Mendy Fry: Branching Out in 2002
By Mendy Fry-Harris
Photos by Bruce Wheeler
Mendy Fry was a big part of the action at the 2001 CHRR.
She plans to return this year.
Photo by Bruce Wheeler
Pete and I thought that we would drop all of you a line and give you an update on the progress of the racing effort to which many of you have donated time, product, or moral support.
We have taken delivery of our brand new Junior Fuel Chassis from Stirling Race Cars. The car is 100% made for Junior Fuel (in my size) which means that its resale value for anything other than that class or for a driver much larger than me is nearly nonexistent (a fact that falls into the "who cares" category). More importantly, it means that we will be lighter than most cars out there with a car that is not a knock-off from TF or AF. And did I mention that it is beautiful? Rob and Alicia Stirling really did a great job for us!
The parts collection is growing quite nicely. We purchased a brand new Dart "Little M" block, which will be off to the machine shop for boring and shortening of the deck soon. Pete is determining whether we want to offset the lifter bores too, so that we can run a larger diameter pushrod with straighter paths to the rocker arms. We've deburred/polished the entire inside of the block and Pete will finish "taking weight out of it" soon by machining off every non-essential cast mount, etc.
All of the applicable parts for power that Crower manufactures are going on this car, most of which we have taken delivery of already. For those of you who do not know, my husband Pete runs the crankshaft department at Crower and is part of the extended Crower family. We have received tons of support from the company on this project, including: the coolest billet crankshaft I have ever seen, designed by Pete with all of the tricks that are available to the crank-buying public (and a couple that are not), titanium rods, camshaft, EDM-drilled roller lifters, steel rocker arms, pushrods, bearings and valve springs. Additionally, Jerry McLaughlin, head of Crower's former fuel injection department and currently holding a position on a Crower sales desk, is making us a billet fuel pump, just like the ones that Crower used to sell. Jerry will also be consulting on the tune-up when we are running.
Thanks to Cameron Evans, we will be receiving some nice ink on the build-up of the motor and car, which has resulted in the participation of some manufacturers on the project, such as Pro Cylinder Heads. My deepest thanks go out to Peter Hill and Kevin Feeney for sending us the newest version of their 14-degree, CNC-ported heads a few weeks ago (direct from New Zealand). This company's product is the undisputed leader in our class and I am very happy to have received the latest revision of the chamber. Look for technical details in Cameron's article(s) when they come out (I will notify you when they do).
Mendy takes in the awards ceremony at the 2001 CHRR.
Photo by Bruce Wheeler
Arias Pistons is supporting us as well. They have one of our cylinder heads right now and are designing our pistons to provide us with the 17:1 or greater compression ratio that we are striving for. And as his sons' cart racing schedule permits, we will see Nick Arias III as part of our crew.
J.C. from Strange Engineering has also helped out with our rear-end assembly. We went with the cast aluminum 12-bolt Chevy unit, carbon fiber brakes, gun-drilled axles, etc. It is a beautiful piece.
Lance Larsen recently made a donation to the effort, being kind enough to give us a laptop computer, "Racepak-ready" with cables & software. Thanks Lance!
Jeff Gillette is building us two Powerglides (a runner and a spare) with all of the tricks that he has learned in his 13+ years competing in B-Econo Dragster. He is also consulting on other essential areas of the car.
Bob Sights is coming on-board as crew member and brings a wealth of knowledge to the party, having crewed on cars that span the classes of NHRA, Bonneville, and Nostalgia racing. He is also helping out, product-wise, providing the on-board data recorder, dyno time, and other stuff to be determined as we go.
Frank Parks has been a wonderful source of information and guidance, talking to Pete at least twice per week. Boxes of parts show up on our door weekly from him, filling in the gaps in our arsenal.
Thanks to the introduction by Randy Green, Mike Gruber of Valvoline has agreed to provide us with product for the year, so look to see their decal displayed prominently on the car.
Bob Meyer has been kind enough to allow his ex-tin bender (me) to use his shop to build the body on the car. I am going to make it look as retro as possible, and have hung up my picture of the Pat-Foster-built replica of the Beebe & Mulligan car as inspiration. Potential color schemes are tossed around daily, but look for it to be mostly black w/the original Crower and Arias logos on it. If I am lucky, Eric Reyes will not be too busy to take this over when the time comes.
Mendy drove Ron Johnson's Jr Fueler in 2001. Ron will be available
to advise Mendy's new team in 2002. Photo by Bruce Wheeler
Ron Johnson, the owner of my 2001 ride, was kind enough to give us a great deal on his extra trailer and continues to offer help in any way that he can. We look forward to teaming up with him this year.
Well, that's it for now. Our debut date is March 8 - 10th at the Goodguys March Meet in beautiful, sweet-smelling Bakersfield. This is, of course, after dyno time and testing. Our racing agenda includes all three Goodguys VRA events, the California Hot Rod Reunion, at least one Pro Nitro event, a handful of NHRA Division 7 events (in Competition Eliminator), and hopefully two NHRA National Events, once we have met the new grade-point requirements to compete. Basically, we are going to run the wheels off of this car and obtain as much ink as we can for our sponsors with the goal of stepping up into the Alcohol Dragster ranks in 2003.
Thank you all for your continued support. We will keep you posted on further developments.