Bradenton, FL 2019 -Race Report

Deb and I arrived at track Monday night, and set up the pit on Tuesday.

Wednesday:

On Wednesday, I was one of about 30 people who ponied up $250 to rent the track, and I made six hits – as both the car and I hadn’t been on the track in almost six months. The first hit was without any weight or adjustments. I did a low 9.50s pass and my standard 1.33ish 60′. I didn’t feel like front end was coming up as high as it should, so I took 6 clicks out of the front shocks. The second hit was about the same numbers, but the front-end came up higher. The weather was real good Wednesday with the “Corrected Altitude” at about 75′. I knew that the weekend wouldn’t be near that good, and so the 9.5 Index wasn’t going to be a reality. The next Index up is 9.75. I Ioaded the weight boxes up with 200 pounds for the third hit.

HOLY CRAP! The front-end came up at least twice as high as the highest wheelie I’ve ever done. I haven’t gotten around to putting wheelie bars on the car, and I thought I was going to blow over – so I shifted to second early to bring front-end back down. Remarkably, I did a low 9.6 with all of the weight I could legally put in the boxes. I figured that to be a fluke. For the fourth hit, I put six clicks back into the front shocks. I went back out and did the second highest wheelie of my life – but I rode it out. The car did high 9.5s with all of the weight.

I realized that 9.75 was too far away, so I took the weight back out and figured I had to find a way to do a 9.39 at 75′ to be 9.50 at 2200′ on Sunday. I made adjustments on the four Idle mixture screws on the carbs and went back for another hit. I usually run 13.5 pounds of air in my slicks, but I must have mismeasured in the pits as one slick only had 12.7 pounds – so I equalized. The car did a 1.29 60′, which the previous best had been 1.32. I ran a 9.42, which was getting close. For the sixth and last hit of the day, I swapped the four stiff Orange metering rod springs in the carbs for more loose yellow springs. I also lowered the air in my slicks to 12.5 and got my 9.39 seconds with a 1.28 60′. The track shut down, so no more passes, but I felt good with a 9.39.

Thursday:

Thursday was the day that NMCA took over the track, and you can buy two hits fir $25., but I didn’t take them. I established credentials, teched the car i, and cleaned it up before putting it away. Doug & Anne Duell had a little soiree at their house for NSS racers Thursday evening.

Friday:

Friday we had a Time Trial in the Morning, and the first qualifying was scheduled at 2pm. We’re always the first class out in the morning. Again my air gauge screwed me up and when I got in the lanes and checked my air pressure, I only had 10 pounds in the left slick. So I had to make a hit with only 10psi. When I got back and shut the car off, I heard clunking. I wasn’t sure if it was the flexplate bolts to torque converter had loosened, the starter motor crapped out, or if a motor. Turned out to be flexplate. I fixed, put charger on car, and pumped up left slick to 15psi so I could check for leak. I then went inside to clean up and eat lunch.

So at about 1pm I’m having lunch in my coach, when I see Frees and Lang going down the track. I look and see that Duell’s car is also gone. I’d obviously missed the call. So I fly out the door, tear the charger off and head for the lanes without checking the tire pressure, weather station, or weight in the boxes. I’m getting dressed while driving and hoping I’d have time to check to adjust air in slicks, as I knew I last had 15# in one and 10# in the other. However, As I got to the lanes, Brent Wheeler was last and pulling up to stage as a solo, as he’d blown both front tires in the previous run. It was line up or turn around. So I’m still putting my gloves and neck brace on while doing my burn out, knew one slick had 150% if the air of the other, and was next to someone with new tires and wheels on his car. My launch sucked, I had to make big corrections, and broke out with a 9.49+.

Back in the pits, I put the car on the lift and Doug put his death grip on the flexplate bolts.

