BRYANT FAMILY RACING
* World Finals (canceled due to rain)
NOVEMBER LAKES MEET 2000 (November 18 & 19)
It was with much anticipation that Jeff & I headed for the November Lakes Meet. After a less than satisfying World of Speed and a canceled World Finals, all our hopes for the year were invested in a good run at this meet.
While inspecting the engine after the World of Speed, it was discovered that we had been experiencing valve float. At least one valve had destroyed the valve seal by the retainer colliding with the guide. The valve springs were checked and found to be within specs and there was adequate clearance between the retainer and the guide at maximum cam lift so I decided to install a rev kit. We hoped that this would allow more RPM. We also had lost the Powerglide at the WOS so this was a good time to try a TH350 (the 700R4 we tried at Speedweek was not the answer to our needs). With these changes made we had hopes of 200 MPH on the lake bed where the D/GCC Record stood at 195.580 MPH.
We arrived on the lake bed just before sundown on Friday the 17th, unloaded the car and headed back to Lancaster for a good nights rest after covering a bit more than 600 miles since leaving Redding at 6:30 AM. Saturday morning we woke to a temperature of 19 degrees F. Fortunately, there was no wind and we do run coolant in the car so we enjoyed our breakfast and departed for the lake bed.
Since we had not competed at El Mirage this year (we did attend the July meet, but it was canceled because of wind before we were able to make a pass) our start number was very high. No need to panic getting the car inspected and prepared. We did finally get to make a run shortly after noon. I was apprehensive because the transmission was untried at this point, but things went well except for a loose race course. Jeff had to lift three times in high gear because of wheel spin. Unfortunately, he had gone down the middle of the course, which is not a good idea at the Lakes, much better to stay to the sides of the course for better traction. We ran 192.45 MPH. After an evaluation of the run we decided to go up on step on the gear and lean the motor .004.
About an hour after our run, Doug Odom crashed his Modified Sports Healey Sprite because of the same conditions that Jeff had experienced. Doug was OK, but the car suffered considerable. Due to the course conditions, it was decided to complete the first round of runs and shut down for the day and move the course for Sunday.
Sunday we made our first run about 10 AM with a speed of 194.52 MPH, still short but moving in the right direction. Upon inspection, we found #1 plug gap almost closed. I regapped the plug and advanced the timing 2 degrees and waited for another run. About 2 PM we got our third run of the meet which gave us a 198.494 MPH time. We have the record, but fell short of the 200 MPH we hoped for. We were not too disappointed though, this was the best performance we had all year. We look forward to next season with renewed hope.
WORLD OF SPEED 2000 (September 20-23)
The World of Speed was a meet where we should have gone fast, but it didn't happen. Margaret and I arrived at the Salt on Tuesday PM, located a pit, set up the new Easy Up shade and unloaded the car. After a short prep time, we put it in the inspection line just in time. Just a few cars lined up behind us and they closed the line for the day. Since we had been at Speedweek and received a thorough inspection, we got through the process quickly.
After pushing the car out of the way we got in the registration line and waited our turn. The wind was gusting a little heavier now, I looked toward my pit and I saw the Easy Up lifted up on one corner, which didn't look real promising, so I started moving that direction in a loping gate to hopefully cover the six hundred or so yards in time to save the shade. When I was about a hundred feet from the pit the shade upended and took a tumble which didn't do it any good. Well, with the help of a few neighbors, I collapsed the Easy Up and stowed it in a safe place and went back to registration. Was this a forecast of the way the week was going to go? Yes, very definitely!
Wednesday we arrived on the Salt early and began doing the necessary chores to get ready to run, attended the driver's meeting, took a drive down the course and returned to Wendover to meet Jeff and Barry at the airport. After getting them settled at the Rainbow Hotel, we ate lunch and returned to the Salt with great anticipation. Starting the engine to warm up, we found that we had oil in #7 cylinder, lots of blue smoke out of the header. We spent quite a bit of time analyzing the situation only to presume that we had an intake gasket sealing problem letting oil in from the lifter galley. I decided to take a run to get a plug reading and check the car out. It was a lazy run topping out at 210+ MPH. While shutting down, concentrating on getting a good plug reading, I neglected to turn on the transmission oil pump which likely started problems that eventually put the car on the trailer.
