Thug’s Maiden Voyage

So the Thug’s first time on the track occurred last week at the Dave Duell Classic in Bowling Green Kentucky. We left the race shop Monday afternoon to get under traffic, and dropped anchor 150 miles later at a Walmart in Lufkin, Texas – so I could watch the Rockets game. We pulled up anchor at 9am and called it a night at the Walmart in Jackson, TN. We again left at 9am, dumped waste tanks and filled fresh water in Franklin, KY, and meet Doug Duell at track at 2pm.

I’d also brought the Texas Whale in the stacker, as it is its turn to be restored, and I’m using a car wrapper in Evansville, In. Doug arranged for a trailer to take it from the track to Evansville. After unloading from my trailer and onto the other trailer – I helped Doug mark off pit spots for the NSS racers.

Thursday I helped park racers, replaced the slicks with new, established credentials, got my cage certified, teched car in and paid for Test N Tune.

The first time down the track the car left like a dog, and there was a bind in the throttle. I had a bad feeling in my gut when I picked up my time slip. Back in the pits we adjusted for WOT and I went back for another hit.

Again the car left like a dog and the time slip wasn’t any better. In the pits we checked timing and it was only 31 degrees – so we bumped it to 35. the throttle cable moved again – so we moved that, and I found plug six wasn’t on right. I was told it would be my last hit of the day because of a storm coming.

I think we might have found the problem. Ignore the light, I followed a Pro Mod and they left the tree on Pro.

In the morning was a Time trial, and I threw 100 pounds in the box to see what the car did with weight.

A little slower than I expected, but my cars have always been .003-.004 slow on first pass of day. Shortly thereafter we were called for the first Qualifying. I took 40 pounds out, but was too fast.

An hour or so later we had Qualifying Two. I went back to 100 pounds shooting for a 9.77 on my 9.75 index, but had a bad 60′

Then coming back to pits the Idle increased. I initially thought the rings seated, but when I restarted the car to put in trailer when rain came, the motor didn’t sound right.

Inspection showed a loose rocker. Closer inspection saw a loose center rocker arm nut, and when rocker arm was removed – I was discovered broken at that center stud hole. While the parts were available to fix rocker arm, I threw in the towel for the event, as I want a deeper inspection of the lifters.

We left the track Sunday morning, and arrived at the shop Monday afternoon, where I unloaded the trailer.

I’ll have the motor partially torn down Wednesday morning. If I dodged a bullet and only have to replace the rocker arm, then the Maiden Voyage will have been a success when you consider all of the new parts put onto a 53 year old car.

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