My car made it on the NMCA ad. I’m scramblin’ to get the cars, coach and stacker ready. After the Freeze I have broken pipes in both houses and the coach I’m getting fixed – as I get parts – but I’ve not missed Bradenton in last 12 years.
September 15th – October 15th 2020
Yeah, its been a month for a shop update – because it was a busy one. I’m not sure where I left off, but I’m sure it was way before:
For about ten years, my son Dallas worked in my race shop and raced with me. Marriage, a job change and children had him give up racing, and let his racing license expire about five years ago. I invited him to take a week off and to come racing with me using my back up car, the Texas Thug, while I raced the Screamin’ Woody. The problem was that he’d let his racing license expire, but we worked that out with Rollie Miller, who let him make his six supervised solo qualifying passes and get the paperwork signed off prior to Eliminations.
There were 78 NSS Racers there, mostly because of the Dave Duell Classic and All Star Race. The first Qualifying pass was also Dallas’ 6th Licensing pass and so he had to make a solo. They had him Qualify 1st in line. I was in the next pair to qualify. As I was doing my burnout I looked up at the scoreboard in his lane to see what he’d done, and it was 9.750 seconds on a 9.75 index. That was a perfect run, and since he was the first to do it, 77 Racers in back of him were immediately bummed that no one else had a chance to Qualify #1. I wound up qualifying #5 of 78.
That also had us into the All Star race, which was the 16 best (based on the Top 5 in points last year, the Top 10 Qualifiers for that week’s main event and the Previous year’s Champ choosing the 16th) NMCA VS. the best 16 Victory Racers. Sadly, we both were out in first round – Dallas because his car was getting slower and we couldn’t figure out why, and I broke out by going too fast.
In the FX Shootout, Dallas was out in the first round and the car was so slow we knew it was broke, suspecting the torque convertor. I went three rounds before a .002 Red Light.
In the Main Event on Sunday – I again went three rounds before taking a 1/2 car too much stripe and did a heart breaking 9.749 on the brakes. My light was a .010.
We loaded up disappointed, yet happy that after five years we’d spent a week racing together.
The below is a small gallery of photos from the week.
We drove straight back after leaving track at 6pm Sunday – arriving to the shop Monday night. The very next day at 6am, we were both back on the road in my truck and trailer heading to Chicago, Illinois – arriving there at Midnight. Early the next morning we were loading up 12 Cushman Scooters I’d bought as a lot.
We were done at 10am and back at my shop (40 miles South of Houston) at about 3am.
Figured out what was wrong with the Thug
After a few hours sleep, I unloaded the cars from the stacker and the Scooters from the other trailer. Damon pulled the transmission out of the Thug a removed the pan. It happens that during one of Dallas’ Qualifying passes, he leaked transmission oil at the line, and told to fix it. Checking the car, he found a bolt had worked its way out of the tail shaft of the transmission. He replaced it with a bolt that was 1/4″ longer. It turns out that 1/4″ was long enough to hang up the drum band. It was locked onto the drum and it not only slowed the car down – it wore the band out.
I did have a spare band so the transmission was quickly reassembled and I cleaned and painted. I have a spare converter that ATI had just freshened up that can go in. The one pulled out will need to go back to ATI for a clean and inspection since there was so much metal and band material.
Earlier in the year, I got my Magnum GT running great, re-dyed the leather and carpet, and had the car scuffed and repainted in a urethane with UV block. The body didn’t need any repairs – it was just the 42 year old factory paint and pinstriping was dull. The paint looked so good that it made the trunk, engine compartment and door jams stand out. So the bumpers and drivetrain was pulled; I clean, scuffed and painted the trunk – but did send the car back to the paint shop for the door jams and under hood to be painted.
The engine were cleaned, resealed, and repainted – and are waiting to be mated up with the body. The bumpers have been rechromed.
Still have a lot of work left, but it will be almost as good as new soon.
