Monday, August 30, 2010

Onondaga Dragway to Reopen

I called a friend whom I hadn't talked to for a few years while walking around Woodward's Cruise this year. During our conversation I was informed of a long closed dragstrip that was going to reopen. Located near Jackson, MI, the track closed about 25 years ago. In the dragracing hobby, it is almost unheard for tracks to REopen. All too often the story is of dragstrips closing, and the reason often being that urban sprawl creeped into the once desolate areas where these races took places.

Onondaga will continue to be an 1/8 mile track, and looking at the progress, seems that it will be ready for the 2011 season. I will try my best to make it to the track next season, and if not ready to race yet, then to at least take some pictures and take in a rare piece of history.

Dragzine: The New Onondaga Dragway Begins Construction

Current Progress at the Track

Water Winter Wonderland Coverage

Local Racing/Race Tracks

Ran across a website that allows you to search out local tracks and racing, check it out.

Racing In

Sunday, August 29, 2010

NMCA - Milan, Michigan

Just got back from the NMCA racing series at Milan, MI. I'll admit, I really enjoyed this racing series back in the day. When I say back in the day, I'm referring to a period when the cars still looked like cars. When Tony Christian, Spiro Pappas, and Pat Musi (spelling probably off on all) were the big racers. A time when the cars ran mostly in the 8's, perhaps even touching the 7's, and yanked the wheels like nobody's business.

Fast forward to NMCA 2010: It ain't like it use to be. The fast cars were fast, no doubt about it! We saw the record broke today with a 232 mph pass. I'll give them mad props for the times/mph they are laying down, but a lot was lost along the way. Majority of the cars are of the NHRA prostock bland flavor. One was a Chevy Cobalt, another a Dodge Stratus, they simply lost their character along the way, and while their horsepower is higher than ever, I was looking forward to the other classes of racing that took place.

I'm not up to speed on the class make up of NMCA, other than it all appeared to be heads up, with your normal weekend Milan bracket racing thrown in the mix. For me, the most exciting racing we watched were the heads up cars running mid 9's to mid 10's. Most of these cars lacked wheelie bars, and most of these cars were yanking the front ends off the ground upon launch. I'm not the type of fan that needs to see a bumper dragging launch to garner my attention, though two wheels a foot or two off the ground along with a hard launch will catch my attention. These cars also resembled street cars, and had the look and feel of my Camaro.

I built my Camaro to run mid to low 10's on the engine, and after talking with a few racers, I should be a solid mid 10's car. On the NOS, one racer informed me that I'll likely get into the low 9 second, possibly high 8 second range. Watching the races for several hours today, I am pretty sure that I'm going to be very happy with this build. I'm also quite sure that I'll be satisfied with my 1/4 mile pass, and finally admit to myself, enough is enough. 9 and 10 second 1/4 mile times are damn fast, and from what I saw today, in order to go faster than that is to venture into a territory I don't care to go. One, because I have no desire to spend the type of money needed to be competitive in that category. Secondly, I feel that what the crowds wanted to see most were the 9-10 second cars that looked like cars. The fastest cars of the day didn't garner much interest, nor did the 7 and 8 second rail dragsters. The 9-10 second cars are the cream of the crop, and that's exactly where I wanna be. I can't wait to go racing!

Here are some of the pictures from today's races, along with a link to more.

2010 NMCA Racing at Milan Dragway

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NMCA Drag Racing at Milan Dragway

While at the Woodward Dream Cruise last weekend, promoters were handing out free tickets to Milan Dragway for this weekend. I didn't think much of it until I was in the garage today listening to the radio. That's when I realized that this weekend the NMCA (National Muscle Car Association) come to Milan Dragway. We're talking 6 second/200+ mph street cars! We have a wedding to attend on Saturday in Adrian, MI, but will be back and heading to Milan on Sunday. They are even offering free spectator tickets online. I have a neighbor who said just the other day "I guess I'll have to go watch a drag race some day, as I really don't understand what the appeal is." Well, I offered up two of the tickets I had to him and his wife, and perhaps I'll give him a ride around the block in the Camaro, to lay the ground work. This will be some good racing, check it out!

NMCA Drag Racing

Milan Dragway

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise - Day 2 Finale

What can I say, Woodward's Dream Cruise never disappoints! For 15 of the 16 years it's existed, I've been there. Though the rules have changed a bit, along with venue and enforcement of the law, it's still a thriving event in which weather can't even keep people away from. For about half the day we battled drizzle and occasional light rain, though the lots were still filled and the cars were still rolling. By mid day, the rain had ceased and the sun came out, and before you knew it Woodward was bumper to bumper with congestion.

I've been into cars now over half of my life, so there isn't much out there anymore that really blows my mind. Nowadays, I just sit back and enjoy what's in front of me...and take tons of pictures! While there was a time when powertrain and presentation caught my eye, now it's simply how nice the car is. I like a loud race car thumpin' muscle car just as much as the next gearhead, but a nice paint job and set of wheels really set a car apart from the pack. For me, the craziest thing I saw this year was the guy cruising around on his bike with 2-3 Chiuauahas in a handle bar basket....all wearing a set of strap on racing goggles. I cracked up both times, though was unable to get my camera ready in time.

