While the Big Red Ram has been performing very well for Dallas, the Texas Whale sustained engine damage at our last race in Atlanta. We’ll never know the exact sequence of failures but the engine sustained a broken push rod, three bent push rods, a broken roller lifter, a pair of damaged roller rockers, and the three bolts on the geardrive to the camshaft loose.
Despite the engine having but 11 passes on it since a cam and head change — the decision was to completely tear down for further cleaning, inspection, and bearing replacement. Dallas tore the engine down and cleaned the parts; I order a set of beefier push rods from Smith Brothers, rockers from T&D, lifters from Bullet, and timing set/gaskets/timing cover,engine bearings/cam button; and Damon has assembled the short block. However, we’re still waiting for the rockers and Cometic Head Gaskets — so the Texas Whale was not ready for this race.
So the Vitamin C was pressed into action. I bought this slower (mid 10-second) car 4 years ago, and ran it for a couple of years while the Whale was getting finished — and Dallas was getting use to maintaining a mid 9-second car. A pin hole found it’s way through a cylinder wall two years ago — and the 426 block was just too worn to spend any more time as a race engine. A 440 block was machined and new dome-top pistons were attached to the old rods, crank, cam, heads, … for the new engine – and the car is scheduled to be completely rebuilt next year when my youngest daughter will start racing it in 2014.
Since we hadn’t driven the car in two years or tested the new engine, we took it to San Antonio and I entered it in the bracket race – something I’ve never done. While I went a few rounds and made 5 passes, the car was running a very slow (but consistent) 11.3s. The day we left for the Mopars at the Motorplex — we made the call to change the distributor with one having advance. That appears to be a good call.
We left the shop at 7PM on Friday night and arrived at the track at midnight. At 7 AM we started setting up the pits. I only had one chance to Time trial the Vitamin C, and it ran a 10.9 in horrible weather that had other cars 2 to 3 tenths off. I felt like I could get it to 10.7s or 8s with more timing — but since there was only 1 time trial — I had to leave it where it was. Dallas was able to get the Big Red Ram to run a 9.45 — which is about 2/10 slow, but still good enough to declare the B/FX index.
Even with 30 pounds of weight I (7601) was too fast with a 10.98 for the first round of qualifying. Dallas (7602) spun and was a little too slow with a 9.58.
In my first round of eliminations, I ran Tony Smith, who is a tough draw. He’d beat me the first time we’ve run each other, but I have come out on the better end in the Semis last year at both the Mopars at the Plex and the NMCA race — both events I had won. I cut it way too close with a perfect light (.000) and a perfect ET (11.000) when I lifted at the MPH cone and let Tony take the stripe to breakout.
Dallas had also won his first round. In the second Round I turned the stupid light on with a .009 red against Mark Buchanan, and he had a bad light and a poor run to add insult to injury. Dallas won his second round with a hole-shot win. I’m guessing I must have staged a little too deep.
In the Semis Dallas again won with a hole shot against Frankenwagon — giving him a chance to avenge my loss against Mark Buchanan for the Finals. Dallas ran a near perfect 9.501 on his 9.50 Index — but was caught snoozing at the lights — handing the win to Mark Buchanan. We were shooting for Back(2012)-to-Back(2013) Schultz wins at the Mopars at the Plex — but Dallas still scored a $500 check for first worse. We were loaded up and passed through the track’s gate at 6:30PM, arriving home at 10:30 after driving through a bad storm.
We’d like to thank our sponsors Royal Purple, Fuelab, TTI, Texas Motorcycle Excursions, Crew Chief Software, and Mancinni Racing for their help with our racing. Their sponsorships are very much appreciated – as are their products important for our success.