Update: December 1, 1998
As promised, we actually made it to a second event before the season ended. Here for your inspection, at long last, is the results of our trip to Maple Grove Raceway in October for the PA Dutch Classic National Open. Billy was not going to be along on this trip, so with just Greg Philly left to babysit us, we decided to concentrate on driving the car. Our goal here was to keep everything as constant as possible, and let the car tell us what it wanted to do. After we do finally get our power tuning down pat, it's the fight for consistency and drivability we'll face next. I was curious to see how our Numidia setup would work in much better cool fall air.
Our trip actually began at our home track. I announce at Beaver Springs Dragway on Friday Night Street Racing events, which features two and a half hours of open time shots. We decided to go to Beaver Springs and get a bunch of runs in and then head down to the Grove on Saturday, instead of being limited to just two runs very far apart, and then having another costly night in an area motel. I also wanted to see if the car would run the index if I deep staged to help my reaction times, something I would not be willing to try with a limited number of runs alloted to us.
I started out with all deep-staged runs. I set the slicks to 23psi for the first run. A .434 redlight rather surprised me as I left at 2000 rpm, and then another surprise hit me as the car spun badly, and even started to wheel hop. I peddled it much like you would a go-kart, sort of grimacing like, "this is *silly*!". The 60' suffered terribly, and I was left with a 16.41 at 85 mph. For reference, our best run at Beaver Springs with the stocker was a 16.09, while testing during the Numidia FMDRS. Dropping the drive tire to 18 pounds allowed it to get off the line pretty well, resulting in a .535 and a 16.12 @ 86 mph. On the third pass, another pound down to 17psi found a good hook, and it picked up to a 16.04 @ 88.59 mph, our best mph yet, and still deep-staged! The r/t was a .451, however, so I saw that deep staging wasn't going to be good for me as a driver, plus we were giving up precious ET for when it comes time to cover the 15.90 EF/SA index. For my final pass of the night, I went back to shallow staging. I hit a decent .532 light, and was rewarded with a 15.924 @ 87.66 mph. A dead battery left us to go home and put the car on the charger for the night before heading to Maple Grove early in the morning.
Welcome to your first National Open, project:stocker
It was our first trip to Maple Grove with the stocker, and our first National Open. We got our expected two runs in on Saturday, with phenomenal air, the track's weather station reading 397 ft of adjusted altitude for the first pass. It was a record run (for us, anyway!) of a 15.62 @ 87.47 mph, an even -.28 under the index. The air kept getting steadily worse as the weekend went on, with the AA eventually reaching over 1300 ft, which was effecting the little car in a drastic way. To spare you the recounting, here's "Just the facts"...
While that particular run in itself was embarrasing for taking eventual winner Dave Ribeiro through by over a tenth of a second on the brakes, I figured the car was going to run a 15.77... pretty hard to slow 'er down that much! Sixth round... that was the semi-finals, and boy were we tickled! My biggest discovery was that you have to run this car on the edge. Just running it like a bracket car had us not even covering the index for several rounds (although running just close enough!) In the semi's, I ended up flash-cooling the car like I should do every round, and the car responded by picking up a tenth and a half!
Looking ahead to 1999, it looks like we may have a major sponsor, and we're planning on competing all at NHRA Division 1 FMDRS events, the three National Opens (US13, Atco, & Maple Grove), and two National Events (E-town and Maple Grove). Look for project:stocker at a race near you! ;-) Now, I'll go out on a limb and set some goals for our first full season in Stock Eliminator: I would like to win one event, and after some prodding from Billy, we're going to try for a Top 10 finish in the Division 1 points. (I'd like to guess something more reasonable like Top 20, but hey, you've got to push yourself...)
See all the Dutch Classic Photos.
Special thanks to: