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2002 Season

Speedweek World of Speed World Finals El Mirage

El Mirage November 2002

We were determined to have our new engine ready for this November Meet. So, as soon as we returned from the World Finals, I  removed, from the engine that had served us so well the last two years, the parts that were needed to be used on the new motor.

The engine was finally assembled and placed on the dyno, Saturday, November 9th, and made ready for our first dyno pulls the next day. On Sunday afternoon, we proceeded to do the dyno work and achieved results that were far above what I had envisioned. I was hoping for an additional fifty HP over our previous engine, which had been dynoed at 575 HP prior to Speedweek 2001. Our final results, the average of the two best pulls, was 455 ft. lbs. of torque @ 6800 RPM and top HP of 663 @ 7900. (Almost ninety HP increase over the old engine.)

To say we went to the Lakes with high expectations would be an understatement. But, as usual we were humbled by the performance of the first run. I had chosen to make our first run with the setup that ran the best on the dyno, timing @ 37 degrees BTDC and a .102 jet. This tuneup gave us a time of 174 MPH. This was really just as well because of the events that followed...The engine that had been difficult to get fired was not any better on the starting line. Being frustrated by this, in our haste to get off the starting line, this veteran crew, among other things, forgot to set the computer and the parachute we had  just packed prior to inspection also failed to deploy.

We checked the plugs and saw that the engine was very rich, so I selected a .106 jet and a fresh set of plugs for run #2 and put the car back in line. SCTA had decided to move the course after running the first 25 cars of the second round, so we had to wait until Sunday for our second run. We finally were able to get the second run at about 11 AM. This was a better run, but certainly short of our expectations with a 198.122 MPH pass on our 199.852 MPH record set last year. After checking the results of this run, it was evident that the engine was still a bit rich and Jeff had missed his shift from low to second going directly into high gear and then back to second losing precious acceleration time. We went to a .108 jet and hoped for a better shift on the next run.

We did get the results we were looking for on the next pass. We had been trying for the last two years to get Jeff into the "Dirty 2" Club and finally succeeded with a 206.792 MPH timing slip, raising our own record by almost 7 MPH. Yes, we had some help from the "El Mirage HP" a stiff wind from the right rear corner of the car, but how much that helped will be shown on another day. I am eagerly looking forward to Speedweek 2003 to see just how much the HP improvement over the old engine translates into MPH on the Long Course.

I was pleased to see to John Beckett, Joe Timney and Lionel Williams, our fierce competitors in D/CC, at El Mirage. They seemed to be enjoying the outing, at least on Saturday, I don't know where they were when the wind came up on Sunday, but I am sure that it gave them a new perspective on racing in the dirt. It is great to have competitors like the BTW team. I am certain that we would never have reached the speeds that we have at Bonneville without these competitors. They really hold our feet to the fire! 

The year 2002 will long be remembered by the Bryant Racing Team. Speedweek gave us two D/GCC records and two more family members in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. In September. I was honored by being placed into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame and in November, Jeff received his entry into the El Mirage 200 MPH Club. I don't expect to 2003 to measure up to this past season , but it would be good to raise the D/GCC record yet again and get my son Dan into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. This would give the Bryant family five members in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. A worthy goal, I believe.

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World Finals October 2002

Since the World of Speed was rained out, the World Finals was a well attended event, over 100 entries were on hand for the  last meet on the Salt for the year. I cannot remember a meet that had such fantastic weather as we experienced at the World Finals '02. Temperatures ranged from the low forties to the high seventies and there was little to no wind. Unfortunately, we were unable to capitalize on the great  atmosphere and came away with our best run 1/2 mph short of record speed so no red hat for my son Dan this year.

We made the trip from Redding to Wendover on Tuesday October 15 and arrived on the Salt Wednesday morning. After setting up the pits and readying the car for inspection, we got in line and moved through the inspection quickly, did the registration necessities and prepared to get Dan licensed to make some fast runs.

Dan had last driven on the Salt in 1981 piloting a D/GR @ 199.126 for a  career top speed. Still, since the time that had lapsed since his last driving experience, two licensing runs were required.  He ran 154.730 mph on his first pass and 180.294 mph on the next.

