We pack Wednesday night and leave early Thursday. Rather than take two vehicles, as we have in the past, Ed, Joe, Mark, Bob, and Greg cram into Ed's Suburban in front of the shop in Waite Park. We add a top carrier to the rig borrowed from a friend and pack with efficiency drawn from our previous experience and Steve Brown's wonderful tire rack. Rain and lightning appear in South Dakota and follow us to Chadron, NB where we stay overnight.
The rest of the trip is uneventful until we are left on the side of the road with a flat tire in Utah. When we finally arrive in West Wendover it's already dark and The Immortals are already there. It's more than a pleasure to see their Stude-powered rods -- it sort of makes you feel good to be alive. We checked into the rooms and checked out the rat rods that jam the parking lot of the Nugget for the first weekend of Speed Week: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Even a rodded Studebaker pickup A, B,
We pull onto the salt at 8AM. When we get to the pit location reserved by Dave Bloomberg (thanks Dave!) Dave is already there with his Avanti (The Avanti Kid). Also there are Dave's brother and nephew with The Panterra Kid, and the 455 Avanti. Jim Lange has not arrived because the rear end of his tow vehicle broke. We're hopeful that he'll arrive soon. Notably absent is Dave and Marie Livsey's Avanti. They're there, though and tell us of their own trailer troubles. They'll be at The World Finals for sure, though. Bob takes a GPS reading in front of the Salt2Salt trailer and makes a mysterious phone call, then calls Kevin and Keith Wynn, a couple of lads from the Twin Cities who drove down to see the event and explore running a bike at it next year. Since they came down in a Jetta, we hauled down a couple of thrift-store mountain bikes for them. The bulk of the day is occupied in setting up camp and preparing the car for tech. We have a lot of problems with the dzus fasteners in the air dam! At the end of the day we top the fluids off and fire that bad boy up. It sounds great.
They've made a change to the short course. Previously, only the third mile of the 5 mile course was measured; Miles one and two were for runup to the measured mile. Since many of the smaller displacement cars and bikes get up to top speed after the first mile, they are also measuring the second mile of the course. The quarter mile trap is still the first quarter mile of mile 3. We post the results of each run as follows:
First Mile Speed = The speed through the first measured mile. This is actually the second mile of the course.
Quarter Mile Speed = The speed through the first quarter mile of the second measured mile.
Second Mile Speed = The speed through the second measured mile. This is actually the third mile of the course.
You can qualify for a record in either the first or second measured mile (or both). You must back up the record through the same measured mile on your return run.
We get in line for tech and breeze through then push into the pre-staging line for a nice long wait. At the very end of the day we get into staging and Joe suits up, straps in (with some help from Mark), and makes his first run. The car goes into impound having qualified for the record in both measured miles. The car ran fine.
First Mile Speed = 119.174
Quarter Mile Speed = 131.926
Second Mile Speed = 132.995
Timing slips are a great keepsake. We ran 17 pounds of boost which we decided is too much for a new engine. An exhaust leak detected at the wastegate is blamed.
We're out on the salt before it's light out. We get the car ready in impound then tow it out to the starting line with the rest of those who qualified for records. Joe makes a record return run. A hose blows off and he has to shut 'er down after the first mile.
First Mile Speed = 123.343
Quarter Mile Speed = 134.829
Second Mile Speed = 86.762
This is too bad. You can see Joe was accellerating through the first mile and was on track to run over 135 which would have put the record over 132. Luckily he had also exceeded the record in the first mile of his run on Sunday. Averaged with his first mile speed this morning it's enough to raise the record 10 MPH. Mark, Joe, and Bob are certain we've broken the motor because these are the exact symptoms of the two previous occasions in which the block has cracked. Greg, thinks not and is proven right when the cylinders are dry and the exhaust runs clean. We're still at Still 17 pounds of boost. The GPS reports that the fastest speed attained is 137.0 mph!.
We get back in line and wait.... Peter Boehm wanders by. We end the day two cars back from staging. Damn!
