Sudden Impact Racing Update: 06/06/2004

After getting home from Maple Grove, we unloaded the '67 Camaro Tuesday night then brought the motorhome and trailer to Don Carter's in Rhode Island to have a Tuff Tow put on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday night, Ray and I started converting the '67 from a Turbo 400 to a glide by putting his spare in. We still had everything for that car from when Ray ran a glide back in the late 1980's so back in went the stock transmission crossmember and the powerglide driveshafts that we have for that car. We used the same converter that was in front of the Turbo 400, as it seemed to be working ok.

After taking Thursday night off while Ray and Denise drove down to Rhode Island to pick up the motorhome and trailer while I went into Boston to see my friends' band PCR play at the Middle East, we got back to work on Friday afternoon so that we could go testing this weekend.

Dad came home from the shop a little early and made a bracket for the new shifter I bought from Pete Biondo and routed the cable while I was still at work. When I got home He was almost done with the shifter and routing the cable so I helped tighten it up and get the adjustment right.

While he was finishing some things up with the car, I pulled the rig down the driveway and unloaded his car and the dragster (which was in there to get the weight correct for the Tuff-Tow installation).

As soon as the cars were unloaded we started the '67, made sure everything worked ok, got the fluid level right and gave everything a double check. We then loaded the '67 upstairs in the trailer and the dragster downstairs and headed up to Epping, NH to test it out.

The weather was good on Saturday and there was a ton of cars there. It happened to be Camaro day so I entered that, figuring that I'd get more runs in that way.

On the first time trial, I just tossed three seconds in the stop and left my front numbers alone. I forgot to plug the low chip back in from when we reset the Stop RPM at Maple Grove so I launched off the converter (about 6200 RPM). The car ran 11.127 at 147 MPH so at least I know that it didn't hurt the speed. I changed the low chip, front stop number, shift time number, and put 2.5 seconds in the second number on the stop and ran 10.95 @ 147 on the second time trial.

I left all the settings alone on the car for the first round and put a 10.95 dial on there. The air had gotten about 100 feet better so I figured I was on a mid to high 10.94 and I'd keep the extra couple of thousandths in my pocket just in case.

The reason I left all the settings alone was to see if the car would repeat, and it did, posting an identical 60' time to the prior one. After holding about .06 going by the tree, I cruised to an 11.03 @ 126 MPH win. Second round I decided to go back into test mode and try and find a ratio. The 60' was within .01 and my opponent was red so I ran it out to a 10.855 on my 10.90 dial.

My .506 light earned me the bye the following round and I set it up to run 10.900 and I wasn't too far off, running 10.898 @ 147.34.

The following round, I raced Mike Lamarche who was dialed 10.10 to my 10.90. They sprayed the starting line right as I was in the water box. You'd think that having that fresh traction compound on the track would help the cars, but that's really not the case. It actually makes it greasy for the first couple of cars. So I took a couple numbers out of the stop time to make up for it, knowing that my 60' was going to drop off and my hunch was right as it dropped off .02. It didn't really matter much as Mike's car didn't shift and I just wheeled next to him from about 300' on taking about .025 stripe and running 11.49 @ 121.

In the Camaro Day final, I raced good friend Casey Grubb and his "Just Another Camaro" who dialed in at 9.60. I set the car up on another hard .90 and left the 10.90 dial on the window. I hit the tree pretty good at .515 and Casey was a little late so I was able to start feathering the throttle just past the 1/8th mile and ran 11.105 at 135 for the Camaro Day win (I think that'd my 2nd or 3rd one). Brian's won one or two Camaro Days and so has dad, back when he used to run the '67.

They then had me run off against a Firebird for the "Camaro/Firebird Challenge". After a tree that was longer than I thought possible, (Autostart was used for the first time all day and the starter held the tree a while after we were staged before activating the Autostart system) my .560 light was the better of the two.

When the stop turned off the car picked up a slight vibration and then a loud band, parts flying everywhere and no more vibration. I pulled over and stopped right away, flew out of the car, and took the hood off (I still had my helmet on even).

It seems that the stock crank pulley that we use to drive the alternator decided to come apart in a big way, ripping the center out of it the bolts. When that came out it took the mandrel that was bolted into the crank with it, leaving the threads in the crank, breaking the belt for the vacuum pump and tossing all those parts out onto the track.

By some small miracle, everything came out the bottom, and didn't go through the hood or the radiator. It only put a couple of small chips in the fiberglass radiator fan shroud. Considering that everything was turning at about 6600 at the time, that's amazing.

Saturday night we pulled outside the gate with the whole rig (like you have to at Epping) and unloaded the dragster so we could work on the '67. We had a spare crank bolt with us and some new bolts to hold the crank trigger wheel to the balancer so after we chased the remaining threads from the old crank bolt out of the end of the crank, Ray bolted everything back together in the front and the car was race ready for Sunday, minus an alternator and Vacuum pump where were still bolted in place, but along for the ride.

Despite a poor forecast we got the whole program in on Sunday. I ran the dragster in Top ET and the '67 Camaro in Hot Rod (10.90). Because of the poor forecast they cut us back to one time trial. I ran 7.872 @ 170 MPH in the dragster despite spinning from about 300' on. I sped the '67 Camaro up to compensate for having the 30 or so HP loss from not having the vacuum pump. I ran 10.958 @ 144.91, showing me that the Vacuum pump is worth about a tenth of ET and 2.5 MPH on the stop for that motor.

First round of Top I pulled Justin Mason. I was .506 on the tree and after a few womps on the top end was 7.893 on my 7.88 dial. The car was actually on a 7.868 as it didn't chew as much in the middle.

In Hot Rod I had to run against Steve Palmer in his '67 Camaro first round. I was .513 on the tree and had about .04 on him. On the other end I wasn't anywhere close to getting the stripe, so I fed him a bunch and went 10.97 on the 10.90 index for the win at 132 MPH. He was under at a 10.84.

Second round of Top I raced Wayne Horton. When I staged the car the stage light blinked and I set the brake. With it still blinking I brought the RPM's up to about 1600 and the light stayed on. When I left the red light was on, and then proceeded to run 7.87 on the 7.87 dial. Of course I lifted before the finish line as the car was on a low 7.85 since it got down the track a lot better that time. My red light was a .488 and the 60' slowed down .015, so the only thing I can figure was that I was too shallow and that it backed out a little when the slicks wrinkled. Oh well.

Second round of Hot Rod I raced Ryan Ondrejko. I was .510 on the tree to his .545 and after 7 womps (well, that how many Jack Neal counted) I was 10.934 @ 137 to his 10.91 for the win. The car was dialed pretty close, as I was on 10.895.

In the Hot Rod semis, I raced Lynn Hoosigan for the second week in a row. After going .513, .512, and .510 I picked a great time to have a .536 light, my worst pro tree light in that car this year over 35 passes, got to the other end womped out .012 stripe and was 10.887 to her 10.90 to end my day.

So the good news is that the '67 instead of varying .06 in 60' between passes is now varying .02 - and that could just be related to Epping's track prep.

All the parts are ordered to fix the '67 and should be here by Wednesday and we'll put them on the car, service Dad's and load everything up for the NHRA National Event in Englishtown, NJ in two weeks.