3-22-14

After being rained out last weekend at Kennedale, this week we traveled far south to halfway between Temple, Tx and Holland, Tx to Little River Dragway for their first points race of the year.

Having never been there before, first up (having seen the track only from satellite imagery and online photos/videos) on the to-do list was learning the property- the track isn’t much more than a paperclip. After talking to those around us about how to navigate the facility in a car not conducive to turning, and watching some of the slower classes, our turn was up for first time trial. Going up towards the back of the group, our first time trial came out as a 4.807 in the right lane with a 4.79 still on the dial board from the motorplex- not a bad guess. However, not 10 minutes after our first run, the skies opened up and it was a mad dash to keep equipment dry, and the car.

After an hour and a half of rain delay, we pulled the car back out of the trailer. However, the electronic dashboard did not work, and as a result the body had to come off the car and a phone call was made to the manufacturer. After quite a bit of debugging, the car was put back together, and the track was dry not much later.

The second time trial took place in the left lane, yielding a 4.793, with a prediction of a 4.77. Quick and dial for dollars were cancelled due to the rain delay, so that was to be our only run before eliminations. First round was approached with a 4.79 dial. However, the previously predicted 4.77 is what came on the board in our left lane, leading to a breakout pass and the win light appearing in the other lane. A trip to the buyback window gave us an entry back to second round, this time putting the 4.77 on the dial board. However, a very late 0.230 reaction time in the other lane means that paths were met about half track, yielding a lift at 3.58 seconds coasting to a win light in the form of a 4.934 @ 115 MPH, once again in the left lane.

Third round brought with it a dial of 4.76, and for the fourth time in a row, we were placed in the left lane. Once again, something went amiss in the opposing lane, yielding a coasting 4.797 @ 134 MPH for the win light in our lane, putting us down to the quarter-finals with 6 cars.

Now at 6 cars, the choices were slim, and one of them was Don Baker, one of only 2 other DFW racers whom had come south to race. We did not want to race him and our wish was granted, drawing the bye/lane choice recipient (which is awarded based on best winning reaction time of previous round), who chose the right lane, putting us once again in the left. We once again chose a 4.76 dial to his 6.08. Both drivers were right on time, expecting the top end to be the difference. Our side lit up with a 4.7643 but no win light, to the other lane’s 6.0823 with a winlight, and the timeslip reveals that the tree-war was even, .0070 on our side to .0075 in the right lane, with a 0.0015 second margin of victory to the other lane.

While the rain and technical difficulties certainly made the day difficult, being able to bring winnings home from a track we’d never been to sure did help.

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3-01-14

This weekend was the third race in 8 days at the Texas Motorplex.

We arrived at the track around 8:30 AM and waited in line for the gates to open at 9 AM. Once in, we took the pit stop we had last week, as it is easy to get in and out of, and set up shop.

Off the trailer, weather conditions were 1,721 feet density altitude and 79 water grains, running a 4.779. Our second time trial came about an hour later at 1:38 PM, 1,858 feet and 85 water grains, with a slowing 4.792 run. For first round of Electronics we averaged the two runs, dialing a 4.78, using an .015 light to overcome being 1 over the number, another 4.792. Again we dialed a 4.78 for first round of quick 16, and again the car delivered the third 4.792 in a row, all with half-track times within 3 thousanths of a second across the 3. However, there was not enough window of opportunity on the starting line this time to overcome being 1 over the number.

Second round of Electronics came at 3:27 PM, and the air virtually was not changing significantly enough. Finally, we listened to the car and dialed a 4.79, and with a near-perfect 0.001 light, there was some working room on the top end, and it did not go to waste, running a 4.790, dead on the dial for a 1 thou package and the win. We kept the 4.79 dial for round 3 of Electronics, and even though both ends of the track were not quite on par, the win light came on in our lane. While the time slip showed the car slowing on the top end, a brief overview from the on board data recorder did not pinpoint a cause. Round 4 came around at 4:52 PM, and like the previous runs, the win light came on in our lane even though neither end of the time slip were ideal. This put us into the final with Jeff Reidel.