Saturday:

Saturday morning I take the car out of the trailer at 6:45am to get ready for our 8:30 call to the lanes. I’m a creature of habit who puts his hoods pins on the studs they pin on when open, and put in on when I close the hood. The night before when we were doing the TC bolts, Doug opened the hood, put the pins on the bench, and also closed the hood. I knew I had to put the pins in, and told myself to do first thing in morning. I didn’t. While taking car down return road pretty fast, the hood opened an blew off.

Barry Dorn saw it happen and carted my hood back to my pit. Doug and Bruce Lang helped me rivet the pieces together and I used a roll of duct tape to tape it to the car. Good guys are all of the NSS Racers.

We finished just as they called us for the second qualifying, and I squeaked out a 9.514, which was good for third qualifier.

The track was horribly prepped for the last qualifying, as they’d made 300 street tire passes and only did a cursory rub before sending us down. I spun horribly (as did everyone), and was bumped to 4th.

That put me against Brent wheeler in first round Sunday.

Sunday:

Bottom line was I was a first round runner up, as Brent put an .018 light on me that I couldn’t overcome. So we loaded up and made the ride of shame off the track, for the 1100 mile trip home.

Epilogue:

Back home, the car’s had it’s oil changed, slicks swapped, car washed, a couple small repairs, and the hood is halfway ready to go to painter. the bracing has been done, and tomorrow the cleanup layers applied and sanding. Painter gets tomorrow night, hopefully.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

EOM – February 2019



Leaving Sunday evening for the NMCA race in South Florida, so a lot of the last week was spent getting the Motorhome (Not driven since October), Stacker and car ready. Loaded the car and golf cart today as it appears to have had the only two hour window of no rain between now and Sunday.

Getting my Magnum GT ready to sell, and the only real sore spot was the front seats.

I bought some dye from autoleatherdye.com, watched the video, and taught my shop rat how to do. He dabbed on six light coats to get to here.

Next he needs to scrub the dye off the buckles, apply the Semi-gloss topcoat, and finally the conditioner. The pictures don’t do the job justice, and it will look pretty damn good when finished. I ordered dark green dye and self-leveling crack filler to do the seats on my 64 Imperial.

My Magnum XE (Ginger) has had a ton of retro-mod upgrades over the years. Motor, 8.75 Rear-end, stereo, convert from column shift to factory floor shift, new carpet, addition of power windows, headers and 2.5″ dual exhaust, modern leather seats, and a new dash and custom gauges. Click here to read more. This week it was new wheels and fabricating the missing console plate out of 1/8″ aluminum plate and black wrinkle paint to match the dash. The AC leak was fixed and recharged, and the turn signal issue from the gauge upgrade fixed. Also added a deep trans pan with temperature sender to go to the gauge. I normally wouldn’t have an oil temp gauge, but I had an extra hole to fill when I did the gauge panel.

There was some work done on the the Screamin’ Woody. The fuel system’s AN -10 hose was run to the front of the car, as was some double-ought battery cable. Stopped short of running under the hood as that needs to be freshened up with new paint.

Turned the shop rat loose with some sand paper to scuff it up. Need a couple days of 70+ degree weather with no rain before being able to paint. Ordered the rotating and bearings for the wagon’s motor. The block is done, so assembly will start soon. Getting down to home stretch.

Wheeled my 60 Plymouth into the bay. While it doesn’t look like it, a lot of work has been done in this car. Click here to check out it’s story.

Its getting all new front-end parts. Then then engine compartment will be painted Petty Blue. Then the trim will get removed, body wet sanded and spray with clear. Then a bad ass lowdeck and 5-Speed stick installed.

Finally it goes to the wrapper to get wrapped to look like Petty’s 60 Plymouth in the woods in back of his shop for last 55 years.

So other than a little cleaning of the shop and some parts that I’m selling/sold; ordering new parts and shipping sold parts – that’s most of it for this last week.



Shop Work – First Half of February 2019

The back of Screamin’ Woody had two (cutdown)
Aerospace Components battery holders, two weight boxes, fuel cell, and battery cables mocked up; taken back out; the compartment Spatter Painted and Cleared; the aluminum polished; and finally everything reassembled with fuel plumbed to Fuelab Pre-filter.

