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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Building the White Elephant

By Danny White

DRL Research Editor Danny White leaves hard during testing in his pure Stocker. Photo thanks to Danny
Draglist Research Editor Danny White leaves hard during testing in his pure Stocker.
Photo thanks to Danny

I have always been a fan of class racing since I was a kid. Our family has raced regular bracket cars. One was a Super Pro car that ran 8.30 1000 foot times. But things change and we got out of bracket racing because we thought it was and still do think it is going to hell in a hand basket. I don't like delay boxes, air shifters, uncovered trees, two classes of cars for one purse, buy backs, etc. Racers are buying into this -- so be it for them.

My father and I decided to build a Stock Eliminator car. No problem, we thought at the time. I had a Malibu at the house that had been misused and neglected when we bought it. We were going to build it into a street car that also could race. We built it, finished it, and everything. We put a 350 Chevy and 350 auto transmission into it from a truck I had. The farthest the car got was two miles to the paint and body shop and back.

We had a problem with the car's title and we wanted a Stocker. We pondered what to do. We brainstormed on how to start building the car into a Stocker and what class we should run. We had three choices: a 305 V-8, a 229 V-6, or the lowly 267 V-8. We did not want any part of Billy Lynn and his killer Malibu or the many other 305 Malibus in Division 4. We did not know about racing V-6s either so we decided on the 267 and building a U/SA.

We brainstormed again on what part of the build up we should start with. We got a transmission first from the already mentioned Billy Lynn from Searcy, AR. We did not get just any transmission; we got a Metric 200, just right for the killer engine we were going to build. The Metric 200 is said to be 35 pounds lighter than a Turbo 350. Billy Lynn is the man to go to for them, too. We had the transmission; now to find an engine. We looked for three months to find a 267. We got two blocks and a set of heads. The engine we chose as the best was sent to Harry Hronas' Performance Auto Supply to be redone. Harry and his team had never done a Stock Eliminator engine at that time (they have also done one for my friend Jeff Duncan since then), much less a 267 engine. For a $25 dollar block, we spent $1250 to build a short block. Hell of a mark up there! We had a local guy, Daniels Machine Shop, do the first set of heads.

We brainstormed again on the rear end we wanted. We chose a 10 Bolt Chevy to save weight over a 12 bolt. We ordered the proper 10 bolt rear end stuff from Strange: spools and axles for that killer 267 we had. The only problem was that there is a shortage of 8.5 inch 10 Bolt rear ends not 7.5 inch rear ends. We looked for another three months for the proper rear end housing until finally we found one. We took all of our parts to Doyle Smith who has an 8-second 81 Camaro in storage to set up the rear end. We got it back and put it in the car. We made the upper arms on the race car adjustable to fit the rear end. We got Monocoque Wheels all the way around since I always wanted a set, then Hoosier slicks for the back and Morosos for the front. It took six weeks for the front tires to get here from Michigan. We won't use that place ever again.

We had the car going together. The last engine piece we needed was a manifold. That's when we found out that legal number manifolds don't grow on trees. It took eight months to find a legal manifold to use and we found two the same weekend. We finally started assembling the Stocker. We had ex Comp racer Wayne Stinson do the interior and Anthony to do the lettering. We finally were ready, except the problem that hurt the Malibu since the first day we got it: brakes! We had the drums rotated and got new brake assemblies for the back and front. We even put all new break lines in. We tried four different master cylinders until we found one that worked with the car. We had to switch from power brakes to manual brakes to save weight. We finally found a manual steering box to save more weight.

After a year and a half, we were ready to race and to attack the 9.55 U/SA index. When we took the car to the track, it banged all the way through and would only run a best of 10.70 at 62 MPH. The last time we raced for the year we put in a HEI Em unit in place of the Unilite that was there. It stopped the bang but it retarded going down the racetrack and fell on its face. We only ran 10.52 at 62 mph but with a 2.13 60 foot time.

When the off season came, it was time to regroup. We were .97 seconds from the index! We brainstormed again and decided we needed new heads, new gauges, a new ignition, and a tune up. We had Wayne Calvert do the heads and he did a great job on them, too. We put new rocker arms in on my Spring break from teaching. We also remounted the alternator on the driver's side and installed an electric water pump drive. We got it together, but it had a clatter.

We ran for the first time this year and it ran all the way through he lights with a 10.07 at 67 MPH. Hey, only .52 seconds from the index! We messed up a minor switch and went home. We came back the next week and found that the clatter was the push rods were hitting the heads. We parked the car again, and went home and changed the rockers, regulator, and plugs. We were going to try big block plugs. The car's first pass showed a good start our best 60 foot time ever -- a 2.10. Then the car shut itself off at 500 feet and coasted to a 10.47 at 49 MPH. What happened was that I had a gas leak and ran out of gas! The big block plugs ran the car too lean and we had to change them. The car also broke the suspension on that pass, but we didn't find out until the fourth pass. We did not make another full pass; I shut off each time. The left tire had started rubbing and we came home.

We now have to fix the suspension, check the tire, put in more new plugs, and put new header gaskets in it before we run again. We also have to run the valves one more time. We hope to get into the nines soon to get closer to that 9.55 barrier.

Danny White
ddgw@valornet.com

 

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