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#2532673 - 08/07/18 07:28 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
MoparBilly Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 4315
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Boone was staging the Duster as I drove around the barrier and backed the Valiant into the water box directly behind him. I had the best seat in the house to see the soot from the drive belch out of the headers as he grabbed the nitrous right from the hit. He had never before launched the car like that, and the gas shock suspended Plymouth clearly didn't like it! The Super Stock springs wrapped up so bad, they topped out the shocks at the same time the front tires were six inches in the air, causing the car to crab walk off the line headed in the general direction of the passenger's side wall. Had this been any other drag strip, he probably would have left some oxidized red paint on the concrete, but the extra width a Byron allowed him the room to shift, then wrestle the Ruster back towards the center line. He had just about found the groove again when the 2-3 shift sent back to the right once again.
"Oh Man!" Brian Lohnes boomed over the PA (the man is a master at modulating his volume to project when he's excited), "that A-body Mopar is wondering around out there like it's up on stilts!" "Still goes 9.95-140, but it was tiptoeing through the tulips!"


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"Livin' in a powder keg and givin' off sparks" 4 Street cars, 5 Race engines

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#2533596 - 08/09/18 01:20 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
MoparBilly Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 4315
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
As soon as Boone's scoreboard lit up, I attempted to start my burnout, but the Valiant pushed through the line lock. With my thumb still on the button, I pumped the brakes twice and tried again, but apparently I hadn't got back to the water because it shoved forward again without rotating the Hoosiers. Disgusted, I released the line lock, maneuvered the Cheetah shifter to R, pushed the trans brake button and attempted to back back into the water. Despite bringing the revs up a little the car refused to move.
My heart started racing, "is the 904 broke?"
I shifted back into low, and the car wouldn't move forward either. I tossed my hands up in disgust and glanced out at the track workers, expecting them to be looking at me wondering what the hold up was. Racing NHRA races puts a clock in your head, like the 24 second shot clock in basketball, they expect the burnouts and approaches to the line to happen at an advanced cadence, but this crew wasn't even noticing yet so I took a deep breath and focused. "The line lock is stuck", it came to me quickly, because the suspension had raised, so it wasn't in the transmission. I tapped the button a few times and felt it release, then backed into the water and did a successful burnout. Despite a few deep breaths, I was still a little rattled and definitely pumped when I turned on the first stage bulb. I brought the small block up to 3K and bumped in. At the first flash I floored it, and grabbed the nitrous almost simultaneously, determined not to be late. It felt like to me that the front end rotated skyward much faster this time than it had last year at Indy, but maybe I just had a better understanding of what was happening having experienced it once already. In any case, it felt much worse, so I lifted off the nitrous and the throttle. My attempt to get back on the throttle as soon as the horizon started coming back did little to lesson the impact when it crashed back down, in fact the fourth picture below is of the rebound wheelie, not the original launch. When it touched down the second time I was on the gas, but the engine sounded weird, and the front end was pulling hard to the center line, so I abandoned the pass and just idled down track.
"Dang it! You just had to get greedy! What is that horrible sound? How bad is the front end screwed up? The alignment is all out of whack!" I tortured myself as I herded the wounded Valiant back down the return road to our pits, wondering if my Drag Week 2017 was just about to come to an end.


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"Livin' in a powder keg and givin' off sparks" 4 Street cars, 5 Race engines

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#2533648 - 08/09/18 08:31 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
Hemi_Joel Offline
master

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 5611
Loc: Minnesota
Ruh-roh!
_________________________

31 Plymouth Coupe, 392 Hemi, T56 magnum

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#2533649 - 08/09/18 08:32 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
Dart451 Offline
mopar

Registered: 01/14/04
Posts: 519
Loc: IL
Now i have to go watch this pass. Byrons replay drives me crazy the audio and video are a couple minutes apart

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#2533733 - 08/09/18 11:23 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
squirrel Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 81
Loc: AZ
I had to go watch it also....

