Bradenton 2018

The following is a recap of the Vitamin C at NMCA’s first race of the year.

I originally had hoped to have the Texas Thug ready for this race. However, about a month ago I realized there just wasn’t enough time to finish and test a new car, zo the thrash was on to build an engine to replace the one I’d blown in the Vitamin C late last year. All of that has been pretty much documented in the last couple posts. The difference between the cars being that everything but the engine had already been tested in the Vitamin C, vs. everything being new and untested in the Thug. The Vitamin C was finished just in time, with the only testing being on the 35 mph country road the shop is on.

So the plan was to load up Monday and leave Tuesday morning. However, I was told Sunday that I could get in on renting the track for testing on Wednesday, but I’d have to get on the track 6 pm Tuesday night or I’d have to pass on testing and not be able get on the track until Thursday. I returned from the lake Sunday night and got to the shop with a week’s worth of clothes, groceries, and Buster early Monday.

I pulled out of the shop at 1 pm for the start of my 1100+ mile trek.

When I got to Lake Charles, LA I sat on I10 for over an hour while they cleared an accident.

I made it as far as Mississippi Monday night, staying at the NASA Rest area. Up early Tuesday to drive the final 700 miles in a hard rain, high winds and heavy/slow traffic. I had to stop in Ocala to drop of some leather power seats from my Magnum to someone who’d bought it on eBay.

I didn’t get to the track until 7 pm, but I know someone who knows someone…

Wednesday, I got up early to set up my pit, and pay the track. Also testing was Leah Pritchett, and Buster and I were able to get a “Selfie” with her.

The first pass off the trailer was a 10.93, but was sluggish off the line while charging hard on the top end.

I made some minor adjustments and had about the same results on second pass. I use to run 650 CFM carbs on the car, but had put a pair of 750s on this motor. I wasn’t sure if the carbs and/or jets were too big for the small 440 ci motor or if I had a vacuum leak. I didn’t see an obvious cause of a leak, but when I put a wrench on the 8 nuts holding the carbs down, and 3 were a little loose.

My third pass gave me a 10.773 time slip, and the car felt good, but the car launched like a Chevy with the left wheel higher than the right. See below photo.

I spent the next three passes playing with shock settings to even out the left/right on the launch, and with launch RPMs for the best 60′. All of those passes were 9.77-9.78.  The track closed down for the day and I didn’t have a chance to test with weight to get to my 11.00 index.

Thursday I teched the car in and established driver credentials. They had open Time Trials, but you only get two hits and wait hours for it, so I passed – and instead cleaned the coach and trailer. Thursday night there was a little soiree for NSS Racers at Doug Duell’s house.

Friday we had one Time Trial and one Qualifying hits. I took a wild swing at weight in the 8:45 am time trial and did 11.01. The first Qualifying was in the afternoon, and even though I added another 75 pounds, I was too fast at 10.989.

Saturday Qualifying 2 was again at 8:45 am. I threw all the weight I could at the car to make sure I’d no way be too fast. The car ran an 11.08, which boosted me number 10 of 20.  In the final qualifying I went for broke, and dialed in to hit an 10.999-11.000 by removing about 100 pounds. For some unexplained reason the car ran a 11.08 again. An inexpiable fluke. That bumped me down to number 12, and instead of racing number 20, I was paired with #2 in Eliminations Sunday.

It rained all Saturday night, and the planned 8:30 am call for the first round of Eliminations didn’t happen until 10:30. I had the car set up for a 10.98 so I could play the stripe. However, I fell asleep at the tree and my opponent didn’t. My only hope was to push him to break out. I hit the brakes at the last minute, but so did he.

While I screwed up on my reaction time, the car did well. “Run Completion” said the car would have ran a 10.98 had I not hit the brakes (maybe too soon).

I loaded up, showered and was on the road by 2 pm, only getting as far as Quincy, FL (350 miles) as it was raining and I needed to find a place to park for the night.

Up again a 5 am and home at 8 pm. I’ve left the car in the stacker as I have anther race in San Antonio this weekend, and too much to do between now and then