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BRYANT FAMILY RACING
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
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 things...at
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
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
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 expected...it 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
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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