Posted by: nwracing | September 20, 2014

NSRA Hot Rod Drags 2014

Dragster being prepared

Preparing Andromeda for our first runs of 2014

After some significant issues with the dragster engine the team were all excited to be able to get out to race at Shakespeare County Raceway for the NSRA Hot Rod Drags.

If you’ve never been to this event before I strongly recommend you put this on your calendar for next year. It really is like stepping back to a time before the health and safety culture became all pervasive with great cars and motorcycles to suit almost every taste. The people also get in to the spirit of the age and you could be forgiven that you have stepped on to a set from American Graffiti!

So with this great backdrop we readied Andromeda for its maiden run of 2014. Initial running of the engine suggested that our oil pressure and ignition woes were behind us. The new fuel pump was providing a much more consistent fuel load and the resulting tears in our pit was more to do with how rich it appeared to be running rather than tears of joy! However, I have learned over many years that pit lane tuning can be dangerous so we got ready for our first run.

I would also like to mention that we were also testing the new tow kart I had built over the winter. I had wanted for some time to reduce our dependency on our Landrovers as they did not have a tailgate which made it quite difficult for towing back to the pits. Interestingly the kart appeared to attract more attention than the dragster!

After a short delay in the pit lanes, due to the huge number of cars taking to the track, we were ready to go.

The engine started easily and I moved in to the burnout box waiting for the starter to call me forward. We were not using the NOS system for the initial runs as I wanted to make sure the base motor was working effectively.  As I moved forward Chris indicated to me to start the burnout and the tires lit up with all the richness in the motor disappearing in an instant. As I pulled in to stage I settled in to business of getting down the track. The xmas tree lit up and I nailed the throttle and I was off! The car pulled like a train and went die straight. Although you couldn’t see me I was grinning like a Cheshire cat and as I passed the top end lights I was feeling very confident.

Unfortunately, my euphoria was short lived. As I backed out of the throttle the oil pressure warning light appeared large in my vision. I immediately cut the engine and coasted to a halt. After getting out of the car I had a quick look to see if anything obvious was causing the oil pressure drop. Sadly, there was nothing apparent.

Chris arrived with the tow kart and we towed the car back to the pits somewhat despondent. The timing ticket proved what we thought. The car had run well, with a 9.4ET and 138mph terminal speed. When we checked back through our data this was pretty close to our best normally aspirated run. After taking the spark plugs out to check them it was clear that we were running a little lean so we upped the jets in the carb.

I wanted to see if the oil issue was terminal so risking further damage we started the car again. The oil pressure light went out! But, the pressure had dropped by 15 psi so all was not well. More worryingly the gearbox didn’t want to change gear and turning it over by hand revealed some strange noises. So avoiding further damage we put the dragster to bed and enjoyed the rest of the weekend. We will be back in 2015 and look forward to welcoming you to the track.

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