If you’ve been following along with the shop updates at DaveSchultz.com or the blog at MoparWeb.com – you’ll know that I bought a 1964 Westcoaster Mailster – which is a three wheeled mail delivery truck that was used prior to the Post Office going to the small Jeeps. Back then, a Mailman could load his leather bag with only 60 pounds. There would be green boxes along his route, where he’d stop to reload his bag for another 50 pounds. The Mailster on the other and could carry 500 pounds. This was a time before UPS, FedEx, Airborne and others package and overnight carriers. Parcels, Media and Special Deliveries were mostly USPS delivered – and these Mailsters played a big part of that in those deliveries.
Earlier in the year (again check this sites I listed if you want to see the work done prior to this update) I bought a Mailster, from the Hill Country for $500. It hadn’t run since the early 80s. I bought it back to my shop and we were able to get it running pretty good. Then decided to refurbish and we started the complete disassembly of it.
I asked my Shop Rat to blast the bare Chassis to bare metal and hit with Primer while I was racing at Indy. However I wasn’t happy with his work – and redid it.
Chassis needs a little metal work, the primer needs to be wet sanded with 400 grit, and then hit with a few coats of gloss black. I’ll then turn my attention to detailing the motor and transmission, and start the assembly for a running Chassis.
I still have not decided what to do with this. My inclination is to theme it as something very crazy. I’ll have time for the best idea to hit me before I need to turn my attention towards the body.
Coach and stacker Damage
Leaving the Indy race, I jack-knifed the motorhome and stacker to where they touched each other at the toolbox on the trailer’s tongue. The coach had minor scratches that I was able to quickly repair, but I couldn’t hammer out the box to my satisfaction – so I removed.
I drew up a plan for a nicer one that is taller, which also has a top compartment for more storage. My neighbor at the lake has a metal fabrication shop, and I’m having him make it for me. I’ll attach to the stacker when he’s done.
Cushman Series 60 Frame is Ready
As I write this, of the lot of 12 Scooters I bought – I’ve only had the time to sell one Eagle project (well they all are projects has none have been started in last 30 years) for $1100. Yesterday the Montgomery Pony Cycle I had on eBay sold for $3000 – but I’ve not yet paid for it or received a reply. Other than that, all I’ve been able to do so far is to wash, label, photo and do a little research – except a Series 60 frame.
I crush glass blasted it to bare metal and sprayed it with a gallon of high build sandable primer. I’ve put it aside for now and listed for sale pretty cheap. If it sells, great! If not I’ll get around to building something incredibly stupid on it. I’m thinking a 28hp electric start Vanguard motor, 10″ wheels and a Kustom made Rear cover/seat with a fin from a 60 Plymouth.
Prepared 3 Axles for Sale
Race Car Loose Ballast
The loose ballast I run in the weight boxes are dumbells that I lopped off their handles. Over the last few years they’ve gotten nasty from rattling around in the weight boxes in the trunk or the storage box in the stacker. Every time I picked up a weight, my hands become dirty black. I had my shop rat clean and paint them with 2 coats of Por15. I then weighed, marked with a junkyard paint pen and hit with three coats of clear. Hopefully, it will last a couple of years.
Coach & Stacker
I just had to take a bunch of photos of the coach and stacker to change my insurance company. So I thought I’d share as a gallery. You have to click the thumbnail to see that larger photo – if you’re interested.
That’s all I can remember for the last month. There was plenty more that I did at the shop, but I also spent a lot of time doing accounting and other business with Bloomin’ Blinds in the last month.
Until next month…..
Since the motor in the wagon had been untested, I first put the Texas Thug on the Lift of the stacker trailer, and the Screamin’ Woody under it. If the wagon couldn’t make the call, then I would have raced the Thug. 1100 miles is too far to go with an untested car unless you have a backup.
So Deb and I; Smiff and Wesson (our Toy Schnauzers); and our two new 9-week old Black Lab puppies – Ole Black Bettie and Billie Sue left Sunday early and got as far as the NASA rest area in Mississippi. Monday night we arrived at the track, and spent the night outside the gate. Tuesday we got onto the track and set up the pits.
