Posted by: nwracing | June 3, 2016

‘Spring Nationals’ Race Review May 28th to 30th 2016

NWRacing blogs are something like buses. You wait for ages then you get a couple together at the same time.  I won’t spoil the surprise of the blog following this but will say it is 18 months late!

For those that know me I have owned Land Rover Defenders for the past 16 years and they have been brilliant towing all my stuff around the country but nothing lasts forever. I have wanted an American pickup for as long as I have been racing and watched enviously as they arrived at the track. So decision made I purchased a Chevy truck and was as pleased as punch. My enthusiasm has still not waned but I did have a certain amount of trepidation setting off as the whole rig is over 40 feet long! I need not have worried as it tows perfectly and surprisingly returns about 2mpg less than my diesel Land Rover, or should I say it would have done except that the male curse of not reading manuals properly reared its ugly head. There is a tow/haul function on the auto box so with complete confidence I engaged this and set off for Shakespeare County Raceway in Stratford upon Avon. Half way to the track I noticed how high the revs seemed to be and it seemed a bit sluggish…

…And then the penny dropped, it’s like a low range function! Aagh…..

Very quickly I disengaged it and used it only to pull away on steep inclines. But the damage had already been done to the fuel consumption which looked very similar to that of a transatlantic liner! However on the way home the mpg was comparable to my Landy, with the added benefit of having that much space, I could if I wanted, take most of the contents of my house with me!

If you have followed my blog you will know that we have had taken some time to rebuild the dragster as we have had issues with both the engine and the gearbox. At this point I would like to recommend Dave Milam of She Devil Racing and Andy Frost of Penn Autos for their help with the engine and gearbox respectively. Their guidance and support has been invaluable; and keeping me positive when I thought the drag racing gods were against me has been fantastic.

So first time out in 2016 we wanted to make sure we had all the bases covered and decided to run this meeting normally aspirated and concentrate on getting everything working efficiently including me!

The first thing we needed to do after firing the motor at home was check the timing. However, no matter what we did the timing was jumping all over the place. A chance encounter with a fellow racer who asked how it was going narrowed the issue to my fancy digital timing light. So he kindly lent me his and we set the timing and then found another issue. We run a retard function which is supposed to come in when we use the NOS. However,  it appeared to be on all the time. Now I was beginning to get a little stressed as time was slipping away and the car hadn’t even turned a wheel! Retracing all the wires to our MSD ignition revealed a complete wire missing from the system! Now as Chris and I are the only ones who work on the wiring so we were both at a loss.  However, it took only 5 minutes to fabricate a new one and then we were ready to go! Or we would have been, I was busy getting dressed in the race suit when one of our friends told us that the track had been closed because someone had put oil down for virtually half the track! So with a huge sense of frustration Chris and I settled ourselves ready for the next day.

Sunday arrived and early in the morning we checked every inch of the car and sat waiting for the track to open. So our first run out and we ran 9.98 at 134mph. This is a way off our best of 9.3 but we always knew that we would need to creep up on the performance following the rebuild. A quick plug check confirmed we needed more fuel so we upped the jets went out again and ran a 9.7 at 134mph. Again we upped the jetting and aimed to go out again but another oil down put paid to our plans so we waited for Monday. As we were in the competition proper we needed to select our dial in. Feeling there was still more I dialed in at 9.6 and hoped we could get near this with minor changes. For the sake of brevity I have detailed the numbers below:-

Round 1: 9.811  135.40mph

Round 2: 9.605   136.00mph

Round 3: 9.632   135.67mph

Round 4: 9.583   135.81mph

As you can see we were pretty close to our dial in and all the time were changing the carb jetting to improve the situation. The overall result is that we came 2nd in the Wild Bunch competition and also closest to dial in which was great result for us considering all the issues we had had over the last few years. So the crew and I have two nice trophies on our shelves which certainly provide inspiration for the next meeting on June 11th and 12th at Shakespeare County Raceway.

I don’t have any pictures but did take my little video camera and attached it to the car, which has been moderately successful as I put it right next to our ignition! I hope you enjoy the footage and please come along to the next meeting and say hello.

Finally, a number of people have asked me about the NWRacing website. At the moment it is currently  being redesigned and  will have a new web address. As soon as it is ready I will let you know.

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