Deb and I arrived at Beechbend Raceway in Bowling Green, KY at about 1pm, and set up out pit with my pit bud Doug Duell.
This was the largest HRR ever, with over 500 drag cars. As such the line to tech in cars was about a 1/4 mile long and a two hour wait, so I waited for it to die down some, and at 3:30 hopped in line.
I was one of the last cars to make it before the 5pm cut off.
The next morning the First Qualifying started at about 9:30am. It was hot as Hell the whole weekend, and I was flying blind between all the engine repairs and a no Time Trials. I took a wild guess and declared the 9.75 Index and added 55 pounds of ballast. I was pretty close and ran a 9.79.
That would actually stand as my best of the three qualifying passes as my foot slipped off the gas (first time ever) on Q2’s launch, and I had too much weight in the third qualifying.
I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the engine on all three qualifying passes. In the first pass the car had three minor hiccups in the mid RPM range. Quite honestly they started running us as soon as we got there, and my engine was about 20 degrees cooler than normal, and those rat roaster Intakes need some heat. I pulled the valve covers off to inspect the new rocker arm and the valve lash caps.
On Friday, the second pass was wasted when my foot slipped off the accelerator. The third pass 9.83@136 was not strong, and I was wondering if I was too fat for the heat with 113 square on the jets in both carbs. Clay helped with running the valves and we found eight loose and three tight – and I put the car away for the night.
Saturday morning I was matched against a 11.75 index car, meaning I was going to have to wait two full seconds at the light on my converter. The motor sounded better driving to the staging lanes. When I left on yellow, I was surprised that he wasn’t as far ahead of me as I expected. I caught him at about the 1/8 and paced ahead of him about a fender from about the 1000′ – crossing the line at a leisure 9.80@122mph. It was all in the lights we had. Mine was decent and his sucked bad. I calculated the run completion and I would have gone a 9.72@137 if I’d stayed in it. The car felt great!
It was after 5pm before we had our next elimination. I was against an even slower car, a 12.50 second 65 Buick driven by Division 3 regular, Jimmy Gower.
He left and 2.75 seconds later I left. Again, he was closer than I expected, and I assumed I had a good reaction time margin. Then my car stumbled bad. I lifted and instinctively jumped back on it, and the thought better of it and lifted until I could analyze. I had oil pressure, saw no smoke in the mirror, and the motor sounded good so I drove off. The car drove fine, and the time slip showed that while my reaction was as bad as its ever been – he still gave me .080 to where it was nearly impossible to lose, but my car found a way.
It felt like a fuel problem, but I loaded up for home, watched Kurt Neighbor win NSS against Butch Cassidy, and Doug Duell win Top Stock in his Barracuda. We spent the night, and left for the 900 mile trip home early in the morning.
Today, the problem was found to be a broken crimp connection on the negative lead of the fuel pump – making a loose connection. That and the positive was soldered. The valves were ran again, the plugs inspected, a new cap and rotor put on, header bolts tightened, and a through clean and polish.
We’re ready for the next race, hopefully with a better outcome.