New Double-Ought positive cable to the front. New AN -12 braided also going from pre-filter to Fuelab pump, and then new AN -10 heading to front for the post filter & regulator.

Allante got it’s first power buff since it left the factory in 1993. I bought this car new in June of 1993.

Did some Spring cleaning on the cars in one of my warehouses. All walls and the floor cleaned, and all cars detailed in and out. The Superbird, Demon, Barracuda, Grand National, Drag Pak, Magnum GT, Marlin and 58 Pickup are for Sale. I also have a nice 2014 Ford Pickup for sale. I might even sell the Viper if enough money was waived in front of my face. It has sentimental Value and I have mixed emotions on that. It would have to be someone wanting the best 3000 mile 99 GTS available. I’ve posted an album of thumbnails that can be right-clicked and enlarged to full size. If you know of anyone interested in any of these cars, let them know. Below is my business card. Email or text as I don’t answer the dozens of unknown calls I get daily.

Last month I sold the Vitamin C to Dave Lewis in Oklahoma, under the condition that he kept it as the Vitamin C. He stripped the car down, did the minor bodywork needed and repainted with replication of the Original Graphics. Looks great.

A couple of years ago my 3000 mile Viper GTS had it’s fluids drained, battery and tires removed, and put in a climate controlled bubble. Last month we took it out, restored fluid levels, replace plugs and wires, replaced the battery, puts its wheels back on, and completely went through it. Broke it back it and then I ran it up to 140mph.



January 2019 – Catching Up

I’ve been incredibly busy, mostly with starting a new business for my son and I, but some stuff has been completed at the shop. Some on the Texas Thug, some on the Screamin’ Woody, and some an some of the other vehicles I have. This will be the extremely condensed version, as even that will be a little long.

Vitamin C Sold

Yup, I sold the Vitamin C. It gave me 10 years of loyal service but it was time for another caretaker. I sold it to a 70-year-old drag racer in Tulsa by the name of Dave Lewis. He’s in the process of stripping it down and will freshen it up in the same Vitamin C theme.

I mentioned that I started a new business with my son. We sell, install and repair Blinds, Shades and Shutters. It is now running and my eldest son is now handling the day to day operations.

The Texas Thug has a new rear ProGlass window installed to replace the one that skated across the finish line at 140 mph in Indy last year.

The underside has been cleaned, the every nut and bolt has had a wrench put on it, and the valves run. Everything was looked over and appears well. The oil still needs to be changed and the car a good polishing. I had wanted to redo the inside of the trunk – but that might have to wait.

Not a whole lot of work has been done on the Screamin’ Woody. The block has been machined, but the crank had a crack – so I’m shopping for a new rotating.

I just bought a 4’X8′ piece of 1/8″ Lexan; stainless steel #10 buttonhead/hex drive machine screws and nuts; and some weatherstripping – so the windows are next on the list.

Years ago, I bought a Tube Chassis Barracuda and restored it. It’s spend about ten years in a bubble – until taken out last week.

Everything was gone through, filled with new fluids, carb rebuilt and a new battery installed. The car was started, tune and I took it for a shakedown drive. It’s now for sale, as I’m going with the Japanese Kondo philosophy of it doesn’t bring Joy – get rid of it,

The Demon that was Dallas’ first race car wasn’t so lucky. It’s ten years in a bubble cause a pin hole in number 6 cylinder. It took me half a day to tear down the motor and get the piston out.

It’s one of those deals where the sum of the parts are worth more than rebuilding the motor for it. I’ve already sold the heads, intake and rocker assembly. The car was been detailed and I’ll be listing for sale.

Next up, my 64 Imperial Convertible.

