Friday, July 25, 2008

A very Special Race this weekend

As many of you already know, we lost our good friend Mike Wallace tragically last weekend. In honor of Mike, Jeff Knight, Jeff Barkshire and ourselves will be running this decal on our cars during the Washington 500 weekend.

We will miss you Mike... We know that you are with the Lord now, riding point as always and keeping us all safe from above.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot Garbage

Thats really all I can say... Sure, we finished 10th, but we also started 10th. We struggled mightily Saturday night trying to get the car to handle like anything that actually resembled a race car... we never did hit the mark . Big changes are afoot with the direction of the race program. The novelty of our original intent for this season of just getting laps and finishing in the top ten has lost its luster.

It has become readily apparent that we need to have a few things checked out that we have been assuming are right all season long... things like Bump Steer, Roll Center, etc. We will make them right... We will strive to perform better, not only for ourselves, but for all of you too! Time to get back to basics... time to visit the right people who will help us figure out what we have been missing and get this program rolling forward!

Stick it out with us kids.... it's going to be a hell of a fun ride!


Next up, July 26th, the Washington 500 at Evergreen Speedway... 150 laps for the Nascar Camping World Series, 150 Laps for the ASA Northwest Tour, 150 laps for the Whelen All-American series Speedway Chevrolet Super Stocks and 50 laps for the Whelen, Les Schwab Tires Bombers on the big 5/8's mile oval. Front gates open at 1:30pm with Qualifying starting at 2:30 and racing at 5:00.

Bring your friends, bring yoru family, bring your seat cushions because its going to be a long, fun night of racing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

FB... and I dont mean Flubber Blubber...


So many of you have been asking... "what is this FB thing all about?" Today, your question will be answered!

1999 - A year of Mechanical nightmares. The year that made us say goodbye to the Mouse and hello to the Mule by the end of the season. 

We lost 6 or 7 motors that year. Well, to say we lost the motors is a little strong, more like we spun bearings that many times. Apparently the manufacturer who made the bearings changed something in thier composition without telling anyone and as they had always performed well in the past, The Wizzard kept using them until he figured out it was a manufacturing error. By that time though, everyone had had enough with pulling the motor out every other race. the 1600cc Mouse motor was a high revving screamer to be sure, but it was getting just too expensive to run.  

When we could keep the motor together though, we were starting to become kind of racy. Top 5 runs were becoming more frequent and our confidence grew weekly. We were never ones to want to do much of the "smart guy" work on the car, so we did what turned out to be the smartest thing we ever have done... We started taking the car to Roger Habich. Roger knows racing like the back of his hand and is quite possibly one of the smartest guys I know. With Roger working with us on chassis and set-up and the Wizzard building motors, it was only a matter of time before we get that first win.

Which leads me to the cliffhanger... Scott is out there driving his butt off and finds himself in the lead for the first time in our racing career. The 98 track champion and current points leader was behind him, giving him all the pressure he could handle, but he was cool as a cucumber out there, driving it like he had led a million laps before. They go into turn 1 nose to tail when suddenly in the middle of the turn, the car takes a violent turn to the left and comes to rest sideways in the grass. They display the black flag to the other driver and put him to the rear of the field as the tow truck comes out and pulls us back to the pits. I ask Scott what is wrong as there is no damage to the car and he says that it just wont start. 

So they bring him back and we lift the hood and see nothing really amiss until we remove the air cleaner... On a standard racecar, there are many parts which make it run, but few are as important to the mix as the Carburetor. The standard carb required by the class back them was the Holley 350 2bbl. Classic in its design, it has been used for decades on vehicles of all kinds.

Now, on the carb are a few important items, one of them is the metering block, the other is the... ::::Drum roll please::: Float Bowl. The Float Bowl and metering block attach to the main body of the Carb via 4 bolts. Now, as a racecar vibrates, things tend to become loose and when screws get loose, parts fall off. Upon removal of the air cleaner, we see the carb body, the metering block (miraculously still fastened to the body) but no Float Bowl. Going into turn one, the screws finally had enough and removed themselves from thier threads. this allowed the Float Bowl to fall off and of course, stopped delivering fuel to the motor. Well, as you can imagine, once the car used up the fuel that was left in the metering block, it died. There was nothing the guy behind us could do but run into our bumper and spin us around. As it clanked around the fuel line broke and it made its way out of the engine compartment. To be honest, I was more than a little shocked we didnt have a fire with all that fuel shooting out into open air.

From that day forward, EVERY nut and bolt on the car got a wrench put on it Every week. It's a practice we continue to this day, just as any other good race team does. We finished 9th in points that year, but it was to be the lowest finish we would ever have again...

Next up, 2000... Close, but no cigar... yet...

P.S. We never did find that Float Bowl... we even walked the corner to see if it was there... maybe the track ate it!   


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot

Did I mention it was Hot Saturday???

Holy smokes, the Mercury must have been tipping 90 degrees on the asphalt as we ventured out on the the 5/8 oval for the first time this year. We arrived at the track about 12:15 anticipating a log jam getting in and finding a pit stall and boy were we glad we did! Picking a spot at the entrance to pit road made me appreciate the short walk I normally have to the stands to spot. Once we got in and set up the pits, out went the trailer and truck and then began the sitting around in the sun until 1st practice at 3:15. Scott wheeled the car out to scuff in the race tires for a few laps and then we went out on the practice set for the rest of the session, which was a good thing, because the left rear race tire had a hole in it! I am certainly glad we found that before the race...

We missed the 2nd session dealing with the tire issue and the fact that our practice set had so many laps on them that they weren't really helping us learn much. We didn't qualify very well and had to start at the rear of the main, but in retrospect, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing! The temp had cooled to a balmy 85 or so by race time and by then we were all anxious to get out there and get laps in under race conditions. I mean, you can practice for hundreds of laps, but until you actually get out there and start rubbing doors, it's hard to know just how much you need to push the car.

On lap 2, one of the cars lost a tire and slammed into the turn 4 wall, bringing out a red to fix it. The wall made it... unfortunately the car didn't and they had to put it on the rollback to get it back to the pits. When we got back under green, we were able to hold our own, passing a car or two, but something just wasn't right and Scott was having a difficult time getting back to the throttle without the car wanting to slip out from under him. This lead to us going a lap down around lap 36, but we weren't the only ones... the lead pack of 4 cars were on absolute fire and it was amazing to see how well they were running.

About lap 52, 3 cars got together on the front stretch, bringing out another long caution. By now, Scott had settled into a groove and was driving the car as fast as it would go and stay out of the wall. As the laps wound down, we discovered a little something that should make us much faster and more competitive the next time around. I'd tell you what it was, but I'd have to silence you after!

In the end, we started 17th and finished 12th. Not our best finish of the year, but for his first start on the big track, not too bad either. The car is straight and nothing mechanical broke, so it should be a somewhat light week at the race shop. Scott is already looking forward to getting back out there on the 26th as well as our next race on the 3/8, which is on the 12th.

Later this week, I will unlock the mystery of FB... I know you are all waiting with baited breath!