Saturday, January 10, 2009

On the No Problem Raceway Chat board this month was the following announcement:

Posted December 26, 2008 12:34 PM
No Problem Raceway (NPR) has entered into a purchase agreement with U.S. Racing Club, Inc. (USRC) wherein which NPR will sell a portion of the road course and supporting acreage that will allow USRC to develop up to 100 acres for exclusive use by their road racing members.Under the terms and conditions as agreed upon, NPR will continue to own and operate the drag strip, but will make the existing road course available to USRC and other groups on selected weekends until the new development is complete.USRC intends to add a two-mile extension to the existing road course that will allow their members unrestricted access, even during drag racing events. USRC also plans to build a members-only clubhouse and construct condo units available to members.The land for the new construction and buildings is located on the northern side of the drag strip, which will not interfere with drag race activities. Exact details and drawings will be made public as they come available. This agreement will allow NPR to focus all of our efforts into drag racing operations. Construction for the expansion of the road course is expected to begin in 2009.

I understand That part of the deal is that the Grand Bayou series of races will continue for a period of at least seven years. If all plans go as expected we can also assume that we will start seeing some SCCA events and probably some NASA events as well. The new course will be designed to accommodate them.

This development of “Country Club” race parks is a fairly new trend that is going on around the country. In a way it is similar to building a subdivision around a golf course except that in this case the central feature is a Road Racing course. The condos are sold or leased to businesses that sponsor cars or sell racing related products, racers who want to stay at the track on race weekends, etc.
There a couple of new parks in Texas that are similar, including Houston Motor Sports Ranch and another near Dallas.
Now we are starting to have some fun.

A quick Update

It took four work sessions up at Gary’s but Hugh’s car is now back on it’s wheels and back at home.

The are still the multiple alignments that have to be done as well as checking all the camber and toe in measurements. Then there is the body work that needs to be repaired.

About the body work; Hugh and I pretty much agreed that it is not terribly productive to try to get it all repaired this close to the end of the season. (Usually during the off season we tear everything down and make any changes we are going to make in the body and paint work on the car)

What we are planning to do is put a bandaide on the cut in the nose and just replace the tzus fasteners that were damaged. During the off season we can make the real repairs and repaint the car.

We will be doing about the same thing to mine except there will not be so many damage repairs to make.

A New Toy

Ok. It’s official. I’ve given up on trying to wedge my fat ass into a car that is designed to fit a smaller guy. It just isn’t going to work.

It should be a fast car, it’s good looking, and it should handle like a dream…….but it just ain’t big enough for a full sized driver.

Sure, I could actually drive the car, but I would never be comfortable enough in it to really go fast. In this class that’s not enough. You have got to be able to put the car on the edge and hold it there.

I will eventually drive the Grinch but probably not in competition. After all this time I developed a real affection for it and really want to drive it and see if my changes worked. I’ll drive it on test days just to see what other changes need to be made.

So am I going to give up? No. Blind Mules still can’t see it can’t be done.

I found a Caldwell D13 on Ebay and bought it. I know I can fit in one of those because I used to race one. I LOVED THE CAR. It’s a good looking design and was the first commercially built car to include the zero roll stiffness rear suspension assembly. They handle well and are fun to drive. More importantly they fit fat guys. This shot is one taken at Texas World Speedway about twenty years ago That’s me in the car talking to Milton Kruger, a photographer, who occasionally crewed for me.

My car number then was forty five because I was forty five when I got back to racing again. The number on the Grinch is sixty nine because I was sixty nine when I first started trying to get it back on a track. (Besides I like the number) The number on the Caldwell will be seventy two because you have to follow tradition on something, even when it is something silly like your age.

So what are we going to be racing? It’s a standard D13 except that the previous owner had started converting it to run Autocross. It has a 1600 cc engine which I understand has virtually no time on it. I don’t know much about the stage of engine prep yet but I’ll learn more about that shortly. It has no carburetor but the intake manifold is set up for a Webber twin throat. I’ll have to change that, cause it ain’t legal. I have already ordered a legal carb that has been tested on a flow bench and set up for this altitude. I spoke to Gary this evening and he has the proper intake manifold to go with it. I’ll also have to come up with and exhaust system.

At the moment I am planning to drive up to Langley Oklahoma to pick up the car sometime next week. Unfortunately I couldn’t go this weekend because David, who has the car, is in South Carolina visiting family. The nerve of some people.

So what dose it look like? Check it out. It won’t look like this long. I’ll have to make it mine.

The Tale of the Phoenix - Part two

There was a little break in the work while life happened.

Gary’s wife Susie was taken to the hospital with symptoms that look frightenly like a heart attack. Turned out that that was not the problem but all the same….

They did all the test and found something they could start to work on to get the problem fixed. It was work time lost, but we all felt better knowing that she was going to be OK.

Hugh and Gary got in one good day just before Christmas and two good days after.
With Gary providing guidance and Hugh providing most of the welding labor they got the trailing arm mounts back in place.
During the process of looking at stuff they discovered that one of the axle tubes was bent. Gary had a spare of course. It was soon cleaned up, painted and installed. Putting on the axle boot almost brought Hugh to his knees. He ain’t much on detail work.

When they were checking out the final arrangements they discovered that the throttle cable was crushed the cable was binding in the housing.
New cable coming up.

One more weekend and it should be ready to run.

- Except for the body work.
- And the chassis alignment.
- And the toe in settings.
- And checking the front and rear camber settings.
- And the brake adjustments.
- And, and, and………

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Tale of the Phoenix

After getting the professional estimates for what it would cost to get the car racing again Hugh was pretty down and beginning to think his season was over. He had even borrowed my fresher tires to run the first race. We run on very limited budgets and it was looking pretty much out of sight for this year.

Knowing what needed to be done was not encouraging. We were beyond our personal skill level at fabrication and the cost of hiring it out was beyond his racing budget. The car could not be run as it was, so we were stumped.
When Hugh was feeling like maybe his season was over, we got a call from the Gary up in Hammond. Arrangements were quickly made to take the car to his shop the following weekend.

One of the things that I have always loved about racing Vees is what happens when you have a problem. It is your competitors who pitch in to help you get back on the track and back into action. Of course you do the same thing to help them when they are in your areas of expertise.

When we got there the first task was to separate the car from the trailer. This took a floor jack, a two by twelve, some fabricated supports, a step ladder, a roller skate, one small dog, two water barrels and three beers, but we got ‘er done.

With the body stripped off, we were able to find the parts of the right trailing arm supports that were damaged as well as the cracks in the frame welds.

Gary didn’t even blink. Within a few minuets he decided it was no big problem and was thinking that Hugh could maybe get back on the track and only miss two races. Gary would guide the metal fabrication and welding and we would do the fiberglass and body work.

Remember this is the same guy who had just won the first race of the season because Hugh had not been there to challenge him. If he did nothing he was a shoe in to take the class championship. Now he was about to fix the car that could beat him.

That’s one reason we call him the wizard.

Once the trailing arm connection was re-established we would still have some work to do. All of the standard set ups for the car would have to be redone to make sure it was going to run straight and true.
What the hell, that’s all part of racing. At least he would be racing.

Snow in Louisiana????

Here's Proof....