Rapid's 1st What I did Last Weekend Story (1 Viewer)

RAPID

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Eddyville May 14th 2007

This is the first of my “What I did Last Weekend” stories for the 2007 season. We built a new car for this season it is a Fiat Topolino Coupe. It has the same 526 KB Hemi and 3-speed Lencodrive. This chassis has a Strange top-loader in it for a rear end. The engine is out further and up a bit higher so there will be a learning curve on what it likes as opposed to our 23T car.

We went to our favorite local track Eddyville Raceway Park in Eddyville Iowa. It is about a 1.5 hour drive for us. The track is probably one of the finest 1/8-mile tracks in the country with the pits being a park like setting. They were having a normal bracket program event but were nice enough to let us come in and test.

Once our car was ready some of us went to the line to look at the track, talk to the water box guy to make sure he understood what we needed for water. The track temp was 135-degrees and it was mid 80’s and bright sunny. The track starting line had some rubber balling up, so I was pretty sure that just down track it would be a bit slick as the rubber peeled up from the track. We visited with the track manager and discussed not wanting to interrupt the flow for the racers either time runs or when the racing started. He told us to come up whenever we were ready, and they would get us in.

So far I have been getting in the car with the body up. It tilts and is mounted like a funnycar. Back in the shop I had tried it each way, with body up and with the body down by going down in the roof hole. I think I have gotten into the car about every different way possible each time trying something new. It is still too early to have a routine yet.

Up on the line strapped in, I flicked on the air supply system to my helmet and it is pretty comfortable considering it is 86 or 87-degrees out. I am strapped in a confined area wearing a –20 fire suit and can’t see anything to the side or behind me. Yep, comfy as a recline-O-liner at home. This car is a semi-lay down style. When the belts are cinched down, it feels different than our 23T car where I was more upright. These belts pull you,,,more down toward the bottom of the car rather than towards the back of the car. It is kind of hard to explain the different feeling, but I guess you will have to take my word for it, short of letting everyone sit in my new car between rounds to check it out for themselves. Hey, maybe we could charge a buck a turn and pay for the fuel price increases this summer! Just kidding!

It is our turn. KB {cousin Kelly Baker} pulls the chute pins, checks the wheelie bar, and arms the air launchers for the parachutes. His responsibility is for the rear of the car from the motor-plate back. Pappy {Larry Bailey} handles the actual starting of the car. RC {Randy Clough} tows the car to the line and handles the starter, cables, battery pack etc. Scott checks the car over, verifies all the pins pulled, air bottle on for the air shifter, priming the injector and pulling the ground wire off to fire the car.

I like to have the car square and aimed at the water box when we fire it. It doesn’t always work that way at some tracks but that is my preference. We got the start up signal from the track personnel and fired it up. For the people outside the car, the crew, the fans and track workers the car explodes into sound and barely controlled fury. For me sitting in the car, it is almost quiet and calm. With all the spinning of the blower pulleys, whine from the blower, fuel out the pipes there are a lot of things happening outside the car. Inside the cockpit, nothing moves, nothing spins, it looks just the same sitting here behind the water box as the hundred runs I ran thru in my mind back in the shop. Ok, time to drive!

Shift it into forward, hit both air buttons to put the car into 3rd or high gear, ease off the hand brake and roll towards the water. Slow thru the water let it pick up a little speed and whack the throttle. We went on a keep it simple kick the last couple of years so all I have is the shift light on the car, along with an oil gauge out in front of the engine I can’t see anyway. The engine comes up clean and starts punishing the new rear Mickey Thompson slicks. We have a different rear gear in the car and it easily keeps a nice steady rpm for the burnout. I did a pretty short, by our team’s standards anyway, burnout. All we really want to accomplish on this run is to launch, run it to the 330 or so and pull the chutes and check the brakes, make sure it shifts and steers correctly.

After the burnout check out the brakes with the hand brake. They seem to be fine as the car rolls to a stop. While backing up, I know the real test for the brakes is coming up. Will it stop the car with the additional gear reduction of reverse? Pappy is guiding me back, motions to stop. While he gives the engine the final check and takes a temp reading, I move the lever out of reverse back to forward, turn on the throttle controller, and receive the OK signal from Pappy. Some of you will remember the last thing Pappy and I did was the “fist smack” when it was time to stage. He came close to the car to do that as usual, humm right hand now the hand brake lever. It was a modified left hand fist smack.

Ok now time to roll up and stage, checking the bakes by tugging the handle. That seems fine, l can look out the windshield and have about 2-inches above the injector and below the bottom edge of the roof to see the track and where I am going. That seems ok. All right,,,,who hid the tree? I am rolling forward and I can’t see it. This is a problem. I moved my head around couldn’t see it, so I look over the roof. Hey, there it is still in the place I remembered it. I took another look thru the windshield, and it isn’t there. I can see the green bulb thru the windshield is all. So to stage the car I have to look over the roof, which means I can’t see the horizon to make sure the car is staging straight. However I can see the prestaged and stage bulbs this way. So the new deal is look over the roof, stage and watch for a flash of yellow as I can see the top bulb over the roof. Then launch and switch my view back to the over the injector and under the front roofline to drive down the track. This will take some getting used to. I stage and leave the car makes a move and almost instantly smokes the tires. I let it roll down track and ease into the throttle so I can get up enough speed to see if the chutes will work. Success, the come out and slow the car from the whopping 127 mph.

Well our first run on the new car is complete. It made a burnout, staged under power, and made it down the track with nothing falling off or not working. Congrats to Scott and the guys!

