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Previous Seasons





1999 Season


Muroc Speedweek World of Speed World Finals El Mirage

1999 El Mirage (November 13-14)

We just participated in the last organized landspeed event of this century. If we were too puffed up by our success at the World Finals, we were certainly brought back to reality at this meet. It appears that we have learned ZERO since last November in the skills of running gasoline.

We started the weekend with a turnout because of fuel fouled plugs. After a barrel valve adjustment and a fresh set of hotter plugs, we managed a 179+ MPH run in the afternoon Saturday. Not great, but we did make it through the clocks. Meanwhile, some others had a better time of it. "Fast Freddy" Dannenfelzer made a 305 MPH pass and Les Leggitt's car produced a 297 MPH run. Now there are three cars that have exceeded 300 MPH in the dirt. Like the four-minute mile, once accomplished, it is sure that others will follow. I can't wait for the Muroc meet next year where these cars will have an extra 0.2 miles (1.5 miles)  under power.

Sunday, after the car had been warmed up and the necessary preparations were made, we put the car in line for our third run. An analysis of the previous run encouraged us to lean the mixture a bit more. This run gave us hope with a 182.676 MPH time. Still 14 MPH off the record, however, and 17.5 MPH from our 200 MPH goal. We are still using too much course in high gear getting into the engine's power range, going through the lights at 7100 RPM pulling hard. An evaluation of this run indicates that mixture is still too rich.

For our second run Sunday, we leaned the mixture again and got in line for our final attempt. When we got to the starting line and ready to push off, Jeff fired the engine, it sounded clean and responsive, but when Jeff put in gear, again it bogged and took a long time to clean out and start to run. This run was a disappointing 151 MPH. The good news is that the engine is not injured. My Saturday heroes had greater problems, Dannenfelzer lost a clutch and Leggitt windowed the motor when a couple of rods let loose near the lights.

In retrospect, 1999 was a good season for us. As usual we learned a few lessons, we reached our goal of retrieving the Bonneville D/FCCl record, and in the process entered Jeff into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. It is obvious that, running gasoline, we have a fuel management problem and have some work to do if we expect to regain those records. For next season, I will definitely install a secondary by-pass to help improve the fuel delivery curve, and for the Lakes Meets, at least, replace the Powerglide with a three-speed automatic transmission to improve the acceleration on the low end of the course.

Until next Century, may God Bless you and yours, and may your speeds be high! Happy Holidays!

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World Finals (October 20-23, 1999)
Maybe you have notice that things don't always go as planned. At least I find it so! Since the WOS was canceled, we had planned to go to the October 10th El Mirage meet. I was mulling over the options while driving to the Gold Coast Roadsters GasUp in Buellton early in the month and decided that I could put the engine on the Dyno for about the same money and find out a lot more than a single (or possibly two) runs at the lakes. I talked to Earl Wooden while at the GasUp and he assured me that the Dyno was the way to go.

When we returned home, I proceeded to extract the engine from the car and take it to B & B Performance for a session on their dynometer. I  had one of my engines on the dyno in the early eighties so I knew about what power to expect. Power was down a bit and peaked at 7600 RPM. I was expecting it to be lower because the heads that I had acquired from Slover Porting had larger combustion chambers bringing  the compression ratio down about a point. The  7600 peak didn't surprise me too much either because that is where the engine seemed to want to run in the past. What was surprising, however, was that the power dropped like a rock above that RPM. After a half dozen pulls running gasoline, we switched to alcohol and made a run, finding the power up 20 HP at 6900 RPM, then it went flat and started to drop off. We had spun #8 rod bearing.

I theorized that the damage occurred when we detonated the engine at Speedweek, where we not only lost #7 & 8 pistons, but also cracked the crankshaft.  Wooden was right, the dyno was a good choice, although this was to be an expensive repair,  it would have been greater if the spun bearing had been on the course at Bonneville instead of a 10 second pull on the dyno.