Wednesday you could rent the track for $250, which I did and got three hits in. The first run, off the trailer was a very slow 10.1, breaking up a little as I crossed the line. I turn up the fuel pressure a little and made a 9.89 pass without breaking up. I and a couple Buds started looking around to see what was wrong – and found the timing was set at 30 degrees. Set it to 36 and I went up for a third hit. The car wouldn’t start, despite my volt gauge saying 17 volts. I got towed back to the pits and thrashed on the car – swapping the newer pair of 16V batteries from the Thug to the wagon. It was a time consuming process as the wagon was set up wrong – having the batteries hidden behind the weight boxes. It took about 2 hours before I could get back in line just as last call was made. I managed a 9.69 @ 139MPH.
Thursday, there was another Test & Tune, but I didn’t take part in it, as I felt my car was where I needed it. I instead spent the day polishing the car, cleaning up the trailer and playing with puppies.
Friday we were given a time trial and two Qualifying hits. On the Time Trial I was feeling pretty confident when I did my burnout and staged. When the lights went Yellow I launched, and then the car fell flat on its face. I pulled to the wall and looked at oil pressure, it was good so I looked in mirror. I saw no smoke nor did I see a trail of liquid, so I continued idling along the wall. I had no accelerator response and looked at fuel pressure and it was a steady 3psi (when I run 7psi) – so I continued to move up track, trying to get off without the tow of shame. At about the 660′ the fuel pressure went to 1 and I shut the car off. The track’s 4-wheeler with a slick roller pushed me off the track. I tried to start the car, it started, I had fuel pressure, and I drove back to my pit.
In my pit I checked all electrical connections. I couldn’t find any loose connections, or duplicate the problem.
The next run was the first Qualifying. I loaded up with a ton of weight. The car launched with a Monster Wheel Stand and ran great until a few feet before the finish line, where it broke up just before I lifted. Below is the time slip.
As was making the turn off the track, I noticed my fuel pressure was a steady 3psi. I pulled over, shut the car off, restarted and was back to my 7psi.
Back in the pits I changed the fuel regulator, thinking I had some scumotes in it, which would backwash when I turned off power.
In the early evening I loaded up the maximum weight, as I was too fast in the first Qualifying. In the Staging Lanes, I showed 0 Fuel Pressure when I started the car to move into the Burnout Box. I shut car off and restarted and I was good. That weight had me doing a giant wheelstand and the car ran good down the track.
Done for the night, but obviously having an issue still, I changed the relay switch and disassembled the new filters to inspect and clean. They looked as clean as a whistle, so I doubt they were the issue.
This is where I need to give a shout out to Fuelab. In 2013, the year before I won the Championship, they sponsored me with product. I’ve used about every brand of fuel system and Fuelab was the best I’ve ever used. After winning the Championship I had a couple of bad years because of health, motor problems, and both of my in-laws (who we were taking care of) dying. You have to win to keep sponsors, and understandably, I lost the few I had, including Fuelab. That said, I bought and continued to use Fuelab rather than seeking sponsorship elsewhere. So while I was having these Fuel issues, Josh was following me on Facebook and reached out to offer any help he could give – and I really appreciate that. While I’m now convinced that my problem was the electric relay, Josh has invited me to send my regulator and fuel pump to him for testing – just make sure. I’ve just bought a spare as I’ve always (until the last few years) carried a spare – regardless of brand.
Feeling confident that I had my problem fixed, I put the car away for the night. Saturday morning Q3 was very early and a cold 45 degrees. I had the maximum weight in the car and the weather station said I’d be a 1/4 second too fast. The car didn’t pick up the wheels as high as Normal, but sounded and felt good going down the track. However, the time skip told a different story with me a 1/4 second too slow and a horrible 60′.
Back in the pits, the timing was rechecked and fine. Everything I could think of was checked, and I couldn’t find a problem. I wrote it off as being one of those unexplainable mystery runs – like tire spinning.
Saturday night was my final qualify hit. Again the launch sucked, as did my time slip and 60′.
Back in the pit, Doug Duell sprayed foaming window cleaner on each of my header tubes as the car ran, and found #8 hole dead. I replaced the wire, retested and found that it now had fire in the hole.
