Drag Week Blog 2005

(This blog was originally posted on the FE Forum in September 2005)

Kansas City Here I Come..., Saturday, September 10 2005

After thrashing all week long on my car in preparation for Drag Week, I finally got everything completed and got on the road this afternoon. Here's a picture of the car with the trailer carrying the race tires, race gas, spare parts, tools, blow up dolls, etc.:

Mach 1 with Trailer

The trip down went pretty well. There were a couple of glitches. I had decided to make my first gas stop in Albert Lea, Minnesota, but when I got there with the needle on empty, the freaking exit was closed due to road construction. I had to go another 4 miles down the freeway to the next exit, and then the nearest gas station was one mile farther. I made it off the freeway, but just as the gas station came into sight in the far distance, the car sputtered and died. I cranked it into neutral and coasted all the way there (momentum from the trailer probably helping out some), into the driveway and right up to the pump. As I pulled in, I had to make a sharp S turn, and everybody looked because the Detroit locker was clicking around the corners, and here comes a car that isn't running. It was kind of embarrassing, but me and my copilot Steve were laughing because we were just glad we'd made it.

Unfortunately, the station had only 89 octane gas, so we had to fill up on that. I went in to use the men's room, and when I came out another guy had pulled up to the pumps, tried to fill his tank, but only got about $2 worth of gas into the car. He was talking to the attendant at the counter, who was telling him they had just run out of gas!! Timing is everything.

Thirty miles further down the freeway, the car started to run rough, and was actually spitting fuel out of the hood scoop. We pulled over, took the scoop and air cleaner off, and started the car. The fuel was bubbling out of the primary float bowl's vent. Steve and I speculated that the lower octane level had a lower boiling temperature, and we had reached a threshold with the 89 octane gas. We decided to break into one of the three jugs of race gas I had in the trailer, and add that to the tank to try to solve the problem. Back on the road, and it worked like a charm; no more trouble. At the next stop we got 92 octane fuel, and all was well again.

The remainder of the trip was uneventful. The car ran real well, with only the oil mist still coming out of the breathers to cause any concern. I wish I could solve that problem. We got into our hotel in KC at about 11:00 PM tonight. Looking forward to seeing Chuck Brandt and Werner Bartels at the track tomorrow, and getting registered for Drag Week. And, of course, making a few passes on the track. More tomorrow - Jay

Drag Week Registration and Test & Tune, Sunday, September 11 2005

Great day today. Got to the track at about 11:00 AM, and there were already a few other Drag Week participants there. However, the track was not opened up for business yet, so we unhooked the trailer and ran off to get lunch. Came back around 12:00 and got the car ready to race, and waited. And waited. And waited. Chuck Brandt came by with his kids and we had a nice talk, and got to look around at the steadily increasing numbers of cars. Chuck's a great guy, and a good photographer too, judging from the pictures of my car that he posted down the page a little.

They finally opened the track at about 1:45, and I went in and got registered for Drag Week. The track itself opened at about 2:00. They measured the track temperature and posted it on a sign near the starting line: 127 degrees! The air temperature was a good 95, so I was figuring this would slow all the cars, including mine, down some.

While my car was going through tech, the Hot Rod TV crew showed up and took a bunch of film of them going through the tech on my car. It was a real short deal, with the tech guy just checking a few basic things, and saying how nice the car looked. The film crew was in his face, and mine, but I guess that's what they do. I'm guessing I'll end up on the cutting room floor, but you never know...

I went out to make my first pass at about 2:15. The changes from my previous, 10.91 best run were the switch to 4.11 gears (from 3.89s), relocation of the battery to the trunk, and opening up the air cleaner top to feed air into the carb more effectively. This was also the first pass on my new tires. The car ran an 11.014 @ 124.00 MPH, which was disappointing, but the obvious reason was that the car was missing really badly when it hit about 6300 RPM, and wouldn't go above 6400 RPM. I had noticed this issue on my last trip to the track a few weeks ago, but because of the 3.89 gears I only saw it right at the end of the track, and then only for a split second before I let off. This time, because of the change to 4.11 gearing, it was hampering me severely.

I had gone through the car with a fine tooth comb over the last few weeks, and I was pretty sure it was nothing valvetrain related, so I figured it must either be the plugs, or the rev limiter in the MSD 6. It seemed to me that the rev limiters on MSDs have given me some trouble before, so for a first test I changed the rev limiter setting from 6800 RPM to 7100 RPM. After a brief cool down, I went back out to the track. I made my pass, and was delighted to see that the MSD was the problem; the car revved freely to 6600 RPM. I guess my rev limiter is about 400 RPM "conservative". However, as I crossed the finish line it suddenly occurred to me that I had left the exhaust cutouts closed! I had forgotten to flip the cutout switch before the pass. So, I made the pass through the mufflers.

Even so, the car improved to a 10.82 @ 127.96, through the mufflers! Boy, I was happy about that. I couldn't wait to let the car cool sufficiently, and make a run through the open headers. About this time Werner Bartels from the forum came by and said hello. Another great guy from the FE Forum; sometimes I can't get over what a good group of people we have here. Werner took the day off on Monday, so he will also be at the track tomorrow for the opening day of Drag Week.

After Werner left, I was standing in front of the car recording the data from the previous run in my notebook, when this contingent of cameras and personalities arrived from Hot Rod Magazine. David Freiburger came up and introduced himself, and wanted to arrange to get together later for a photo shoot of my car! Rob Kinnan was also there, along with the Hot Rod TV crew.

Well, I'd say things were going reasonably well at that point LOL! After they left and I calmed down a little, I went back out and ran the car again, this time with the cutouts opened, and ran a 10.737 @ 129.66 MPH. Sixty foot time was the best ever, at 1.588, and my reaction times were only mildly embarassing. Consulting my Moroso "dream wheel", I see that with that MPH, I should be running more like a 10.40, so I obviously still have chassis tuning work to do, although there may be a limit to what I can do on 9" slicks. I tried one more run, reducing the tire pressure from 12 pounds to 11 pounds, but the car slowed down just a little to 10.75 @ 127.84, so I think I may have to find my sixty foot times elsewhere.

At 6:00, we left the track with two other cars and the Hot Rod editors and photo people for a location about 4 miles away for the photo shoot. They took a bunch of pictures of the engine and interior of my car, and then the Hot Rod TV gang came over again and did an interview about my car and why I was competing in Drag Week. Right in the middle of the interview, my cell phone rang; they kept the cameras going while I answered it. It was my wife! I had to say, "Honey, can I call you back? Right now I'm on Hot Rod TV!". I don't think she believed me until I called her back to explain later.