I’ve had a full size Chrysler convertible since the 70s. First a 67 Newport, then a 64 300, then a 65 300, and then I bought this from the original owner in her 90s about 18 years ago. I stopped driving it about 10 years ago. So in the last couple of months all of the brakes, brake lines and master cylinder was replaced. Gas gauge sender replaced. The carb was rebuilt. The power window switches disassembled and reassembled. The convertible pump system rebuilt. A brand new complete factory exhaust system installed. Brand new tires. Odometer rebuilt. The AC system rebuilt. The paint was power buffed. The leather conditioned. All off the dash chrome meticulously polished. Right now I’m waiting for the power steering pump to return from the rebuilder. Then the only thing left is redying the carpet when it gets a little warmer. I’ve really loved getting reacquainted with this car again. It’s a blast to drive.

In 1964, I remember the Mustang, Barracuda and Marlin fastbacks coming out. I loved all three of them. When the 67 Marlin was released on the fullsize Ambassador, it looked so much better than the smaller 65-66 versions on the compact Rouge chassis. There were very few made and all of my life I’d only seen a picture of one, and never one in the wild. About 20 years ago, I started my quest to find one in good original condition. About ten years ago, I ran into a man with a large car collection who had this car from Florida in it. He was dying of cancer and selling his collection off, and I bought this car. It had electrical issues, so I had in the back of my warehouse and planned to restore it to Red/Black with black Interior some day. That day never came, so the car was pulled out, the electrical completely redone, the ignition replaced with a Pertonix, the carb rebuilt, new battery, and new tires. The car runs like a Champ, but I’ve decided to keep it original and find a new caretaker for it. I’ll not drive it enough with my busy life.

The Leaning Tower of Power and 3-on-tree that was in my 60 Plymouth Post car was pulled in favor of a bad ass 383 that was recently rebuilt for it. When I drove this car home from Arkansas, I had it over 100 with that engine and skinny ass 25-year-old tires. I’m looking to put a 4/5/6-speed that has overdrive. That car is a keeper.

I’ve done a lot work on that car, which is a topic for another day. The point for this post was that I Cleaned the engine up and hit it with some Slant 6 blue. I’ll wrap and store it for a future project.

Finally, two of my Magnums had a lot of work done on them. I’ll be keeping the big block XE that is now exactly how I’ve wanted it for years. I just bought some new wheels for it. I’ll take it next week to get tires swapped over. I love the look of the Keystone Klassics on the car, but the Uni-lug design keeps having the nuts loosen up.

The rare 79 GT with E58 Cop motor has been completely gone through, detailed and I’ll be selling.

The shop has actually been busier than that, but I hit the important stuff and that catches me up.

Tis the Season…

There really hasn’t been much work done on the drag cars in December. Frankly the work in the shop has been pretty hit and miss too so far this month. In October, my eldest son Dallas and I started talking about a partnership in the Blinds, Shades and Shutters business. I did some research and due diligence on franchises, and made a road trip visit in November, before deciding on Bloomin’ Blinds. We bought a territory up I-45  and about 20 miles east and west of it from North Houston through Huntsville. There will be three main locations: Bloomin’ Blinds of North Houston that also cover Spring, Tomball and the Woodlands; Bloomin’ Blinds of Conroe that also covers Montgomery, Willis and Magnolia; and Bloomin’ Blinds of Huntsville that covers that area.

So I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with my attorney and accountant setting up the LLC, obtaining my EIN and sales tax permit, opening a bank account, and all else pertaining to getting the business running. January 7th Dallas and I will be at the home office training for two weeks, and we open up shop on the 31st of January. 

All of that said we did get some stuff accomplished at the shop. I sold the 81 Imperial I had traded my brother a 67 Newport convertible for back in 85. In 2000 I stripped it, had it painted, and reassembled with a 380hp/360 Crate motor. I also installed an 8.75 Surgrip from a 68 Charger, and a CRT street Strip 904. I never really drove the car enough, so I went through and fixed everything, had my shop rat detail it and I sold it. I picked up the buyer last week at the airport, and he drove to North Carolina.