Those of you that run stock Chevrolet 302 cranks know that I now had a problem. These crankshafts are almost nonexistent. Fortunately, I have a good friend who wants something from me (I'm not sure exactly what), so he loaned me a crankshaft until I can make other arrangements. Since the engine was apart, we decided to cut the heads to get the compression back where it was, we installed new valve springs again,  reconditioned the two Carrillo's and I started assembling  the engine Friday 10/15.

Jeff, Barry (my youngest son) and I left for the Salt Tuesday morning, arriving in Wendover at 8 PM Utah time. The next morning we slept in thinking that nothing was going to happen until about noon anyway. (They surprised us by getting started with a driver's meeting at 7:30 AM on Wednesday and were running cars before 9 AM.) We arrived on the Salt about 11 AM and went about the routine of setting up our pits and on to inspection. After inspection we fired the car and found that we had a couple of  fuel leaks that required the rest of the day to correct.

Thursday we arrived early and made our way to the starting line which was at the end of the course away from the freeway, the pits and timing stand were at the 3 mile. I made the first run to check out the car before turning over the driving duties to Jeff, who was our candidate for the 200 MPH Club. My run was not uneventful! The cool air, and my hot breath, made for a combination that caused my glasses to fog. I left the starting line expecting the glasses to clear adequately once under way. Unfortunately, I was to the 6 mile before I could actually read a sign board and decided at the 7 mile marker that I had probably gone far enough. There were no black lines to mark the course, just kilo and mile markers on each side of the course, which were adequate, just point and shoot between them! I know that this sounds dangerous, but really I could see enough to be safe. The time was 212 MPH in the third mile, a straight alcohol run, not great, but good, and the car was handling perfectly. .
The next run Jeff backed out of the throttle about the middle of the third timed mile, because it seemed to be dropping a cylinder, (extra cautious) posting a mile time of 223.328 MPH, (the 3rd kilo time was 229.931 MPH). Jeff's second run had similar results with a 225.063 MPH time. Thursday morning we put in a new set of spark plugs and qualified with a 230.459 MPH. On the return run I forgot to open the NOx bottle and dropped to 216.305 MPH for a 223.382 MPH average, not good enough on a 226.470 record. We then qualified again at 233.031 MPH and came back with a 235.775 MPH for a 234.403 MPH average. MISSON ACCOMPLISHED! Jeff is now a 200 MPH Member and we have the D/FCC record back again. Barry also got a couple of rides with a 129+ & 169+ MPH quarter time to qualify for his "C" driver's license.

Now we have the D/FCC class records at Muroc, El Mirage, and Bonneville again. Work can begin  on some new goals. First, we go to El Mirage November 13 & 14 to try to regain the D/GCC record that we lost a couple of years ago. Next year we will be going for the Muroc and the Bonneville D/GCC records. Records are nice, but the fun is really in the chase!

This was one of the best Bonneville Meets that I have attended. Not just because of our success, but the course was super most of the week, the weather was cool and the atmosphere of the meet was superb. The smaller meets are more laid back, remenisant of the early days when all the meets had fewer entries. Everyone in the official capacity were super also. My congratulation to the SCTA for a well run meet. Top time went to the Vesco Team with and Al Teague posted a 405+ MPH run. You can click on soon for the complete results and photos.  Look for our upcoming Dry Lakes report in mid November.

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World of Speed (September 22-25, 1999)

As some of you may already know, The World of Speed '99 didn't happen!

We were thrashing from the time we got home from Speedweek until Sunday night the 19th of September to get the car ready for the WOS Meet. At Speedweek we melted a couple of pistons, so we had to hustle, talk nice, and offer some incentives to get the pistons in time to make WOS. We were able to get a set of JE pistons made to our specs in four days instead of the usual four to six weeks.

The heads on the engine were also to the point that, when they came off the engine,  they needed to be replaced. (At Speedweek '98, I had made a repair with epoxy to a crack  around a head bolt to stop a major water leak so I had expected to discard them once they came off the engine.) I called my friend Charlie Slover at Slover's Porting in North Hollywood and acquired a used set of Brodix "10" heads, which, of course required some fine tuning to adapt to my motor. The block had to be honed because of some aluminum transfer to the cylinder walls due to the piston meltdown. As you can see it was a major rebuild. Even with the good service on the pistons, we were working down to the wire to get everything done.