After the interview was over, they were still taking pictures of the other cars, so I got the opportunity to corner Rob Kinnan and red-ass him about his "Finally Extinct" remark in this month's Hot Rod. He held up his hands defensively, laughing and saying "Hey, I just said that SOME people say that...". He told me that Freiburger had already given him a hard time about it. I told him that some of the folks on the FE Forum were not happy about that remark, and he asked me to apologize to everyone on the FE Forum on his behalf. So, guys, Kinnan says he's sorry. Later on, Freiburger came up to us and said to me, "Hey, did you see what this guy said about the FE in this month's issue?", and Kinnan had to go through it all over again. It was pretty funny. By the way, Rob Kinnan seems like a really nice, personable guy, and I enjoyed talking to him. When he said that thing about the FE, he must have just been having the equivalent of a senior moment...

Also got a chance to talk with David Freiburger some more, and I complimented him on his idea for Drag Week, which to me anyway seems like the ultimate street car event. He also seems to be a very bright, personable guy, and it seems like Hot Rod is in good hands with folks like these at the helm.

At the end of the evening, Freiburger and one of the Hot Rod photographers had me run my car up to the local Sonic drive-in, a block or two away from the photo shoot. They set up their cameras at the entrance, and had me run a circle around the drive in about a dozen times, so they could shoot photos of the car as it was moving. They showed us one of the pictures after we finished, and its one of those moving blurry shots of the car; it looked really cool. With luck it will make the magazine...

My buddy Steve and I left the photo shoot and had dinner at a local restaurant, capping off a truly memorable day. I'm looking forward to the rest of this week, but I don't see how it can get any better than it already is. I guess I'll just have to go faster! More tomorrow - Jay

Drag Week Day 1, KCIR, Monday, September 12 2005

Drag Week kicked off this morning with a driver's meeting hosted by David Freiburger from Hot Rod. We went through all the rules and so forth, and we received disposable cameras for the event. The cameras are used to take pictures of the car at various checkpoints along the route from track to track, to make sure that you are getting there on the prescribed route, and also to document any cheating that you may see another competitor doing, such as putting his car on a trailer or taking tools or parts out of a chase vehicle. After the meeting was concluded about 10:00, they opened the track for the participants.

I had been asking at the registration area about the number of cars in the normally aspirated big block class, and found that there were a total of six cars registered. As it turned out at the end of the day, only four showed up. Those four were my car, an early 70's El Camino with a 454, tunnel ram, and two four barrels, a 1969 Camaro with a full Pro-Street treatment, single 4 big block, 10 point cage, wheel tubs and monster tires, and a late 60's Dodge Valiant or Dart or something like that, with a 426 Hemi. Looking these cars over, all of them looked like they could be competitive with my car; I was especially concerned about the Camaro, because the way the chassis was set up the car was legal for 9s, and there was no way I could touch that. It appeared to be really well put together.

My buddy and shotgun rider Steve went up to the stands to keep tabs on how the other cars in my class were doing, and I got strapped in and rode down the staging lanes. The temperature was still fairly cool, so I had high hopes for an even better time than the 10.73 I'd run yesterday. They staged and ran the cars one at a time, because the Hot Rod photographers were out on the track, getting pictures of every car as it launched. Finally my turn came around, and I did a pretty good burnout and launched from the left lane. The car felt a little slow off the line, and missed a little bit around 6600 RPM in first gear, but smoothed out at the top in second, and went through the traps at about 6800 RPM. Just what I wanted from my 4.11 gears. I was rewarded with a 10.679 @ 128.42 MPH. I was pretty happy with that.

I came back down pit road, and there was Werner Bartel in his Gold 69 Mach 1 waiting for me. He pulled in next to me in the pits and we spent some time looking over each other's cars. While we were talking, my buddy Steve came back from the stands with the G2 on my competitors. Apparently the El Camino was not running well, posting a 13 something. The guy had come all the way from North Carolina in the car, but before he left he swapped in some highway gears. Apparently the car wasn't running very strong with those gears in it. The hemi-powered Dodge was putting up numbers between 11.15 and 11.20, and the Camaro was running 11 flat. At that point I was wondering where the other cars were that were supposed to show up for my class, but things were looking pretty good.

I let the car cool down some, then went back out to the track to try again. Traction felt better on this run, and this time no missing; again the car improved to a 10.637 @ 128.81 MPH. A few minutes later the Camaro made another run, and this time got into the 10s, at something like 10.97.

My plan for Drag Week had been to play it like a big test and tune session, and just run the car as much as I could at all the tracks, each day. But, I was not expecting to be in front! I began to rethink my strategy. The more I run the car, the more I risk breaking something. So, I began to think that maybe, if I really did have a significant lead on the other cars in my class, I would leave the car's settings as they were, and just run it a couple of times at each track. Make the other competitors try to catch me. I'm still kind of thinking this through, because I really do want to try some more stuff (top hole on the Cal-Tracs, split-shifting with the GV O/D, changing the timing, etc.), but I think my strategy might be changing as a result of what happened today.

In the supercharged/nitrous classes, there were some pretty impressive vehicles. Three of the cars were running mid 8s, and competing head to head. There was another guy with an old Nova wagon, with a six cylinder Vortech engine that was running a turbo and a big intercooler, and pulling down low nines. Then, there was the car that I just didn't understand. Some guy had taken a big block Chevy, put on an F3 Pro-Charger so it made 1500 HP, and stuck it in a late model Chevy Caprice station wagon! These are the wagons that look like a giant tadpole; the thing was hideous. Listening to the engine at the line, it made GOBS of HP, but he couldn't get it to hook. He would launch the car, the tires would go up in smoke, he'd start weaving around on the track, and finally slow down to something like a 16. He made one run where he feathered the throttle off the line, and then got into it once it was up and rolling, and ran a 10 flat. Finally, the damned thing grenaded on his next pass; he put a rod right through the side of the block, and drove over the crank. It left shrapnel all over the track; it took them half an hour to clean it up. Seemed to me like a big waste of money, but to each his own, I guess.

After the second pass I decided to call it quits for the day. Werner and I parked our cars together on the grass to take a few pictures (don't forget to send me copies of those, Werner!), and then I pulled back into the pits to do some maintenance on the car. Still paranoid about valve lash, I ran the valves again, and was happy to see that only a few had loosened up, and those only by a few thousandths. I also pulled a couple of plugs, and they looked perfect. The engine seems like its doing just fine so far...

The deadline for making passes came and went, and I hand't seen anyone else running in my class, so I felt like I was probably in front. At 3:30 we got in the caravan to go with Hot Rod to the next track in St. Louis. The caravan stopped just before the freeway to get some gas, and I pulled in right behind Freiburger's car at the gas station. He dug in his trunk and came over with the day's results; sure enough, I have about a three and a half tenths lead on the field. Boy, I was pumped!

The trip to St. Louis was mostly down the freeway, but they had us take a little detour to get our pictures taken in front of a roller skating rink called "Hot Wheels", and then we detoured through a little town where they had set up a photo shoot for all the cars in the procession. Not everyone in Drag week waited for the Hot Rod Caravan; some of the cars went on ahead. Notably, all three cars in the 8s were not to be seen. Hmmmmm..... probably nothing, but you never know.

My car ran great down the freeway, and we got into our hotel in Collinsville IL at about 9:30 tonight. Tomorrow will be an interesting day; we'll see if one of the other cars in my class makes a move. More tomorrow - Jay

Drag Week Day 2, Gateway International Raceway, Tuesday, September 13 2005

It was a challenging day today. We got into the track at 8:00 AM, because we wanted to get through tech and be ready to race at 9:00. The weather was supposed to be very hot again today, so I wanted to get my runs in early.

Entering the track, I got bit by an unexpected problem. We were driving in at about 5 MPH, and hit an expansion joint in the parking lot, and the trailer hitch popped off the ball. I heard it, and I hit the brakes, and the top of the trailer smacked into my trunk lid. Not major damage or anything, but so much for my nice paint job. Looking at it later, the nut underneath the hitch on the trailer had come loose, so even though it was locked in place, it could still jump off the ball. Damn, not a great way to start the day. Oh well, it's a drag race, not a beauty contest.

Got through tech with no trouble, and when they called for the cars I went right out. I was probably the third or fourth car down the track. I did a good burnout, and the track felt pretty sticky on the launch. I noticed some missing at the top of second gear, though, around 6800 RPM. Nevertheless, I cut the best time to date, 10.612 @ 128.26, with a best ever 1.562 sixty foot time. I was pretty happy with this, until the competition came down the track. The 69 Camaro ripped off a 10.77, which was two tenths quicker than he had gone yesterday. Then came the Hemi Dart. By the way, this is one of the ORIGINAL Darts that Dodge built with Hemi engines, for racing purposes. I'm sure it's a lightweight car. Earlier, the guy had borrowed a dial indicator I had brought along to check TDC on his car, and discovered his timing pointer was off. He re-timed the car, and ran a 10.80, much better than the 11.04 he had run on Monday.

I decided to go back out and run again without changing anything. This run didn't turn out so well from a driving perspective; I was all over the track, and while I was able to keep my foot in it, it probably cost me some time. Even so, I ran a 10.616 @ 128.29 MPH. The miss was still there. I was convinced I could've gone faster.

I was standing out by my car thinking that this was becoming a race, when some guy with an FE Forum t-shirt shows up! It was Bob Hasty, come to watch the race and offer support. Had a nice chat with Bob, while I was watching from a distance as the Hemi guy messed around with his fuel system. He went out for another pass a couple of minutes later. He ran a 10.67 that time. Yikes, he was getting close! I decided I'd better get my ass back out on the track.

Yesterday, while on the road between KC and St. Louis, I had noticed at one of the stops that oil was leaking out of my coil, from the area where the distributor wire plugs in. I ran it to St. Louis with no trouble, but I thought it might be a good bet that the coil was the source of the missing. Fortunately, I had brought a spare, so I swapped it in and went back out on the track. It was starting to get hot out there, and I wanted to try another run because I was convinced I could get into the 10.50s if I could fix this little problem, and drive the car correctly. However, my driving problems continued, with pretty much the same things happening this time as last time; I ran a 10.625 @ 128.98.

Back in the pits, I just couldn't account for the high speed miss, except that I was spinning the engine a little faster than I had on the previous track. I felt that it could take 6800 RPM, but the miss was coming before that. I decided to change the plugs; it would at least give me a chance to look at all of them, and maybe one of them was dirty or fouled or something.

I began struggling with this (as you guys know, this is no picnic), when Bob told me a trick for feeding the plugs into the holes in the heads. We took a short piece of rubber tube, slipped one end on the plug, and the other end on a big Philips screwdriver. The tube acts as a universal joint, and the plug can slip inside the tube so that there's no way you can cross thread the thing. This is probably old news for a lot of you guys, but I'd never seen this trick before, and it really worked well. Took me half the normal time to change the plugs.

Unfortunately, all 8 plugs that I took out of the engine looked perfect, so I didn't feel I had solved any problems. I had to face the possibility that maybe it was valve float creeping in. By now it was noon, and the Camaro guy had run several more times, all 10.80 or slower. Best he could get was his first pass, so I still had a reasonable cushion on him. The Hemi guy had the hood off and was still sitting in the pits. My buddy Steve walked over, and found out that he had broken his water pump on the last pass! Snapped the nose clean off. He had a new one he was trying to get installed. I decided that I'd better make another pass now, because I wanted to watch the Hemi guy and see if he could make another big ET jump when he ran again.

I decided that I would go back to shifting the car at 6600, like I did at KC, and see what happened. The car felt great on the launch, and this time I didn't drift towards the wall or anything. I was just elated with the time slip: 10.551 @ 128.42 MPH, with a 1.54 sixty foot time!

Bob gave me a high five back in the pits, and I was feeling pretty good. We went back up to the stands to watch the other racers. The Camaro guy came up again a few more times, but could only manage a 10.80, even with a 1.51 sixty foot time. Then came the Hemi guy – but he could only manage another 10.80.

It looked like my lead was safe. The Camaro guy continued to run until the end of the session, but we watched every pass and he couldn't duplicate his early time. I went up to the tower to turn in my timing slip and get my directions to the next track, and found that the Hemi guy had already turned his slip in and gotten ready to leave for the day. With my 10.551, my two day average stands at 10.594. The Camaro and the Dart are both around 10.86, so I still have a quarter of a second cushion on the competiton. I think I'm sitting pretty good at this point.