Back in the pits we make a few changes and try it again. This time we take the left lane as it looks seems to be working better for the faster bracket cars. I did a longer burnout this time, messed around with the tree trying different views. It went about 40-60 feet then spun the tires into shake so I lifted. It went thru the timers around 5.10 coasting.

For the 3rd and final run we added 30-lbs on the nose, took more timing out and fattened up the fuel system again. It was a long ways from our normal tune-up; I mean this was a very soft tune-up. We were now into the regular bracket rounds, so I did a short burnout, staged and launched. The car felt good, but soft and it was spinning the tires pretty good from 250 feet on. I was fighting it off the centerline short shifting both gears. It made it all the way thru! Our 3rd run on a completely new and different set up and we made it run down the track. That was pretty cool for our guys. I was proud of them.
When they came down to get me from the big end, they told me it ran a 4.24. I was sure it was more like a 4.74 the way it was moving around and I knew how soft the engine was. When we got the time slip I was blown away. How about a .996 60-foot! We have never gotten better than a 1.019 prior to this with the same engine/trans combo in the 23T car. The normal with the old car was 1.05-1.08, with the power turned up. This new car on only it’s 3rd run makes a less than 1-second 60, outstanding. I wonder what it will do when I put some horsepower to it?

I do have to thank my friend Bob Massey {Massey Chassis part of the Moats and Massey Alky funnycar} who was at the track with his children and their junior dragsters. He came up and watched the car on all three runs and gave some great advice regarding our wheelie bar. I am sure what he noticed, we would have chased around quite a while before we found it, if ever.

I hope you liked my “What I did Last Weekend” story. I will let you know the next time we take the car out.

Rapid
 
Hey, maybe we could charge a buck a turn and pay for the fuel price increases this summer! Just kidding!

Rapid

I'll pay $2 if you start it up while I sit there :)


Great story, awesome looking car. I'd love to see it run in person someday
 
Great job Randy! My Dad had a Fiat Topolino when he was young and it gave him nothing but greif! He got sooooo mad at that car one day, he started digging a hole in the back yard at my Grandma's house. He dug day & night and then pushed the car in the hole!

Years later when my Grandma sold the house, the new owners were putting in a swimming pool and found the car! It was a bucket of rust and earthworms, but it sure did make my Dad feel better to bury it!!!

Crazy Kid!!!:D
 
Great job Randy! My Dad had a Fiat Topolino when he was young and it gave him nothing but greif! He got sooooo mad at that car one day, he started digging a hole in the back yard at my Grandma's house. He dug day & night and then pushed the car in the hole!

Years later when my Grandma sold the house, the new owners were putting in a swimming pool and found the car! It was a bucket of rust and earthworms, but it sure did make my Dad feel better to bury it!!!

Crazy Kid!!!:D

Suzie, be sure NOT to give Rapid the address of that house! You never know about those Iowa Fuel guys!
 
Randy when are we going to get the Whinny Neighbor reports from Firing that Beast up???
 
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Mike, I "Know" it isn't very PC, but I think the same think about it everytime I see it. A guy shouldn't admit it out loud how cool his own ride is though! :eek:

Jean thanks for checking it out. You are a long time Altered guy! Not to say you are old or anything,,I just meant you have liked them since you were VERY young! :D

Terry, Too late, Suzie PM'd me the address already. I have a shovel and will travel!

Great Story Suzie!! That would have been a man sized job digging that hole. I don't know if I have ever been that mad at something this large for that long!!! :eek:

PJ,,ummmm, NO! ;)

Rapid
 
Joe,

We only had one complaint. It was last year in the middle of the afternoon. The neighbor girl said, hey I have kids trying to sleep over here!!! :(

I yelled back,,,"Not anymore you don't!" :eek: :D

Rapid {Normally a nice neighbor, but when it is time to fire it up,,,it is time to fire it up} :)
 
ok how bout $3 and I'll bring a shovel to help dig the other old one up :)
 
PJ, you are going the right direction!! ;)

Jean,,,help me up damn-it!! I fell out of my chair laughing at that meter!! :D

Rapid
 
Thanks for taking the time to post that Randy. For those of us who DON'T actually drive it is very, very cool to read it from your perspective. You have a great way of telling a story.

Guys like me would think, "Oh... New car... let's see what she'll run." Guys like you (who are SMART) think, "Let's test those brakes and the chutes!!!" LOL. It is nice to get the perspective of the actual driver.
 
Joe,

We only had one complaint. It was last year in the middle of the afternoon. The neighbor girl said, hey I have kids trying to sleep over here!!! :(

I yelled back,,,"Not anymore you don't!" :eek: :D

Rapid {Normally a nice neighbor, but when it is time to fire it up,,,it is time to fire it up} :)

Next pic you post I want to see the Cops listening to your Car! That actually happened about 10 houses down the street around 94-95. A guy with an Alky FC would fire it up and man was that Loud! Once some Cops showed up cause they heard it like a mile away. He freaked out and was expecting to go to Jail. The Cops were more stunned than anything, and asked if he'd start it up for them!
 
That's so Kick Ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Gary!! I appreciate the comments from everyone!

Jay, glad you liked it! I try to share how much fun it is thru those write ups. :cool:

Joe, with my luck they would send the Swat Team! :D

Rapid
 
Not only is the car good looking... but she runs good too.... great 60ft:eek:

And yeah Randy, ya spin a damn great yarn... miss the 16 car AA/FA shows at Lions and The County... miss Sush in the M&M car, and Mike Sullivan... Dang, those were the days...

TY, TY, TYVM....

Not only that, but THANK YOU
 
Randy,

I always loved reading David Baca's blog because of what he describes as his Friday night sessions play by play. Yours was an easy, interesting, and for me an intense read. It is awesome to hear what you do. Congrats on the new car. :cool:
 
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