NMCA Points Race at MIR
June 17, 2012 – Dave Schultz
The 2012 NMCA race in Mechanicsville, Maryland was the first leg of a two-week racing adventure, with the second half being the NHRA's Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, KY. The week prior we had driven to RBC Racecraft in Indiana, to pick up the Big Red Ram, which had been there for the last six months. It had its Ladder Bars replaced, converted to an automatic from a 4-speed when I raced it, new engine, re-wired, new slicks, and quite a few other enhancements.
Dallas, my wife Deb, our youngest daughter Hope, and I left on Wednesday night for the 1600 mile trip filled with many strange delays — like a log truck rolling over in front of us. We arrived at the track's holding area very late Thursday night, set up pits Friday morning, and teched the cars in.
This was the first time Dallas had ever raced the Big Red Ram, and with a new engine the goal was to shift at 6500 to get into the 9.75 index. However the first time out Dallas ran a 9.41 — which was the fastest pass of his life. We slowed it down a little in the second Time Trial, and Dallas did a 9.46. The next time out was the first round of qualifying and we threw 60 pounds of weight in the box, and raised the shift point to 6800. Dallas lifted at the MPH block for a 9.53 on his newly declared 9.50 Index. I broke out in the Texas Whale with a 9.71 on my 9.75 Index. The second round of qualifying was set for Saturday morning.
The next morning we pushed the cars out of the trailer at 7:30AM to warm the engine up for the day's racing. After I'd returned with the Whale, Dallas was heading towards the staging lanes with the Big Red Ram. About 5 minutes later he passes by our pits (we're by the finish line) heading towards the return road. Ten minutes later and he'd not yet returned, so I hopped on the golf cart to go check it out. I found him at the ticket shack walking towards the pits, and could see the car at the end of the track about a 1/2 mile up. Dallas is pretty pissed, claiming that the engine had seized. We get there, and sure as anything when you hit the starter — the motor is locked up.
We tow it back to the pits and pull the valve covers first — and all looks well there. We then try to turn the crank with a breaker bar, and its not budging. When we pulled the System One oil filter we find a ton of gold, figured we spun a bearing (only six passes on the motor), and that Dallas' weekend was over. Shame as he was in first place for points.
They called us for the second round of qualifying an hour later. I managed a 9.752 on a 9.75 Index — but two others were also with .002 on their number in that round. Fortunately, my MPH was the fastest of the three, so I was the #1 Qualifier.
There were only 11 NSS cars at this race because a race in St. Louis the same weekend had over 50 NSS cars, so I won the bye in the first round. In the second round I went against the 9.25 car of Kurt Neighbor. I was given a 1/2 second head start and when I looked in back of me at the 1000' — I couldn't see Kurt. I figured he broke at the line or red lit — and lifted. Then I saw him pulling by me. His car is low like a tube chassis, and my car is high in the back — so I just flat missed him. He put the fender on me.
NSS runs about half way through the video.
We got packed up and pulled out of the track at 5PM, then drove the 750 miles to racing bud Doug Duell's Kia dealership in Evansville, IN. He had a truck and trailer waiting for us to take Big Red Ram to the shop at his mothers house. By noon we had the engine out and on a stand in back of Doug's pickup. To turn the crank for access to the torque converter bolts, we had to drop the oil pan and find out what bearing was locked up, and then free it up. It turned out to be the #6 rod bearing.
At 3AM we're on the road to Indy, where the engine builder was located. We got there at 7:30 and they said they'd need a couple of hours to disassemble and analyze. We caught a little nap in the truck, then went to breakfast. At 11AM they told us what we already knew — that the #6 rod bearing had spun. There was no sign of an oiling problem or lean issue. The crank needs to go back to Callies to be re-nitrated, so it will be three weeks before the engine is ready. We'll get it before the Chicago race next month.
That left Dallas without a car for the second leg of our week trip — however Doug stepped up again and let Dallas run his Barracuda at the NHRA race. Thread with more details and photos.