My crappy #11 Qualifying matched me up with Barry Dorn in the first round. I was convinced that the car was fixed, but again it was so cold that I was bagging a 1/2 second faster than my index. He too was fast as he was the last qualifier, because of breaking out on all four Qualifying passes. My strategy was to figure out if I wanted the Stripe or give it away when I got there. However, the car ran like it was stuck in mud, off more than 1/2 second too slow. As I was loading the car onto the trailer, we again sprayed foaming window cleaner on the header tubes and now #4 hole was dead.
We loaded up and was off the track by noon – driving about 600 miles to spend the night at a sketchy Walmart in Mississippi. Monday we finished the final 500 miles arriving home in the early evening. Tuesday, the car was unloaded and valve covers removed. It was found that the intake rocker number 4 backed off and the push rod went between the rockers – tearing push rod and rockers up. I ordered a new pair of rockers
While it would have been nice to have had things go smoother for first race of the year, this is both a new (rebuilt from ground up last year) car and motor. These things happen when you don’t have time to test locally.
The refurbishing of a early 90s aluminum race trailer
About 18 months ago, I bought an early 90s Aluminum Trailer from a racing buddy. The reason was that I had a Motorhome and a Stacker Trailer for week long races, a pick-up truck and gooseneck for weekend races, and a Toy Hauler and pick-up for motorcycle trips. The Toy Hauler needed to be replaced because it was shit and cost me money every time I took it out. I came up with brilliant money saving idea that buying an older, quality, aluminum trailer would allow me to sell both the Toy Hauler and Gooseneck. I could take the Motorhome and trailer (If I set up to carry both my son’s and my Harleys) on motorcycle trips and pull it behind the pick-up for weekend racing.
So I buy this early 90s trailer from Jim Bailey. I paid a premium for it, but it was well cared for and I felt I could freshen up reasonably. To this date, I modified the interior floor to accept the “Lock ‘N Loads to transport bikes, added a winch, some D-Rings, and move the wheel stops to accommodate a bigger car. I then scuffed, prepped and painted the exterior walls white with Red & Blue Stripe. It cost me a gallon of Rustoluem white and a quart each of red and blue Rustoleum – plus some supplies. I also painted the A-Frame gloss black. I later replaced the red and blue stripes with red, white and blue reflector tape – and wrapped the bottom in red/white safety tape. Electrically, I replaced all marker and tail lights with LED and the 7-blade trailer wiring. Finally, I installed an electric jack. Below are a list of shop update links on Maniacal Ravings of Dave Schultz, where I posted Details and Photos of this work.
So the above brings you up until this last week. Everything on the wall was removed and the interior walls were scuffed with 400 grit on a DA Sander, wiped down, taped off, and painted while with a roller.
Then I started to outfit to my convenience. I started with buying a black Yoga mat, cutting it in half, and riveting into place (with 1″ aluminum stock) at the back of the trailer. I then mounted a broom holder, strap holder, cord and hose holders and the Spare tire. I also mounted a hanger for the Director’s chair carrying case.
Moving to the front, I mounted a double helmet closet next to the bench. Onto it I installed a Kenwood stereo and a pair of speakers. To pick up the track radio from pitted in the Boonies, I mounted a high quality antenna on the street side – extending above the roof.
You’ll also note the 12,000 pound winch with a wireless remote mounted against the wall and a removable snatch pulley in the center. Also on the floor are the Lock ‘n Load plates for the removable motorcycle chocks.
Moving to the door, I mounted a door cabinet with fold down table. Below that is an oil bottle shelf, which also holds wrenches and screw drivers. That should alleviate some of the running in and out of the trailer for the most basic tools.
And speaking of convenience, I bought another cheap Yoga mat with carrying strap and riveted the sprap above the door. That makes it easy to grab for those times in the pits when you need to lay on the ground or work under the car.
