When we woke up Friday morning, the last “official” day of Drag Week, the weather was not looking good and we had plenty of work to do. Since we had some issues the night before, and were hearing noises in the valvetrain that we thought was a lifter going bad, we didn’t drive the truck to the track first thing. Instead, we decided that the prevailing wind meant we should pull over on the side of the hotel so we could get out of it, and then start taking this pig apart to figure out what was wrong. Being on the side of the hotel, sheltered from the wind, was one of those little victories you just can’t explain to someone who hasn’t been beat down like the proverbial redheaded step child. This is what it’s really like to drive a 6 second S10 cross country.
So here we are, feeling way too excited about the fact that we are not in the wind working on this evil little bastard, and a small crowd starts to gather. My Dad shows up, after leaving to go pick up my mom from the airport, and for the first time in a week I get to see Daphne in the morning! Woot woot! This weird relaxed pace is because racing doesn’t actually start until the afternoon on Friday, so we have time to do what we need to do. It still doesn’t feel like it, and not rushing feels weird, but it is what it is. Larry’s got the valve covers off, and is going through everything, checking and double checking, while also praying that if we do have a problem we can fix it without pulling the intake manifold or anything. Thank god we find only one lifter that is in trouble, and with some bent wire are able to snake it out through the head rather than having to pull the intake. There is a god. He’s taunting us, but he’s there helping us at least once in a while too, so we don’t really care at this point. This is what it’s really like to drive a 6 second S10 cross country.
Lifters are a common problem on Drag Week. With high spring pressures, extreme cam profiles, and high rpm, lifters do not like Drag Week. In order to save our lifters, and the rest of our valvetrain, we kept our Crane cam small, which allowed us to keep the PAC springs pretty light as well. Of course lightening the rest of the valvetrain was key as well, and our Victory valves are both titanium and steel. One other BIG key is the fact that we have only a 1.6:1 rocker ratio. That’s small block Chevrolet territory. All of this was designed to keep the lifters and rockers happy, and it worked. On plenty of Drag Weeks we have seen guys stranded or out completely because of lifter failures. High dollar teams with very good budgets and lots of spares have fallen victim to lifter failure. The chirp I heard was just the warning we needed, because we found that the lifter was quite literally JUST starting to hurt itself and resulted in damage to anything else. Woot woot! A god baby! Of course I took full credit for catching it so quickly as to keep from damaging our happy little engine. Larry just shook his head and smirked. He did that a lot this week.
So, a couple of cups of coffee for Larry, a Diet Coke for me, and we’ve got lifters done and are ready to head to the racetrack. We both love Tulsa Raceway Park, and are actually excited about heading to the track. We need to lay down a couple good runs and then lay down a number. We may not be able to win, but we sure can send a message. It’s record run time.
Okay, maybe not record run time, because the weather is crap. The racing isn’t supposed to start until 2, and it’s getting uglier by the second. Remember that bolt head I found on the ground in our pits at Great Bend? Yeah, it turns out that was front the mandrel on the front of the crank. There are three of them, so it didn’t come OFF, but the Holley Crank Trigger wheel that was sandwiched between it and our Innovators West balancer was no longer a happy camper. It wallowed (pronounced wallored in most parts of the country) out a hole and wouldn’t stay on straight anymore. But, one of the best things about Innovators West. besides the fact that they love us and help us out so much, is the fact that they can make anything. Seriously, anything. The night before when we knew we had a problem, we had called Chris and Brad and they had slammed together another balancer for us, along with crank position sensor mounting brackets and everything, for an MSD style flying magnet instead. Oh, and they delivered it. Yep, they were at the track with that sucker, along with a killer puller and install tool, and we were able to put it all together and get it set.
Did I mention it was raining? Our pal Big Dave, from HeavyD’s Barbecue, had also showed up in his motorhome to cook for us, and had an extra EZ-UP so we at least had some of our stuff covered. My genius plan (shameless pat on my own back) to build our Drag Week trailer with a door that opened up so as to provide shade and protection from the rain, also came in handy as the girls were selling T-Shirts out of the trailer like mad. Some other dude brought us another EZ-UP as well, and we were mostly covered. I say mostly, because I was still getting a little wet underneath the back of the truck while changing out the Ridetech Shockwaves for the Kinetic Engineering Coil Overs. I also found some other fun stuff while under there. No bueno stuff.
Here is some of our “street” stuff that comes off the truck at the track.
When I went to install the wheelie bar I found that it wasn’t nearly as straight as it had been when we started Drag Week. A combination of hurrying to jack up the truck without removing the trailer hitch, the wheelie bar, etc. and Larry’s decision to ride the thing all the way down the track in Great Bend meant that it was not so straight anymore. Being as Larry is usually Mr. Do It The Right Way, I asked him what he wanted me to do about it. His instruction to wedge it into the tongue of the trailer and start bending it straight was not what I expected, but I was happy to oblige. A few “strategic” applications of my girth and that sucker was within a few thou of perfect again, and on the truck it went!
So now that the crank trigger was fixed, the rear suspension was set, and there weren’t 8 jillion people trying to crowd around under our EZ-UP backseat mechanicing (Mechanicing is totally a word!), it was time to get the front suspension set and ready for the next day. They hadn’t cancelled the races yet, but we were sure they were going to soon.
Ultimately they realized that the rain was going to stop enough, for at least a little while anyway, so that they could get the Daily Driver class taken care of and through their bracket race at the end of the night. The next morning they would prep for all the other classes and let us go at it, hopefully leaving enough time to run the shootout in the afternoon on Saturday. The Daily Drivers didn’t end up finishing until midnight, but their Drag Week 2014 was officially over Friday night at least. We were still going to have another day, and that meant basically two races. The final day of Drag Week, and the shootout. Is this what it’s like to drive a 6 second S10 cross country?
Here is the problem. When they did call it we had other work to do. You see our carbon race doors hang inside the roof of the trailer. It is a crap place to put them, but we had no real choice. With that said, the rain was about to make us do more work. The carbon doors do seal against the weatherstripping that is on the cab of the truck, but they don’t have all the other weather stripping that the steel “street” doors have. They also have a big hole in the window for the door handle. That means that water would get in if we left this thing out at the race track all night with the carbon doors on it, and the steel doors would be a bitch to try and hang inside the trailer to boot. So when they did finally call all the racing for the day, we were screwed and had to swap the doors back around. It’s an unclip and lift type of operation, which takes minutes, but also meant we had to remove the fire shields from the front of the firewall that are used with the carbon doors.
Oh well. We did that, packed up, and called it a night, but not before eating some seriously good grub from HeavyD’s. We have to give Dave a real big thanks, because his food on the last two days really saved us. Yes we were spoiled, and we aren’t apologizing for it at all. Between Friday and Saturday we at wings, pork chops, steak chunks, homemade mac and cheese, and a whole bunch more. It ruled. The photo below shows Scott Clark partaking in the yumminess.
We hitched a ride to the motel, where we met the girls for a nightcap, and came up with our game plan for Saturday morning. Drag Week would be finished in the morning, and then the shootout would go down. Or at least that was the plan. Hopefully the weather would cooperate. If it did, we would be ready to run with just a little bit of prep. Or at least that was the plan.