Bradenton Recap for 2011
We left the shop at 10AM last Wednesday with the Vitamin C. loaded up for (Dave) I, and the black Coronet for Dallas. We drove until 1AM Eastern time and pulled into a Wal-Mart lot in Lake City, Fl., for the night. Back on the road at 8AM we reached the track (50 mile south and east of Tampa) at about 1PM. As usual, we pitted next to our bud Doug Duell – one pointed in one direction and the other in the other direction – to have a large pit between us. There was no tech or Driver’s credentials on Thursday, so we set up the pits and relaxed.
Friday Time Trials, Saturday Qualifying, and Sunday was Eliminations.
At 7Am Friday, we unloaded the cars and established racer credentials. We had put new and bigger (2 ¼”) headers on Dallas’ car – and a couple of the wires real close to the header tubes. MSD had their trailer there, and so we took four of the wires there to have the angled boots converted to straight boots. The MSD tech commented that the plug ends were not put together right – as the metal under the boots were bent at an angle instead of left straight. He showed us where two of the four wires weren’t even firing right.
After installing the new ends, they tested the wires for resistance – as they’re suppose to be about 50 ohms per foot. While the wires were fairly new – none were close to spec. So we went back to the car to get the other wires to have them tested.
While Dallas was doing that, I took my car to get teched in. It took about 90 minutes to get through the long tech line. As I was leaving tech, Dallas was just getting his car in line. I returned to the pits and got the car ready for the first Time Trial. I made my first pass (mine and the car’s 1st since early November) and I guessed the ballast weight right – running an 11.023 on my 11.00 Index. I returned to the pits to service the car and cool it down and went to make a second Time Trial pass. The car did an 11.019 – so I put it away for the day – happy with car and driver.
After I returned from my last TT pass, Dallas was just returning from tech with his car. We got it ready and he headed to the staging lanes. He was there for nearly two hours because of accidents, oil downs, etc. When he finally able to make his first time trial pass, he had a miserable 10.01 – when planning to run the 9.75 index. Back at the pits we checked the car over – paying special attention to the plug wires – since they were the new item. It was 5:50PM and they were calling for last call on Time Trials for the day – so we took the car back to the line. It made an even more miserable 10.16 on that pass.
Back at the pits we found that the rotor was a little loose and the timing was at 24 degrees – when it is normally run at 34 degrees. We got those items fixed – but we were concerned how we lost 10 degrees of timing. Since Dallas wouldn’t have another T&T session, we didn’t know why we lost the timing, and we had bigger headers without knowing how they’d run (the car’s best at Houston in November was a 9.71 in about the same conditions we had in Bradenton with 2 1/8” headers) – the decision was made to change the index to A/NSS (10.0) before the first qualifying Saturday Morning.
17 NSS cars came to the race, but two blew motors in Time Trials, and couldn’t be repaired in time for Qualifying.
The first Qualifying pass was to be made at 9AM, and so at 7AM we opened the trailer door to find that Dallas’ black Coronet had a flat on the driver’s slick. It was the bottom car in the trailer, and the Vitamin C car was on the lift above it. Dallas aired up the slick and got the car out. Then we got the Vitamin C out. While I serviced the Vitamin C, and added 20 pounds ballast for the first Qualifying Pass – Dallas moved his car to the road (sandy pits) to jack it up, pull the shock bolts to drop the rear axle, and get the big 33” slick off the car (not easy). As he was taking the slick to the Mickey Thompson trailer – NSS was called to the staging lanes. Luckily for Dallas there was an accident that shut the track down for about an hour – so I called him from the lanes to hurry. He pulled into the lanes as the last of the NSS cars were making their Q1 pass, and was able to make his. I made an 11.008 pass and was the #1 qualifier after the first Qualifying session. Dallas lifted just past the 1000’ and did a 9.75 at a very slow 116MPH. The car was obviously at least a 9.3-9.4 car – and he was upset that he’d changed to a 10.0 index for this race.
