Keiths Weekend Report - July 1st
Sunday July 1st
Lebanon Valley Dragway

After losing a chance to run @ Maple Grove to determine if we solved our phantom ignition  problem. We decided to head back to our home track, just 40 minutes from my house. Since John and I serviced the car after the warm up in Maple Grove, we left it in the trailer and got an early start on Sunday. We had changed a lot of things, too many, but wanted to eliminate potential obvious problems. We changed the coil, replaced the mag switch and Jeff fabricated a neet banana clip system to short the coil out (as opposed to using the mag kill, like we used to).

It was HOT, real HOT! Since most of the country has been in a heat wave, the great northeast was no different. 85* @ 9am with temps predicted in the mid 90s. Perfect day for nomex underwear, 5 layer firesuits and nitromethane!

Jeff, John and I got the not so easy up tent put up, the car unloaded and the body off. We fueled it, got the alky jug out and just wanted to double check transmission operations and mag timing. After the alky warm up, John said the tranny was not going into 2nd solidly. We checked CO2 pressure and the bottle was low. So we had the bottle refilled and readied the car to fire on fuel. John hopped in, Jeff manned the big C&A starter and we wheeled it to life. It fired and hammered hard and heavy. Proof, money well spent on quality fuel system components. Light mist out of the pipes, approx. 200rpm tug and a couple of crisp throttle whacks and we were ready.

Jeff asked me the plan, half track pass?  I said yes, unless it felt really good, then I might run it to the scoreboards (approx. 800 feet @ The Valley). I poured down my throat the fifth water of the day and suited up. Chris Massarella was also there with his wife Krista, running their injected car. They got in line in front of us, just in case we needed a few more minutes. Krista made a great pass and Jeff and John pulled me up to the water box.

Squared up and in position, they wheeled over and Jeff pulled the wire off the coil and the Chevy came to life. This year it is sharp, real sharp. Like hurt my ears sharp, I like it!
I roll forward, stab the tranny in Hi and ease into the water box. Jeff rolls his fingers and I give the throttle a quick stab and the car jumps up on the tire and does a fantastic smoky burnout. I cut it short, trying to preserve fuel. I roll to a stop and put the tranny back in low and begin to roll backward. Jeff comes in to view to guide me. I get behind the line, just waiting for a problem to occur, all seems well, I ease in the clutch and put it in forward. Ease off the clutch and Jeff is motioning me forward, car will not move. Hmmm I think, that is weird, stall must be off. I ease up to Jeff. He opens the enrichment valve and pounds on the hood and disappears to the left. I close the visor ease off the clutch and the car will not move. I ease the throttle and it creeps into the beams, look at the oil pressure, 100psi we are ready. Tree comes down and Whaaaaaa!, nothing!. The car rolls forward. I try again .Whaaaaaa!, still nothing. I am about to shut the fuel off and just for fun, I hit high gear. The car lurches forward and I think at first, I will just idle it down. No! I am gonna stab the throttle and see if it will stick. Yep, it launches forward, a little lazy at first, it is in Hi gear, but soon begins to haul. It is pulling harder and harder and I thinking how smooth and stout it sounds! For a brief moment I thought of running it to the end, but decide to click it at 800 feet. Pull the chutes, Yep! They work and I slide into the first turnoff to the left.

I get stopped, shut off the fuel and fresh air and pop out of the hatch. I take off the safety gear and wait for the crew. We tow back to the pits perplexed, but encouraged by the way the engine ran. We start investigating things, and find 2 problems immediately. The first is a stuck down (engaged) clutch pedal, and it is VERY stiff to return. Then we decide to check the transmission fluid and find the front section fluid to be completely cooked! Well we are once again done for the day. I need to pull out the tranny and see what happened. I also need to come up with a fool proof way to return the clutch pedal.

Between that and a quick teardown to be sure the engine is healthy, I have a busy week ahead. Thanks for reading and stay tuned. At some point all the pieces will fall together!

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