Maple Grove Glory Days
Weekend Report
Maple Grove Glory Days
August 18th, 2018

Our latest weekend report highlights our Saturday August 18th Glory Days Event at Maple Grove Dragway in Reading PA.  We were slated to match race 1989 Nitro Funny Car World Champ, Bruce Larson, in his USA-1 Camaro.

As much of the weekends in the Northeast have been plagued with storms, the forecast for this one was not much better.  There was an 80 percent chance of storms Saturday afternoon forecasted.  Ron, Cyndie, Jeff, Deb, Alex, Justin and myself headed down Friday evening.  While Jeremy, Erica and their boys Tyler and Travis headed down in the afternoon to get our rooms squared away.  Well that was a little bit of a fiasco, with the hotel overbooking the rooms, but in the end it all worked out.

Saturday morning the 11 of us headed to Maple Grove Dragway,  just 10 minutes form the hotel.  We found our spot, set up camp and got ready for the warm up.  We were slated to run at 2pm.  Bruce came over, introduced himself.  We went over our procedures together and looked forward to a great match race. We warmed up our little 438 Chevy and sounded strong.  We had 91 percent in the tank, with 59 degrees of timing and we bumped the blower overdrive from 15 to 19 percent.

They had a full slate of alcohol cars running and Bruce and I were to follow them.  It’s 89 degrees and about 1000 perecent  humidity…lol.  So I don the Nomex underwear and 5 layer Nomex suit, headsock, shoes, boots, helmet and Hans device.  We pull into the left lane and Bruce into the right and wait for the fire up signal. Once we do, we fire up and the 91 percent starts flowing through the lines producing the ever familiar staccato beat. I roll up to the water box and Jeff holds me up for a bit while Bruce gets even so we can burnout in tandem.  I roll on the throttle and the beast comes to life sounding wicked as ever.  I ease the wheel to the right to keep it pointed straight and wait for the sticky Goodyears to grab.  I get stopped, put the transmission back in low and ease it into reverse.  I start backing up and Jeremy enters from the left, a slight haze of misting fuel is visible out of the side windows.  Jeremy guides me back in the sticky groove and once behind the line I wait for Jeff to walk up on the left.  I ease the shifter back into forward, turn on the fresh air system and creep up into the beams.  Just before pre-staged, Jeff reaches over gives the enrichment valve a twist, pounds on the fender then dis-appears.  I inch into pre stage, wait for Bruce, then lower the visor and take my foot off the clutch and guide into stage with just the hand brake. Bruce stages and with the first hint of yellow, I slam the loud pedal down and watch as I pass the tree the other remaining yellow lights are counting down?!  What a full tree?, How is that possible.  Oh well, Bruce left with me, so the race is on. The car is glued and starting to charge, I stab it into second gear and it starts to pull harder, no signs of Bruce. Around 700’ it’s still pulling hard, then all of a sudden the dreaded 800’ burble occurs from the over rich system.  I was hoping the extra boost would help, but the heavy wet air is also not helping, I lift and then give it a quick stab before coasting across the line to a 6.88 @ only 185mph.  I reach up and hit the chutes and wait for them to hit, they do with that ever easing tug they give.  I start to work the brake handle and then I see the top end guy in the distance flailing his arms for me to move to the left.  I look in the fire windows, nothing there, now he’s starting to make some really weird gestures.  I ease around the left onto the turn off waiting for someone to rush over to me and explain what happened.  I sit there suited up, sweltering for over 5 minutes.  I hear on the PA system there’s oil on the track and I’m concerned it’s me.  I finally get the explanation from Jeff once they get down to the top end, Bruce blew his engine and veered into my lane.  Ahhh, so that’s what the official was trying to convey!  They push me up the hill and around the bend at the scenic Maple Grove shutdown area where I get un suited and guzzle an ice cold water.

With Bruce unable to return for round 2, we were on a solo pass.  I wanted to up the blower boost, but ran out of time for a pulley swap.  So we put a small high speed jet in it to help bleed some of the excess fuel off.  We went up around 4pm, with storm clouds looming, but no rain yet!  Unfortunately, I forgot to reset the enrichment valve doing the between rounds service, so it was way fat at the hit on pass number 2.  Still ran a 6.99 at a coasting 183.  We learned it will take a bunch more boost before we even begin to squeeze this tune up.  We hope to get a good solid 1320 pass in this year, along with some more license runs for Jeff.  Two down, 4 to go.  Thanks for reading, until next time!
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