DND Racing Report #4

July 1-3, 2005

Yankee Flyer, NHRA Stock Dakota

Stanton, Michigan

 

Hello again drag racers, motor sport enthusiasts, colleagues, friends, and fellow “gear heads”.

This report comes from the NHRA Division 3, Points meet, held at Stanton, Mi.

Many of you know this track from the American Muscle Car shoot out, seen on ESPN.

The DND Race team had fellow racers Hank Stewart with his Super Gas Chevy Monza and Jim Clark with his Super Street Camaro, accompanied by Steve Young, aka, Dyno Bob.

The real boss of the DND Team, my wife Libby, the dogs Cletus & the DND mascot Rottwieller, Rockwell, were all in attendance.

 

The stock classes at a “Division race” are a lot like bracket race. Each car has to qualify for the event, based on how far below the class index the car runs.

 

Friday July1, 2005

The DND Race team arrives at the track at around 10:00AM. Our buddy Jim Clark has once again secured us a spot in the pits. Jim assures us the area is big enough for the 74 foot long rig. I suggested to Jim that he check the calibration on his tape measure next time, as the spot was “very tight” for our pit set up.

I did manage to get the motor home and trailer in the space with juts enough room to get the truck in between our trailer and the next rig.

Dan quickly unloads the truck while I set up the coach and get out the necessary pit equipment.

Following the trip through tech inspection, tire pressure check, wheel torque check, engine vitals, we’re ready for the first qualifying round.

This truck runs in E/FIA ( E-stock, Fuel Injected Automatic) Class. The index is 12.60 seconds.

First Round Qualifying

We are the last “stocker” in line for this first round. Standing there in the “hurry up & weight” mode, it occurs to me that I missed the item on the pre-race check list that says, “Fuel Level”. I asked Dan if he checked it. “No, thought that was the crew chief’s job”, he says. Smart ass drivers! Well the fuel level is well below the inner “sponge” liners, so much so that I am very doubtful he’ll make it down the track without running out of gas. See, you roundy round guys aren’t the only ones that are concerned about fuel consumption. There is not enough time to go back to the trailer, get the fuel jugs, buy the fuel and make the first qualifying. PSI Motor sport stocker Mark Heinz ( E/FI Class) to the rescue. Mark allows us to “borrow 5 gallons” of VP Racing Gas, C111. There is just enough time to get Mark’s fuel jug, put some in the Dakota and make the pass. Nothing like “just in time” racing.

The first pass puts a 12.06 sec. run on the books. Not too impressive. The Yankee Flyer was just lazy on this first pass. This only 0.55 sec. under the index. Not a good pass.


 

Second Round Qualifying

Back in the pits, Dan & I check the log book on the Yankee Flyer. Seems that the spark plugs were new for the March 2004 meet in Orlando Fla. Dan runs out to the local NAPA store for some new Champion Spark Plugs. Meanwhile, I decide to look for the AMSOIL stickers, because the plan is to put the AMSOIL synthetic in for the last qualifying session. Unfortunately, I left the stickers at the shop. We’ll save this “ace card” for later. Dan arrives back from the NAPA Store with the new plugs and nothing else. What restraint, all the goodies for gear heads in that place and he brings back only what he went for. Too bad that doesn’t always work at Home Depot, Lowes or Wal-Mart. Dan casually goes about installing the new plugs. He’s on about the fourth one, when I tell him that the called our class some time ago. The last four plug changes go a lot quicker. We arrive in the staging lanes last, again.

Second qualifying has temp at 69 degrees, humidity at 52%, and barometer at 28.81. Not “bad air”! The bad news is there’s an 18-20MPH head wind. This truck as the aero of a brick, so head winds really hurt.

This time the Yankee Flyer puts an 11.962 sec number on the board. Again, not a “blistering pass”, but a 0.05 seconds improvement, with just new spark plugs. Not bad. The wind really hurt this pass.

This is it for today! Now the dinner plans begin. Steve Young’s famous chicken, bake beans, and salad are tonight’s feast.

Third Round Qualifying, July 2, 2005

We get to sleep in this AM. Our third pass doesn’t happen until 11:00AM! The weather this morning is great! 69 degrees, 32% humidity, 29.03in.Hg barometer, and cross tail wind of 5 MPH!

Dan’s lane preference is the left, as the right lane is rough at about 660ft.

This is a left lane pass! The Stanton Crew does a great job on the start line. The Yankee Flyer lifts both fronts up about 5 inches and vaults off the line! The 60 foot time shows up as 1.519 secs! The ET shows up at 11.88secs. This is  0.718 secs. under the index. Should hold up as a respectable qualifying pass.

We’ll get two more, but none as good as this one. Both the track temp & the air temp will go up!

Fourth Round Qualifying

Now, it’s 2:00PM. The temp has risen to 73 degrees, and the track stands at 110 degrees. I neglect to correct for the track temp, and the Yankee Flyer, 360 V-8 Dakota spins the tires. This is reflected not only in the ¼ Mile, ET, but in the 60 feet time, which drops from 1.529 secs. To 1.531 secs. This 0.012 secs can spell a loss in this racing. The ET for this pass, 11.946sec., in the right lane!

Fifth Round Qualifying

The rumor that we’d get three qualifying passes in one day, miraculously comes true! Very unusual for NHRA! Frankly, I am not all that anxious for this last pass. Its 900PM, track is cooling off, temp is falling, humidity going up, and we won’t run eliminations at 9:00PM tomorrow. But, seat time is good time, no matter what. So, we go for it. The Dakota turns is a good launch, and a respectable 11.946sec pass. Doesn’t move us up in the qualifying. We are in at #57 out of 76 cars. This is ok, but we have our work cut out for us tomorrow.

Next, the July 4th feast, grilled burgers & corn on the cob, baked beans (better the second night), potato & macaroni salad, and blueberry cobbler for desert. Does it get better than this?


First Round Eliminations

July 3, 2005

Dan & I are really not into the first round jitters this time. Maybe its experience, maybe we’re not awake yet. We roll into the staging lane at 9:00AM. We are paired against “B Stock Automatic car for this first round, so Dan gets a big head start. The weather is very close to that last run we made Saturday. It was a real good thing we made that pass. I check the track temp, adjust the tire pressure accordingly. Dan wins the lane choice toss, and we roll into the left lane water box.. Dan rolls into the staging lights and lets the Dakota roll just a bit further after the second stage light comes on. He’s purposely gone a little farther into the start beams to improve reaction time. Incidentally, his reaction times this weekend  have been as good as 0.008 sec. This is very good!

Dan’s light comes down first.  The Yankee Flyer just leaps forward, pulling both fronts up about 6 inches. From where I stand, it’s the best launch this weekend. Maybe too good, as the dreaded “RED Light” is flaming on our side. Our opponent also red lights. In cases of a double foul, the first racers to foul, looses.

Dan runs the Yankee Flyer to a full pass. He posts 11.927 secs. against my predicated ET of 11.93 secs.

The time slip indeed shows a best of the weekend 0- 60 foot time of 1.504 secs. Not bad, but, it doesn’t count.

Fellow Super Street Racer Jim Clark, looses a really close race in round one. Our other buddy Hank Stewart wins his first round in Super Gas. Could it be because I was given ol’ Hank a hand? He’ll never admit that.

Another GREAT weekend at the track! The outcome for our team could have been better, but the company of fellow racers, the pit atmosphere and making new friends, is a s they say, priceless.

Some candid photos from the event: