Hayes team weathers engine failure

Photo/Sarah Weston James Hayes puts the pedal to the metal in the Super Oval track in Wenatachee, Wash., on Aug 8. The team finished 11th in the race after blowing a header during the last few laps.

ENTERPRISE — The Hayes Brothers Racing Team’s 2015 season is winding down with one race remaining. Jerry Hayes, one of the team’s three members, said recent events have hampered their efforts to remain in the top 10 of the NW Pro4 Alliance circuit.

The engine blew up in the Hayes’ race at the Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., which caused the team to miss their July 18 race in Hermiston and also put a dent in their top 10 circuit rank.

“It was the last 10 laps or so. James (Hayes, the driver) hollered in over the radio that the temperature guages were going up, and there was a red flag up, so we had him kick the fan on,” Hayes said.

The fan kept the engine temperature from rising, but it didn’t decrease. When the race restarted, it wasn’t long before James Hayes radioed back in that smoke was filling the driver’s compartment. “That’s never any good,” Jerry Hayes said.

After one more lap, the car was driven into the pit with blue smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. “After we unbuttoned the hood it was so hot, you couldn’t stand by it,” Hayes said.

After the engine cooled, the Hayes crew found a hole in the block where much of the head gasket had melted. Hayes said the gasket was one of several failures the engine suffered.

After the engine was taken apart it was discovered that one valve was destroyed as well as two pistons in addition to the head gasket. Hayes said the high temperature at the track probably contributed to the catastrophe as several other racers reported engine temperature problems.

The Hayes team went to TRE Motors in Prosser, Wash., to have the engine rebuilt. “The trick part with these engines is that you have stock and race parts combined, so you have to build to the weakest link, because otherwise you blow everything up,” Hayes said. About half the engine is brand new and took about six weeks to build.

The team got the motor replaced in time for the next race in Wenatchee, Wash. “We did OK in the race, but the new motor, the RPMs and the rear end weren’t meshing together yet, so we were off pace a bit,” Hayes said. Even so, the team was in ninth place in Wenatchee with only five laps remaining, when the engine blew a header. “We pulled her in, and we didn’t have time to fix it. We’d passed other cars during the race, but they were still running, so we ended up 11th. Not bad, considering it was a new motor that hadn’t been fired up,” Hayes said. He added that anything out of the top 10 is a disappointment for the team.

The new motor is a four-cylinder Ford 2300 pushing about 310 horsepower with the added racing modifications. “It cost us a race putting the new engine together, and it put us behind in points, but we’re still running 11th among 32 cars,” Hayes said.

The team’s next race is a non-points race in Meridian, Idaho, on Aug. 29. The season’s final race is Sept. 19 at Ephrata, Wash.

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