By Woodward 2011 I'll have the car tightened up a bit, have the tuning down, insulation in, carpet, some tunes, and a baby in tow as well. I'm sure come next year I'll venture out of my parking spot and into the madness. I just wasn't ready to roll the dice with my current setup and hope some catastrophic failure didn't occur. So, until next year, enjoy the pictures below, and don't forget to click the link to enjoy Woodward in all of her Fury!

Finally, back on the road.

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise: Final Day

Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise

Just got back from my first night at the 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise. All I can say is "Damn, does it feel good to be part of the scene again."

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise - Day 1

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Road Again

Just a quick update, as little gremlins have been battling me left and right since my last update. My biggest headache has been the power steering hose (pressure side) which set me back. After that problem was solved, by me bending up my own hard line, then I lost power. The car had cranked over just fine, and as all the electrical was getting finished up, all of the sudden I lost everything. Come to find out, all it was was a ground issue. I was skeptical that was what it was, picked up 4 ground cables today, and ended up using three of them. The problem was solved until the last cable, ground the frame/body, were in place. Then she fired right up.

The car is actually much more complete than I anticipated, with major thanks to my dad! He has been a trooper, coming up every day for the past 4 or 5 days, and helping with the finishing touches. Aside from carpet and a gauge cluster, my interior is complete! Ok, so I lack a headliner and radio too, but like I said, it's way better than planned.

Today, shortly after dad left, I finished up the last of the wiring. I crossed my fingers, had the wife, aka "tow vehicle" follow, and headed to the gas station. After topping her off, I headed around the block a bit. I came upon a nice 4 lane stretch with nothing around, so I jumped on it a bit. Holy shit does this car get it! I won't be able to make it to the track until time/money allow for a beefed up rear end, and a baby on the way will negate those funds. That being said, I'll totally enjoy FINALLY having my ride back on Woodward this year. It's been way too long, and a part of me has been tucked away on the shelf collecting dust for what seems like an eternity. Stay tuned of pictures, video, and full coverage from Woodward.

Friday, August 13, 2010

She's Alive!

Yesterday, after dropping the distributor in on the COMPRESSION stroke (after dropping it in on the exhaust stroke the day before), she fired right up. Here is a recording of the first start up. Now, for the easy stuff, and preparation for Woodward.

Monday, August 09, 2010

She's got a pulse

Finished up a little more electrical tonight. Now have the front and rear harnesses all done, though need to reroute the wires going to the starter away from the headers. I bumped the engine over once just to make sure all things were a go. I checked out the front and rear lights, which also worked fine. Well, the headlights don't work yet, as I need a couple new lights because the terminals came off with the harness. It was nice to here the engine at least turn over. The ignition is also all wired up. I just need to install the gauges, prime the engine, poor in the coolant, drop in the distributor, and pour some gas in and it should fire up. Probably another day or two. I do have some wires inside the car that broke off at the terminals and need repaired, but nothing some crimp on connectors couldn't fix for the time being.

Stopping Power

With the help from my friend Rod, we got the brakes finished yesterday. One thing I did however, that I'm kicking myself over, was throw out my brake booster a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it still had the clevis on it that attaches my new master cylinder to my brake pedal. Luckily, a place nearby, in Shelby Twp, stocks the part along with new pin and cotter pin for $10 or so. I went ahead and ordered it online this morning, paying the $7 shipping, figuring that the drive would probably cost about that much any way. This way, I can head back out to the garage today and work on the car instead of chasing parts.

Yesterday I also installed my new composite gear on my distributor, put the trunk latch catch back in place, and got a good portion of the wiring back in place and soldered what needed to be soldered.

I have in service training all week, on days, which worked out great today. During our lunch break I headed to the Autozone around the corner and picked up fluids and electrical connectors needed to finish up some remaining projects.

Rod's Truck.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise

The 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise is just around the corner! My car is in the final stages, and I still need a lot of luck and things to go as planned in order for that to happen. Today we'll hopefully finish the brakes, accelerator, and electrical which will mean that theoretically, the car should be running and driving. We'll see how that plan goes. As for Woodward, here is the link to their main site below. My next days off aren't until 19, 20 and 21...which are days intended to actually be cruising Woodward.

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise

Friday, August 06, 2010

Glass installed.

Today I had my dad come up and give a helping hand with the car. I worked on the B&M shifter cable while dad cleaned up the front/rear glass channels. Once cleaned up, I helped install the rope seal, then we set the glass in place. I had to head to court (while dad gratefully polished the stainless trim), and upon my return we installed the front/rear trim. Dad polished up the bumpers, and then headed home.

I worked on the car for a few more hours after dad left. I got the four electric fans installed on the radiator, after sanding the shroud slightly on one fan. I also got the rear seat back installed, after recently removing it to install the seatbelts. Not that there is enough room for an actual person to comfortably fit back there, as they'd have to climb over all the monkey bars to get back there. Still, for display purposes, I thought I'd give the illusion of a functional backseat.

A few days prior I also finished installing the power steering pump brackets and belt as well as running my fuel lines. Fuel system is ready to go! I'm getting down to just the electrical in order to fire this baby up! Sunday, I could very well accomplish that. I suppose I should pick up some anti-freeze, power steering fluid, and brake fluid eh?