We got packed up and decided not to wait for the Hot Rod caravan this time, because we wanted to get to Bowling Green early. However, Freiburger intercepted me when I was asking about the caravan, and suggested we come along with him; he was driving out with the 8.50 Nova and a few other cars, and leaving around 2:30. So, we went along, because I really wanted to see that Nova on the road. Somehow, on the way out of town, I ended up in front of the procession, with everyone following. Then, I missed a turn on the route; we were going along on the freeway at about 60 MPH, when the turn came up suddenly. As I was turning in, I realized that it was a very sharp exit corner, and of course the 25 MPH sign wasn't visible until I was already turning in. There was no way I was going to make that corner, so I swerved back to the freeway and continued on straight. Steve and I were just shaking this off when I looked in my side mirror, and saw that the entire procession, including the Nova and Freiburger's rental car, were still following me! I had to laugh; talk about dumb, and dumber! Anyway, we quickly found a turnaround and got back on the right road, but I can just imagine the comments in the other cars (That Ford guy can't follow directions, etc…).

We kept going in our little caravan for over a hundred miles, when some of the cars stopped for gas and I went on ahead. We got to the "checkpoint" ahead of them, and took a picture of the Mach 1 in front of some big food store statue. There was a car wash and a gas station there, so I filled up and washed the car while the other racers arrived. Finally we headed back off down the road again. About two miles out of town, we saw that one of the racers was stopped on the side of the road. Nice guy, with a small block Cuda running in the naturally aspirated small block class. We stopped to help. His engine had started clanging on the way out of town, and he thought it was the torque converter bolts had come loose, and he was on his way under the car with only a cheesy floor jack to hold it up. I got my jackstands out of my trailer to let him use. He got it fixed in a jiffy, and we were off again. We left Illinois, went through a small corner of Indiana, and then got into western Kentucky. The caravan stopped for gas again, but I still had half a tank, so Steve and I kept going. About two miles later, we were confronted with some confusing directions on the sheet given to us by Hot Rod. The sheet said, " take 46 South through Henderson". There was a fork in the road; the left fork said 46 South, and the right fork said 46 South Alternate – Henderson. After a short discussion we took the right fork. BIG mistake.

For the next two hours we toured the western Kentucky countryside. The roads were not clearly marked, and we had gone 20 miles before we realized we had made a mistake at the fork. We tried to cut back across a few towns to get on the road we were supposed to be on, but the roads on the map we had seemed altogether different than the roads we saw. We even stumbled across a four lane freeway that was simply not on the map, and we didn't know where it went. In desperation we stopped and asked directions from a woman at a convenience store counter. She just laughed at me and said, "Welcome to Kentucky, boy! I ain't got any idea how to get to where YOU got to go!" I bought a map from her anyway, but it was also of little use. Finally, we stumbled across a road that we recognized, and followed it to a town on the map, and out onto a highway that we THOUGHT led in the right direction, and then suddenly we were back on the toll road we were supposed to be on in the first place. What a freakin' ordeal. As we accelerated up the entrance ramp to the toll road, we saw another Drag Week guy, with a 2005 Mustang and U-Haul, going right by, so we hooked up with him and ran for the next 20 miles or so. Then, there was a dead Impala on the shoulder. One guy had already stopped, and the Mustang was going to stop too, so we kept going. A half mile later, just over the hill, there was a dead Corvette. We stopped for him, but he was going to be OK; he had a coil problem, and the car would only run for 10 minutes or so before it would quit and would have to cool for ½ hour. He was limping into Bowling Green in 10 mile steps. He thanked us for stopping, and we got back on the road. Nice guy, and I'll bet we'll see him at the track tomorrow.

Finally got into the hotel around 10:30, locked up the car and grabbed a sandwich at the local Citgo. Man, what a day. I'm tired. Shoe, I hope you can sleep now, because I sure can. More tomorrow – Jay

Drag Week Day 3, Beech Bend Raceway, Wednesday, September 14 2005

Another day, another race track. After the late night directions fiasco yesterday, and the long drive in front of us today, we just wanted to get into the track, make a couple of good runs, and get out of there.

We rolled into Beech Bend Raceway a little late, about 8:45 AM. It didn't matter though, because they hadn't even called for the tech lines yet. The air was hot and humid, even at 9:00 AM, so we kind of figured all the cars would slow down. Hot Rod passed out the standings, and sure enough I was still in first place by about 0.27 seconds average. Walking around the pits, we heard the scuttlebutt from the night before. According to one guy, the fellow running the 426 Hemi Dart burned a bunch of his underhood electrical wiring, and lost his alternator last night. I guess he was sitting by the side of the road, wondering what to do, when some guy came by and said, "Hey, is that an original Hemi Dart??" I guess the conversation went from there to the stranger towing the Dart to his huge garage, and the two of them replacing the engine compartment wiring, alternator, and starter in the car, working until the wee hours. Sure enough, he was there this morning. If that story is true, that guy needs to buy some lottery tickets.

Steve and I got the tires on my car, and the side bars installed, and waited around until about 9:30 for the tech inspection to start. Tech was a real joke. The tech guy says, "Have you got a helmet? How about seat belts?". Answer yes, and you got the tech sticker. I guess they figured that we had already run through the tech inspection at two other tracks, and they didn't need to do much here.

They opened the track up right away, so by 9:45 we were racing. My first pass felt a little slow, and I figured maybe a 10.80. Surprise, surprise, 10.623 @ 127.85 MPH, with a 1.547 sixty foot time. My bracket race car was back in top form. MPH was down a little, due to the air no doubt.

I parked to let it cool, and went up to the stands to see the other competitors. That 8.50 Nova is pretty impressive, but he was off a little, to an 8.68 I think. Several other guys ran, and then came the Hemi car. Best he could manage was a 10.90. He came back again a little while later, and dumped a bunch of anti freeze while he was doing the burnout. The track guy was just pissed! It is clear to me that the Hemi car isn't that well prepared for this race; Freiburger told me he was putting the heads on the engine on Saturday this week, so he is using Drag Week as kind of a shakedown cruise. Seems a little risky to me, but the Hemi guy is a very nice guy, and its too bad to see him having these kinds of problems. I wish he was running real solidly, because I think we'd be having a hell of a race.

I hung around for a while waiting for the Camaro to run, but he was just sitting in the pits, so I went back out to make another pass. This time the car felt a little better, but my drive wasn't the greatest; the car ran a 10.610 @ 127.47, with a best ever 1.527 sixty foot time! The car was really hooking on this track, but MPH was down from earlier, probably just because it was getting warmer. I decided that if I could just drive the freaking thing straight down the track, it had another 10.50 pass in it today, so I parked it to let it cool, and watched some more track action.

Finally the Camaro came up, made a lot of noise and smoke on the burnout, and looked pretty good on the launch. But he only got a 10.90 out of it. He tried again a little later, and killed the car at the line, and then after he launched it died again 30 feet down the track, and he sat there for about a minute before he finally got it started and drove away. He must be having some kind of problems.

