The door cards on the Texas Whale were cardboard with black and gray carpet glued on. For The Screamin’ Woody, I wanted to match the red exterior a little more – so the seats were dyed red, the cage painted gold hammered, a red window net and safety harness installed – and I wanted the door panels in a red quit pattern. I made the door cards out 1/8″ plywood, drilled the holes for door handle and mounting screws, and pulled some vinyl quilted fabric I bought on Ebay.
Get Ready To Race
I’d taken the car for a couple of blasts on the rough (from farm tractors running up and down it all day, everyday) 35 mph narrow road that the shop is on, and made adjustments between blasts. The problem is you can only conduct your testing to about 3/4 of the cars capability, because of the terrible condition of the road. I wanted to take the car to race at the NMCA Nationals in Indy this coming weekend, but needed to take to a more local track this past weekend, to see if it was worthy to take to Indy.
SHRA had an 1/8 mile race in Denton (350 miles from the shop) yesterday, and I decided to take it there. While cleaning the car up, I noticed a lot of overspray on the front fenders and doors, from when it was painted under the hood. That took me better than 4 hours of slow clay-barring to get right. Then I loaded it into my trailer.
Racing In Denton
Friday the 13th, I loaded up the truck and trailer with what I needed to race. At 8am Saturday I left for the 350 mile drive to Sanger, TX. I arrived on the track at 1PM to say my Howdies, unload car and set up my pit. At 3PM we had our Driver’s Meeting and at 4PM we had our first Qualifying run – in 97 degree heat.
ON the first pass I had a decent .043 light (considering it was June since I last took a stab at the tree) but the car started to break up way before the Shift-Light was suppose to come on – so I made my 1st-2nd and 2nd-3rd shift as soon as I felt it break up. Frankly, I was busy mentally monitoring my concerns of going down the track in a car that had every nut and bolt removed, every component rebuilt or replaced, and reassembled. Other than the breaking up at higher RPMs, the car felt good – but I was unable to look at the tach to see where it was breaking up. I was guessing it was about 6000 RPM as I wasn’t breaking up crossing the Stripe.
My Safety Harness was all screwed up, as I forgot to adjust the length when new ones were installed so I spent much of the half hour between the First and Last Qualifying fixing that. I was able to verify that the Fuel Pressure was right at 8psi and make a shock and tire adjustment to try for a better 60′. I told myself that I would stare at the tach to figure where it broke up. The sun was in front of the tree and I totally missed the lights, but was able to improve my anticipating the breakup and shift quicker. I was able to find that the breaking up was occurring around 6300-6400 RPM.
I decided that as opposed to weighing the car down for the 6.41 Index, that I’d shoot for the 6.25 Index by setting my shift light for 6200 (before the breaking up), as opposed to closer to the 7500 RPM that those heads (572), Cam and 2 1/2″ headers wants. I figured that and the weather getting cooler might give me the .06 I needed. When they called us to race, it was still 94.5 degrees and I felt I would have a hard time hitting 9.25, so I’d need a killer light. I also took 2 more Clicks out of the front shocks. I had to line up against Gary Durham, who had a slower car, so he’d leave first. The setting sun still had the tree right in the middle of it, concerning me about seeing the light and pushing the Tree. Gary left, and I left. I felt I had a decent light as I was going down the track. As I was coming to the stripe and passing Gary, he jammed the brakes and gave me the Stripe. When I picked up the ticket it was the yellow copy, meaning loser! Looking at the ticket I saw I threw away a .005 reaction time by running a 6.2477 on a 6.25 index. 23/1000 of a second too fast.
So I was loaded and on the road by 7:00 and home by 1AM
Getting Ready For the Nats at Indy
Tomorrow I’ll back the car out of the trailer; make a floor modification to the trailer; and change the distributor cap, rotor, ignition chips, and wires on the Wagon. Give the car a quick Cleanup and load it up again. I’ll track down some parts like a spare regulator, distributor and plugs, and take the fuel pump and carbs off the Thug to bring to Indy – and I’ll try to fix the car at the track. I leave at 4am Tuesday.