. Once the adjuster comes to my shop to do the estimate...the cobra is going to GForce Design Concepts for the repairs. We are just hoping that they don't total the car.

So that as my weekend. Im not mad about any of it...just a little frustrated. I had a great time hanging out with my pro-touring friends and even though I didn't get to race and have two broken hot rods...I would do it all over again tomorrow.

I want to thank Bill, Brian, their families, and the American Street Car Series for puting on an awesome event! I live for this stuff!!!!!

04-09-2012, 11:52 PM
Damn! :jawdrop: That sucks about the cars but cool that you had a good time! Hope the insurance comes through and you can fix her car!

04-10-2012, 03:19 AM
It was good to meet you and Kim, but we're definitely bummed about the vehicle issues. Kim's floor being trashed is just completely unacceptable!
All I can say is get those things back together and head out to more events!

04-10-2012, 03:28 AM
Wow I hope it works out right for you - I think I would insist they fix it since the car is so nice otherwise and don't sign anything until the work is completed to your satisfaction!!

04-10-2012, 03:40 AM
WOW dude. That was some weekend.

04-10-2012, 04:55 AM
Oh my, that is awful. I hope your insurance company does their job. You seem to have an amazingly good attitude towards all this, good for you. I'd have been throwing stuff.

04-10-2012, 05:28 AM
Holly cow, Doug.... wow

Hard weekend for one couple I see.... Hope you get both car fixed and get back in the program.

One question tho... how did those "j" hooks end up hooked to the floor? what the hell was the tow driver thinking?

04-10-2012, 05:40 AM
One question tho... how did those "j" hooks end up hooked to the floor? what the hell was the tow driver thinking?

That's what I was thinking Doug! Sorry to hear your bad weekend got even worse! On the flip side, it was great hanging with you and Kim! Hopefully we can do it again before I relocate.

Mike Holleman
04-10-2012, 05:52 AM
Wow Doug. You should'a stayed home, but I'm glad you didn't. Enjoyed meeting and hanging with you guys. Wish I could have been more help. Let us know how the Cobra issue turns out. I don't think totaling is gonna happen. That type of repair is a fairly easy fix. But it should not of happened at all. Look forward to seeing you guys again soon.

04-10-2012, 07:53 AM
Yep, J-hook damage and they connected to the floor instead of the rails. The rail extrication ports can handle 3500 lbs (basically the weight of the car); the floor ... not a chance in hell. Once they applied winch power, all bets were off.

At least they used a four-point tie down ...

You got my FB message?? Looks like you did as filing an insurance claim is your best bet. She should be entitled to a rental vehicle while the Mustang is being repaired and you do have options here. Get a value on the vehicle and your insurance carrier looks at 70% as the repair threshold. Say the vehicle is worth $1000 then the insurance has $700 to spend on repairs. They'll be looking at the Mustang for ACV (actual cash value) and, to them, it will be a nothing special Mustang. If there are upgrades done, this may increase the value so do your homework ...

Mary Pozzi

04-10-2012, 11:37 AM
wow sorry to hear and see all of that, i heard you were having troubles with the Monte but didnt know about the cobra...thats terrible...if they decide to Total out the cobra and there is an option to buy it back let me know, i have a mustang or two that could use a traansplant. But i hope to god they fix it, unacceptable tow job.

04-10-2012, 01:00 PM
I'm glad Kim had fun driving, sucks that both vehicle had troubles though.

Hope you get them back up and going soon.

Always good to see and hang out with you and Kim.


04-10-2012, 02:05 PM
As if it couldn't get worse, I can't believe what happened to Kim's car!

Glad to see that you're staying upbeat about everything, as it was just one bad event after another for you two.

Aside from that, it was good to finally meet the both of you and hang out.

04-10-2012, 04:10 PM
that sucks doug! sorry for all the trouble you guys had. it was great meeting you guys though and hope to see you all again!

04-10-2012, 04:32 PM
Doug you are the definition of "Calm, Cool and Collected".

So sorry for all the headaches you went through this weekend - know you will work through them all and be back stronger than ever.

Look forward to seeing you at a track day soon (this season for sure!)

- Scott

04-10-2012, 04:36 PM
Goddammit, nobody does a decent job anymore. No pride in their work, no accountability, nothing. That's about as bad as my s h i t-filled saga. But at least your cars run. Sux.

04-10-2012, 07:03 PM
Hang in there bud...Good things come to good people..which you and Kim are! Whether you ran the car or not, it was great hanging out with you and Kim!... I will be seeing you soon i'm sure!


04-11-2012, 03:45 AM
Wow Doug, if it weren't for bad luck, you wouldn't have any luck at all... I'm so sorry to see what happened to Kim's car, I hope insurance gets it repaired. Let me know what you do with your new plans for the SS!

04-11-2012, 08:40 PM
Hopefully you've gotten all the bad luck out of the way for the season and can enjoy the rest of the year! Good luck with repairs!

