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Previous Seasons


1998 1999 2000
2001 2002 2003 2004


2005 Season

 Speedweek  World of Speed World Finals El Mirage

El Mirage 2005

Well, finally we got to go racing again. The weekend at El Mirage was successful in the sense that we had a great time making contact with family, old friends and new acquaintances. Unfortunately, we didn't accomplish our mission, but, if God permits, there will be other days to do that.

We struggled with various tune-up problems. At first, #6 cylinder would not run properly. We checked plug wires, nozzles, valve train and compression. It seemed that we had washed it down due to flooding the engine on first start up. I poured some transmission fluid down the intake and brought the temperature up somewhat, so we decided to make a run and see what happened.

The engine appeared to be too rich, since it would not take full throttle. To complicate matters, the engine was slow to start on the line, so in the thrash, I forgot to set the computer. No data and a 168 MPH pass.  

Since the course went away,  we got no second run with a leaner setting until Sunday morning. I chose to go .008 leaner, but Barry still could not use full throttle. A 119 MPH pass. We were running up against a deadline to get back to Lancaster and check out of the motel, so we loaded the car on the trailer and headed home.

It was obvious that I had made an error in the installation or we had a plugged fuel return line. It should not have been too rich with the jet that was being used. In fact, I was .024 leaner than the calculations had suggested. It should have been extremely lean. This gave me fodder for thought for the six hundred miles home.

Monday morning, after flushing some of the lakes dust off the car, I began disassembling to the point where I could view the plumbing of the fuel system. As I had suspected, I had installed the jet box, which contains a check valve, backward. This explained two Bonneville, we were running alcohol with gasoline nozzles in the injectors. With the jet box backward, there was no pressure relief, the computer said the pressure was over 200 psi, but I didn't believe it. I thought there was a problem with the sensor. This forced enough fuel into the system to make a decent pass...225 MPH. With the proper nozzles, there was too much fuel for the engine to run properly, above less than ½ throttle. The reason it ran up to that point was that the secondary bypass is operational allowing a reduction in fuel flow to the nozzles.

Was this year a success? Yes, making mistakes is a form of education. If we were at our best consistently, we could get puffed up and think that we really had control. Events such as these help to keep a person humble. Hopefully, in the during the next six months, we will get it right.

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World Finals 2005

The car is ready and we are anxious to run. Mary West has been patiently waiting to get her licensing done and make an attempt at entering the 200 MPH Club. The World of Speed was to be her meet. Since the meet was canceled, we have been keeping our fingers crossed, hoping for a good course and good weather for the  World finals. As it happens sometimes, the weather did not cooperate. We were notified Monday October 3 that the salt is under water and it is raining. So much for this year on the salt. We will keep our chin up and look forward to the El Mirage November meet the 12th & 13th. Our designated driver for this meet is Barry Bryant who is looking for a membership in the "Dirty 2" Club. At this point, I haven't decided whether we will be running gasoline or fuel. Both records are ours, D/GCC @ 206.792 MPH and D/FCC @ 211.085 MPH. Either class will require good performance to break.
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World of Speed 2005

Speedweek was cut short by rain on Tuesday, the fourth day of the meet.  There has been so much rain in the area this season that the water table is very high. This does not allow the water to be absorbed by percolation so evaporation is the only means to take care of the standing water. Hot weather and wind are needed to make this happen. We were hopeful that conditions would improve and allow us to run once more in September, but it was not to be! Wind can be your friend or nemesis on the salt. The wind will move standing water back and forth over the flats. If it blows in the right direction, it will move the water toward the western mountains. Unfortunately, if  blows toward Salt Lake, the water moves onto the race course. This is what happened and the World of Speed was canceled.

Naturally, we are disappointed, but this gives us more time to do some needed work on the car and prepare for the World Finals.


The 2005 Season follows two very successful years for us and things have been going so well that  I  found myself "waiting for the other shoe to drop." A bit apprehensive, I suppose. As it turns out, I may have set myself up for a failure.

For this season, because it has been seven years since we last refurbished the chassis and the underhood explosion at the World Finals last year left the body a bit worse for the wear, I decided to take the car down to the frame, check it over and freshen up its appearance a bit. Also, at the end of the 2004 season, the engine had over 200 miles of full throttle runs so it needed to be checked and freshened as well. I swore that I would get started early and save the last minute rush, but as usual, the urgency does not appear until after the Winter has passed and Spring is upon us.

