|Mopars At Motorplex Report
There's a Mopar club from the Fort Worth area called Cowtown Mopars, which has an event at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX, called "Mopars at Motorplex". The event this year was to be held on April 18th — but that was rained out and the rainout date was April 19th.
The week prior I ran the Big Red Ram in Florida, and the week after I would need to run it in Bowling Green, KY. The morning after this race, my wife and I were getting on a plane for a week in the Bahamas to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I didn't want to chance breaking Big Red Ram on a non-points race and not having the time to repair — so this was a time to try out my recently completed backup car, Texas Black Magic.
Texas Black Magic was my car while Big Red Ram was being built — but I windowed the motor in it about three years ago. The motor that I use to run in Big Red Ram was pulled and rebuilt as a 580CI, and put into this black car. Other differences are that this car is an automatic vs. 4-speed, a 4-link vs. ladder bar, and runs 33" slicks vs. 31" on the red car.
The car had no test time — and the race was the actual first time out in three years. In Tech — it was leaking water. Back in the pits we found it to be a gasket between the water pump, block, and elephant ears. I missed the first T&T fixing that — with the help of Damon, Cruise, Slim, and Dallas.
In the second (which was the last) T&T, the car launched great — but broke up at about 6800. To make things worse — it had been three years since I had raced an automatic — and I yanked the shifter hard like a 4-speed and skipped 2nd gear. Worse yet, it is an automatic reaction of a 4-speed racer to kick the shifter up into neutral when he crosses the line. That same reaction will get you second gear in an automatic — for a brief second, which thankfully didn't appear to hurt the car. I passed the shack to get my time slip — and was told that I was leaking oil at the line. I did a 10.1 @ 139mph missing 2nd gear.
Back in the pits I'm cleaning up all of the oil under the car and tightening bolts and fittings — and had to miss my first of two qualifying passes. I decided with the car breaking up — to put an A/NSS on the window — for a 10.0. I make the second qualifying pass — and did a 10.1 with steam coming through the hood. It turns out that all of the hands helping me with the water pump gasket, the one in charge of the top hose never tightened the clamp. The hose blew off and the water blew out. Back in the pits I'm looking for clean water and slowing adding it back into my hot engine. I'm also finding that my 4-year old batteries are weak and not holding a charge well. I'm putting a charger on between rounds — but the car is still cranking slow.
Getting the worst qualifying number in my only pass gets me running the Top Qualifier in the first round of Eliminations. I beat him on the tree for the win — but when I get the car back to the pits — I'm leaking oil again. I get that all cleaned up and we find it is between the oil pump and the block — no way to fix it at the track. Since I was running the Top Qualifier in the first round and won — I drew a Bye in the second round because of an odd number. Because of the car being so sick — I didn't do a burn out or run the car hard — but just drove it down the track.
In the Semis I was going against a much slower car, and he cut a near perfect light while I waited for mine. The car was just too sick to run him down — and so I got third place.