The final was ran at 5:15, our 4.79 dial to Jeff’s 6.57. The red bulb came on in our lane by .002, giving the win to Jeff as he went out the back door, running a 6.55 to our 4.806.

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2-22-14 & 2-23-14

With only 5 test passes on the new car, it was the first race weekend of the year- a double header at that, at Texas Motorplex.

Saturday started early, with a very high car count. Time trials started at noon, but our first run was not until 1:45 in the afternoon, running a 4.775 right off the trailer. Another long wait ensued before our second time trial came up, a 4.777 at 4:01 PM- 2 thousanths of a second apart after over 2 hours. First round came in short order, turning on the first win light for the dragster on it’s first competition pass, running a 4.782. First round of Quick was not as fortunate, with a 1 thou breakout giving the win to the other lane, running a 4.769 on a 4.77 dial. Second round of super pro did not fair much better, with both ends of the time slip having numbers slower than desired.

And so Sunday came around. A lessened car count, there were still many heavy hitters in attendance. Winds had shifted around overnight, creating for a very brisk off-and-on headwind. The first run off the trailer, aour one-and-only time trial for the day, was a 4.792, much slower than the day prior. As we came up for first round of Electronics, an oildown occurred, causing a stoppage of action for over 2 hours while the track team cleaned up oil from the 60 foot cone to well past the score boards at 1/4 mile.

Once action was back underway, we clicked off a 4.800 at 4:37 PM for the win light, losing 8 thousanths over nearly 3 hours. First round of Quick was next, only an hour later, when a strong gust of headwind came through. Even with the headwind gust, significantly better atmosphere, and a marginal reaction time, a 4.795 was all it took to turn on the win light in our lane. We received the bye signal for second round of Electronics, having to wait for the entire field to go by before finding out if we would get the single, or if we would have to run another car. The count came up odd, so we did a lane change and made a data run down the left lane, resulting in a 4.780.

This started the Hotlap Window. Before we had even gotten back to pit from our bye run, we were getting called to the lanes for Quick. The headwind suddenly died down, throwing our calculations off, resulting in the losing end of a double breakout with a 4.763. Again, we had just made the pass as we were called to the lanes for round 3 of Electronics- they were going to have to wait on us. This time calculating based on the headwind, we were able to pull up and run a 4.777, once again turning on a win light.

The Bye run for second round of Electronics occurred at 6:27 PM and our run for third round was at 7:08, with the losing effort in Quick falling somewhere in that 31 minute window. Fourth round of Electronics was again not long after, where our night was finally ended at 5 cars. Not a bad first weekend at all, not much to complain about.

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2-15-14

With a new year comes more of the same a new set of…EVERYTHING!

Today was the first day out testing our new Undercover Dragster. The entire winter was spent building the car, as we received it as a bare-minimum rolling chassis and body panels. Mike Bailey helped initiate the check-out passes enroute to making 5 total passes on the day and successfully performing a license crossover from door car to dragster.

More media is on the 2014 media page.

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A win at the bracket finals

We made the team for the Texas Motorplex for the bracket finals. We went down on Thursday and made a few passes, but the track became damp and we (and many others) left the staging lanes and returned to pit after another Motorplex team member crashed her dragster at the top end.

We returned Friday for official time trials. On the second run, the engine shut off just after the finish line, and the car was driven back on auxiliary fuel. Upon return to pit, it was found that the accessory drive mandrel (which runs the fuel and vacuum pump) had snapped off on track. Many, but not all, pieces were found on the racing surface. Mike Brooks and several other racers were able to piece together a new mandrel, and we barely made it to first call for the gambler’s race at the tail end of the pack.

We made our way into the Semifinals thanks to 4 win lights. There were due to be 8 cars, however only 7 showed in the lanes. This was our lucky break, as we drew the bye run out of the seven cars, putting us into the semi’s where we lit another win light, moving into the final against our friend and also Motorplex teammate Rusty Branum. We prevailed in the Final, taking the win.

Image by Robert Grice, Extreme Photography

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