After watching the Camaro guy and the Hemi guy struggle a little today, I decided why risk another pass on my car. For me, right now, it looks like Drag Week has turned into an endurance race. If I can run two more 10.60s at the next two tracks, I think I've got it won. So, why risk the hardware. Steve and I packed up the trailer, and we were out of the track by 11:30.

Again, Hot Rod gave us directions on how to get to the next track, with one mandatory checkpoint where we had to park the car in front of a giant chicken (aka "the Giant Cock"), and take a picture with the portable camera. And again, the directions were not very good. Without going into detail, I'll say we struggled through to the chicken checkpoint, with a couple of minor wrong turns but no serious problems. Steve was navigating while I drove, and he is ready to throttle the people at Hot Rod who put those directions together.

After the chicken, things got a little easier, and soon we were back on the interstate. Driving down the road, we ran past our buddy in the Hemi Dart and waved. Twenty miles later we stopped for gas, and five minutes after that the Dart pulled into the station, overheating and blowing steam out from under the hood. We talked to the driver for a while and offered any help, but he said that he can only run down the freeway for a limited time before the car overheats. I guess he's running 4.88 gears on the freeway! He's got some pretty good sized tires, though. In any case, the car cools down, he fills it up with water, and away he goes for another 100 miles or so. Glad I'm not dealing with that….

As we rolled into Columbus tonight, about 20 miles from the hotel – THERE was that red pickup towing the red trailer again! It was the same vehicle we had seen going into Bowling Green last night. Steve and I thought about stopping, but the truck and trailer was stopped on the shoulder of the freeway, and it just wasn't convenient to pull over. A few miles later we got to our hotel, which was right on the main drag of town. We unpacked the car and locked everything up and then – the truck and trailer rolled by and took a right turn into a parking lot next to our hotel! Steve grabbed the disposable camera and ran for the parking lot. By the time he got there, the truck and trailer had disappeared. The parking lot was for a grocery store, so Steve walked all around the building, but on the back side a street led into a residential neighborhood, and he had no way of knowing where the truck and trailer went. He came back, and we checked in, and came back down to walk across the street to Applebees for dinner. AT THAT MOMENT THE SUSPECT RACE CAR PULLED OUT OF THE GROCERY STORE PARKING LOT, FOLLOWED BY THE TRUCK AND TRAILER!!! I know that guy is cheating, and he is running in first place in his class, but we didn't get a picture, so we can't prove anything. We will mention it on the QT to his competitors tomorrow; one of them has a nondescript chase vehicle, and could shadow him and catch him in the act of loading onto the trailer.

We're ready for tomorrow, and looking forward to seeing Royce, Smitty, SamM, and Jcooper at the track. By the way, guys, try to get there early if possible, because it is another long trip to Michigan tomorrow, and if I can get a good run or two in early, I'll probably pack up and go by noon. Looking forward to seeing you guys, and I'll post again tomorrow night – Jay

Drag Week Day 4, National Trail Raceway, Thursday, September 15 2005

A pretty great day today at National Trail Raceway and Drag Week. We got into the track early, but we had overestimated how much fuel we needed, and so I still had about 6 gallons of unleaded premium in the tank when we got to the track. I added 6 gallons of race gas anyway, but the gas gauge was over half full, and I knew I'd be running heavier today than on the previous days, when I'd started on empty.

Tech at National Trail was somewhat respectable, with the tech guy actually checking the things he was supposed to be checking. After tech, Steve and I walked over to the guy we had gotten to know in the supercharged/nitrous small block class, and told him about our suspicions regarding the red truck and trailer. He confirmed that the red truck and trailer did belong to the competitor we thought it did; it was no secret. This led Steve and I to believe that maybe the guy was legit after all, but we related to our friend what we had seen, and suggested that they keep an eye on the car during the trip north.

Jeff Cooper from the FE Forum showed up about that time to help out, and Doug Smith followed soon after. We all had a nice chat, and then they opened the track and I went out to race. First pass I tried the right lane; Jeff had warned me that National Trail wasn't that great of a track, and my pal Jerry Christenson from home had also said the same thing, running 10.20s with his T-Bird a few weeks ago here, when the car normally runs high nines. So, I did a fairly long burnout, and launched expecting some wheelspin. It sure seemed like I got it; the car was all over the track, and the time was 10.700 @ 125.99, with a 1.562 60 foot time.

Back in the pits I let the car cool, and then got ready to try again. Right about then I saw a primer red Cougar pull up behind my car. It was Royce, coming in from Cincinnati. I said a quick hello, but I was all buckled in and ready to run, so I went right out to the staging lanes. This time, I tried the left lane, but it was even worse: 10.756 @ 126.22. I had overrevved in first again, and the car missed some on the top end of first.

Somewhat miffed because of my times, I let the car cool for a while longer while I talked with the guys. Royce's Cougar is a real sleeper with a stroker 427 in it, and I spent some time looking it over. Then, a caravan of cars rolled in, led by the supercharged/nitrous big block class leading Nova. Apparently, after I'd left Beech Bend yesterday, a bad ground on his nitrous system fuel solenoid had caused it to quit functioning on his last pass at that track, and with no extra fuel and a 500HP nitrous boost, he had burned holes in all his pistons! He somehow managed to find a set for his car in Louisville, sent a helper to go get them, and replaced all the pistons in his motor the previous night! He got the car running about midnight, went through the mandatory checkpoint at 3:00 AM, and had just arrived at the track. Amazing. Shortly thereafter, he tore off an 8.60 to back up his lead in his class.

After my car had cooled for about a half an hour, I decided to go back out again. The other guys in my class hadn't run yet (the Dart had just shown up after replacing his lifters and pushrods the previous evening; apparently this was in the same gas station parking lot where we ran into him), and I wanted to make a better showing before they made their runs. I went back to the right lane this time, did a good burnout, and finally got a decent launch out of the car. It drove straight this time, and I was rewarded with a 10.671 @ 126.32. This was not as good as the times at the other tracks, but I figured I'd take it to the bank.

Spent some more time in the pits talking with the forum guys, and I pointed out the car that we had suspicions about regarding the red truck and trailer. A couple of the guys went over to look at it, and noticed how clean it was; no bugs in the grille or radiator, look of a fresh wax job, etc. Hmmmm….. Finally, I went out for one more pass. Sam M from the forum met me at the starting line; he had made it out today also. I picked the right lane again this time, but no joy: 10.74. By this time, my competitors had made a couple of runs, and the were in the 11.10 to 11.00 range. So, I felt pretty secure with my 10.67, and turned it in at the tower to get the directions to the next track.

