Back to Back win and ran the
fastest ever 7.27 at 186.67 mph
World's fastest 13B powered
This week end, I had to travel up to Virginia alone and with a brand new
motor in the car that I assembled with great care, I felt like I should do at
least as well as I had in Moroso two weeks ago but had a goal of a 7.38 at 185
mph for the event. Thanks to Russ Turner for his hospitality and the use of his
shop in Richmond.
On Friday evening, we loaded Dee's car in my trailer and went down to a Best
Buy in Richmond for a driver autograph session that lasted a couple of hours. We
had a great time, signing about 50 tee shirts for the fans.
We were blessed with fantastic weather this year in addition to the
outstanding track at the Virginia Motorsports Park. This was the track I made my
very first 7 second pass at last year so it has been very kind to me. I pitted
next to Dee and Russ and on Saturday morning, I prepped the car for the first
round of qualifying.
For the first round of qualifying, I was the first Modified car to run and
with the same tune up as I had in for Moroso, I blasted down the track to a
personal best ET and MPH. The car went as straight as an arrow and felt really
strong for the first half.
The photo above of the 7.27 pass was taken with the 60-foot
timing beacon aligned here at the wheelie bar. As you can see from the tire, it
is pulling very hard that is why the incremental times are the best ever 1/8th
mile for a 13B. Quoted from the NHRA site:
Ken Scheepers' incremental times:
60ft-1.089 sec., 330ft-3.026, 660ft-4.657/154.00mph, 1,000ft-6.071,
The data collected from the D200 Dash indicated that I started
to loose a little power at the 1000' mark, meaning it was a little lean. Other
that that, it was a solid pass at 40psi. My goal set by Rich Mathews for the
week end shattered. Sorry Rich but I'll take your mentoring and coaching any
Following the between round maintenance, I was debating weather
to make any changes to the tune or not. I knew it was a tad lean but the motor
was still OK and in the end, I elected to make no changes. I was ready for the
second round of qualifying and being in the #1 qualifying position by quiet a
good margin, I wanted to attempt to back up what would be the new NHRA Modified
record. Well, I messed up folks.
After the burnout and then during staging, I set both bulbs
first and as soon as I saw the other lane flicker on, I stood on the gas WITHOUT
MY FOOT PUSHING THE CLUTCH IN ALL THE WAY and the RPM and clutch counterweight
pulled me through the beam before the tree was activated. I didn't know the tree
wasn't activated so I just put the hammer down and blasted down the right hand
lane. That pass was equally as fast, if not better that the first qualifying
pass according to my D200 data but, NO TIME. I was so angry with myself. I
ruined a good run because I was not paying attention and was in a hurry. I had
no reason to be in a hurry, it was only a qualifying run.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I could just kick myself.
I elected not to run the 3rd and final qualifying attempt and
the gamble paid off. I was qualified #1, the first time since 2003! I
check the motor and it was a little low on compression so I decided to take the
time and swap to my backup motor. The same motor (without freshening it up) that
won in Moroso and that I used in Dallas for the NOPI opener in March. Working by
myself, I had most of the swap out completed by 10pm with just the clutch disc's
to sand and assemble the clutch. That I left for Sunday morning.
The first ting I was told on Sunday morning was the ladder for
the elimination rounds. As luck would have it, I ended up having 2 bye runs all
the way to the finals. The question was, WHAT SHOULD I DO? Go for the
record during one or both of these bye runs and risk something going wrong or
wait and use the final to try and win the event and back up the record? Of
coarse, I had plenty of advice from the fans, most of whom wanted the record
attempt during the bye runs.
As I worked on the clutch, first setting it up with the shaved
discs then installing the transmission and reassembling all the sheet metal and
then a decision had to be made about the fuel map I would run. I decided to
richen it up, enough to be really safe because by this time, I had decided that
I WOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO BACK UP THE RECORD WITH BOTH OF THE BYE RUNS. My
reasoning was it would be much better to shoot for a win worth 100 points toward
the championship, maybe get the additional 20 points if I could back it up. So
that's what I did.
