Sudden Impact Racing Update: 09/19/2005

The last two weeks have been real productive for the Sudden Impact Racing team. While no more Wallys were earned, Ray did manage to jump from 8th to 3rd and then to 1st in the NHRA National Super Gas points standings.

Before this last 2-race trip started, Ray put new valve springs and lifters in the faster of the 565's and we put it back in the car to get a little more MPH back, especially with the Chicago All-Stars race coming up. We also put a brand new set of Hoosiers on the car for this stretch of races.

We headed down to Englishtown, New Jersey for the 6th Division 1 race of the season. Keep in mind that the 5th race at Cecil County was rained out and rescheduled for this coming Saturday, September 24th.

We received two time shots Thursday, Ray's car dialing in nicely, despite the motor swap, running a pair of 9.91's, both at 167 MPH, right where the speed should be with this motor.

The Cavalier ran a pair of 9.903's, the first one at 160 MPH, and the second at 139 MPH. On the second run, the car didn't shift on time when it was supposed to, so I shifted it around 7500 RPM's, making the car WAAAAY fast on the dial. In fact at the 1/8th mile, the car was on a 9.56. Because I was the faster car in that time trial, I caught the other car VERY early, and just paced him from about 600' to the finish line, taking .015 stripe and running that 9.903. It was kind of fun, but at the same time the car had a problem.

When I got back to the pits, the shift solenoid wasn't working. I went in the motorhome and took my firepants off and when I came back out, it was working better than ever. So Ray and I tore the car apart and he started checking some things. If finally acted up again and was able to test it. There was power at the shift solenoid, but it wasn't shifting, so I went over and saw Sal Biondo and he had the one I needed in stock. After we changed that the car was shifting fine. Problem solved.

We got one more time shot on early Saturday afternoon, with Ray running 9.901 and me running 9.914.

About 4 hours later it was time for the first round of Super Gas. Ray drew John Stover in the first round random pair. Ray had raced him at the prior race at Maple Grove and I'd raced him at the first Maple Grove race, both of us being successful. Ray was hoping that this wasn't the time for payback, and it wasn't. Ray was .014 on the tree to John's .020 and ray used a 9.913 to push John under the dial at 9.897.

Just like the first round at Maple Grove, I drew our transmission and converter builder Ed Alessi, Sr. and just like Maple Grove, he was red, going -.015 to my .012 green. We both missed the dial, though, running 9.92's.

Second round was on Sunday and Ray was laddered up with the PC Richard's '63 Corvette of Pat Dehner. Ray had raced Pat earlier in the season and I'd run him at Delmar as well. Pat had Ray on the tree on this one, but thankfully Pat was a little quick, running 9.860. Ray was over at a 9.92 for the win. I was laddered up with the 174 MPH Nova of Joe Saluta. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about judging the finish line against him. Thankfully I didn't have to, as he was -.011 red on the starting line to my .013 green. I ran it out to a 9.888 at 160 MPH.

Third round Ray was paired up with the Willys of Tom Goldman. They must've got some weird air because Ray won in a double breakout, 9.888 to 9.861.

I was sitting a few pairs behind Ray and watched a double breakout in front of him, him go 9.88, when he was dialed for 9.905-ish and Regis Lepage win with a 9.88. I had my car setup 9.895 in case it lost some 60', but now I had the feeling that it was going to be a little fast in my match up with Glen Emig. I had Glen on the tree, .015 to .029 and as we were going down track it looked like if I got there, it'd only be by .001-.003. With me set-up 9.895 and watching everyone be fast in front of me, I dumped hard, giving Glen .027 stripe. Since you can't see the win lights in the car at Englishtown, I just figured he was under and I'd won the round. When I got to the time slip booth, I was a bit surprised to see his 9.903 beat my 9.944. It turns out all I would've had was a 9.917 which would've put us in a decision by less that .001 seconds on the stripe. Oh well.

4th round Ray faced the '66 Chevelle of Mark Parente. Ray had about .03 going by the tree and it was enough to survive a real close double breakout by .001, 9.893 to 9.892.

This set-up a 5th round pairing between Ray and good friend Jason Kenny. Ray thought he heard something strange in the motor in the burnout and it popped a little when he revved it up to clear it out. This was enough to distract him as he was .051 on the tree to Jason's .016. Ray's car was falling off on the way down the track and only ran 9.925 to Jason's 9.928.

When he brought the car back to the pits, it had that distinct lifter eating a cam noise, so we pulled the valve covers to check it out. Sure enough, one of the new lifters broke the tie bar and was stuck in the lifter bore.

