Track Blog Archive
I haven’t been down the quarter mile in years but here are some memories from my younger days.
The above pictures are from 10/15/1995
Today was the maiden voyage for the new 87 Turbo T. I washed the car up before heading out there so it would be looking its best. I drove out to the track at about 2:00pm after putting some finishing touches on the engine bay and interior. When I arrived at the track, I met up with a few Turbo Regal friends that had some pretty fast rides when compared to mine. I did have a lot of fun even though I only got to make two test runs. This car is really something special, let me tell you. I ran a best of 13.77 @ 106 , which was very surprising because I was on street tires, stock exhaust, pump gas, and 16-17 psi of boost. It was kind of dumb to try and run with no drag radials, but it was quite a smoke show for the crowd.
Today was an eventful day at the track, to be sure. Tim Ketels, Randy Johnson, and I went to Cedar Falls Raceway to see where our cars were at after the long winter. I arrived at the track at 9:00am and went to tech shortly after. I planned on being conservative on this visit, so I ran street tires, 93 octane, and low boost. On my first run, I had a little trouble with the TV cable adjustment and ended up going a 15.6 because I let out of it a couple of different times. After a couple of turns on the wastegate and a bump in fuel pressure, I lined up again.
On my second run, I launched with less boost than the first run to see if I could get tire spin under control. What I didn’t know is that my e-clip had popped off the wastegate flapper arm, leaving me with no boost. That scared me because I thought I had blown a gasket or something. I coasted through the gates at a crippled 17.2 @ 83. A quick look at the pits revealed that I had indeed lost the clip to the wastegate. Luckily, Tim had some wire so I jury rigged the arm back on to the flapper. Whew.
My third run was actually pretty good, considering I had no traction to speak of at all. Before the run I upped the boost to 16psi and cranked in a bit more fuel (48psi, vacuum off) to be cautious. In retrospect, I was a little fat, but that’s ok at this point. I spun for a good hundred feet on my way to a 14.01 @ 102.22, which I was not too proud of. I spent more time smoking the tires than I did actually hooking up and driving. I gave a good smoke show to the spectators, though. The mph isn’t bad at all and I could gain lots of et with suspension mods I have been putting off. If nothing else, I know that my car will run easy 13’s from the street to the track on pump gas with no other modifications.
I did end out the day with a 13.91 @ 104.99 (at 16psi boost, 93.5 octane) after dropping the pressure in the rear tires to 27 psi. Those tires are rock hard and didn’t offer me better than a 2.4 sixty foot time the whole day. I think the next things on my list are:
BFG Drag Radials
rear end pinion snubber and air bags in springs
There were a few other late cars out there running. I didn’t get to race any of them, but in attendance were: 1993 Viper (the guy didn’t know how to drive it. He ran mid to high 13’s), 1997 Camaro Z28, your usual smattering of 5.0 Mustangs, a few Corvettes, a 1987 Turbo T (Randy’s 11 second ride), Tim’s 1986 T-Type (12.65 @ 106.64), and a host of other hot rods.
Those darn 85 Mustang GT’s are here again. The two belong to brothers that race here almost every Sunday. I was excited to see them here again because I wanted a true shot at beating one of them. I had Turbo Link now, so I was going to supertune to the best of my shadetree mechanic ability. We raced a few times, but they launched much better and I just could never make up the difference within that quarter mile.
Dan Smith, from St. Louis, MO drove up to Cedar Falls Raceway to meet me for an afternoon of racing. He had a nice T-Type which looked factory stock. With no intercooler, I could have stood between the grill and the crankshaft being that he had an electric fan. We were the only turbo Regals at the track, so we wowed everyone with V6 performance for a little while. The weather wasn’t the greatest, and the slicks I had brought were on the wrong rims, but oh well. Racing is fun. I did lose to a pair of Mustang GT’s that day, which was frustrating at best. I’ll be back, though.
The track is under new ownership now, which is a good thing. The track has been greatly improved through the laying of new pavement and fixing up the pits. My T-Type was actually the very first car to take a run down the new strip, which was good and bad. Good because it was a neat feeling, but bad because my car got tar all over it since the track wasn’t completely dry yet.
Anyway, today was fun because there was a yellow 1993 Corvette ZR1 there that I was aiming to tangle with. I watched him run a few times and I was confused at the fact he was running low 14’s to high 13’s with a ZR1. This thing couldn’t be for real. I had to run this guy to see if he was just toying with everyone. I positioned myself in the staging lanes so that we would run together. I was quite nervous, but I had to see what my car could do against a car 10 times more money. We launched hard and we were neck and next through the 1/8th mile. I could see I was beginning to pull away ever so slowly, which really surprised me. I kept in it all the way and ran a 13.88 to his 14.0. This can’t be real.
I followed the “ZR1” into the pits and parked next to him. He popped open the hood to let it cool down when I noticed a nice little LT1 power-plant sitting between his Gatorbacks.
This was my first trip to the track ever. I drove my 1986 T-Type out to Cedar Falls Raceway in my home state of Iowa. It was pretty darn cold that day, so it was to be a good day for turbos. My friend Brian wanted to race me in his 1988 Mustang GT because he was convinced that his Ford was one to contend with. I didn’t know what I had on my hands yet in that TR, but I figured I had nothing to lose.
It was a cool 60 degrees out that day, beautiful for racing. We got there a little late so I could only get in a few practice runs before the bracket racing started. I rolled up to the staging lanes with all of the other hot rodders. To my surprise, I was the only person who was running regular street tires. I was a little intimidated by the lopey idles and fat tires of the cars around me but I was just out for a baseline time anyway. My first run, I lined up against a 1977 Malibu, which was all primered up and running some big slicks out back. I sighed and just told myself I was out for a time. The tree lit up and I got a very bad start and didn’t launch with any boost at all. The Malibu beat me off the line, but to my surprise the Regal pressed me back into the leather seats and I flew past the car before the 1/8th mile marker. On my first terrible run, at least I thought, I ran a 14.4 @ 94 mph. That car surprised the heck out of me for a bone stocker.
The next practice run, I actually got to line up against Brian and his Mustang. I can say that my heart has never beaten faster with excitement then at that time. I was actually worried that he would show me up in his mighty Ford, but it was a test this car had to take. This time I drove around the water, heeding the advice of another TR driver. I did a quick burnout to heat the meats up a little and then we both pulled up to stage. With one foot on the brake and one foot lightly on the gas, I waited for the tree to count down. Green! I didn’t get a real good start again since I was still learning how to launch a turbo car. We hit the light and took off down the track. Much to my surprise I shot right past him even before the 60′ mark and blew the doors off his blue oval car. When I stopped to pick up my time slip I was happy to find that my stock Regal ran a 13.99 @ 98 mph in pure stock form on 215/65 street tires. How I cut a 2.1 60′ time on those, I’ll never know.