I have another Imperial, a 64 Convertible. I’ve had it for about 15 years, and hadn’t driven in ten. All of the brakes and brake lines have been replaced, as have all four shocks and tires. The gas tank drained, the carb rebuilt, a new fuel pump; and the points ignition was replaced with MP electronic ignition. The battery, alternator and power steering pump and hose were also replaced. The power window motors were removed to be cleaned and greased, and the power top pumps rebuilt. I set the Shop Rat loose with a tube of metal polish and some microfiber towels to clean all of the interior chrome. He also conditioned the leather. Now its having a new factory exhaust system put on, and then I’ll dye the carpets before having the Shop Rat power buff the paint out.

The Imperial will be one of the few cars in my garage when I die. I’ll be taking it to the lake house when finished.

I’ve had a 67 Marlin for about 15 years. It is the only Marlin that was made on the long Ambassador platform. The 65 and 66 were on the short Rambler American platform and never looked right to me, but I’ve always loved the very rare 67s. I was planning on restoring it, so about 60 hours was spent getting it running and driving right. I was to then strip down and send out to be painted. After a lot of time and money was spent making everything right, I’ve decided I just need to cut bait on some of the cars I really love. I just have too much to do and too little time to do it. As such I’m getting it cleaned up and put on the chopping block.

Another car ready to sell is my Magnum GT. I’ve also had it for about 15 years. I was pretty busy buying stuff back then. Anyway, same deal. Got it running right. Today the Rat took the power buffer to the paint and detailed under the hood. My mechanic bud who works in the shop two days a week, still has to replace the brake booster and a few more detail items before I can list it.

Also ready to sell is my 58 Dodge pickup. My wife wanted family photos taken with it as a prop, so I wasn’t allowed to sell it. Those photos were taken yesterday, so I’m good to sell it. Yes I’ve had it about 15 years. The below are from the photographer’s cell phone. The good ones are a few weeks away.

So I put the Demon that Dallas use to race in a bubble a few years back, and pulled it out to get it race ready. Well the engine wouldn’t turn over and was seized. My bud pulled it and removed a head. It appears that that a pin hole happened in cylinder #5  and seized that piston. I spent the afternoon tearing the engine down as far as I can. I can’t get to one rod bolt on #5 and #8 so I’ve soaked the piston/cylinder in WD40 and hopefully I can free the piston in the morning.

Tomorrow, I’ll have the the shop Rat detail under the hood, the interior, and hit the paint with the buffer. I’ll sell the car as a roller and the engine parts on eBay as I get them cleaned up.

So that about brings me up to date.

Shop – 2nd Week 2018

This week, in no particular order, the following was done.

My 81 Imperial Custom was gone through and anything needing attention was given attention, and listed for sale CHEAP!

Click Here for details.

Three solid days were spent with a guy coming two days a week to help sorting out the nightmare electrical system in my 67 Marlin. It had been butchered over the years and virtually nothing worked. The car is almost ready for a drive, then it will be torn down and restored. I want everything working first.

The rear window from Pro Glass has arrived, and will hopefully be in the Thug next week.

On the Screamin Woody, new Lexan arrive and I’ll start on that soon. The Fuel Pump is at Fuelab getting freshened up. I’ll put the fuel system on the car when I receive it back.

Also related to the wagon, the machinist called and said that my 9 month wait is over. I was having a sleeve hammered in and the block machined – except for decking – which will occur after rotating is ready. I took the Callies Crank to him. It’s gonna need to be turned down for stock Chevy rods, if it passes being Magnafluxed. I’ll have to wait on the crank before ordering rods, pistons and bearings. If I have to buy a new crank  then I’ll go a different way. Also, its been so long that I don’t remember if the crank came out of the 540 or 580ci. They’ll have to measure for that too. I inventoried the other parts for the motor, and I have a set of 572 heads with new valves and springs; rockers with only 7 passes (before the Indy built motor with cheap ass rod bolts blew); Jessel belt Drive and Bullet Cam; Milodon Oil Pump and Aerospace Vacuum pump; Valley pan and the Indy bathtub Intake which is about to go to Florida for modifications. Damon should be getting to work assembling it as soon as I know what to order for pistons, rods and bearings; and receive. Outside chance car might make it to Bradenton in March – but I still have a lot of work and I’m only working in the shop three days a week because of a franchise I’m in the process of buying is taking a couple days a week of my time getting it set up.

