Memphis Recap and Getting Ready For a New Season
Well the NSS & NMC racing year for my family is now over. NMCA 2009 Points Standings. Dallas was third place of the year out of 70+ racers who raced in NMCA. He will most likely also be the Rookie of the Year for NMCA. I was fourth place out of over 100 who raced in NMCA's NSS class. It is time to start planning on getting ready for 2010.
Memphis is the closest of our NMCA races, so we loaded up the cars on Wednesday morning and left at about noon. The trip was uneventful, and we arrived in the big rig staging area at about midnight. It rained hard all night — making the already soggy track even more soggy. At 11AM they started parking us. By about 2PM we established driver credentials and teched the cars in. I had a killer headache, so we stowed the cars back in the trailer and I took it easy for the rest of the night.
Friday morning was rainy, and I made a single TT pass and the car was pretty much on. I don't believe I had a chance to make another pass on Friday. Dallas in NMC had problems with the car breaking up on his single pass — but thought maybe missed a shift. Cold rain kept us from doing much of anything.
Saturday, had my first qualifying pass as a 9.489 on a 9.50 index — breaking out. Dallas' car was definitely breaking up — and he felt it was ignition. He also smelt electrical burning. We unbundled his wires and found where there was a foot of 12 gauge wire between 6 gauge wire coming from the ignition switch — and the butt connectors were burnt. So we fixed that with replacing it with 6 gauge. I bought a new MSD 6AL box and Blaster II coil, and we replaced them. We rev'd the car up to 6500 with the timing light on — and all appeared well. Our second and last Qualifying came at night. I spun at the line on a very cold track — for a 9.61. I ran to the fence just as Dallas made his pass — and I saw that he was breaking up badly at higher RPMs — but there was no flames coming from under the car (it was night). Returning to the pits, I saw a lot of water under my car. Investigating, it looked like my motor moved up to where the nose of the Vacuum pump bore two holes in my radiator. We pulled the radiator and I borrowed a torch and solder from Don Bowles — and after finding that aluminum doesn't like solder — I melted a big glob over the hole and pushed the glob into the radiator — having the fins hold the glob against the leaks. I figured I'd get a radiator from one of the vendors in the AM — as I didn't feel like that fix would hold for long. I took the lock washer off the end bolt of the vacuum pump — and gained about 1/32" between it and the radiator. On Dallas' car, we were at a loss after checking to make sure the valves, springs and pushrods all looked well. I called Damon Kuhn at about 11PM and he suggested jetting up 2 sizes on all four corners of the 850 carb. We worked until 2AM changing jets, plugs, and running the valves — then putting the cars away.
Sunday morning I tried to find a radiator, stop leak, and/or a low pressure radiator cap — without luck. I pour a can of black pepper in the radiator just as they called us for the first round of eliminations. I had a broke bye, so I did my burn out at 135 degrees and launched at 150 degrees — after releasing pressure by opening the cap in the staging lane. When I got back to the pits I didn't had any leaks — but I had lost the 1/32" between the blob of solder and the nose of the vacuum pump. After checking the motor plate and trans mount — I realized that the balancer was coming off. I didn't know what to do — because it was about 2PM and I expected them to call us up for the 2nd round any second.
In the meantime — Dallas car was cured and he won his first round.
I decided to take a chance and go for fixing the car at the risk of missing a call, and with the help of my son, Doug Duell, and Clay Kasooth — we had the radiator out, vacuum pump off and crank trigger off, found a 12point ARP balancer bolt hanging on by a thread — tightened the balancer back on with a liberal application of Lok-tite red on the bolt; put the crank trigger and vacuum pump back on, and the radiator back in and filled — all in 30 minutes.
We need not have rushed — because we weren't called to the staging lanes for our second round until 7PM. Once there — a bunch of very pissed off NSS racers talked about how this would be their last NMCA race, how NMCA use to treat the NSS class better, tales of the good old days, and where they'd be racing next year. To make things worst — the bracket racers who had monopolized the track for the last five hours, had some girl in a Vega that liked to pull monster wheel-stands, lose control of her car and drive over a 17-year-old kid in a dragster. It looked bad. Both were hospitalized and it took near two hours to clean the track. In the meantime — dew was collecting on the cars — and everyone who could get a towel had one draped over their windshield. Most felt that it was unsafe to race and that they would suspend racing until Monday — but would first empty the lanes of the NSS and NMC cars. A few drivers asked me to approach Charlie about calling it a night before running us because of the dew. Charlie had me walk the track with him — and while there wasn't any dew on the track — the crews from Pro and Extreme were reporting 52 degree track temps and lobbying to suspend racing. Charlie said that he felt like it was still safe to race, and the NSS and NMC classes were called to race. It was pretty bad with the dew collecting on the windshields in seconds and fog on the inside. I was running Skip Koester, and we both grabbed strangers to wipe down our windshields as we went into the burnout box — but the dew and fog came back so fast we couldn't see the track or tree. Skip red lit -.037 and I slept for .157 RT, and as soon as I saw I'd won — I slowed down for a 11.4 as I couldn't see the track well. Even shifting like a truck, I did a wiggle on a 3-4th shift, and coming down the return row lined with motor homes and trailers that couldn't find parking was plain stupid. Dallas has about the easiest 10.5-second car there is — and he too did a big wiggle on his win. We were happy to hear that the race was suspended — after we cleared out the lanes.