On the first qualifying pass, Dan registered a 211.717 - 1/4 mile, 216.620 - 1st mile, 224.656 - 2nd mile, 227.015 - 3rd mile and an exit of 227.548 mph. The 2nd qualifying run was not to be as good. When he shifted to 2nd gear, it wasn't there, so on to high gear, registering a 199.536 - 1/4, 202.763 - 1st mile, and then reaching  for the waterpump switch, turned on the electric fuel pump which  grossly richened the mixture momentarily dropping about 12 mph., but still managed a 218.512 - 2nd mile and a 225.384 - 3rd mile speed. Our  3rd qualifying, still with no second gear, was an early morning pass at  a 3947 ft. relative altitude and temperature of 40 degrees F. We missed the tuneup and ran too lean registering another 225 mph.

For the 4th qualifying pass (still no second gear) went a notch richer and had decent numbers, 206.710 - 1/4, 212.686 - 1st mile, 223.858 - 2nd mile and a 228.698 mph - 3rd mile. By this time the transmission was giving off an odor that suggested we had best put in our spare. After changing the transmission we went to the starting line with high hopes. Dan headed down the course to a new 1/4 record for us @ 214.283,  219.147 - 1st mile, 226.860 - 2nd mile, 229.217 - 3rd mile and an exit of 229.758 mph. This was 0.5 mph short of qualifying and an exit speed over the record. It was now late in the day on Saturday We went back to the starting line and made another attempt, upping the mixture another notch. This time our speeds were a tad slower all the way down the course. 213.147 - 1/4, 218.318 - 1st mile, 225.455 - 2nd mile, 227.147 - 3rd mile and an exit of 227.382 mph. By doing a quick turn around, we had left the line with too much water temperature which resulted in a extremely hot temp on the end of the run. After pondering our situation, Dan elected to wait 'til next year for another attempt on the record. BNI had decided to run Sunday AM, but we felt that we probably would not be able to make two runs over the record with our present setup. The engine was getting tired, it now had roughly 230 miles of full throttle running, and we had had a great season. Why push our luck? We look forward to Speedweek 2003.

Although we had a great season on the Salt, we left for home with a bit of sadness. We watched Al Teague make his last runs with #76 Streamliner registering a FIA record of 406 plus mph and Nolan White was hospitalized from injuries received in a crash when he lost his parachutes on the first leg of the FIA record attempt.

On Friday morning Nolan had come by our pits and asked that I push him off on his FIA Record attempt. Although I didn't remember, he said that I had pushed him off on the run that gave him his 200 MPH Club Membership. That was in 1963, almost 40 years previous.

I felt honored to be asked and gladly accepted the offer. I feel so fortunate to have spent some quality time with Nolan at the nine mile prior to his fateful run. He was on top of the world! After so many years of struggling with various mechanical failures, he had accomplished a lifelong dream. His car was now  the fastest piston engine powered entry with a  BNI Record of 413.156 MPH set at Speedweek and  he was on his way to a FIA Record with lots of confidence in his machine. I was not to learn of Nolan's demise until Monday morning after returning home. Although there is a hole in my life that will not be filled, I  find comfort in the knowledge that Nolan was a God fearing man who died pursuing his passion...the quest of higher speed.

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World of Speed 2002
(canceled because of wet course)
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Speedweek 2002

Our 2002 racing season started August 10th with a week at the Bonneville Salt Flats. We made more changes this year than normal which required extra time to get ready. As usual, the car sat in the garage from November to about June before I started preparing it for the season, so we were working up to the last minute to get the work done.

This year we moved the engine ahead five inches to give the driver a bit more room and also put more weight on the front wheels for a better balanced car. I did a complete rewire of the car, installed our latest version of an air scoop,  installed a new set of smaller injection nozzles and checked the rod bearings, which I reinstalled. Barry did a lot of fiberglass work to make the car more presentable, but we are still in primer. Moving the engine was a good thing. The cockpit is much more comfortable, we have a better firewall, and I have to assume that the car is in better balance. As yet I have not checked the front to rear weight, something that is in my plans. The air scoop is an improvement over the previous one, but is still in transition, not what we want as yet.

(To those who aren't familiar with the Bonneville race course, there is a 2 mile approach to five timing traps, starting at the 2 mile marker there is a ¼ mile trap that ends at the 2 ¼ , 1st mile trap that times from the 2 to the 3 mile, 2nd mile trap that times from the 3 to the 4 mile, 3rd mile trap timing from the 4 to the 5 mile and an exit speed that is a 132 ft. trap at the end of the course.)