Back at the pits, we got together to take some pictures before Sam had to leave. By the way, his T-bolt replica is really cool; beautiful car. Afterwards, Matt King from Hot Rod came over, and said he wanted to ride with me from Columbus to Michigan this afternoon. He was doing a story on all the class leaders, and he hadn't ridden along with me yet. We arranged it so Steve would get a lift from one of the Hot Rod rental cars (he ended up riding with Rob Kinnan), and I told Matt I was planning on leaving in an hour or so, so we arranged to meet up at 1:00.

Steve and I began to get the trailer packed up, when Steve discovered a problem. The trailer hitch on the car was starting to get wobbly. A close inspection of the welds tieing the angle iron support bracket to the car revealed that some had broken loose, and others had torn the sheetmetal that the angle iron had been welded to. It did NOT look good, and we did not want to try to run the car with the trailer unless we had addressed this problem. We thought about potential solutions, and finally decided that if we put some big screws into the angle iron bracket from inside the trunk, with some big fender washers under the screws, it would hold the bracket to the trunk well enough for the drive to Michigan. Jeff Cooper knew the area, and knew of a Napa store and a building supply store that might have the hardware we needed, so I took him with me in the Mach 1 while Steve stayed behind to man the trailer. We got what we needed from Napa, and were back at the track in a jiffy. Steve and I effected the repairs to the trailer, and then got packed up and ready to go.

Matt King came by, so we took off. We stopped at a Sunoco station near the track where Jeff Cooper had told us we could get race gas, and filled up two jugs. After leaving, Matt and I had a nice chat in the car; he is really a nice guy, with a lot of interesting projects of his own going, including a road racing 84 Mustang detailed in Hot Rod several times. The Mach 1 ran great the whole way from Columbus to Kalamazoo, and Matt was impressed with how well it drove and its relative quiet, compared to the other cars he had driven in.

At one point I asked him what he thought of the supercharged smallblock entry that was leading the field. He said he had ridden with the guy the day before, all the way from Bowling Green to Columbus! I couldn't believe it after what Steve and I saw with the red truck and trailer, but it sounds like we jumped to conclusions about this car when we shouldn't have. So, please disregard my thinly veiled accusations from my previous posts; it sounds like what we saw was coincidence, and that this particular racer is legit.

Matt took a few pictures of the car during the drive, including one through the windshield with the shaker in view, as we were stopped for a school bus letting some kids off. I think that will be a good picture if it makes the magazine. We rolled into his hotel in Kalamazoo around 7:30, and he bought me a beer while we waited for Rob Kinnan and Steve to come in. After they did, we took off and left the Hot Rod guys to themselves. Steve said he had a really nice time talking with Rob on the way to Michigan too.

Before we pulled out of the parking lot, we checked the trailer hitch. It had deteriorated further, and was now less stable despite the reinforcing screws. We will have to fix that tomorrow at the track, but for now we felt that the trailer would make it to the hotel and the track. We came into our hotel, and were greeted with a parking lot full of street rods. I guess there is a show in town this weekend, and they are expecting 4500 cars.

Once again I had overestimated our fuel consumption, and there was half a tank of gas in the Mustang. Steve and I dropped the trailer in the parking lot, and went out for a 40 minute cruise to burn most of it off. We are now sitting about right, and I think we have just enough gas to get to the track. If we run out, we'll dump in some race gas. The air is nice and cool here in Michigan, and I think the car should run pretty well in it. The track is supposed to have been redone fairly recently, and is pretty nice according to most reports, so I'm hoping for some good times tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the last day of Drag Week. No one can catch me. All I have to do is get to the track and run an 11.20 or faster, and I will wrap it up. I will be on the road tomorrow night, so maybe no internet access, but I will try to make my final Drag Week post by Saturday evening at the latest. Thanks for all the encouragement and support guys – its been really great to see it every night when I log on. Wish me luck – Jay

Drag Week Day 5, US 131 Raceway, Friday, September 16 2005

Friday morning, the last day of Drag Week. I was up at 7:00, and disappointed to see rain outside. It looked like they would probably cancel the racing today. Steve and I got breakfast at the hotel, and then took the car, without trailer, off to find a nylon cinch strap of some sort. We had both had thoughts about the problems with the trailer hitch, and both had come up with the same idea: Tie the hitch up to the rear bumper of the car with a nylon strap. This would relieve the downward pressure on the hitch, which was causing it to bend the sheet metal in the trunk that it was attached to. We had discussed it at breakfast, and were off in search of a nylon strap, figuring that nothing would be happening real early today at the track.

Driving into Kalamazoo, we came across a K-Mart that had just opened. Sure enough, they had what we needed. We grabbed two of the straps and went back to the hotel. The fix worked really well; we could now attach the trailer, and stand on the tongue, and we could see no deflection of the sheet metal in the trunk.

Satisfied that we had solved the problem, we checked out of the hotel and cancelled our reservations for Friday night. I was pretty sure that the race would be washed out, and even if it wasn't, we wanted to get a start towards home tonight. We made our way to the track by about 9:00 AM, and found several of the other competitors there, including the guy in the Chevy truck who we had told about the potential trailering of the guy in first place in his class. As we parked the car, this guy came striding over to us with all his buddies. I thought, what's this? I opened the car door and got out, and he was right there. He stuck out his hand, and said. "You're the man!". I knew right away that he had caught that guy in the trailer!

The guy in the truck was not privy to the information I got from Matt King when he drove with me from Columbus to Kalamazoo, so he didn't know that the car in question had actually driven all the way from Bowling Green to Columbus. He had a chase vehicle, a black Dodge pickup. The pickup was actually being used by the guy shooting the videos for that 1320.com, or whatever the name of that site is that is posting all the videos from Drag Week. The two guys know each other, and were traveling together, and of course the guy from the 1320 video site had a killer camera and video recorder. They had decided to tail the guy in the class leading car, that we had suspected of using a trailer. The followed him out of National Trail, and on down the road to the first checkpoint. I guess for a while the car was going along at 30 MPH, hoping these guys would pass him; he knew he was being followed. After a while, he stopped on the side of the road and said, "I'm having some overheating issues; you go on ahead". They politely declined, and stayed right there with him. He was going pretty slow, and after a while it got dark. The guy in the Dodge truck and his partner started dropping way back, and after a while they turned off their lights. Sure enough, within a few miles the class leading car had stopped by the side of the road. The guys in the truck stopped too; they had the video camera on full zoom, and waited with the lights off. They waited for something like forty five minutes, and almost left a couple of times, but finally the red truck and trailer showed up!