When we started to evaluate the engine after returning to the pits and found that the plugs looked good, but there was excessive fuel in the oil. Further inspection found that the fuel pump was dumping fuel into the oil in major quantities. The shaft seal was not seating properly. Besides this there were major oil leaks. We had lots of work to do. Changing the oil required removing the belly pan (something I need to correct), repaired the fuel pump and worked on sealing the oil leaks.
Thursday, we had the car ready to make another attempt at speed. Jeff made a run with similar results, I could tell we had a dead cylinder when it left the line. Digging deeper into the problem, we found #3 plug wire had been clamped between the engine and transmission when installing the engine. With that corrected Jeff made his second run. The trans was showing signs of slipping in low gear, so he shifted short and ran 222+ in the third mile with a 223.380 exit speed. The next run was into a 10 MPH head wind and it registered like speeds with identical exit speed and the trans was definitely slipping in low gear.
Friday morning I had to catch a plane out of Salt Lake City for Los
Angeles to attend a seminar, so that took up the morning for the crew.
When getting back to the Salt, the boys tried to make another run, with
Barry driving, only to have the trans to complete its destruction. So
for being well prepared! We really thought that we were, the engine had
been on the dyno registering 550 HP which should have resulted in good
speed. Alas, the woes of a landspeed racer! All we can do is try to
from our mistakes and prepare for the World Finals in October.
SPEEDWEEK 2000 (August 12-18)
Margaret and I left Redding at 3:30 PM Thursday 8/10/00 for the Salt, stopping in Lovelock NV Thursday night and continuing on Friday AM arriving about 2 PM in the pits. I was totally unprepared for what I saw when we entered the pits. There must have been 300 cars already on the Salt and pit space was already getting hard to find. We did locate a spot. unloaded the car and headed for inspection. We got in under the wire for Friday inspection, getting the car inspected by none other than John Beckett and Joe Timney. Somehow we passed inspection anyway and went to the pits, bedded the car down for the night and headed to the hotel for much needed rest.
Saturday 8/12/00: - Our big change this year was to install a 700-R4 transmission. We presented the car at the line only to have the engine fail to fire. Back to the pits for analysis! We could find nothing really evident except the plugs seemed a bit too cold.
Sunday 8/13/00: - Purchased a set of C59 plugs and made our way to the starting line. The first run got off the line well but when I shifted to 4th gear (OD) the transmission didn't shift. We had lots of Rs before we reached the traps, so it was a turnout. Back to the pits to mull this over. My trans builder said that it might not shift with full throttle pressure, rather than play with the adjustment, I decided to gear up and run 3rd gear. On our second run I got a vibration that stayed with me after about the 1 ½ Mile, continuing through the 3 mile where I shut off. On inspection in the pits we found that the bell housing was broken and a cooler line had blown off. Its time to install the trusty Powerglide.
Monday 8/14/00: - Jeff made a run @ 193.352 (1/4), 214.509 (last mile), and 215.477 MPH (terminal) After putting 3 degrees more advance in it, I followed with a 194.769 (1/4), 215.781 (last mile) and 217.099 MPH (terminal) Engine temperature pegged the 250 degree gauge on both runs.
Tuesday 8/15/00: - We leaned it .002 and Jeff ran 195.154 (1/4), 213.534 (last mile) and 214.215 MPH (terminal). I richened by .004 and ran 186.664 (1/4), [too rich, leaned .002 in the ¼ trap], 219.938 (last mile) and 221.894 MPH (terminal). Our ¼ times have been soft, so I decided to advance the timing from the 42 degrees we were running to 45 degrees. The next run gave me a 200.615 (1/4) and a 206.164 MPH 1st mile and I turned out.
This was a rare family week for us on the Salt. We had started the week with Jeff who flew in from Red Bluff on Saturday and Dan (#2 son), his wife Shirley and two of their children, Tim and Tammy came in Saturday noon. Dan and family went home Tuesday AM and Jeff left Tuesday afternoon to fly back to Redding and pick up our youngest son, Barry. Jeff arrived back in Wendover at noon on Wednesday with Barry (our youngest).
Wednesday 8/16/00: - Barry had been very patient through the years, although wanting to drive, had always yielded to our thrashing for speed and records. He had made two runs in the car a couple of years ago at the WOS with a top in the 140s. Before we left for the Salt this year, it was decided that this year Barry would get his "A" license. This was his day. His first run was 155.172 (1/4) and 157.167 mile, second, 171.139 (1/4) and 176.269 mile, and finally 178.407 (1/4), 203.981 middle mile and shutting off in the last mile and coasting out with a mile speed of 204.994 MPH. Mission accomplished!