I made the first pass, as usual to check the car out, recording a ¼ mile speed of 207.135 MPH,   1st mile 212.619 MPH and 2nd mile 221.864  MPH, shutting off at the 4 mile.  All systems
seemed to be functioning well. Now comes the time to get serious, but we have to be careful because we are uncertain of the jetting because of the change in injector nozzles. Barry is the designated driver with a goal of getting the D/GCC record back and entering the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. This has been our mission since Speedweek 2000.

Barry's first run was... ¼  209.279, 1st mile 214.178, 2nd mile 222.160. 3rd mile 224.743 and an exit of 225.271 MPH. For his second run we richened the fuel mixture by .004 and recorded the following... ¼ 212.242, 1st mile 217.247, 2nd mile 225.450, 3rd mile 228.839 and an exit of 229.448 MPH. Barry is now qualified to make a return run Tuesday AM.

Tuesday morning, after putting in a .006 richer jet, Barry posted the following times... 1st mile 217.340, 2nd mile 225.751, 3rd mile 228.847 which averaged a record speed of 228.843 MPH. Mission Accomplished!! We have the record back and Barry is in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.

Of course we are thrilled with the week so far, but we have other drivers that want to take a ride. Jeff was next in line. We went another .004 richer and he made his run @ ¼  199.702, 1st mile 207.591, 2nd mile 220.768, 3rd mile 226.402 and an exit of 228.037. Gary, my brother from St. Louis, had received his "A" license last year at 221 MPH and was anxious to take another ride. We advance the timing 2 degrees, went another .004 richer on the jet and Gary posted a ¼  199.981, 1st mile 207.419, 2nd mile 219.991, 3rd mile 225.078 and an exit of 225.984 MPH. We richened the mixture another .002 and made another run. This was the third pass without refueling and we had a bit of starvation which dropped the fuel pressure to 38 psi maximum causing a lean out, but our times were good -  a ¼ speed of 212.596, 1st mile 217.300, 2nd mile 224.411, 3rd mile 227.611 and an exit of 228.100. We refueled and made no other changes. Gary made our eighth run of the week @ ¼ 210.389, 1st mile 214.998, 2nd mile 223.120, 3rd mile 226.055 and exited @ 226.503 MPH. After looking at the data, it now seems that we are too rich. I leaned the mixture .006 and Gary made another pass... ¼  213.485, 1st mile 218.345, 2nd mile 226.846, 3rd mile 230.085 and exited @ 230.295 MPH. Gary has qualified!!

Friday morning Gary made his return run @ 1st mile 216.691, 2nd mile 225.726 and 3rd mile @ 229.390 for an average of 229.737 MPH a new record and entry into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.

After record runs, Gary left the Salt to return home and Jeff & Barry made another run each with some spark timing experimentation which showed us that we had it right already as both runs were under 225 MPH. Speedweek 2002 was one of the best weeks that I have experienced on the Salt. The course was good, the weather cooperated, the car ran great and the engine now has over 200 miles of wide open throttle running with no major problems. We are still working on our scoop problem and it appears that we will have our new 18 degree head motor in the car for the World of Speed. Dan, my middle son, is coming out of retirement (he drove the roadster back in the 70s and early 80s) and will be making his attempt at the 200 Club. I just think it would be nice to have all three of my boys in the Club. That would make five Bryant family members in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.

There were so many others that ran well at the meet I wouldn't attempt to mention them all. I was especially thrilled to see Nolan White get it together for two runs in a row. I talked with him before his first run and he show me his new gear box he designed to over come his drive belt problems. It sure seemed to cure his problems as he posted a 422 MPH 3rd mile and a 413 MPH record, even though, on the return run, he lost a tire in the last timed mile and the chute, ending up almost to I-80 stuck in the mud.

I was saddened to see the retirement run for #76 Streamliner. This car has a special place in my memories. In my opinion it still tops the list, performance wise, of all the cars that have run on the Salt. I talked with Al midweek and he told me that he was considering retirement of the car because it can't compete with the dual engine and 4WD cars. I can't believe that we won't see Al back with another car, however, possibly the #76 Roadster or maybe even a new Streamliner. (Late news says that Al has signed up for the FIA runs during the World of Speed in October). The other vehicle that I want to mention is Carl Heap's Diesel Truck, a 263.487 MPH record is Impressive!!!

That's my long version, now to get things ready for the World of Speed.

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Last Updated: 09/09/2010