So we started to tear the car apart with the help of Regis Lepage and out came Grinch I. We pulled Grinch II out from under the bench, and put that back in the car. Thanks so much to Regis and Carolyn Lepage, Al and Jason Kenny, Dick, John, Rich and Karin Dorr for all their help with the swap.

By the way, by Ray making it to 5th round, he moved all the way up to third in National points, just needing to win first round at Maple Grove to take over the lead.

We stayed at Englishtown Sunday night, filled up with water Monday morning and the caravan headed over to Maple Grove for the NHRA Toyo tires Nationals. We made a fuel stop on the Jersey turnpike, where it's cheaper, and then a stop in a rest area off the Pennsylvania turnpike to dump the tanks and have some lunch.

We got to Maple Grove early Monday afternoon and with gates not opening until Wednesday morning, there wasn't a whole lot to do. Jason and I played a little NHRA Drag Racing on my PS2 for a while, and then we all went over to the bar/restaurant at Maple Grove Park for some dinner. After dinner we hung on a little bit and went to bed.

Tuesday was another long boring day, but at least we had Satellite and Internet. Dick Dorr, who had blown up his motor at Englishtown, showed back up with a car he borrowed from a friend that needed a little work to make right. And by a little, I mean a lot. It was entertaining watching them work on that car, at least.

Ernie Kendall cooked up a spaghetti and meatball dinner that I hear was pretty good. I went over to the bar with John Asta for a drink, which turned out to be quite a few drinks and dinner. When we came back, Jason and I headed back over to the bar for a few more drinks and fun.

They opened up the gates on Wednesday morning on time and being 42nd in line it took a little while to get in. There were 5 of us in a row, Al, Jason, Us, Regis, and Rich Dorr and the way that NHRA was parking, we all ended up in different placed. We ended up about 1 rig into the field in a "2 car spot" that wasn't even big enough for 1 car. So we put dad's car next to the trailer and left mine on the tailgate. We got tech and credentials done without a problem and loaded everything back up for the night.

We got three time runs on Thursday, only delayed about an hour for a brief rain shower. Out of the box, Ray ran 9.902, followed up with a 9.925 and on his final run he was .004, 9.905 for a .009 package. My runs didn't go as well as Ray's, but 9.931, 9.926, and 9.938 aren't too bad I guess. I was .013, -.001, and .012 on the tree. The biggest thing on my car was the 60' times falling off all day. They started at 1.571, then 1.590 and 1.606 on the final one. I need tires.

First round was around 10AM Friday morning. I faced Super Street racer Bernie Staub and his Plymouth Arrow. I had a slight .022 to .028 advantage off the starting line and was getting there by a little bit. I tried to tighten it up to .008, but ended up taking .005 stripe. It was a good thing, too, because I won a double breakout, 9.878 to his 9.877 by .001. If I did take .008 stripe, I would've been a first round runner-up!

A few minutes later, Ray had to face former world Champion Dan Northrop in a very tough first round random pairing draw. Dan had Ray by .003 on the tree, but Ray was on a 9.903 on the top end, but killed on the brakes to a 9.909 to Dan's 9.958. To say that Dan dumped a little would be a huge understatement. That was all the action we had on Friday and second round wasn't until Saturday morning.

I was paired up with Ray Fordyce Sr. and his Chevy Cavalier. I was .009 to Ray's .032 and I was on a 9.902, but pedaled out to .012 stripe and a 9.906 for a .015 package. Ray had to face Carl Juliano Jr. and his Studebaker. Ray was .014 to Carl's .036 and on the top end, Ray got on the brakes and killed to a 9.902 to Carl's 9.880. Ray actually got their first by .0002, or two ten-thousandths of a second. Yikes. By Ray putting a 9.90 on the board, this meant that at Maple Grove Raceway, his car had put a 9.90 on the scoreboard on 9 of the last 10 runs.

Third round was late on Saturday night, around 8:06 PM. The humidity had rolled in and we actually got a very light sprinkle while we were in the staging lanes, enough where they had to dry the track.

Ray was paired up with Tommy DePascale and his Vega wagon. We've both had some good on-track battles with "Tommy Dee" over the years in SST and SG. Tommy had Ray dead in the water on the starting line, .018 to Ray's .044. On the top end, however, Ray's big speed fooled Tommy enough to let us get around by .018, running 9.929 to Ray's 9.915.

With the humidity going up, I set my car up on a 9.86, figuring that the humidity should slow it up to a 9.89 or so in my match up with George Stack. George has his smaller motor in the car, so he was only 155 MPH as opposed to his usual 164 or so, which meant that I'd be chasing him down. When we left, I knew I had the tree, by what I thought was a hundredth. It was actually .007, with me being .005 to his .012. I was just a little bit behind him the whole way down the track, being .016 behind him and closing at the 1000' mark. At the stripe, I just didn't have enough and his 9.921 was enough to hold off my 9.931 by .003.