04-12-2012, 03:42 AM
What a weekend. I think you won the Hard Luck award for the year. I hope you get every thing in working order soon and have a great season. Didn't you have bad luck last year as well on the way home?
I think i remember some post about it. Randy

04-13-2012, 06:13 AM
Thanks for all the responces!! It was quite a weekend and the bad news is still coming....

Insurance adjuster came out yesterday to look at Kim's cobra. He said that the "rips" can be hammered and dolly'd out and stitch welded. He cut us a check for $750 and called it a day.

I have been researching this issue for the last couple days. Some people say to do the stitch welding while others say the only way to be safe is to replace that floor pan. I have no idea. We are taking it up to GForce Design Concepts to have it repaired and they will have an adjuster do a supplement if need be.

After the Allstate guy left I started to put in the clutch cable. No big deal. When I had her start the car up to test the cable...I noticed a huge puddle on the ground and turns out the rack was p i s s i n g out fluid!!! The passenger side boot somehow got a lil tear in it...and now the fluid is all over my floor. More tow truck carnage.....

04-13-2012, 06:37 AM
Hate to hear that Doug,

The boot is just there for dust. If it's leaking, there is probably a bigger problem then a torn boot.


04-13-2012, 11:44 AM
Hate to hear that Doug,

The boot is just there for dust. If it's leaking, there is probably a bigger problem then a torn boot.


Yup...it needs a rack. I told her when we first had the thought of racing her car that this stuff is going to happen. I just didn't think that it was gonna be so bad...so fast!!!!

On another note I got a price quote for a 200r4 that would stand up to my engine...around $2500 plus the converter. Kinda makes me want to go the T56 route...but that's alot of miney too!!

04-14-2012, 10:48 AM

WOW! You and Kim both deserve Hard Luck awards! That blows. The Cobra deal is bad because the tow truck driver had to know that happened and didn't mention it. I have to imagine that the rack is due to the driver using a cable on it or if it came loose and snagged it.

Thanks for sharing the events with us. I hope things get ironed out and you don't take it in the shorts.

Maybe stitch the floor and add some subframe connectors at the same time.

Tony Huntimer

04-16-2012, 08:35 AM
I'd be hesitant to just stitch that back myself; I'd probably cut out the damage all together and put in some replacement pieces. MPS in GA should be able to help you out; 770-867-2644. I'm stunned that any roll back driver would have been stupid enough to do that! Good luck with the repairs.

Ron S
04-16-2012, 10:54 AM
Where the tears are do look the perfect place for frame connectors. (at least from the pictures)

04-16-2012, 06:39 PM
Where the tears are do look the perfect place for frame connectors. (at least from the pictures)

Her cobra has welded in subframe connectors already so I guess the tow driver was looking for a reinfoced body hole to put the hooks into...and chose a regular body drain hole. The weird thing is is this: this had to have happend on the tow truck. Kim and I actually took pictures once the car was up on the flatbed b/c we were curious as to where to hook up the unibody on a tow truck. So we have pics of the hooks in the holes...on the flatbed!!! Im suprised the car didnt fall off the truck!

04-22-2012, 08:29 PM
All is well with the Cobra!! The floor is fixed...a new rack is in it...and the clutch cable is fixed!!!!

04-23-2012, 06:47 AM
Wow , it sucks at all the bad luck Doug .
But , I'm glad you got the Cobra fixed .

04-23-2012, 01:32 PM
This is an extreme example of why it is better to trailer a car to an event like this. You just don't know what is going to happen and you can't trust anyone these days to give good service. Just curious, what did you end up paying in towing fees for the weekend?

04-23-2012, 03:05 PM
That's great news!! Glad to hear you got it fixed. Now how about some pictures of the repair??

04-26-2012, 02:41 PM
OK...here's the bright side on the Mustang...good place to install some custom subframe connectors!

I've been all across the country with broken cars...but not my only two! Bless your heart...and good luck with the fixes. Let me know if I can help!

Where will we see you and Kim next?

04-27-2012, 08:55 PM
This is an extreme example of why it is better to trailer a car to an event like this. You just don't know what is going to happen and you can't trust anyone these days to give good service. Just curious, what did you end up paying in towing fees for the weekend?

All in all I paid about $600 in fees...and that's the towing...The trans shop fee's...and the taxi ride.

Im not sure what Kim ended up paying.

04-27-2012, 09:03 PM
OK...here's the bright side on the Mustang...good place to install some custom subframe connectors!

I've been all across the country with broken cars...but not my only two! Bless your heart...and good luck with the fixes. Let me know if I can help!

Where will we see you and Kim next?

Thanks for the kind words Bret!!

I will have my car back on the road in about two weeks. I plan to attend the June 2 Washington DC National Street Tire Challenge event, a bunch of Capitol Driving Club Autox's, the Midwest Muscle Car Challenge, and RTTH 8.

Now that Kim's car is fixed...we have some plans up our sleeves for that car.

I appreciate the offer to help. It is a really nice feeling when you know that there are people out there who know what you're going through and are willing to lend a helping hand or just sit back and listen to all the venting...and trust me there is alot of venting coming!!!

btw...the Ridetech coilovers were AWESOME on the drive up there. 100% different car.