Greg makes two runs. Kevin and Keith work to hook up some cameras to record the run on a laptop. This turns out to be harder than it sounds!!! Tuning woes keep our speeds under 125. The first run is done after backing off on boost by dialing in wastegate. We get 8 pounds of boost and 4200 rpm max. Here, Greg and Mark discuss the run out on the return road. Afterwards, some screws are turned in an attempt to make a better run.
First Mile Speed = 114.341
Quarter Mile Speed = 121.270
Second Mile Speed = 123.064
At this point, we had we changed classes, we would have actually qualified for the XO/BFALT record. We chose to continue tuning, to make it more respectable than the XO/BGC record. We tightened the wastegate, and went to 24 degree advance. On Greg's second run we get a little overheated before getting started. We noted 7# boost, 5000 rpm in 3rd. Temp 200 degrees on line to 270 at mile 3. Always check your coolant level before a run and allow for some kind of expansion!
First Mile Speed = 112.769
Quarter Mile Speed = 116.692
Second Mile Speed = 119.655
We end the day just a few cars back from staging. We'd have run again but wind at the end of the day forced long delays. Afterwards, it's all we can do to sit around in the parking ramp at The Stateline Nugget to debrief.
As a side note we should mention that there were several delays during the day that caused us to wait hours and hours in line. During this time a film crew was working as they were following 4 teams for a National Geographic special Salt Flat Speedway. Greg got interviewed. He is heard and seen in the special!!
Bob makes two runs. Bent the secondary rod hanger on one side. We added still more waste gate tension. Greg and Digger repaired a melted turbo drain on the line. The first run is great.
First Mile Speed = 116.001
Quarter Mile Speed= 125.426
Second Mile Speed = 127.789
4000-4200 rpm GPS 130. 7-8.5 pounds of boost.
On the second run, we matched the rod hanger on the back and added even more tension on the wastegate to raise boost. Bob can't keep the power up and turns out after the first mile. What's wrong? Are we out of gas? With a sealed tank, it's not easy to tell. Someone pays $150 and we fill up the gas tank -- discovering that it wasn't really empty. We're running out of time so we change class to XO/BFALT and change our number to 1594. This involves covering the headlights and the grill opening, breaking the seal on the gas tank, paying an additional registration fee, and going through tech again. We brought along headlight covers made from cool '37 Studebaker hubcaps and grill covers made from sheet aluminum. The change from gas coupe to blown fuel altered coupe took about an hour.
Now, running as 1594 in XO/BFALT on an open record, Mark makes two runs. The first is a repeat of Bob's second run. Well, we aren't out of gas, that's for sure. The car won't make power and sputters. The plugs appear black.
First Mile Speed = 97.510
Quarter Mile Speed = 102.927
Second Mile Speed = 103.685
We leaned out the carb , dialed back the Safeguard and maxed wastegate. We get in line again for Mark's second run. The runs come faster now that it's late in the week. The second run is excellent.
First Mile Speed = 115.070
Quarter Mile Speed = 124.537
Second Mile Speed = 126.863
The car spends the night in impound.
We inspect the car in the morning. One concern is that the car seems to be "under cooled" with the grill covered. We add more coolant and double up some hose clamps. Mark makes a return run to clinch the record. We're still not getting more than 10 pounds of boost but we run over 130 mph.
First Mile Speed = 120.061
Quarter Mile Speed = 129.093
Second Mile Speed = 131.489
With this run behind us, and with committments back in Minnesota, we decided that we were done for the year. Bob and Greg do a quick pose for a sponsor (Fairborn Studebaker) then we went to tech and
certified both records. This required pulling off the head. After some caliper work by the event staff, we are proved correct on displacement -- no V8 hidden in there…. Everything actually looks pretty good under there. I mean let's be honest, after blowing engines here twice, we've seen worse than a little blow-by on one cylinder!
XO/BFALT two way average 129.176 mph
XO/BGC two way average 127.001 mph
We arrive home.