I still need to:
- Replace the trailer lights junction box with waterproof new
- Mount dual batteries with cutoff switch under bench
- Wire stereo and speakers
- Wire roof exhaust fan
- Run air lines under the trailer from rear and side door to air compressor under bench, and wire a on/off switch on bench
- Make a rack for a set of 4 jack stands
- Mount a rack for two bottle jacks and tire spinner under the spare
- Mount a front strap holder and wall protection
- Mount a 12V fan under upper cabinets
- Mount a intelligent trickle charger for when the trailer is plugged in
- Mount a set of Charging Lug on A-Frame to charge batteries
- Install an inverter to provide AC power from a pair of DC batteries
- Replace 4′ florescent ceiling lights with LED
- Mount a LED pit light
I aged some 15″X8″ Wheel Vintiques wheels to look Rusty, and mounted 245/60-15 Goodrich TAs on the rear. I still need to do the same for the fronts.
I repaired the old steering wheel, primed and painted to match the interior.
I tried three different shifter handles and all hit the seat, dash, or both. I finally made a 6″ adaptor to raise a pistol grip shifter 6″, which was enough to clear the bench seat and stay under the boot.
I bought all of the pipes needed to get the block hugger collectors to 2.5″ side exiting exhaust. This is all that is required to finish the car. These are the pipes needed to do the right side.
If you’ve been following along on the Magnum GT, You’ll know it was recently treated to a new poly-urethene paint job, and the leather dyed before that. This week, everything was taken out of the trunk, the Surface flash removed, it was then masked, primed and painted. Since the car is pure black, it was an easy rattle can project. I’ll give the a paint a week to get hard, and then clean and replace the carpet.
The Screamin’ Woody
The engine was reassembled with a new crank, rod, and set of lifters; and stabbed into the car. It will be started and tuned next week.
Outfitting the Stacker
I spent a day getting the Stacker trailer mostly outfitted. On the door I installed a door cabinet fire bottle holder, tire gauge holder, rack of screw drivers and a pair of clamps that hold the weather station in travel mode, and the telescopic pole it goes on (to raise 5′ over the stacker’s roof) when in the pits. Another set of clamps were installed inside the door to hold the pole in travel mode.
On the front wall of the trailer, I mounted a stainless coat rack with 4 stainless steel hangers for my safety suits. Above the coat rack I mounted a pair of stainless steel baskets for racing shoes and gloves. On the ceiling I mounted a swiveling hook to hold my helmet.
Next to the overhead cabinets I mounted an Oil Rack and used Industrial Grey Velcro to hold the lift’s remote control in place. To the rear of the trailer is a strap holder, jack pouch, a blower holder and a couple cord holders.
I also put the hand tools in the appropriate drawers, but I’ll need to go back to clean and oil them before the first race.
In the attic I mounted a holder for four 5gallon fuel jugs.
I still have a day left to finish organizing myself into a 2′ shorter trailer.
- Installed an electric gate
- Replaced all bulbs in Magnum XE with LED
- Replaced AC blower motor on Magnum XE
- Removed the Grill to the Magnum GT to paint when it gets warmer
- Figured out I had the wrong parts to install an overdrive in the Magnum XE, and ordered the correct ones
- Did a little cleaning and organizing in the shop
I post this mainly in case someone had same issue as me.
Charlies Oil Pans had been making the fabricated oil pan to fit the Screamin’ Woody, my 60 Plymouth wagon. Charlies went out of business and when I contacted Stef’s, they said 2 months and $1000 to make one. Milodon made a off the shelf that. fits, but no windage tray for a 4.50″ stroke.
I found that 440 Source makes a pretty good looking 7-quart fabricated aluminum pan that fits, and there’s a windage tray for strokes up to.4.501″. It only cost about $225 for both and looks to be pretty high quality.
Hopefully the crank comes back from machine shop this week and engine can start to go back together. Need to cut a hole for the external oil pump and swinging pickup.
With the Screamin’ Woody finally reassembled after a two year tear down from the Texas Whale and rebuild to the Screamin’ Woody, it was time to take it to the track. Normally I’d take it to San Antonio Raceway, a 1/4 Mile track about 200 miles away), but I was really Jonesing after missing Norwalk and Joliet, and the Indy race was coming up.
SHRA had an 1/8-Mile NSS Race in Denton (350 miles) on the 14th. While further and only 1/8 mile, it would help support NSS Racing (which is weak in the South) in Texas and give me competition practice. So I loaded up on Friday night and left for Denton early on Saturday morning. I arrived at the track at 1 pm, unloaded and got ready for the driver’s meeting at 3 pm. It was 98 degrees at 3 pm.