We got the engine fired and basic adjustments made  Friday evening. Saturday was spent in assembling the rest of the car, then Sunday afternoon and until 9:30 PM finishing up, loading the truck and loading the car onto the trailer. We were now ready for an early start on Monday morning to make the trip to the Salt.

We got on the road at 6:45 AM Monday, everything was going according to plan, we would be in Wendover in eleven hours, get a good night's sleep and go out to the Salt Tuesday to setup the pits and get inspected. Well it didn't happen just that way. We were about 10 miles outside Wendover when we decided to call our shop in Redding to let them know that we had arrived safely. That is when we got the news about the cancellation. We were disappointed to say the least, but, I always try to keep a positive attitude about these things. At least were we not unloaded in the pits when the rains came. Then we saw others that had traveled much greater distances from, Nebraska, Ohio, Washington, and ???. Eleven hours of road time and we could be home. No salt to clean off the car and equipment, the car isn't broke, and there will be other meets. I just feel really bad for the U.S.F.R.A. group. Two washouts in a row. Everyone needs to contact them and buy their W.O.S. '99 tee shirts.

I'm planning to go to the October 10th El Mirage Meet, get  my World Finals Entry in, and also go to the El Mirage November Meet. This year's racing ain't over yet!

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Speedweek  (August 14-20, 1999)

Margaret and I left Redding Thursday 8-12-99 to make the trip to Bonneville. Since the car was ready, on the trailer and truck loaded on Wednesday we are able to get an early start. Leaving at 7:15 AM we headed east arriving in Wendover at 7 PM (Utah time) at the Stateline Hotel looking forward to a good night's sleep before going out to the Salt.

The first thing, while checking in at the hotel, we were advised, by fellow racers, that the salt was wet. We had been hearing about the rock hard, dry salt for a month now, but somehow I knew, deep down inside, that water would be on it when we got there. It is a pattern that has been repeated almost without fail for years on end.

Friday morning we headed out to the race course. When we arrived at the end of the access road to the salt, sure enough, water as far as you could see. This being a normal process of events we bravely drove into the sea and proceeded at a slow pace toward our destination, the pits, which we found wet but not under water. We were told , however, that Tuesday evening there were three inches of water where we unloaded.

After we unloaded the car and stowed some of our gear, we unfolded our EZ-UP tent for some much needed shade while we worked. It was a beautiful warm, calm day as we made our way to the inspection area to get the necessary procedure out of the way, giving no thought to leaving our tent up. As luck would have it the wind began to stir, and then became brisk, while we were under the scrutiny of the inspectors. We returned to our pit to find the EZ-UP upside down over the pit fence. It would not have even been in the state except for some kind racers from Washington that were in the pit next to us. They had captured the tent and folded the canopy around the frame so that it was no longer a sail. Really this was not a big loss, two legs were folded like pretzels, otherwise mostly intact. We are equipped with a large shade that we put up to  house the car and give shade for working or relaxing. The EZ-UP is used as a portable shade for spectating and for working in the impound area after qualifying for record.

After the driver's meeting on Saturday we went back to Wendover to pick up Jeff who had flown in about noon. We ate lunch and went back to the race course, finished prepping the car and got in line for a run. Jeff took the first turn, making a very cautious run at a top speed of 168.674 MPH in the second timed mile. He hasn't mentally completely recovered from his crash in '97. It will take time for him to feel confident in the seat, and to understand what the car is allowed to do without control concerns. The first run of the year is a bit scary for most drivers, anyway, I know it is for me. I made the next run going through the first timed mile at 190.903 MPH. We returned to the pits, secured everything and head to town.

On Sunday, Jeff made another pass on alky (no nitrous) at 215.017 MPH in the third timed mile with an exit speed of 219.518. The race course is very slick for the first mile, so getting under way is hampering the overall speed, but we feel that by using the nitrous we should be able to qualify. (The record we are after is 226.470 set in 1998 by John Beckett). A check of the car back in the pits reveals a broken track bar bracket. By the time this is repaired there is no time for another run on Sunday. So back to town.

