The Staging

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If It Don't Have Wheels It Ain't a Sport
episode #1 -- by Phil Veldheer

Phil 'I forgot my earplugs' Veldheer
Phil Veldheer Racing
62 West 40th. St.
Holland, MI. 49423-5222
Telephone 616.392.1688

First a little background, I'm 47 years old and I have been drag racing since a senior in high school. I am a NHRA stocker and super stocker fan. I've raced at the US National's from 1967 to 1980. I raced N/S to SS/MA. However since 1986 I've raced brackets because I can race every week and I enjoy it. I presently race two Olds Cutlass's one is a 1978 Cutlass that I purchased for $300.00 and now turns the quarter mile every weekend at Martin US 131 Dragway with a best time of 10.39 at 128 mph. My second car was the number 5 car in NHRA Super Stock racing three years ago, it was raced by Randy Mans in Minn. I purchased minus engine and trans and put another 455 Olds in it. Its best time is 10.83 . A friend of mine drives it, Tim Stevens of Dorr, MI.. The second Cutlass is a 1987 and it has nine miles on the odometer. I plan on keeping this car forever. If you'd like to see what they look like, look in the racers photo gallery in the Staging Light.

In early October I saw friend and stocker racer Brian Berk at a mutual friends house. I told him I was interested in racing three cars in 1997 and that if he knew anyone with a GM car for sale to let me know. Brian has a V/SA 87 Cutlass that was the number 1 qualifier at Indy in 1994 and also many time class winner. It held the NHRA record for the last two years, 1/4 and 1/8 mile. NHRA just retired one record and someone else just set a new one. About a week after talking to Brian, an e-mail shows up that Brian is interested in selling this car. So we made the trip from Holland, MI to South Bend, Indiana and within 30 minutes, yours truly wrote a check for another Cutlass.

new car roll bar We bought it minus V-6 record holding engine. We did get a lot of parts with it. We sold a 403 Olds to another friend, sold converter and transmission to someone else. We plan on building this car exactly like my other two only with a little less cam and a little less compression. In other words, less horse power. The driver of this vehicle, will be family friend, Tom Tilton also from Holland, MI. Tom has been to the drags, but has never raced before. So I thought the best way to learn drag racing is to foot brake it. All the electronics, air shifters, etc. will come next year. The car is in the body shop right now and is close to being painted. The photo shows the car with a CHASSIS ENGINEERING 8-point roll bar kit. I have always used CHASSIS ENGINEERING in the last three race cars I've built and I enjoy dealing with them. I also use there Coil-overs exclusively.

We have a lot of plans for this car. We plan on racing every week at Martin US 131 Dragway in the PRO class. The et range is 11 flat to 13.99 They have about 95-100 cars every week. At Martin they have 65-85 Super Pro's each week also. No electronics in the PRO class. I think that rule is true all over the US. We have a lot of Major Sponsors and Local Sponsors also on board for our new car. In 1994 we raced 21 times and showed one car 34 times. That equals "54" showings. In 95 I beat that by one and in 96 I beat that record by one. In 1997 I plan on beating that record with all three race cars. Its not easy, but we try to show the cars every Sat. morning and pick them up at 1:30 PM and make the 45 minute trip to Martin US 131 Dragway or the 1 hour and 45 minute trip to MID- MICHIGAN MOTORPLEX. By next month I'll have more photos of the roll bar installation and the paint shop. I hope you'll like the color.

A few weeks ago I went to the PRI show in Columbus, Ohio. If you don't know what that is it's the Performance Racing Industry Show. Its great. This was my second year there. The who's who of the racing industry was there. It's also nice to meet your camshaft grinder (Comp Cams), Fastener Supplier (ARP),wiring company (Painless Wiring), Seat and seat belt company (JAZ Products), headers (Hooker), coating company (JET-HOT), Axle and spool man (MOSER Engineering) by the way he also a great guy and racer, Greg Moser, balancer company (Fluidampr) & tire company (Mickey Thompson). Plus I finally met the man who's helped me a lot over the years with my Oldsmobiles, I meet Dr. Oldsmobile himself, Joe Mondello of Mondello Performance. I am missing many, as they had over 600 booths. I talked to a lot of people in the performance industry and they all say that 1997 is going to be the biggest year ever in motorsports.

I know I help keep the economy going. I know Phylis at Rebellious Trailers is going to smile when she finds out yours truly just bought another race car, plus then we'll need aluminum wheels for the trailer to match the other two trailers, etc. etc. We plan on having this car run in the low to mid 11's the first year then maybe next winter we'll back-half it and put some M/T 14.5 x 32's on it change camshafts and add some compression, electronics and go Super/Pro racing. It beats watching it snow! We had 10 inches over night. If you know what "lake effect" is, we are right next to Lake Michigan. Its nice in the summer, but its a pain in the winter.

new car roll bar The second photo shows my garage setup. The new car is on the side, my other two cars are nose to nose in the front. if you look closely you can see carpet under the cars. Thats done for two reasons, one for ease to work on underneath, but the main reason is tow stop condensation from forming under the car. I remember a few years ago, looking under the race car on a day when it was real cold at night a had warmed up 20 to 30 degrees during the day and saw condensation dripping off my now rusty headers. I was sick!! The concrete floor causes a lot of it. Another storage idea, About once a week, turn your rear wheels a half a turn, because only half of the ring gear is in gear fluid. The other half is exposed to humidity and rust. I know, I've seen the results.

Questions, comments, ideas,and I still need a 455 Olds Aluminum Intake, please e-mail me at

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