Sitting back 300 feet, they couldn't see very well; but they saw that something was going on with the car and trailer. They were filming it, but it didn't look like the shot would show anything. However, luck came there way. The class leading car had been traveling with two other vehicles entered in Drag Week. Those vehicles started up, rolled around the class leading car and pointed at the trailer, and then turned on their lights so that he could see to drive into it!! The video lit up like daylight, and the camera guy got an outstanding video of the car rolling right into the trailer!

The guy with the truck was just grinnin'! We watched the video a couple of times, and then he thanked me and Steve again and went back to his truck. Steve and I were just pumped that we had helped catch that cheating SOB. The guy in the truck hadn't yet filed a formal protest, because the Hot Rod crew hadn't showed up, and neither had the car in the trailer. While we were out standing around in the rain, Badhenry from the forum showed up, along with his wife, and we chatted a little bit about the days events. After a while, everybody there walked over to the tower area and hung out under the grandstands by the tower, because the rain had picked up. The Hot Rod guys finally showed, and Freiburger made an announcement about 10:30 that the day looked like a rainout, but they weren't going to call it for sure until noon. If they did call it at noon, the awards presentation would be at the building near the entrance to the track.

Steve and I were hungry, still being on Central time, and there was a Subway close to the track entrance, so we drove up there to grab a bite to eat. On the way out of the track, we passed a guy in a late model Mustang who flashed a peace sign at me. I waved and kept going. The Mustang followed us out of the track, and we stopped to see who it was. Turns out it was RonG from the forum! I guess it must have been a V for victory sign, not a peace sign. I've got to get out of the Vietnam era one of these days. Anyway, we told him we were going to grab a bite to eat, and promised to meet him back at the track a little later. We grabbed a sandwich at the Subway, and sat down at their counter to eat. The counter was in front of the front window, and there was an excellent view of the turnoff leading to the track. While we were eating, sure enough the car that had gotten on the trailer drove by and into the track. Apparently, he hadn't known that he hade been caught on film, and he was driving in to collect his prize!

Steve and I wolfed down our sandwiches and raced back to the track. The crowd was all abuzz, because as soon as the car in question had driven into the pits, the guy in the Chevy truck had gone to Hot Rod with his complaint. The Hot Rod people went to the guy and asked him about it, and apparently he admitted to getting on the trailer, saying something like "It was raining, and I didn't want to risk my $100,000 race car". Everybody in the crowd was saying what a bunch of bullsh*t THAT was. I guess later, when confronted more strongly, the offender admitted putting his car on the trailer every day. Why he would do that is beyond me. The car was clearly capable of running the distance between the tracks. Matt King rode with him all the way from Bowling Green to Columbus, so the car can be driven on the street. Why did he have to cheat?

I was really incensed by all this, because I had been watching as the guy with the Hemi Dart had busted his hump 24 hours a day, every day since Monday, to keep his car running and driving from track to track. His latest travails included a head gasket leak that was allowing water to dribble out of the engine, and a front seal failure on his Torqueflite. He told me that it took him four gallons of antifreeze and 22 quarts of ATF to make it to Michigan! And here this other guy was loading up on the trailer every night.

The only worry in the whole situation was how Hot Rod would react, because they had definitely liked the car, and apparently the staff knew the driver and his passenger very well. But it didn't matter; Hot Rod DQ'd the car, and the guy was out. He didn't leave, though, he hung around for the rest of the day. I would have been afraid to show my face after that.

By now it was a little after noon, and we were waiting for an announcement. Finally it came; at 12:30 the guy from Special Events got up on the steps and said we're done. Most of the racers, myself included, were disappointed and said so, but we had to accept it. They announced that the awards ceremony would be in about an hour at the building in front of the track, so we all kind of gathered up there to wait. While we were waiting, Bill Conley from the forum showed up, disappointed as were the rest of us that the weather wasn't cooperating. We were inside the building talking, when the guy in my class with the 69 Camaro sat down right behind us. I took the opportunity to introduce myself, and finally got a chance to talk to him. He turned out to be a really nice guy; he was obviously disappointed that his car hadn't run better, but he was very friendly and a good sport. Bill and I talked with him for about 20 minutes or so, and then Bill and I and Bill's buddy walked out to the parking lot to look at my car. After that, Bill and his friend started to leave, because there wasn't going to be any racing today. I made my way back to Steve at the building, and he said that there was a rumor circulating that Hot Rod was reconsidering their race decision! I ran back through the parking lot and managed to catch Bill, and they said they'd say to see what Hot Rod said. Within about 15 minutes, we were all ushered back into the main building, and one of the guys from Hot Rod took a roll call to make sure that all the drivers were present. It had stopped raining, and the parking lot had shown signs of actually drying up. Freiburger came up, and asked if we were willing to wait until 5:00 or 6:00 if necessary to run. We all said yes. We worked out some logistics for how we would do this if it started raining again, and the he turned us loose to go back to the pits. When we got there, the track dryer was working on the track, and the sky was getting brighter each minute. We were gonna race!

Steve and I got the car changed into race trim, and we pulled into the staging lanes for tech. We waited and waited and waited for tech; the track had been dried, and we were ready to go except for tech. Finally, they said no tech, start racing! The first two cars pulled to the line, but the tree wouldn't work. Another delay; 45 minutes later, they finally got it running, and at about 4:30 we were off.

I was the third car down my lane, and I had traction problems and was all over the track on this pass. But there it was: 10.789 @ 125.04. No one was going to catch me now. I stuck that time slip in my wallet for safekeeping back at the pits, and let the car cool while watching some of the racing. There was a real battle going on in the Street class, with two cars running right at 12.00, a late model Monte Carlo and a Capri. The pink tube framed Nova came to the line; he had been running 8.90s all week, and was in third place in the supercharged/nitrous big block class. His trailer was here now, and he could let it all hang out. He changed to a smaller supercharger pulley for more boost, and ran an 8.38! Fastest pass of Drag Week, I think.

My car had cooled down by this time, so I went back out for another pass. The track was getting warmed up, and people were starting to run some pretty good numbers. The guy leading the naturally aspirated small block class in his 67 Camaro showed me an 11.04 time slip, which was his best of the week. I was anxious to try again.

This time, the car hooked, and everything felt great until third gear. For some reason, the car started missing around 5700 RPM in third. It cleared up just as I went through the lights. I ran a 10.699 ET, but my MPH was down to 122.65! My 60 foot time was reasonably good (1.54), and my eighth mile time was almost exactly the same as the eighth mile time on my 10.55 pass at Gateway. But the miss ruined the pass.