I'm puzzled why my car missed by that much, but for Sunday morning the guys from Hoosier Tire brought down a new set of 17x33.5-16's for me and mounted them up so they'll be on the car for Cecil County. The CO2 piston on my throttle stop also will bleed off a little CO2 during the course of the day, so I'll probably order another one of those this week as well.

We had all night to think about Dad's next round, a rematch against Jason Kenny from last week. When we woke up Sunday, the air was better, the barometer was higher, and the air was drier. Basically the air was better. We didn't run until after the second round of pro cars, around 2:00 PM. The trees were pretty close, .023 to .027 but on the top end, Jason hit the dial on the brakes at 9.903 and Ray could only run a 9.941. Giving Jason a very easy win.

We don't know why dad's car ran that slow. The air was the best of the weekend, but I would've needed to put the least amount of stop time in for the weekend to run 9.90. Basically I would've needed to set the car up for a 9.86 or so, which in better air you just plain don't do. We looked at all the data from the data recorder and everything looks normal. The stop RPM and time, driveshaft speed, cylinder temps, fuel pressure, oil pressure, vacuum, converter slippage, everything agrees with prior runs. It was like the car was down 30 HP from when it launched until about 500 feet and then went back to normal. He ran the slowest 1/8th mile speed of the weekend, but ran the fastest 1/4 mile speed, 165.25. So from halftrack on the car was charging, but down low it wasn't. We'll just have to chalk it up to catching some weird air down low and move onto the next race.

After we got everything loaded up and tied down, we hung around Maple Grove until after the finals, since Arthur Gallant was in the TAD final and our friend John Asta was in the SG final. Arthur was shut off with a fuel leak, but Asta came through and the 1991 Super Gas World Champ claimed his 2nd National event win with Ron Erks went red. Congrats to John on the huge win!

After the winner's circle celebration, we headed across the street with the Kennys and Lepages for our last meal at the Maple Grove bar for the year while traffic died down. We came back from dinner, got a few hours of driving in and are now on the way home.

When we get home, we have to unload the Cavalier and get the broken motor out of the trailer and up to Boucher's Racing Engines. We'd made arrangements with Tom earlier in the week so he has everything there, just needs the motor and it'll be fixed and ready to go. Ray spend much of the day Friday taking the heads off the motor and cleaning everything up, getting it so that Tom can go right to work on getting the lifter out, the new cam in and freshening up the bottom end. By the way, Tom won the North American Nationals in Super Stock. Congrats Tom! We'll pick it back up on Thursday and Brian, Ray and I will head back down to Cecil County on Thursday night or Friday morning to run the make-up of the Cecil County Divisional and then onto Chicago for the All-Stars race and National event. Ray will put the heads back on it and the valvetrain back in probably at Cecil County or possibly at Chicago, depending on when we have time.

So after tabulating the points from Reading, and the divisionals in Noble, OK and Fontana, CA, Ray is now officially leading the Super Gas world points by 2 and one half rounds over Steve Cohen. This next weekend is a big one, points wise, with 2 races in Columbus (the Bowling Green, KY makeup and the Columbus points meet) and the race in Cecil County, MD. At Cecil County, Ray needs to make it past second round to start earning points, since his worst divisional race is the second round finish at Maple Grove in May.

And on a final note, there have been a lot of rumors flying around that we're somehow cheating because of the number of 9.90's we've run with dad's car this year and how well we're doing in the points. I guess that means that we're doing something right! Brian thought that it was pretty funny and came up with this:

Sudden Impact Racing's Top Ten Ways To Cheat

10. One of us hides behind the scoreboard and changes it to 9.90, wheel of fortune style

9. We trip the beam with the front and back tire. Whichever number in between makes us a winner, we send it to the timing system.

8. We are aliens.

7. We have our very own memory eraser, "The Dutch Princess," in preparation for a possible tear down

6. One word... Holograms.

5. We have a monkey in the engine compartment that sticks out his hand to trip the beam, at his own discretion, of course.

4. Hydrotrocoliazation meter... "Preparing us for 9.90's since 1985."

3. We have a time machine, so every round is a possible do-over

2. We hold the tower hostage during Super Gas eliminations, then tell them we'll see them next round.

1. If all else fails, we make it rain.

Thanks for reading, and keep your fingers crossed for us! There's a lot of racing left this year, but things are looking pretty good!