The Staging
Light

project: stocker  

Update: August 7, 1998

stiffneck.jpg (33799 bytes)I would like to take this time to thank everyone who has helped us along the way in building our first NHRA Stock Eliminator car, from parts to knowledge, and simple words of encouragement. It meant the world to us, especially as we entered our very first NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series event this weekend at Numidia Raceway, Numidia, PA.

Before I get to the weekend's results, let me first acknowledge the biggest contributors to getting us 'on track'... First and foremost, former Div. 1 champ Billy Nees, along with Rusty Canfield, Greg Philly, Jim's Used Cars, Bill Shoquist @ Shogun Industries (www.shogunsystems.com), Scott Coslett @ Keystone Lubricants (www.rconcepts.com/keylube/), Jim Bageant, Jill Aurand & Doug Kline, Freddie McWilliams, Neil Janashek, and all the guys at BZ Motors (www.bzmotors.com) Chris, Mark, Mike, & John... and *everyone*!

Now on to our story...

As you probably know, we started out with a bone stock (read: justabout dead) '85 Duster 2.2L front driver, running mid 20's.  Billy fixed the bearing and rod bolt problem we encountered in March, and got some test runs in at Island Dragway last Saturday, netting a best of a 16.25 on the EF/SA 15.90 index.

Although Numidia is nearly an altitude track (960 ft) and it's in the heat of the summer, we decided to debut the car at this race as it's basically in our backyard. I got up early Thursday morning and picked the car up at Billy's shop in New Jersey.

stkanim1.gif (64736 bytes)We got three time trials in on Friday. We started out with a terrible bog and a lazy 16.62 at 83 mph. With helpers like Greg Philly and Greg Schmutz around, Billy tore into the carb and we started richening things up, put the header extensions on, and changed the secondary spring. Run #2 got slingshotted us up to a 16.08 at 85 mph, a vast improvement to say the least, but still way off our 15.90 index. Some more jet changes and advancing the cam got us to a 16.012 at 85.94 mph on our last run. We packed things up and headed to Beaver Springs (www.beaversprings.com) to test all night, with five passes ranging from 16.25 to 16.09. On the last pass I finally found the tree, after struggling with "deadly" consistent .590 lights, leaving on the second bulb going out... "on" and "Go!" with the 2nd bulb was the trick to pull a .519 light.

Back to Numidia Raceway on Saturday. I was happy with my oddball spot on the tree at long last, with a .498 and .529, although our time trials only showed an improvement in 60' times due to running the slicks down to 20psi, a 16.01 and a 16.04 in the heat of the day. Qualifying was done and we found ourselves #88 in a 91 car field, .11 off the index and with hardly a prayer.

Enter a miracle.

To make a long story slightly shorter, Rusty Canfield, driver of the Mopar-sponsored FF/SA Charger, came to our aid with all the advice we needed, which was to know that we were going the wrong way with the timing and jets all along. We put in his recommended combination, and waited for first round eliminations to roll around on Sunday.

For first round, we were paired with the record-setting 13-sec Q/SACadillac of Ray Golanka (whom everyone had taken to calling "TV Boy"this weekend for his recent appearance on NHRA Today)..521 to .636 on the tree later, I was killing 15+ mph on the brakes with the little car just flying through the gears through our 6500 shift point. The win light flashed in my lane along with a 16.03 @ only 69 mph... we would've run the index!!!

Second round found us taking on Billy Reiter's DT/SA (Ray Valpreda's old Dakota), where a .514 to .599 advantage on the starting line allowed me to peddle out a 15.901 on a 15.90 for the win. Again calculating the ET's, the car would've run under the index.Mark Dickerson's F/SA Duster awaited me in the third frame, and I was just hoping for him to take the "li'l Devil" for granted. Not to be, he put a .528 on my .544 and the car fell off to a 15.96 on a 15.86 dial-in, as he coasted around for an 11.69 on an 11.63 win.

Other random notes from the weekend: Starting line rpm was 1500-1700, 1st shift @ 6300, 2nd @ 6500. EF/SA minimum weight is 2355, and we weighed in between 2355 and 2365 all weekend.I tell you what... bottom line: We had a blast! Once again, thanks to everyone for their support! We're looking forward to many more Stock races. See you at the Dutch Classic!

Special thanks to:

Billy Nees Race Cars, Kenvil, NJ
Rusty Canfield
Greg Philly & Greg Schmutz
Jim's Used Cars, Montandon, PA
Keystone Lubricants, Berwick, PA
Shogun Industries, Prior Lake, MN
Excel Homes, Inc., Liverpool, PA
BZ Motors, Lewisburg, PA
Jim Bageant
Jill Aurand
Mike Sterling
Neil Janashek
Mark Shreckengast
and of course the crew chief... Stephen G. Beard (aka Dad)

- Michael Beard