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#2534007 - 08/09/18 10:10 PM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
67autocross Offline
super stock

Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 1037
Loc: Manitoba Canada
Again Billy thanks for all the great stories ...and keeping it real!


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A new iron curtain drawn across the 49th parallel

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#2534098 - 08/10/18 08:54 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
MoparBilly Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 4315
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
"Well, it's still got oil pressure, the 904 still pulls, and the rear end isn't grinding itself to bits right?" Dale shrugged his shoulders after I explained my debacle to the group, "so anything else we can fix!"
"He's right, you know", Boone chimed in, "but we need to go turn in our time slips before we get too deep into it!"
We already pulled the hood off, and discovered the passenger's side header gasket had blown out in the middle, and was hanging down from the bolt on one side. Darren and Dylan agreed to tackle replacing it while we made our way to the tower to get our official time slips and route sheets.

Waiting in line, we watched and listened to the stragglers who were still fighting to get a quality run, and stay competitive in DW17. Scott and Kim Abbott have always been on the road quickly with their familiar orange and primer 70 Road Runner, but the big Hemi in their small tire, stock suspension 67 Belvedere was a little trickier, and for the second day in a row, they were still on hand to shut the place down. With a hot greasy starting line affecting his judgment, Scott just eased out towards the sixty foot clocks before bringing the elephant to full song.
"Now that he got his foot off the brake pedal, that big Plymouth is moving pretty good!" Lohnes sounded off on the PA. The joke brought a chorus of laughter from everyone waiting to turn in slips.
"10.68-134", Dale shook his head, "it's got 9 second potential once he sorts it out!"
"Certainly", I agreed, "but that's a bunch of power, a heavy car, and a small tire, so it won't be easy!"
"Did Squirrel get another run?"
"If he did, I missed it", Dale shrugged.
"ten oh nine...one thirty, I think", Boone chimed in.
"Dang, they found something, somewhere because he was only twenties on Monday and Tuesday!"
"Well, even a blind squirrel finds a nut..."
"Just stop Dale", I interjected, "That joke is low hanging fruit, you can't go there!"
Everyone around us was laughing just the same, gallows humor, I suppose.


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"Livin' in a powder keg and givin' off sparks" 4 Street cars, 5 Race engines

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#2539894 - 08/22/18 01:33 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
MoparBilly Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 4315
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
We collected our official time slips, then picked up our route sheets for the evening drive. I quickly flipped it to the back so I could check the total miles.
"Only 153 tonight", I breathed a sigh of relief, "That makes me feel a little better about the repairs I've got to deal with!"
"Piece of cake, brother", Dale clasped his big right hand onto the top of my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "But tell me, since math isn't my strong suit...does that twenty-four hundredths the Gremlin put on the Valiant today wash away your two day advantage?"
"You know it does, but tomorrow is a return to Union Grove, and if I remember correctly, the Gremlin didn't enjoy the last visit there!"
"Don't remind me", Dale laughed as we walked along the fence to catch the last cars running before returning to our pits.

"This is the guy that is 2nd in my class", Dale pointed as Matt Bryson staged up his four eyed hatch back fox body.
The 8.97-151 was impressive given the weather and track conditions, but it was a full tenth and two mph off his Monday pace. Terry Miller's red 3rd gen Firebird, who was a tick behind Bryson, holding down 3rd in Modified NA was up next, but blew the tires off early, so he would have to settle for the 9.04-154 he ran earlier.
"He's had MPH on Bryson all week, but can't ET with him", Dale shook his head, "Gotta be driving him crazy!"
Rick Steinke's "Honk if parts fall off" 67 crew cab Chevelle was up next. They had left Cordova with a share of the SRSBPA lead, having turned in a nearly perfect 8.509-160 mph. But while a 9.46 on day two ruined their chances to finish in the top three of the class, the broken transmission that led to the poor showing threatened to saddle them with a DNF! They limped to the motel, pulled the trans, and rebuilt it in the motel bathtub just to get to Byron, so getting an opportunity to stage the car in the last few minutes of track time was a real victory. The 8.69-159 got all of us excited.
"Love the thrash, and send it stories!" Boone smiled.
"Yeah", I agreed, "They usually don't work out as well as that, though."