For the second qualifying round we pulled back the timing on Dallas’ car 4 degrees to 30. We also noticed that his slick was still going flat – so he had to take the tire off again to get it to the Mickey Thompson trailer. It appears that in the hurry to sell us a $90 tube – they never checked to see what caused the flat. They finally found (after our insistence that the slick was losing air – and not that the air was escaping between the tube and slick as they kept insisting) a metal sliver – and patched the tube, which I’m sure they could have done for the original tube instead of making us buy a new one that now has a patch. Anyway, that was all done before the 2nd Qualifying pass. I did a 10.991 (breakout as I had to better an 11.008) and Dallas did a 9.894 (also a breakout). Someone else (Barry Camp) made an 11.008 pass – but I was still the first and #1 Qualifier after the 2nd of three Qualifying rounds.
For the third qualifying round, I was first in line – with 50 pounds of ballast. As I was pulling up, some spectator runs up and looks under my car – causing a flurry of action with the track personnel that would last for the rest of the weekend. The track saw nothing wrong with my car – and I made my third pass, which was an 11.05 from not guessing the weight right. Dallas managed a 10.01 on his 3rd pass – putting him #5. There was a third racer (Steve Wilson) to hit an 11.008 – but no one bettered it – and my doing it first had me the #1 Qualifier – and giving me a Bye for Eliminations on Sunday.
Back at the pits I’m checking my car to find out what the concern under it was – but couldn’t find a leak anywhere. Along strolls up the guy (he owns the 69 AAA/FX Barracuda that his son drives) to stir up the concern with my car, and I asked him what he was doing. He says he saw a couple of drops of water while I was in line. I slid a red mat under the car and started it up and ran it at 4000 RPM for a minute while Dallas looked. Dallas had me shut the car down after seeing very slow dripping from the header flange, where it is split between the 7 cylinder and the Siamese 3/5 tubes. While Dallas thought it was a head gasket – I felt certain it was the header bolt that goes through the head’s water jacket. I removed the front header bolt in the #7 tube and Dallas cleaned off the old Permatex and loaded it up with fresh Permatex – then ran it back in. The car was put away dry to let the Permatex cure.
Sunday, the first round of eliminations was to be at 9AM. We unloaded the cars at 7AM and added pure 100% water (never anti-freeze) to the Vitamin C. At first there were a couple of drips from the header tube for about a minute – then it stopped, which was very puzzling. I took the car for a 2 mile drive around the track to get it to 180 degrees, and when it came back it still wasn’t leaking. Just before we were called to the line – I checked again and there were no leaks. Since I had a Bye – I was parked at the end of the staging lanes until everyone else ran – and I check under the car – no drops. As I was pulling to the burnout box – I had all of the track personnel checking out my car (obviously from the complaint yesterday) and they saw nothing – so I was allowed to run. Dallas ran Bud Cochran, and won his round.
For the second round of Eliminations on Sunday – the tree had Dallas and me meeting each other for the first time ever in Eliminations. I kept checking my car for dripping – and saw no drops. We were called to the lanes at 3PM. As I was pulling up, I again had the entire track personnel looking under my car – and they saw nothing. I won my round against Dallas.
Again back at the pits I kept checking the car for drips – and saw none. The Semis had me against one of the others that ran an 11.008 in Qualifying. As I was pulling into the burnout box, I was told to back out because there were 2 drops of clear water 6’ apart from each other. Dallas tried to argue that it was only 2 drops and clear water – but they told him I was done, and the Chevelle got the Bye. I think that was pretty weak for 2 drops of clear water between the staging lanes and burnout box (100’).
Back at the pits, there was a drip again coming from the bolt – but it was only leaking 1 drop per 10 seconds. My guess that the 2 drops were a collection on the lip of my dragster style oil pan that rolled off as I moved forward.
I received 300 points for rounds and 90 points for being the top qualifier. Steve Wilson was Runner Up and will have 400 points for rounds and 80 points for 3rd Qualifier. The winner of the race and the guy in forth were local racers not running for the points Championship – thus Steve is in first 90 points ahead of me. Dallas should be in (Effectively – of those running the series) 4th with 200 points for rounds and 70 points for Qualifying, and Doug Poskevitch only 5 points ahead of him. Then Geary Bates, Barry Camp, Doug Duell, Kurt Neighbor, and DW Hopkins – of those running the series and making the first race. The NMCA Points Series is 7 races where you can throw the worst two out. Indy is double points, and you get 100 points for making five races, 200 for making 6 races, or 300 for making all seven.
Since Dallas’ car ran well and the timing never again changed, we assume the distributor hold down loosen just enough to torque the distributor to retard on the two TT passes.