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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

A Crazy Thing Happened on the Way to Sonoma

Initial outing results of Mendy Fry's new Jr. Fueler

By Mendy Fry-Harris

Work in the Fry-Harris "camp" has been nonstop since January. We had hoped to debut our new car at the March Meet, however, due to the delayed arrival of certain significant parts, the entire effort was slowed considerably. Finally, we have something to talk about, as the team rose to the occasion and thrashed the car together, resulting in what we consider to be a successful first outing at the GoodGuys VRA event on April 20 - 21 at Sears Point.

Without the help of our product sponsors, we would still be bench racing in our garage. Since my last update, we took delivery of some exceptional parts and pieces. All things Crower (crank, titanium rods, cam, valve train, etc.) arrived on time and went together beautifully. Our ProTopline Heads arrived and were assembled without incident. Arias made us a set of pistons that allowed the 17:1 compression ratio we were hoping for. We assembled them with the wrist pins that were supplied by Bob Koch of Race Engineering. We received some much-appreciated support from MSD, who gave us a ProMag 20 set up. Thanks to Moroso, we have a very cool vacuum pump to play with. Finally, Lance Larsen and Brian Corradi pulled out some favors, hunting down a used version of a back-ordered-forever part that, without which, we would still be sitting on the sidelines. Add to that our supply of Valvoline products; we are very grateful for all of the help!

Pete did an exceptional job building the engine and Mike LeFevre of Mitech Motorsports allowed our bullet to stay on his dyno for a week, patiently letting us put final touches on the plumbing and valve train. We managed to get in some quality "pulls," all of which took place after hours. Our initial dyno results are promising--not exactly what we are looking for long-term, but definitely a good starting point.

Bob Meyer handed over the keys to his shop so I could build the body and, after completing the hand-hammered piece, I never gave them back. Throughout the thrash to finish the car, I kept showing up at all hours to make "this" bracket or "that" mount, leaving Bob random notes on his desk to describe the shop contents that I had pilfered, each ending in "add to my bill."

After bringing the engine home from Mitech, we had 2 weeks until our debut date to finish the car. The 72 hours leading up to our first pass are a total blur. Bob Sights arrived on our doorstep at the beginning of those three days to help us finish what was at that time a 60% complete racecar. There is no way that we would have been ready without his help. By Thursday night, the car was together enough to fire, which we did at 1:30 a.m. down at Crower. All heads hit their respective pillows at 2:00 that night and rose early on Friday to continue working, with the goal of being on the road for Sonoma by noon. Well, noon came and went as roadblock after roadblock popped up. Finally, we loaded the car in the trailer "as is," and got on the road at 4:00, just in time to catch San Diego AND L.A. traffic. We rolled into Sonoma around 2:30 am, caught three hours of sleep, and headed out to the track.

Upon arrival, we were able to get the chassis certified and teched for the race. With that out of the way, the final thrash began. What we thought to be two hours of work quickly became four, as a few last-minute challenges reared their heads. (Having to hunt for a welder at the track is never a good thing.) Needless to say, we missed the first of our two qualifying sessions. As 19 cars were vying for 16 spots, we did not have the luxury of an easy "shakedown" pass. So, in the second session, on the car's first pass, we were able to get down the track and in the field, qualifying 14th with a 7.76. No, we didn't set the world on fire, but given the situation, we felt as though we had just set the record!

Sunday's first-and-only-round results were not exactly what we were looking for, in terms of performance. After leaving first with a 4:25 light, our opponent drove around us by the 60-foot mark. However, all things considered, we are very pleased with our first outing. We were able to finish the car and get it in the show on our first pass. Now we just need laps.

We would again like to thank everyone that has helped us get to this point, including Mark McCormick, Ron and Kol Johnson, Jeff Gillette, Jim Sozzoni, Gene Hansen and Frank Parks. Of course, we cannot forget our team's co-cooks, Marilyn "Crud" Fry and Dean Warner. Because of all the quality help, we feel very good about our prospects from here and are hopeful that we will be one of the cars to beat as the season moves forward.

Mendy Fry-Harris
pete_mendy@telocity.com

 

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