I taught my Shop Rat how to use the polisher with “Fine Cut” polish and then cleaner wax to brighten up the paint on my 79 Magnum GT. Its another of my 30+ cars that I’m making ready to sell. Went through the car last month and fixed anything that wasn’t working right. Just need to detail the interior, photo and list for sale.

On my 78 Magnum XE, I’m replacing the Dakota Digital gauges I installed 18 years ago with custom white gauges in a modified stock panel. The above photos show it mocked up in the modified dash panel, and the dash wet sanded and painted. I’m letting the paint dry for a couple of days because of three coats (the last very wet) of black hammer toned, before putting gauges back in.  CLICK HERE for the details.

Also in shop news:

  • Picked up the coach after two weeks in the shop for oil leaking through lug nuts on both steering and one tag axle wheels.
  • Mowed five acres
  • Replaced one of the six 8′ florescent shop lights with LED, to see if I like it. I do and ordered five more.
  • Did a little more cleaning, organizing and photoing parts I no longer need for sale . CLICK HERE to see what I have for sale (or need to buy/trade for) on my For sale site.
  • Photo’d, listed and sod some more furniture.

 

Deep Cleaning of the Shop Continues.

In the last year, I’ve had mechanic help come in now and then to help out. Between he, I and my shop rat – things start to get out of place with good used parts, new parts, and complete garbage laying around – instead of put away properly. Getting stuff done has taken a priority to organization and putting parts, tools, and supplies away. Currently I’m going through the shop and putting stuff away, and trying to improve organization. Yesterday I spent the first couple of hours putting good parts away, and bad parts in garbage. There was a lot of both. Then I started reorganizing the electrical crash cart, which was a total mess. I got rid of the bad short wires thrown in the cart and wound up good short pieces, sorted and bagged connectors which, somehow got unsorted. I put switches and fuses; shrink tubes and relays; and connectors in cases.

I still have six other crash carts to straighten out, but this was the worst of them. On my stacker, the door cabinet was mounted very low because of some plates I used to mount a puck lock system.

It interfered with the golf cart when loaded. So it got mounted higher today after cutting a relief hole in the back.

Also in the stacker, the aircraft cargo track that got ripped up when I had to lock up the brakes with a car on the lift – had a new one cut, edges ground smooth, bent to fit beaver tail, and screwed down with new screws, lock washers and nuts.

The Magnum has been sitting for a couple of years. Recently the gas was drained, carb rebuilt and car running and tuned before replacing the carpet and seats. It drives great, but brakes were horrible. Originally it was suspected to have been the master cylinder – so that was removed and inspected. It was fine and the brakes bled and adjusted. Brakes still sucked so car was jacked up and both rear wheels still turned while brakes were applied. Since the they bled fine, it is suspected that the pistons are froze up inside from sitting so long – and ones are on the way.

Also in the “spent a lot of time and money fixing the wrong items” department, the hydraulic clutch on my 99 Drifter 1500 motorcycle was slipping. It got replaced last month. Now it has a slight delay engaging. Bleeding didn’t help so I bought a used master cylinder and a rebuild kit as new is made of unobtainium. It was rebuilt and put on, but same issue existed. the slave cylinder was bled, and same thing. The hose between the two was removed. While 150 psi of air was introduced at one end, less than ten psi comes out of the other end – meaning 20 years has degraded the hose and its collapsed. It too is made of unobtainium, so I’ll have to take someplace that can take a hose with banjo fittings.

So a lot of hours were spent wasting time yesterday. Heading to the lake for the weekend, so thrashing resumes next week.