By now it was 5:15, and Hot Rod had announced they were going to close the track for Drag Week runs at 6:00. The guy with the 67 Camaro met me back in the pits, and said he'd heard the car missing on the track. He suggested I change plugs, and I agreed that would be the best course. We had forty five minutes. Steve was nowhere to be found, so the Camaro guy jumped in to help me out. Typical of the camaraderie of this event. We were done in 30 minutes, probably the quickest I have ever changed plugs in an FE Mustang. I was back out on the track at 5:55 for another try. This time, my traction didn't seem quite as good as the previous run, and I was disappointed to find that the miss was still there at the top end in third gear. Damn, I had really wanted to run fast here. Oh well; for me, Drag Week racing was over.

We got the car changed back to street trim and went back up to the main track building for the awards presentation. It was really a nice ceremony. They started out with an award that they had not previously announced, which they called the "Spirit of Drag Week" award. Of course, the Hemi Dart guy won; nobody worked harder to make it to all the races, and he was a good guy, even helping out some of the other competitors when he had some free time. I talked to him a little earlier today, and it turns out he owns a business employing 60 people that manufactures old muscle car parts for companies like Year One and National Parts Depot. He also owns 18 Hemi powered cars, including another one of the lightweight Hemi Darts. There he was, grease on his shirt, and dirt under his fingernails, just like all the rest of us. Great guy.

Next came the race category awards. The Street class guys who had been fighting it out both finished at exactly 12.005 seconds for their ET. The tie breaker was MPH, and the guy in the Capri edged the Monte Carlo by 0.4 MPH average! Unbelievable racing. Freiburger called them both up to the podium for congratulations. The prize for this class was a Detroit Locker, and the Tractech guy came up and said he'd give each of the contestants one. The guy in the Capri got the trophy.

My buddy in the 67 Camaro had won his class by about three tenths, so he was the next award recipient. He thanked his family and one guy in particular for help. Apparently, he had blown up the governor on his automatic on Wednesday at Bowling Green, and had spread shrapnel throughout his transmission. He managed to find the parts he needed locally, and the guy he thanked had stayed with him until the wee hours to tear down the transmission and get it reassembled for his trip to Columbus. Racers helping racers, a real constant theme during Drag Week. The big prize that he won was a TCI Streetfighter transmission! A perfect fit.

They called me up next, Freiburger saying something like "and the naturally aspirated big block class winner, with the big FE, Jay Brown!" That was pretty cool. I won a nice trophy, 4 5 gallon cans of 114 octane race gas from Rocket Brand Fuels, a set of as cast cylinder heads of my choice from RHS (owned by Comp Cams), an MSD Digital 6 plus ignition box, plus a T-shirt from Rocket Fuels, a really nice jacket from Comp Cams (they took my size and will send it to me), and of course the class winning jacket from Hot Rod (which, by the way, was lost on the way to the track by UPS, and will also have to be mailed out). I said a few words of thanks to my family and to my buddy Steve, and thanked the Hot Rod staff for such a great event. I also put in a plug for the FE forum, and let me just say here that I really appreciate the support from all the members during this event. It sure was fun to log on every night at the hotel and see all the encouragement. I especially want to thank all the guys who came out to the tracks to wish me well and watch the race. Thanks guys, it really meant a lot to me.

Here's a picture of the trophy:

DW05 Trophy

A chromed Chevy cam! Oh well, I like it anyway.

At the awards ceremony the truck guy was up next, and took his award for supercharged/nitroused small block. His truck is pretty cool, running 10.20s in four wheel drive. His prize package was a little better than mine. Turns out he blew a head gasket today, so he'll be hanging around the track for a while fixing that before he heads for home.

Finally came the guy in the Nova who won supercharged/nitrous big block. He was the story of the show, with his complete engine teardown and rebuild on Wednesday night. Today at the track, he blew the motor again! He says his motor runs just fine on a 500HP nitrous shot, but apparently it doesn't like 650! In any case, he sat up there and talked for a while about just about everything, and got all choked up when he was thanking his friends, but you could tell he was a real genuine guy, and in my view anyway he deserved the win.

The ceremony ended, and I went around to thank the Hot Rod staff. Freiburger said he was really glad I won, and I invited him to spend more time on the FE Forum. He is trying to sell his 64 Ford Custom for $4K; if anyone is interested, I can give you the details and David's email address. Said goodby to Rob Kinnan and Matt King, too. It was definitely a highlight of my week to spend some time hanging out at the track with those guys.

Outside, Badhenry and RonG congratulated us and wished us well on the trip back. Steve and I hit the road for home at about 8:00, thinking that neither one of us has had such a great time in many years. It was just a blast.

Drag Week Epilogue, Saturday, September 17 2005

As I type this in the car we are about an hour from home, just crossing over the border from Wisconsin to Minnesota. The car ran flawlessly last night, and we managed to get around Chicago and stay at a hotel in Janesville, Wisconsin for the evening. The car continues to run without a hitch today, and we'll be home soon. I have to point out that all the other class winners, except for the Street class, were Chevys, and all of them broke at one point or another during Drag Week. But the big FE ran strong, on the way to Kansas City, through the entire event, and back home with no significant problems. No wonder I love these engines.

There were only four Fords at Drag Week, my Mach 1, the 84 Capri, and a couple of 2005 Mustangs. Two of us won, and one of the 05 Mustangs was with the cheater, so I'm glad he didn't win. The field was dominated by GM products, with a sprinkling of Mopars to keep things interesting. My only complaint about this event is that it is dominated by GM products, but I guess that's the same as any other car show or race. But I will say this: Next year, I'd better not be the only one from the FE forum competing at this event! Some of you guys need to step up.

I can't possibly put into words how much fun I had during Drag Week. The car ran its best quarter mile times ever, and Hot Rod took pictures of the car for a feature. The story of the thrash that the Nova guy went through to completely rebuild his motor overnight and still make it to the track was the stuff of legends. We even had the skullduggery angle of the cheating car, and we helped catch the cheater. To top it all off we won our class in the event. Pretty hard to top.

One last item. I would like to dedicate my victory at Drag Week to Bob Bardell, aka Mayhem Bob, who as we all know passed away recently. I never had the pleasure of meeting Bob in person, but corresponded with him via email on a regular basis, and felt that I lost a good friend when he passed. I can't help but think that Bob was there with me during Drag Week. MB, this one's for you. YEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!