Monday we are ready to do some serious speed. After the short wait at the starting line, Jeff made another assault on the race course. On this run he found that after engaging the nitrous the car got really loose and he had to get on and off the pedal for the last mile. This turned out to be our best run of the week at 221.407 (5+ MPH short of qualifying) in the last mile with an exit speed of 226.850 MPH. On Tuesday we made the mistake of deciding to lean the engine one jet to get a better approach to the clocks. It worked on the bottom end of the course, but hindsight tells us we should have richened the jet by at least two steps after turning the nitrous on. We lost two pistons toward the end of the second timed mile which ended our week with a speed of 211.422 MPH.

Looking back, we had a great week. As usual we saw our friends that we only see at Bonneville. I was able to renew friendship with a couple of racers from more than thirty years past who were at the meet and looked me up (Tom Keosabobian & Richard Metcalf),  was able to put faces with some new friends from the landspeed e-mail group (Keith Turk, Joe Timney, & Lionel Williams,  from the east coast, and Terry Foster from Dallas). And , as usual, we made some mistakes that  can helps in the future.

We are now hustling to get the necessary parts to rebuild the motor and correcting some things that were suggested by the inspectors. We plan on being at the World of Speed next month for another assault on the D/FCC record..

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Muroc Reunion (June 26-27, 1999)
The 4th Annual Muroc Reunion is now history!

We left Redding at 6 AM  Friday (6-25), stopped in Red Bluff to pick Jeff, continuing on to Lancaster CA, a mere 600 miles in the distance. We arrived at the Antelope Valley Inn in Lancaster at 4:30 PM, secured our rooms, unloaded luggage, and proceeded to Edward's AFB to unload the car and set up the pits. There were already a large contingent of racers on the lake bed with their race cars, assorted trailers, and motorhomes.

One of the things unique about this sport is the variety of competition machinery, cars and motorcycle of all shapes, sizes, and horsepower. At this meet we are also treated to a "rolling history" of racing, cars of yesteryear  have been resurrected and are paraded with pride throughout the pit area. The Muroc Reunion is a homecoming for some, a happening for others.

After a much needed night of sleep, at about 8 AM, (no need to hurry since cars line up according to points earned for the season. This is our first outing in 1999) we went to the lake bed to begin preparations for a much anticipated run down the one and one half mile course. Last year had been a bit frightening for me, so I was anxious to get the first run done to see if changes in the car were going to work in our favor. At about 11 AM we got to the starting line, fired the engine and pushed off. I dropped it in gear and left the pushboard at about 50 MPH and accelerated through low gear to 8100 RPM, shifted to high gear (powerglide), and proceeded down the course. The rpm's reached 7000 through the lights for a speed of 189+ MPH. A little slower than expected, but, the car was handling great, straight and comfortable, and no excessive dust in the car. I'm happy with the results.

After a gear change, (8000=201 MPH)  at approximately 2 PM, Jeff took the next ride. He didn't feel as comfortable during the run as I had which resulted in some  "back-pedaling" and  7400 RPM @ 190+ MPH. (because of previous handling problems, he has reason to be nervous). Because of the time of day, we decided to go to town, clean up, and relax.

Sunday we were back on the lake bed at about 8:30 AM.  We had warmed the engine in line and the first attempt was a turnout because of fouled plugs. After correcting our problem and warming the engine with warmup plugs installed, we got back in line with the intent of leaving the line lean and richening it up down course. (we use a jet box that makes this possible). On this pass Jeff was well ahead of the car and peaked RPM at 7400 again about ¼ mile from the end of the course for a speed of 191+ MPH. He now says that he has never felt more comfortable in the car.
We were hoping for a 200 MPH run, but, we feel that the meet was a success for us even though we fell short. I'm convinced that the speed is there when we get the jetting squared away. We ran a shade rich all weekend. This is the motor we will run at Bonneville, so I certainly didn't want to hurt it!

Bonneville is only six weeks away. Got to get busy!

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