The first bye was supposed to be against Steve Topletz buy
unfortunately he broke and was not able to make it so I just drove down "slowly"
to record the air/fuel "drivability" of my fuel map. Mission accomplished and
one round closer to the final.
The second bye, I did much the same except that once I was
moving, I stood on the gas and talk about a crazy time slip. A 9.3 second ET at
179 mph! I didn't deploy the chute because I didn't realize I was going as fast
as I was so when I pushed on the brake, it took a while to slow and the safety
guy at the turn out was waving to "slow down". I knew then that the car was
strong and my decision to wait for the final was the correct decision. Only
thing was, it was me and Dee in his new Mazda 3.
While waiting for the final round call, I remember thinking, as
nervous as hell with butterflies turning my stomach, what Russ and Dee had up
their sleeves. I guessed that would try something but I just stuck to my plan
and tried not to worry about them. And then, the final call for the All Mazda
Final against my buddies. A flash back of me and Jesus Padilla in the All
Motor days, best of friends except for when we were strapped into our respective
cars ready to go head to head with each other.
This time with the help of Luis to do the burn out and stage,
because Gary Turner is a PCS crew and he would be with Dee and the PCS team.
Gary had helped me previously since I had no crew during qualifying and the
first two bye runs.
The moment of truth had arrived. How would my car run with the
3% more fuel I had added to be "safe"? We would soon find out.
With a 0.060 reaction time, I began the pass and didn't see Dee
the entire way down the track. I knew I had won! A back to back win to stretch
out the point lead but had I backed up the record was the big question I had
while I was folding up my parachute? That answer came by way of the NHRA radio,
no I had not. Oh well, I guess I'll have to try again in Englishtown.
(W) Ken Scheepers ('05 RX8)
0.060 7.596 @ 179.71 mph
(L) Dee Karagiannis ('07Mazda)
0.106 11.401 @ 110.33 mph
Buy now, most of you know that my 7.27 pass has stirred up a
hornets nest in the PR community. So many things have been said, both good and
some not so good and many rumors. I want to thank each and every one who either
called me or sent me an email to congratulate me for the awesome week end. I can
tell from my website traffic the this event has generated tremendous interest
with over 20,000 hits on Sunday alone. Unfortunately, I have left my car, truck
and trailer in Virginia so save on drive time for the next two events and only
flew back to Texas on Monday night and then had a tornado touch down just 6
blocks from my house which knocked out the power so I could not get on line.
Hence the delay completing this update. My place suffered no damage thank
The following is an interview I did for the PR forum
www.prsportcompact.com to answer
several questions and put to bed some of the rumors that had surfaced:
1.Ken Scheepers racer in NHRA Sport Compact and possibly the future 2007
champion, greetings and welcome to
www.prsportcompact.com. How are you?
I am feeling really
good now, thank you!
2. Ken, how long have you been racing the NHRA Sport Compact series?
I have been racing in Sport Compact since 2001 when I competed in my first Drag
Wars Quick 8 event and finished #2. I was “hooked” since then.
3. In which category
you started racing? Back then it
was “Street Tire” in my 1987 Mazda RX7 Turbo II.
4. What was your best time with your Mazda Rx7 in the All Motor Category?
10.259 @ 130.0 mph
5. How do you feel about the achievements obtained so far in the All Motor
Category? I did very good
considering I only learned rotary engines in 2002. My Turbo II engine was built
by RX7.com and my first All Motor engine was built by Pineapple racing. Then
Kilo built me an engine and gave it to me at NO CHARGE, even though I was racing
against him. That’s when I started to go faster especially since I had
electronic fuel injection.