First Qualifying was at 4 pm. I launched the car but it didn’t pick up the front wheels (like it use to) and carry the front end, but worst the that, the motor started to break up so I shifted. It quickly started to break up again – so I shifted again. It didn’t break up crossing the line, so I made a mental note that had to be in the 6000-6500 rpm range. Back in the pits, I only had time to cool the car down, put a charger on it, log the run, change tire pressure, and adjust the 5 point harness – which needed a foot taken out of the shoulder length.
At 5 pm, just as I was finished with harness and we were called for last qualifying. I told myself that this pass I’d stare at the tach to figure out at what RPM it was breaking up. I dropped the slick’s pressure a 1/2 pound, launched at 2000 RPM, and starred at the tach. It started to breakup at 6300, and I shifted immediately. Again it broke up at 6300 and I shifted to third. I don’t have that time slip, but the 60′ improved slightly to low 1.38 and ET was 6.34.
Back at my pit, I got car ready for first round of Eliminations and did some Basic looking around to figure out why it was breaking up, and couldn’t see it. I had declared the 6.25 Index, and was hoping it might get cooler and I’d find the problem. It didn’t get cooler (95 degrees at 6 pm) and I didn’t find the problem – so I set my shift light at 6200 (normally 7200-7300 on a 572-13 head motor) and dropped the slicks another 1/2 pound psi.
I was racing a slower car who would leave 3/4 second ahead of me. I was convinced that there was no way I could run the number (6.25), and would have to cut a great light for any chance. I got my wish with a .005 light, but my inexperience with the 1/8 mile stripe cost me when I took too much Stripe with a 6.248 ET on a 6.25 Index, or 2/1000 of a second too quick. My 60′ was a little better with a high 1.37. The car did not break up with me shifting at 6200.
So I loaded up and was heading south by 7:30 pm, arriving back at the shop at 1 am Sunday. Other than the breaking up and launching with left front higher than right front, I was relatively happy with how the car performed, considering everything being new. On Monday, I backed the car out of the trailer, replaced the Distributor Cap and Rotor (both of which looked new), check all of my wiring to the plugs, and all wiring going to the MSD 7AL2 ignition box. I noticed that the box had 7000 rpm pills in it, and remembered reading that the pills (working by having their Ohms read and converted to a Maximum Limit of RPM allowed) can be off by as much as 10%, which 700 RPM, which subtracted from 7000 = 6300. I changed them out to 8000 RPM pills, which really should have been there in the first place. I put the car back in the trailer, and loaded spare parts consisting of a spare ignition box, spare distributor, spare set of plugs, and new set of wires.
Tuesday at 4 am I left my shop in Beasley, TX and arrived at my bud Doug Duell’s Mother’s house (Southern Indiana) at 6 pm. I dropped the truck and trailer there. Doug and Anne took me to dinner and put me up for the night. In the morning Doug took me to look at the new house that he’s building, and then to his dealership for me to look at the Palisades Limited, which I’m interested in a pair for Deb and I. At 9 am he took the lead with his motorhome and stacker, as I followed him in my dually and trailer. We had a little delay due to a Turbo issue on his coach. We got on the track at about 5, and I was at the hotel by 6.
I arrived at the track at 9 am, paid my entry, got car out of trailer, established credentials, got my chassis certified, teched the car in, and made it ready for the first 1/4 mile hit since being built. We checked the car’s timing, I charged up the dual 16v batteries, created a new weather station database for the car, and at about 1 pm (this is Thursday now) they called us for the first time trial. The car had an unimpressive 9.99 and 1.38 short time. Worse yet was that there was oil all over the front of the car, and another racer told me that I dropped a part at the line. I opened the hood and found the AN-12 Screw on plug for the oil filler was missing. I went to the starting line, and it was in the trash can, mangled an unusable. I couldn’t figure out how it could make six 360 degree turns and blow off – but it did. This would become understood later. I bought another fitting, screwed it on, and used electrical tape stretch around cap & bung to hold it on. I spent the next hour wiping the car down underneath of all of the oil. When called for next time trial, and after my burnout – I was backed up and off the track with them saying I was leaking oil.