Steve Morris brought Clark Rosentengal's twin turbo 2010 Camaro back into the water one more time, and while the LSX sounded great the car just didn't seem to move out of the hole. The 8.98-167 definitely wasn't what they were looking for, and it seemed the problem that held them to an 8.23 earlier in the day was only getting worse.

That left only two cars in the lanes: John Faraone's Valiant Charger, who was trying to stay ahead of Matt Blasco's Dirty Drag Week Dart for the "Quickest Mopar" plaque, and Tom McGilton's TT 2013 ZL1 Camaro which was holding off Matt Blasco for 2nd place in Pro Street Power Adder, but was trying to stay with Glenn Hunter's 56 Belair, which had run 7.53 earlier in the day.

Faraone left extremely soft for about 80 feet, then really ramped the power in. The big predator headed wedge lifted the front tires slightly and started driving the Valiant towards the center line. The last ditch nature of the effort precluded John from lifting, and he deftly tip-toed the 3900lb A-body down the stripe until it finally just clipped the foam blocks for the eighth mile ET and MPH, forcing him to lift and manhandle the old girl back into his lane, finishing with an 8.72-167.

"Another rough year for John", Dale shook his head, "He deserves better!"
"I doubt that pass will count" Lohnes explained over the PA, "and we will get that debris cleaned up and let Tom run without eighth mile clocks!"

We were headed back to our pits when Rick caught up to us.
"Billy!" He held his phone up in front of me, "I got a killer shot of your awesome wheelie!" "That was so cool! Everyone in the stands was blown away! It was great!"
I spun to lock him in my gaze and spat the words out through gritted teeth. "It WASN'T cool...sure, maybe from the bleachers, but in the car it SUCKED Rick!" Now the front-end is knocked out of alignment, and who knows what other damaged occurred...it wasn't COOL at all!"
I regretted the outburst an instant after it happened. His shoulders slumped and he had a wounded look on his face. "Man...I'm sorry, I thought you would be excited..."
"I didn't mean to snap at you Rick", I attempted to apologize, "I'm just worried about the car..."
"Don't be", his smile came back and he slapped me across the back, "Sharma and I will get it off the ground and put an Oklahoma tape measure alignment on the beast that will have you back on the road in no time!"


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"Livin' in a powder keg and givin' off sparks" 4 Street cars, 5 Race engines

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#2540046 - 08/22/18 01:03 PM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
JERICOGTX Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 8018
Loc: MN
popcorn
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69 GTX 68 Road Runner

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#2540329 - 08/23/18 08:27 AM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
MoparBilly Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 4315
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
McGilton closed out Drag Week 17's visit to Byron Dragway with a 7.60-187 pass as we made our way back to our pits. Darren and Dylan had re-installed the passenger's side header on the Valiant with a fresh Percy's multi-layer aluminum gasket. They are the only ones I've found that stay sealed for all the street driving, but they start to melt and degrade after about 6-8 nitrous passes. I installed the exhaust while Rick and Sharma inspected the front suspension and did an alignment. The passenger's side pipe wouldn't go in place without slotting the rear mount, so I knew the header had been tweaked when the 62 landed but couldn't see where exactly. Rachael had all of our stuff packed except the tools, and I was starting to feel like we might still make it out on the road at a decent hour. I fired up the 428 to check everything else out, and it was immediately apparent that we still had a bad header leak on he passenger's side. With the car back in the air on stands, Dylan crawled under with a flashlight and looked up at where the tubes met the flange.
"Yep", he confirmed our fears, "that back tube is cracked on the bottom...pretty much from bolt hole to bolt hole!"
"Crap", Boone shook his head, "what now?"
Dylan crawled out from under the car, and we were all standing around in a semi-circle discussing our options when Clark Rosenstengal walked down from the upper pits to check on us. It's not uncommon for the stragglers at the end of the day to commiserate with each other, and we had noticed that both his Camaro and John Faraone's Aussie Charger were up on four jack stands with attention on the trans area. During the conversation, I wasn't sure if both were having issues with their Rossler transmissions, or their Gear Vendors, but they were waiting for parts to arrive. Dylan eventually asked Clark if he had a welder and generator in his trailer, and I was surprised when he said yes and volunteered to drag them out so we could use them.
"It's settled then", Dale smiled, "Let's get that header back off and get it fixed!"