Thursday 8/17/00: - Today is the "go or break" day! Jeff ran 196.314 (1/4), 216.533 (last mile) and 218.216 MPH (terminal). We added 2 more degrees of timing and he ran 199.1325 (1/4), 218.213 (last mile) and 219.396 (terminal). Two more degrees of timing yielded a 202.482 (1/4), 222.138 (last mile) and a 223.212 MPH (terminal). Our last run was with one more degree of timing and .002 leaner. Not the correct way to go. It detonated, Jeff richened it by .002 but not before we lost #4 & #6 plugs. It was down on speed and a turn out. On inspection we had water out of the right side header, what appears to be at least a head gasket, I will get the engine out today and inspect it for damage.
All this said, it was a great week. I met several of the people on the list, unfortunately, I missed some others that were there. We had the best salt in years, an incredibly good course, great weather and some had great speed. I guess I was most impressed by the big green diesel with Carl Heap at the spoke with a 252 MPH out the back door. He entered the 200 Club with his 19,000 pound monster. He says his next goal is 300 MPH. I wouldn't count him out.
Now it is time to get ready for our next outing at the World of Speed in mid September.
Since we were lucky, being drawn for the #1 starting position, Margaret and I left Redding about 3 PM Thursday, stopped in Red Bluff to pick up Jeff, and proceeded to Santa Nella, CA (about half way) where we spent the night. We were on the road early again Friday morning and arrived at the lake bed about noon. We secured a pit site, unloaded the car, and set off for the inspection line. After inspection and registration, we went back to the pits and decided to go to town, because the wind was picking up and making it very difficult to work on the car. We did have some finish work to do, so we decided to come out as early as possible Saturday and get it done.
Saturday morning we arrived on the lake bed at 6 AM, and found the rest of our crew already there. My other sons, Dan & Barry had driven down Friday night after closing Bryant Automotive for the weekend. Dan's boys, Tom and Tim and Tom's fiancée, Katie came also. We packed the chute, readjusted the valves, got five gallons of gasoline from ERC, put it in the tank and fired the engine. To our dismay, we noticed that the fuel pump inlet was leaking. Upon further inspection we found a cracked fuel pump casting at the inlet fitting. This was going to present a problem, but with some effort we stopped the leak with wax, black tape, and epoxy. A hose clamp was put around the casting to give it a little more stability. We gave it another try and found that we had adequately stopped the fuel leak.
It was time to get in line! I suited up and strapped into the car. We were given the motion to move down the course. I fired the engine and we began the push off. A few yards down the course I dropped the trans in gear and pulled away. The engine came to life, at about 8500 RPM I shifted to high gear. The engine pulled very well from the instant I applied throttle and continued to build RPMs through the lights. The tach tattletale gave a 7650 RPM reading, our speed was 195.91 MPH. The car had run straight and was hooked up, a great ride!
After reviewing the notes, it was decided to go up one gear (the engine's peak HP is at 7600 RPM). Jeff took the next ride and found a course that was a bit loose, he had to back off the throttle three times to keep control. He said he felt the engine had never pulled that well on alky. His time was 195.947 MPH with a 7100 RPM tach reading. We were sure that our next run would be 200 MPH.
Sunday morning , since the course had been shut down Saturday just after our run because of spins, a new course was opened for competition. It was almost noon before we ran because of cars left from the second round on Saturday. With too much time on my hands, I decided, since the engine wasn't idling well, to try to improve the idle by placing a jet in the new secondary by-pass. This proved to be a mistake. On the third run the engine was lazy on the low end of high gear, (too rich) losing precious acceleration distance. Then Jeff was engulfed by a dust cloud toward the end of the course and likely shut down early. The tach reading was the same as his previous run (7100), but the speed was down to 192.1 MPH.
We could have managed another run, I suppose, but we were tired, hot, dirty and needed to get cleaned up before time ran out on the motel room. The six hundred mile tow home is never as enjoyable as it is going to the event. We didn't accomplish what we had set out to do, but there is always next year. Now we are off to El Mirage the 16th of July to test the car again.
Last Updated: 09/09/2010