The Texas Whale’s First Event

First Time out for the whale

Yesterday, I made the first three hard passes on the Whale — each a little harder than the one before. I was shooting for the 10.0 Index for this first event (while I get use to the car, ensure nothing falls off a completely new car that has never been raced, and to break-in the motor), and felt like short-shifting it at 6500 would get me there.

The first pass was a Time Trial. The above photo is of that pass. I launched off the footbrake at 2500 and shifted at 6500. I have a lot of gear in the car — and the car started breaking up at the 1000′ when I hit 7000 RPM. I lifted enough to stay just under 7000 — which gave me a 10.6 at 120MPH. Despite a hard burnout to break in new slicks — I had a crappy 60′ at 1.47.

In the pits I find that the top end chip was a 7000 chip and so I changed that out to a 7500.

For my only qualifying run (I missed the first of two NSS was given), I lowered my launch to 2300 — and the wheels came up much higher with my 60′ improved slightly to 1.43. This time I shifted at 7000 (so I wouldn’t be crossing the line as such a high RPM), and did a 10.10 @ 133mph.

That made me #6 qualifier out of 14 racers in the event — and matched me against my son Dallas who was #9 on the ladder.

I lowered the launch still again to 2100 and the front end came up much higher (although it didn’t really carry them very far as it was out of the power band of the motor) and I again shifted at 7000. Dallas was the faster car and I was in the right lane — making it harder to see him coming up on me. I’ve had a terrible crick in my neck for the last couple of weeks, and can’t turn my head at all. I could hear Dallas coming up on me — but couldn’t look over my left shoulder to see him. He thought I was going to breakout (by more than I did, most likely because the difference in our lights — his not being the worse) and so he lifted.

I screwed up. I was a little distracted by a big cross wind gust that moved my car just past my clearing the stands, and I just couldn’t see where Dallas was. I honestly didn’t think I could break out, and so I didn’t drag my brakes. I gave him the round by breaking out by 2/100 second.

That’s my story — and I’m sticking to it.

All in all — I don’t think the car or I did too bad in our first three passes, especially considering I went a full second faster than I have in the last 18 months. To me — the difference between 11.0 in the Vitamin C, and 10.0 in a cross-wind with a wagon, is a big one.

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The car feels good. I’m using Doug Duell’s old Dynamic convertor — but he sets his car up to launch at 1900 and shift at 6500 to achieve his 9.75 Index. Damon has the horsepower band in my engine in a higher RPM Range (it feels like it starts pulling hard at 5500 and is still pulling very hard when I’m shifting at 7000 — making me think that for the car to go as fast as its potential — it wants to shift at closer to 7500) — so I think I need to get a new convertor that flashes higher as my power is made higher.

I also need to experiment with shock settings, launch RPMs, and 4-link adjustments.

That said — I think I can right now consistently make the car dependably run 10.0s for the NMCA Points (not wearing stuff out as fast — plus the comfort of no neck brace, no net, no 3-ply suit, and an open helmet), but be able to turn up the wick for 9.5s-9.75s for non-points races that pay more for the FX classes.

 

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