I accompanied Dale and Dylan up to Clark's little pull along trailer with the header, and talked to him while Dylan welded up the pipe. I noticed that Dennis Taylor was loading up the 55, which had made multiple passes during the day.
"Yeah, they lost the Badmaro last night, and have decided to throw in the towel for this year", Clark confided. "I might be joining them soon", he laughed. "It's been a trying year for all of us, and it just wears you down after a while."
The conversation proved prophetic, As Byron would mark the end of competition at Drag Week 2017 for both Rosenstengal and Faraone, as well as Dennis Taylor.

It was dark by the time we pulled out of Byron Dragway. Rick and Sharma had left several hours earlier, so it was just the eight of us when we pulled into Phillips 66 in Byron to fuel up and regroup at 7pm. We were surprised to see McGilton's Camaro and Barry's 56 there also, figuring they were well on their way before then. Plans were made for a late supper stop at Applebees in Freeport Il., some thirty miles away. Rachael and I took the lead out of Byron, and headed west on Il-72 with Dale and Dylan in the Gremlin directly behind us, followed by Boone and Billy in the Ruster then Pops and Darren in the Ram R/T. I was cruising along at 3K, enjoying the breeze through the windows and chatting with Rachael, when after about six miles I looked up and realized there were no headlights behind me.
"Where the heck did those guys disappear to this time?"
Rachael set her phone down and picked up mine, "I'll text them and see what's going on".


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_________________________
"Livin' in a powder keg and givin' off sparks" 4 Street cars, 5 Race engines

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#2541308 - 08/25/18 03:19 PM Re: Hot Rod Drag Week 2017: The Experience. [Re: MoparBilly]
MoparBilly Offline
master

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 4315
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
"A rear caliper locked up on the Gremlin", Rachael reported "they're pulled over in a farmer's driveway!"
"So after all that time sitting there helping us, now he's broke five miles down the road?"
"Apparently! What's that old saying you always quote? 'No good deed goes unpunished', or something like that?"
I chuckled, "very, very true...ask them if we need to turn around and come back".
Rachael had both thumbs going furiously for a few minutes then looked up at me and shook her head. "They don't want us to come back, in fact, Dale wants you to go to a parts store in Freeport, and pick up a new caliper!"
"Great! How far out are we?"
She sat down one phone and picked up the other. "We're fourteen miles from town, and the store closes in twenty-five minutes!"
"Great", I shook my head and kicked the small block up to thirty-seven hundred.
Rachael looked over with a smile, and asked how the car was handling.
"Wonderful, as a matter of fact, the front end feels better than it has all year, so Rick and Sharma did a great job!"
"Did you touch it since the wheelie in Indy last year?"
I thought for a second, "no I'm pretty sure I didn't..."
"Probably been screwed up since then, you just got used to driving it like that", she surmised. I had no answer so I just kept my mouth shut.
A minute later she pointed to the left of the road, "isn't that PJ's Falcon?"
"And Blasco's Dart, along with Guido's GTO! The Canadian contingent!"
"Which one were they working on?" She raised up in her seat and looked out the back as I continued on.
"Looked like more than one actually", I surmised, "but we have a date with a parts store, so we can't stop!"

Little did we know that both the Falcon's and the Dart's engines were opened up for major surgery. The Dirty Drag Week Dart would survive the ordeal, the little 60 Falcon would not.


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"Livin' in a powder keg and givin' off sparks" 4 Street cars, 5 Race engines

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