I'm writing to tell the continuing tale of the White Elephant Stock
Eliminator team I own. Last weekend I decided to enter my first
divisional race and actual Stock Eliminator race. IHRA was holding its
first ever divisional race at Harry Hronas' Red Line Raceway at Caddo
Mills, TX. I knew we could not run the 9.55 U/SA index, but that was not
the purpose of our weekend. I took the car to Caddo Mills for a couple
of reasons. Reason number one, it is the nearest divisional race to my
house (IHRA or NHRA) Reason number two, I wanted to get the Malibu
teched officially. Reason number three, I wanted to get to race in an
actual Stock Eliminator race.
We left our house to get to the track early Saturday morning. We got
there early enough; we had an hour wait to get parked. The 90 miles to
the track was the longest I had ever towed the car before but luckily,
there were no towing horror tales. After getting the car off the trailer
and gassed, it was the moment of truth: time to get teched. I was
worried about the little things they could say.
The only question they had for me was about the fuel cell. They asked
me how it was grounded. I was puzzled, then I said, "By the straps
under the car that held the fuel cell on." Right answer! He asked,
"How much does it weigh?" I said, "I don't know." He
asked how much it is supposed to weigh. I said, "I thought 3,200
pounds with last year rules." He got out the new rulebook and
figured it up: 3,100 pounds with the new rules. "Wow!" I
thought to myself, "I passed tech." They said to get prepared
to get weigh in once during qualifying.
I was ready to race after getting back to the trailer. We were
finally called to the lanes. About that time, my father got to the
track. I'm not overly superstitious, but I'd rather run with my Dad
there. Every head and idea helps. In the staging while waiting for the
track to setup the computer for our indexes, a fuel pressure problem
started to rear its ugly head. I was idling the car and the fuel
pressure started jumping around. I reset it to five pounds just before I
ran. The car I was to run in the first round was a racer with the last
name of Lee with an I/CM Cutlass. He said he was going to run a half
pass, but he offered a fuel regulator to us. We said thanks, but the
problem was most likely in the carb.
We made our burnouts and staged. I staged at 2200 RPM and left with a
.496 redlight but I messed up and missed the shift. I shifted the car
from first to third! Instead of the high nine run I was expecting, it
was worse. I crossed the finish line at 5200 RPM, way too weak. The
other car shut off at around 400 feet coasted and still spanked me. I
got pulled over to be weighed.
My dad and my wife were curious where I was and came looking for me.
They gave me the time slip -- a 10.162 run, or .612 over my 9.55 index.
I had never weighed he car before. I was shocked when they said 3135
pounds, but the scale reading was 50 pounds light, so it really 3185.
That was 150 pounds lighter than I thought it was going to be. I was the
26th qualifier in a 27-car field.
Back in the pits, we were going through everything but dealing mainly
with the carb. The pressure was up to 10 pounds when we got back to the
trailer. I made minor adjustments for the second round, including fuel,
air, putting our in lean plugs, etc. I was going to shift higher too and
not mess up. I was paired up with Frankie Joiner, the IHRA E/S national
record holder. Frankie lives close to us in Omaha, TX. He owns the first
small block stocker ever in the tens, previously owned by Kent Hanley
and Emory Stull. We were pitted next to him and he helped us a bunch
throughout the weekend.
I got in the left lane, cut a .535 light, hit the first shift right,
then waited again for 5400 RPM for the second shift. The car fell on its
face in third and crossed at 5300. I got back to the pits and found I
had run a 9.99 in very bad conditions -- 3200 feet of adjusted altitude.
I had only a 2.07 short time again where it should have been a 2.00.
Joiner also killed me with a 514 light with a clutch! I dropped to 28th
in the field now after Jay Petty arrived late and busted his index.
We went over the car before we left the track for the day. The fuel
pressure was at eight pounds and the carb was smoking. That told us that
the fuel was bleeding past the valve seats, causing the pressure
problems. We talked to a couple of racers about what to do and
thankfully got several tips. But our day was done and I had to get the
wife home so she could go to work the next day.
We got to the track the next day set to do a couple of things. I took
some pressure out both fuel and air and raised the shift points. I was
first in line Sunday against a racer named Reinhart in a ‘68 Camaro. I
got a .585 light in the left lane and hit the first shift. The car wound
to 5900 and nosed over on the second shift. The short time was 2.04 but
I had lost .06 on the second shift. The time was only a 10.022. I was
still number 28 and was going to have to run Justin Granier in the first
round. Granier is the defending IHRA Division 4 champ in Stock in the
one of the old No Problem cars.
We set to work before the first round, cleaning out the carb and
getting it back together. We drained the oil to put in lighter oil and
to put in only three quarts based on a tip from Jim Cimaroli. We reset
the fuel pressure and I was ready to race. I paired up with Granier in
the third pair. He gave me lane choice; I took the left. I thought he
was going to get a slow light, come around, and pedal it.
I left first with a mediocre .583 light and he slept to a .935. I was
paying attention to my shifting and got my best shifts all weekend. I
got to the MPH light and looked for him. He wasn't there! Then he passed
me about halfway through the MPH lights. He beat me to the stripe by
.044 seconds, or half a car length. I got my time slip. I had run my
best of the weekend, a 9.962 on a 9.55. Granier ran a 7.296 on a 7.28.
His late leave made it closer than it could have been.
We got loaded up and came home by 4 PM Sunday, tired and burned up
from two days of racing. We were happy to get the first race behind us
and we got some ideas how to pick the car up to run the index. The ideas
we got were variable timing, shunting and wrapping the headers,
installing a cool can, taking weight off the front end, and other minor
thing that can add up. The big thing is to fix the carb. But we did what
we set out to do, so we were happy. We have to be able to take it to the
next level now and get under the index.