Monday, at 10AM I took advantage of a TT offered and ran a 9.494. Dallas opted not to take one as we had 2 gallons of gas between us left. I had Greg Radar, who is as tough as they come. All weekend I was cutting great lights — with the exception of one pass — and against Radar I cut a .013 against his .017. I swear I crossed the line an inch before him — but the ticket says I didn't. Dallas also lost his Quarter-Round.
As we packed up to come home, Radar Beat Wilson (coming off his Monster Mopar Win), and 00 Joe Ewing beat Barry Camp in the Semis. Radar then went on to beat 00 Joe in the finals.
Doug Duell is the Champion this year — and is deserving as he had a great year. The Princess (Stephanie) has second. According to my calculations — Skip, Joe and I are 3 through 5 — but with about 30 points being the spread between 3 through 5. It comes down to qualifying points from Memphis — and so we'll have to wait until Monday NMCA tells us who is 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
In NMC, Andy Warren is the Champ — and I think Dallas Schultz is second — despite missing the first race of the year. He and Andy matched up many times during the year — and Andy won them all — but they were all very close.
I really hope to be able to have my 60 Wagon painted in the next 5 weeks, the engine and transmission installed, custom headers made and coated, wired, plumbed, and interior by early February — so it can be shaken down and ready for the first NMCA race of 2010. I'm going to give it one more shot at earning a NMCA ring in NSS — but feel like I need to give up my preference for a 4-speed in favor of an automatic, as I seldom find the track prepped good enough for a 9-second 4-speed on skinny slicks in the late rounds. I'll keep a 4-speed in the Coronet and run it in the non-NMCA races. The engine comes out of it next week to have the Aluminum rods replaced — and the wick turned up a little for 2010. I'll run it in the non-NMCA races.
Dallas will be moving from NMC to NSS, driving my old black Coronet in C/FX or B/FX. It is a nice 4-link car with an automatic and the engine I use to run in the red car — punched out to 580CI. It might be faster than my red car.
This means that Dallas' Dodge Demon is for sale. This car has spent its entire life as a race car — and still wears its original Texas inspection sticker from 38 years ago. The car is a quality build with a five year old CM full cage, inboard springs and CalTracs, 8 3/4" rear with Moser axles and gears, 4-wheel disc brakes — and is clean enough that you can eat off the painted bottom. The motor is a one year old 408 built by Damon Kuhn at Diamondback Engines. Eagle steel crank, H-beam rods, forged pistons, CNC Ported Indy 360 heads, Gasket Matched Indy 360 Intake, roller cam, Diamondback 850 carb, 1 7/8" coated headers, Magnafuel fuel pump — all top shelf parts. The transmission has a billet steel drum, Griner low-band apply footbrake valve body, modified pump, hardened gears, bolt-in sprag, PTC 8-inch steel stator converter, and the balance of the parts are of the same quality. CSR Fiberglass trans shield. This car drives as straight as a string, and will do 10.5 seconds just about anywhere. The car could easily be made into an 8.5 second (cage should certify) True Street, restored as pure stock, or run in the faster street classes — but really it is at home running NMC. I was comfortable enough with the safety of this car for my 16-year-old to race — and he was comfortable enough to win the Texas Outsiders NMC Championship at 16 and 17 (2004 & 2005). If you are Interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of NMC cars, I also have a more entry level NMC car that I prepared for my daughter — but who never really had the time to dedicate to the sport. It is a quality build that I felt comfortable putting my kid in. As it sits, it will consistently do 12.0 1/4s — but I also have a choice of three brand new 408 motors capable of making the car a 10.5 and faster car in the 1/4. Contact me if you are interested.
Both cars have been the subject of many magazine articles.
Reminder — The NSS calendars in the NSS Gift Shop are ready for purchase. Click on the particular calendar cover to view the pages.
Many of the NSS drivers at the Memphis race purchased the calendar with the Asphalt Elephant on the cover. Call any of them to ask about the quality of the calendar.