I went back to the pits and spent three hours under the car wiping up oil and trying to figure out where three mystery leaks were coming from. I finally got under the car with it running and only then did I see weeping from the oil pan gasket — which the engine builder had used grey Permatex to make. Many of the oil pan nuts were loose – and I snugged them down. Just as I was lowering the car — the track announced a clean up session for those who didn’t get two test hits — and I hustled off to it.
After I came out out of the burnout area I had all of the track people looking under the car for any drip. They cleared me and I pre-staged, Staged and took off. All was going well until the 1000′ when I looked in the mirror just as the car started smoking. I immediately pulled over and off the track’s first exit. Off the track I found I was leaking oil all around the oil pan. It was late and I was both worn out from working all day in the heat and sore to where my back and shoulder were killing me. I was going to throw in the towel for the day and try to deal with it in the morning — but Jeff Frees talked me into dealing with it that night.
Long story short, Doug Duell drove the car onto Jeff’s lift, Jeff and his crew started to tear the car apart, I drove to an all night auto parts store in Indianapolis for a couple of gaskets, and I was back at the motel by midnight. I was back at the track at 6:30 the next morning to clean up the car and make ready for the First Qualifying at 8:30 AM. I took it for a ride to blow off any extra oil that I might have missed off the car, and gave it a final check. All looked good.
So they call us for the first qualifying hit — and that’s when we noticed that oil was under the car again. Again to make a long story short, my vacuum gauge in the car wasn’t working and Jeff came over with a manual vacuum gauge to take a reading and adjust in more vacuum to slow the leak, so I could make the pass. That’s when we got the puzzling gauge reading of positive pressure instead of vacuum. It was too late to make a hit — so I got out of my racing suit and headed over to the car to disconnect the vacuum pump for Q2. While Brent Wheeler and I were looking at what was needed to disconnect — we both, at the same time, realized the hoses had been installed backwards. While both hoses were the wrong length to be properly swapped around — they did fit for a temporary fix. I did that and made it in time for the second Qualifying — which appeared to be good — albeit slower than expected.
The next round was the first round of class eliminations for FX. There was a couple grand on the line — including $1600 in side bets to the winner. I was matched up against Dan Cook, who was the faster car by 1/4 second. Car felt good on that pass, and I saw the Win Light for me – but when I picked up the time slip I found that I’d run a 9.9 on a 9.75 Index and only won because Dan had a really bad light. Worst yet, after I picked up the ticket — I started hearing a noise that sounded like valve train clatter. I still had oil pressure but the motor didn’t sound right. In the pits, dozen’s of people were coming by to give their opinion and advice. After the valve covers came off and on three times — I was done and parked the car in the trailer.
I returned to the track the next day to be a spectator and attend that evening’s Dave Duell Classic Dinner. I left the track at about 10 pm with my truck and trailer, got a little sleep and left the motel at 4 am. I arrived at my shop (1125 miles later) at 11 pm.
In the shop, we first thought that the noise was from a couple of rockers rubbing on the valve cover. The valve covers were clearanced and we still could hear the noise/ With a stethoscope it sounded like it was coming from under the valley pan – lifters suspected. When the lid to the valve cover was removed, it was noticed that pools of race gas had formed in the damned off areas. A witness mark showed that the levels were as high as 3/4″ before draining through the bolts holes into the motor. Draining the oil found a lot of gas in the oil, which only had two runs on it. A shop rag dipped into the oil more closely exploded than burned when a match was put to it. It was decided to pull the motor. There are some issues. A puzzling one is that the rods and crank bearing surfaces appear to have been contaminated and have specs on them. We’re assuming from the race gas. So that’s where we’re at with the wagon as I write this.
The door cards on the Texas Whale were cardboard with black and gray carpet glued on. For The Screamin’ Woody, I wanted to match the red exterior a little more – so the seats were dyed red, the cage painted gold hammered, a red window net and safety harness installed – and I wanted the door panels in a red quit pattern. I made the door cards out 1/8″ plywood, drilled the holes for door handle and mounting screws, and pulled some vinyl quilted fabric I bought on Ebay.