I did get started earlier than usual, having disassembled the car by early May. By the first part of June I got my stuff back from powder coating and began to reassemble. Besides the reassemble, I had also decided to install a nitrous system for this season. And as is usually the case, everything takes longer than was toward the end of July before I got the engine apart and found that the pistons had to be replaced because of wrist pin galling. (I suppose this was because of the serious overheating that took place at Speedweek '03) To make a long, boring story short, I got the engine ready to install about 4 PM on Tuesday the 9th, just two days before the planned departure for Speedweek. After it was installed, the nitrous plumbing had to be finished and various other tasks that couldn't be done until after the installation. The boys and I spent a couple of days that went well into the late night getting ready to leave on Friday morning.

We did get the car on the salt Saturday morning and in line for inspection before the driver's meeting a 11 AM. By early afternoon, we were readying the car for our first pass. With all that had been going on with the rebuild, poor documentation of our previous runs,  numerous additions and subtractions to the fuel system, and very possibly because I don't think as clearly as I once did, I missed the tune up by a bunch.

After much pondering and research of my records, I came to the awareness that the Select-a-Jet Box was loaded with gasoline jets (I did this in preparation for the November Lakes meet). Looking back through my inadequate records, I choose what I thought was the right jet, (.080) and proceeded to the starting line. The Long Course Line was short so we were able to make an attempt before the closing for the day Saturday. Unfortunately, when we pushed off and I shifted to low gear, it wasn't there. The pin had shaken out of the shifter linkage, so it was a turnout! We put it in the staging line and waited until Sunday morning for our first run.

We were the first car in line after long course record runs. The run was a rough ride, but straight, resulting in a 225 MPH third mile, about 20 MPH short of what we would expect on a good course. The dash temp gauge read in excess of 210 deg., rather warm for an alcohol run, however when I downloaded the computer data it showed me a 178 deg. reading. I chose to believe the computer...mistake number 2.  The average EGT was 1182 deg.. This didn't register as a problem either...mistake 3. With everything else that was going on as a result of the run, I just didn't step back and analyze the data as I should have.
During the run, the pan under the nose of the car got severely damaged. Barry went to work on straightening and repairing the nose, while I cranked some more tension in the front springs to get a bit more clearance between the nose of the car and the salt and Dan started work on the electrical part of the nitrous system.

Monday, I gave Jeff a chance to see what the course was like. Unfortunately, he chose to run down the center, finding a hole that gave him a good bounce and again damaged the nose of the car, but not a bad as before. Since he was a bit shaken by the results of hitting the hole and had backed off the throttle for a time before leaning on it again, his time was just short of 200 MPH.

By mid afternoon Tuesday, we were ready to check the nitrous system. We proceeded to the starting line. Because there were not many long course cars running, some of the short course cars were running on our course. On this run, I found the surface to be very loose which gave me some trouble getting hooked up through second gear. Once in high gear it was motoring along fairly well so I hit the nitrous at about the 1 ¾ mile. We are using a progressive timer which was set to start at 25% and end with 50% (200 HP Jet). I was surprised how hard it hit, it felt really good, but , alas, was short lived. Before the end of the ¼ trap I had lost four cylinders. A check in the pits resulted in four spark plugs minus the ground electrodes and a compression check revealed no reading in #3 and 4 cylinders.

My experience with nitrous has been good, except when the basic tune up is lean. After several hours of interpreting data from last year's runs on alcohol, I found that the engine was extremely lean.

Lessons learned from all this...Don't wait until the last minute to get the car ready...Keep better/clearer notes...Time reflecting on data can save time (& dollars) over the long haul.

The meet in general was good...the course was not good, but was not a result of lack of effort on the part of SCTA/BNI, my hat is off to all the volunteers that make these events a reality...John Beckett's accident was definitely the low point of the meet...I hope we all understand that when we go down the course, any course of any condition, we are at risk. If anything is to be learned from this tragic event, it is that we need to revisit how we build our cars to protect our head. I know that I will take a long look at mine.

PS: Further inspection of our engine as we prepared to replace the burned pistons revealed severely damaged front and rear main bearings. So...we are completely down with the engine to make the repairs. Hopefully we can determine why this happened.

Now is time to move on to the World of Speed!

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Last Updated: 09/09/2010