NMCA Bradenton 2009 Report
My wife, youngest daughter, crew chief/shop rat, and I left at 6AM on Wednesday for the 1100+ mile trek to Bradenton, Fl. I managed to sneak my 84' rig through the Florida Port Authority without an oversize license and had many a stressful pass of a Florida DOT cop sitting in the median looking for truck violations. My son (Dallas) no longer races with me — and so I had to do all of the driving. I stopped at a Flying J in Tallahassee and spent the night.
On Thursday morning I took on 200 gals of diesel, dumped the waste tanks, and on to Bradenton. We got there at around 1PM parked the rig next to Skip Koester and Kurt Neighbor — and set up in the sand pits.
Friday we teched in the cars and made our first T&T pass. My car had a lot of changes done to it over the winter — and we'd not had one opportunity to T&T it. On the first T&T pass the car turned hard left and started to break up between 5000-5500 RPM. Back in the pits we checked under the valve covers and all looked well. I put it on a hard surface (all pits are sand) and rev'd the motor and it broke up at 5400 — which happened to be where my launch chip (I'm a 4-speed) was set. I turned the chip up to 6800 and the motor broke up there. OK — obvious the MSD box was stuck in the launch stage. Further diagnosis showed the the line-lock button was wired wrong when the transmission/shifter was swapped. That was fixed and we focused on the Aspen Preston was running in NMC.
Preston goes out and makes his pass and never returns to the pits. I get on the scooter and he's at the top of the track. He says that the oil pressure was fluxuating and now the car won't start. I get Skip to help tow him back and we start looking at what was wrong. The no start is because the neutral safety wire wasn't put on tight enough when Preston swapped in the new motor. The lack of oil pressure is explained as being "great" pressure and then the gauge drops to 0 fast then back up to "great" — all in less than a second. Damon and I feel like it must be a sender on the electronic gauge — because nothing bounces to 70+PSI to 0 and back in less than a second if a true oil pressure problem. Preston goes back out a again and make another pass. He comes back and says the same — and that is when we asked to define "great" oil pressure. He says it never got higher than 30 PSI. Far from "Great"! So I have him put the car on jack stands, pull the oil filter, and cut it open. Sure enough — gold flecks from the new crank bearings. The car goes in the trailer and he's done. Dallas pulled the motor apart yesterday — and it is trashed on the three passes with the great 30PSI oil pressure.
Back to my car, I make a second T&T pass and do a 10.5 slip sliding all over the track. I make a third pass and the car hooks — and I get a 9.56 pass — lifting a little. I'd declared B/FX — which is 9.5. My new Crew chief counts the number of clicks for my brand new Double Action QA1 shocks — and tells me there is something wrong when he's exceeded 50 clicks. Yes, it is true, he went fifty clicks on my left shock before mentioning that something was wrong. Great — the adjustor of the shock is now busted in the high position and the shock doesn't have a stop at either end. We put the car away for the night.
Saturday is Qualifying Day. There is a terrible wind that shifts from head to cross wind — and to make it worse there is a farmer at the end of the track plowing the field so that there's a sand storm — complete with mini-dunes starting to form at the very top. It is obvious that the track and the farmer must be at war for this to coincidentally being plow day.
My first pass has me spinning the wheels badly for a 10.2 pass in a 14MPH head wind. Everyone appeared to be slow in the first pass as the weather stations said the air was 3000'. My next pass is a 9.68 into a 28MPH head wind. For the third pass, sand from the plowing is collecting at the top of the track, there's a bad headwind, and while we're in line they decide that this is the perfect time to run the jet car. After the Jet car fogs the lanes with unburnt JP4 and blows the sand everywhere — there are immediately two wrecks in the class running just before us. Many NSS drivers pull out of line and decide not to make their Third Qualifying pass. Kurt Neighbor, Skip Koester, Barry Camp, and two other cars pull out before me. Of those remaining — a couple (Doug Duell & Double O Joe) say they were going to make an 1/8 mile pass because they were still working out issues — and use the first pull off. I don't know who pulled out after me. We put the car away for the night.
Sunday morning is raining bad. It stops at around noon and they start to dry off the track. The first car goes down the green track at 3:30PM. I believe it was about 5PM when the 18 NSS cars started to run — and I drew Kurt Neighbor — both B/FX cars. I had a .062 light and saw the red bulb in Kurt's lane as I went by. We both aired the cars out to where I did a 9.4 and Kurt and 9.2. First round to me.
The second round I went against the Black Horse Thunderbolt (A/FX). I left first with a .032 light and the Dark horse car caught me at the top and paced me. I decided I needed to put a fender on him and did. I got a 9.52 and he broke out with a 9.22. Second Round to me.
I got a bye in the Next round. I wanted the left lane — but just before the five NMC cars that ran before us — it was time to fog the track with the Jet Car. We sat in the staging lanes while our cars filled up with jet fumes in the prerace burn. Thanx NMCA! I was going to take the right lane (I'd been put into it the first two rounds by the better qualify cars) but the jet car ran there — so I switched to the left. My low 1.3 60's turned into a 1.64 60' (a record worse for my car) and I ran a slip-sliding 10.5 on my 9.5.
The hot lapped Semi's had me against the Princess, and Skip against Doug Duell. The track was still greasy and my car wouldn't hook — I went from close to the wall to close to the center all of the way down — hoping to get Stephie to break out (she'd had two 9.99s and a 9.96 on the brakes for the previous three rounds) — but she too was having problems. Even with her .320 light and 10.5 on a 10.0 pass — she had a better package than my 10.5 on a 9.5. I'm going to take some of the blame as I didn't have enough RPM when I launched — but the track was like an ice skating rink for a ladder bar 4-speed.
Skip's Wife Washed His Helmet In Hot Water The Night Before
So at 9:30PM my night was over. I collected my $200, packed up and left. There was another bad accident after my pass, and Skip won the event over the Princess. I was whipped and only made it 135 miles the first night and 1000 miles the next day. Got home 9:30PM Monday night.
That's my Story and I'm sticking to it. Three important NSS Racing Sites to Bookmark are:
Please forward this information to all of your NSS Racing friends.
Dave 'Old Hippie' Schultz #7601