6. How do you feel about the achievements obtained by Jesús "Kilo" Padilla?
I think Kilo’s achievements are, in my opinion, some of the best in the world
considering his quiet, calm and methodical approach. Kilo gave me an All Motor
engine; Kilo promised me he would build me a good powerful engine for the RX8.
He did this from the kindness of his heart for someone he hardly knew, a Gringo
not even from the
USA! Again, how
many people do you know who has those qualities? There are not many in this
world today. Kilo is one of my very best friends and he will always be that to
7. You had an accident in the Mazda Rx7 that prevented you from staying in the
All Motor category. What motivated you to build a Mazda Rx8 and race in the
Modified category? Early in 2004, I
had already received the body to build a new All Motor RX8. I was not able to
get the rules to allow me to use a solid axle in the rear end and I could not
afford the money to develop an independent suspension. So I contacted Mazda with
the idea to then build a Modified car and now the rest is history. The whole
project can be seen at:
8.There’s a lot of difference between Turbo + Alcohol and All Motor, was it
complicated when it came to settings?
Oh yes! There is a lot of difference, more so that I ever expected. This has
been the single most difficult thing I have attempted in my 52 years of life.
Having said that, I am the type of person that when I commit to do something, I
do whatever it take to succeed although I almost gave up last year when I blew
up 5 motors and just could not get it right. After all those problems, I talked
to a lot of people and certainly, one of them was Kilo and when I took a step
back, I made a decision to make a big change with engine/ignition management and
that’s when it started to turn around for me.
9. Ken, who built your Mazda Rx8?
My RX8 was built by Tito Chassis. Again, you can see the entire building of this
car on my web site:
Very briefly, I
took the body to Tito Chassis with the recommendation to build the car from
Kilo. Tito built the rolling car complete in record time even through 4
hurricanes in 2004. I gave Kilo a used Cosmo engine and Kilo built the first
motor for the car. Then I bought it back to Texas and I completed the rest which
was wiring, plumbing and paint was done by Mr. Car Shine body shop here in
10. There’s a lot of controversy about the motor combination you possess. Could
you tell us if your motor is overlap escape, semi peripheral port o peripheral
port? My motor is side port with
half bridge. I do not have semi peripheral
or peripheral port I have a very special intake manifold with 14
injectors that was designed and made here in
Texas and that
is how I make the power. There are no tricks.
11. Who is in charge
of the mechanic and programming of the Rx8?
I do everything on my car.
I drive the RX8, I build my own engines, I build my own transmission, I do my
own fabrication of exhaust manifold & Intake plenum, I do the rear end gear and
I do my own adjustable clutch, and I tune my own car. I also drive to every race
in my pickup truck and trailer, sometime by myself just as I did this last week
won this race with NO CREW, just me. Now that you know who does the work, I
will also say that when I have a tuning issue, I call Kilo and he gives me
recommendations to try. I get the chassis help from Tito. When the car is doing
something and I think it’s not good, I call Tito, tell him what it’s doing and
he tells me what to try. I also get tuning help from Dee and Russ from PCS. I
have very good data acquisition on the car. The PCS Dash D200. Without this good
information, I would never be where I am at today. I can tell you about
EVERYTHING that is going on in the car. Every single bit of the engine computer
information, all the clutch and driveshaft, each shock absorber, air fuel
ratios, fuel pressure, oil pressure, turbo pressures and temperatures, EGT’s.
Again, without these people and equipment, I would be left way behind.
12. How much horse power is your car producing?
Somewhere around 1000 I think.
13. Ken, you achieved 7.276 @ 186 MPH, what do you think about that pass?
It felt very good because the car
went so straight; all I did was stand on the gas and shift the gears then pull
the parachute. I did not even know until Luis Corujo came over when his crew
brought the time slip paper and told me he had some good news. He made me get on
my knees and then handed me the paper. When I first looked at the paper, I look
at his numbers and thought I ran a 8 second pass then I realized I was looking
at the wrong lane and when I saw I ran that 7.27, I just jumped on Luis and
almost made his knees buckle. I was so happy.
