Photography & Motorsports

          

 

 

 

 

 

TALK ABOUT HOT!

As we were climbing the mountain on US93 from Kingman, Arizona and then down to cross the Hoover Dam and then on to Las Vegas, the temperature on the dashboard of the truck read 112 degrees F. We knew then we were in for a sweltering week end of racing.

With the car prepared as best as we could before the week end after we added 4 additional fuel injectors to the intake manifold and no time to test due to weather, a brand new engine that included a custom eccentric shaft that incorporates a 3rd Mazda main bearing in the center iron housing, we felt like we should be able to improve on last years performance. That we did although not quiet as well as we anticipated.

As we prepared the car for or 8:30pm night time qualifying we noted that there were 12 cars entered to qualify for the 8 spots on the ladder. That was great for our class. We elected to be on the conservative side of our setup with just 30 psi on the boost controller and a rich mixture. The track was hot (154 F during the afternoon) so all indications were that it might be a little slippery!

Again the Strip at Las Vegas staff and crew did a fantastic job preparing the track. It was completely flooded with water as the sun was setting which cooled it down to a remarkable 115 F for the first round of qualifying.

Although we were intentionally down on boost and considering the warm air temperatures, the cars first attempt yielded our personal best 60 foot time of 1.151 seconds and an ET of 8.031 @ 164.83 mph. This would place us in the #2 spot after the first round. With a good data log in hand to see exactly what the car did, we leaned it out a little and decided to turn up the boost for the second and what would end up being the final qualifying attempt.

 

During the burnout, I could feel the car was very strong and was expecting to run at least a 7.8 pass. That was not to happen as something broke in the transmission. The data log reviled that the 2-step did not activate and the car left the line at 11,000 rpm or on the main rev limiter. Not good! Turns out the clutch switch had come loose and moved.

On Saturday morning, I removed the transmission and found it had completely broken the rear cluster shaft bearings outer housing. I did not have a spare and neither did anyone at the track. I managed to find a bearing supply house that would open up for me and was able to purchase a replacement and a spare. As I reassembled the transmission with just one hour to go before the first round of eliminations, I could see that first gear teeth were scored but I did not have any spares to replace them.

With the qualifying set, I was at #5 which meant I would be up against my friend Dee in his RX-7 who was the #4 qualifier. I just knew and felt that it was going to be a good side-by-side race. I can honestly say I had not been so nervous with butterflies in a long time. After the burnout, I felt a little more relaxed and was ready to do battle. Although I got Dee on the tree with my reaction time, that was all I would do other than see the rear end of the RX-7 disappear into the darkness.

I had blown 1st gear and the car jus sat still. I put it into 5th gear and drove slowly down the track to end the day. As it turned out, the small 17 tooth gear shattered into 4 pieces so I can only assume it had cracked when the bearing broke and I did not notice it as I was assembling the transmission.

As disappointing as this was, I am really excited about the remainder of the season. We have 3 events remaining and I expect the car to run at least a 7.7 or a 7.6 second ET. Stay tuned because we will be testing and making some adjustments.

 

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