Alex Rogeo and her team are preparing her Arrington Performance MAHLE Original race car for the second half of the NMCA West series. Alex started the year very strong, winning the first race of the year at Mopars at the Strip (or Musclecars at the Strip as it is now known) and then a very strong outing in the opening 2016 NMCA West race. Since then the team has struggled with two difficult issues on the car.
Electrical gremlins popped up in June that were very hard to diagnose. There were electrical components that failed one after the other. Finally, the root cause of the failures was found and addressed. Looking forward to returning to form the team hit Auto Club Fontana Dragway for the June NMCA West race and ran into another mechanical problem.
“We’ve had issues off and on for a couple of years with cutting or throwing the belt,” said Alex. “On late model cars there is one long belt and we ask a lot of it. It has to drive the normal things like the alternator and water pump, but it also has to drive the supercharger on this car. We’ve gone through periods where we seem to solve the problem and the belt holds up for a while and then we hit periods where the belt just can’t seem to survive at all. So we solved our electrical issues and then we got back to racing and the belt issue returned.”
On Saturday, August 20th, Alex went to Auto Club Famoso Raceway in McFarland, California to participate in “The Red List,” an unusual format race. Sure enough, on her first lap the car shredded its belt. But this time, the crew from Magnuson Superchargers was on hand since they are a major sponsor of the event. Alex’s crew chief, Richard Kratz, two engineers and a machinist from Magnuson huddled around the car and had time to analyze the issue.
“We have great marketing partners for this team, like Magnuson Superchargers,” said Richard. “We’ve tried half-a-dozen different solutions for this problem and what’s frustrating is that some of them seem to work, at least for a while. So we’ll think we’ve solved it but then it will come back. It was great having Magnuson people from engineering and the machine shop right there at the track with us to examine the failure and kick around ideas. Magnuson came up with an idea that holds a lot of promise. Basically, rather than try to cure the current setup they’re going to create a different system for our car.”
“There’s no guarantee that this idea is going to solve the problem,” said Alex. “But it is a really good idea and I’m hopeful that it will. At least we’ll be doing something; we and our partners are going all out to fix this. Frank Hawley taught me that there are two kinds of racers, the ones that go back to the pits or shop after a race when something goes wrong and say, ‘I hope it doesn’t do that again,’ and the other ones who do something, anything, to fix it before the next round or race. We and our partners are definitely in the second group.”
Alex and her team have pushed their 2007 Dodge Magnum HEMI car far beyond anything Chrysler could have envisioned. Weighing over 4,000 pounds it can still do the quarter mile in 9.85 seconds. The team emphasizes that this is not something that is a fault or failure; rather it is just part of the evolution of a factory late model into a race car. As Richard puts it, “We keep pushing the envelope and when you do that you expose weak links. Every time you find and fix one of those weak links, if you keep going faster you end up pulling on the chain and exposing the next weak link. It’s called racing.”
Alex thanked all of her marketing partners, “We get to push this car as hard as we do thanks to companies like MAHLE Aftermarket and MAHLE Motorsports, Arrington Performance, Westminster Performance Transmission, Manley Performance, Diablosport, LAT Oil, Champion Spark Plugs, shopHEMI.com, Mickey Thompson Tires, Hedman Hedders, Driveshaft Shop, Bell Racing, Mountain View Performance, Weld Racing, AEM Electronics and Big John’s Performance.”
For more information on Alex Rogeo follow her on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/alex.rogeo. Also follow her Twitter – @AlexTheCarGirl . For more information about Alex, visit her website at www.alexthecargirl.com.