I was at a track day at VIR in my Mini Cooper. I’m absolutely crushing it, having just been signed off to run Solo. My fuel gauge is reading 1/4 tank, normally I’d fuel up between runs but I really wanted to run the car on a light fuel load to try to learn the handling nuances.

Lap 3 comes around and I had just passed a Porsche Boxster coming around turn 2. As I’m apexing Turn 3 (with the Boxster still right on my tail), my engine completely shuts off, sending my car lurching and the Boxster nearly into my rear seats.

Embarrassed, I wait for the session to end and the tow vehicle to limp my car back to the pits. When I get back to the pits, I run an OBDII scan and get some codes about mistimed cylinders or something. I call AAA and admit to them that, yes, I’m at the racetrack and, yes, I need them to drive to Alton, VA to tow my car back to DC.

I’m on the verge of tears, sulking in my car for a good 1.5 hours when a now-friend walks by and says “Why don’t you try to give ‘er a few drops of fuel, couldn’t hurt to try?”

I reluctantly ran my credit card through the machine that was charging around $8 for a gallon of 99 Octane Fuel, pumped a gallon into the car and gave the ignition a try.

WHAM! The car is suddenly good as new (minus the diagnosis of a broken fuel gauge) and is purring like a caged lion. After an EXTREMELY awkward call with a AAA tow truck driver who had just driven 1.5 hours of a 3 hour journey to get to me, I gave the brake pads a quick swap and headed out for the next session of the day.