14. Does the Rx8 have
the strength to improve that 7.276 pass?
Oh yes I think it does. But I am not going to be stupid and just try to make
records now. I have to be smart because winning a race is 100 points and the
record is only 20 points. I want to be Modified champion!
15. Since 13B rotary engines have no restriction from NHRA, do you think it is
possible to accomplish 6 seconds in a Modified car like yours?
NHRA does have restrictions for the 13B. The tire rule and the 80mm turbo rule.
As for 6 seconds, I don’t know about that but, I have learned,
never say never! I am working on
a very special project and that might be able to do it. We will all have to wait
16. What do you think about Pica Motors’ Mazda Rx7 driven by sub champion Jorge
Lazcano, which last season ran 7.39 @ 187 MPH with 2,170 pounds?
Jorge did a fantastic job in 2006 and I admire him for showing the world,
including myself, that a 13B can be fast and competitive in Modified. That is
one of the reasons why I did not give up last year because I said to myself, if
he can make that much power and go that fast, I can also do it because we have
both have a 13B. I know his engine was semi peripheral but my experience with
peripheral port in All Motor engine tells me my combination, or really Kilo’s
combination will make better overall power and torque.
17. Ken, do you have any knowledge about the Modified from Puerto Rico, what are
your thoughts about it? No, not too
much. The only thing I see is when
the cars come to Englishtown and Atco but then you don’t get to talk to the guys
or see under the hood because everything is a big secret. I don’t know why this
is, it seems really strange to me. My combination is open for anyone to see and
take pictures. If someone can look at the combination from the outside can not
copy it exactly. Also I believe that if we have more cars that are fast, it’s
better for all of us and the fans.
18. Would we ever see Ken Scheepers racing in Puerto Rico in 2007?
Again, I don’t know with my
schedule and funds. I work a full time job and work on the car on nights and
week ends so the money to travel and the time off from my job is difficult. I do
not have big money sponsors like some people think. I get parts, oil and tires
etc and the rest come from my own pocket.
19. Ken, talking a little more on NHRA Sport Compact subject, you’ve won 2
events in a row and you are first in points. How do you feel about these
accomplishments? This is a big
accomplishment for me, especially since I am essentially doing this on my own
with moral support from my friends like Kilo, Tito,
Dee, Russ, Juan,
Victor & Chris at RX7.com. My local friends help me a lot when we go testing. I
am very proud of what I have done to this point and I plan to continue as best
as I possibly can.
20.If your car keeps running as it has been running so far and keeping the
unstoppable consistency, you possibly could become 2007 Champion. Is Team
Scheepers working on becoming the champions of 2007?
You bet! I want this championship as bad as all the other racers. I came very
close in 2003 in All Motor when I lost by 8 points.
21. Ken, what do you do when you’re not racing?
I have a full time job as mentioned, I like to work in
my yard with flowers and vegetables and keep the lawn nice, I especially enjoy
time with my wife (especially since I spend so much time working on the R8) and
good food from all around the world with good wine. I used to fly big RC
airplanes but I don’t have the time anymore and I also enjoy fishing. It’s good
for relaxing and “slowing down” time for me.
22.Our sincerest thanks for answering our questions and for clarifying a lot of
doubts about your car, we wish you the best of luck for this season 2007. Rotary
cars # 1 and Ken Scheepers are representing us, any last comments or greetings
to your sponsors? I want to thank
all of the fans for their support, kind words and encouragement. They are what
keep’s me going because I get a big personal reward when I receive all the
emails and phone calls. Just like all the talk now about the Gringo, it’s
amusing to me and it keeps me charged up even though there is some negative. In
closing, especially to all of the people that doubt me and what I can do I say
this, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Thank you and God bless!
SEE YOU IN ENGLISHTOWN - WE WILL BE READY TO
ROLL! Flag and all.