Get Ready To Race
I’d taken the car for a couple of blasts on the rough (from farm tractors running up and down it all day, everyday) 35 mph narrow road that the shop is on, and made adjustments between blasts. The problem is you can only conduct your testing to about 3/4 of the cars capability, because of the terrible condition of the road. I wanted to take the car to race at the NMCA Nationals in Indy this coming weekend, but needed to take to a more local track this past weekend, to see if it was worthy to take to Indy.
SHRA had an 1/8 mile race in Denton (350 miles from the shop) yesterday, and I decided to take it there. While cleaning the car up, I noticed a lot of overspray on the front fenders and doors, from when it was painted under the hood. That took me better than 4 hours of slow clay-barring to get right. Then I loaded it into my trailer.
Racing In Denton
Friday the 13th, I loaded up the truck and trailer with what I needed to race. At 8am Saturday I left for the 350 mile drive to Sanger, TX. I arrived on the track at 1PM to say my Howdies, unload car and set up my pit. At 3PM we had our Driver’s Meeting and at 4PM we had our first Qualifying run – in 97 degree heat.
ON the first pass I had a decent .043 light (considering it was June since I last took a stab at the tree) but the car started to break up way before the Shift-Light was suppose to come on – so I made my 1st-2nd and 2nd-3rd shift as soon as I felt it break up. Frankly, I was busy mentally monitoring my concerns of going down the track in a car that had every nut and bolt removed, every component rebuilt or replaced, and reassembled. Other than the breaking up at higher RPMs, the car felt good – but I was unable to look at the tach to see where it was breaking up. I was guessing it was about 6000 RPM as I wasn’t breaking up crossing the Stripe.
My Safety Harness was all screwed up, as I forgot to adjust the length when new ones were installed so I spent much of the half hour between the First and Last Qualifying fixing that. I was able to verify that the Fuel Pressure was right at 8psi and make a shock and tire adjustment to try for a better 60′. I told myself that I would stare at the tach to figure where it broke up. The sun was in front of the tree and I totally missed the lights, but was able to improve my anticipating the breakup and shift quicker. I was able to find that the breaking up was occurring around 6300-6400 RPM.
I decided that as opposed to weighing the car down for the 6.41 Index, that I’d shoot for the 6.25 Index by setting my shift light for 6200 (before the breaking up), as opposed to closer to the 7500 RPM that those heads (572), Cam and 2 1/2″ headers wants. I figured that and the weather getting cooler might give me the .06 I needed. When they called us to race, it was still 94.5 degrees and I felt I would have a hard time hitting 9.25, so I’d need a killer light. I also took 2 more Clicks out of the front shocks. I had to line up against Gary Durham, who had a slower car, so he’d leave first. The setting sun still had the tree right in the middle of it, concerning me about seeing the light and pushing the Tree. Gary left, and I left. I felt I had a decent light as I was going down the track. As I was coming to the stripe and passing Gary, he jammed the brakes and gave me the Stripe. When I picked up the ticket it was the yellow copy, meaning loser! Looking at the ticket I saw I threw away a .005 reaction time by running a 6.2477 on a 6.25 index. 23/1000 of a second too fast.
So I was loaded and on the road by 7:00 and home by 1AM
Getting Ready For the Nats at Indy
Tomorrow I’ll back the car out of the trailer; make a floor modification to the trailer; and change the distributor cap, rotor, ignition chips, and wires on the Wagon. Give the car a quick Cleanup and load it up again. I’ll track down some parts like a spare regulator, distributor and plugs, and take the fuel pump and carbs off the Thug to bring to Indy – and I’ll try to fix the car at the track. I leave at 4am Tuesday.
Took the Screamin’ Woody for three hard blast down the road in front of my shop, bringing back for adjustments in between. I think its ready to race after the brakes get bled again, as they suck. The quilted interior material came in, and I’ll recover the door panels next week. Then I’ll detail it and take to the SHRA race in Denton Saturday 9/14. If all goes well there, then I’ll head to Indy for that race. If not, I’ll swap the Wagon for The Thug and run it in Indy.