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Children (Skip & Barbara)



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1st Great-Grandaughter
Olivia Underwood

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Retired 6/10/2011

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Preston Johnson

Mr. Skip Racing
April - May - June - 2011

1st Qtr. 2011

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July 1, 2011 - Thank God for my successful eye surgery! Now all I need is some rest and relaxation, or R&R, as we say in the Navy (some sailors say, I & I).

June 30, 2011 - I Had the right eye surgery today. I get the patch off tomorrow. So far, everything is great.

Yesterday I completed removing my heads and delivering them to Alvin to start the refurbishing process. Everything looked so good on each cylinder, I felt like I should have waited a few months longer. I know I did the right thing. If a spring had broken, I would have been sick(er).

June 28, 2011 - On this day in 2007, our daughter, Melinda Herbert Gardner was killed in a murder-suicide by her estranged boyfriend. She left behind 4 children, Barbara Morris, Jeremy Herbert, Lizzie Herbert and Ryland Gardner. Each of "Linda's" children has grown to be an exceptional young adult. Barbara is married and owns her own home and is running her own business from home. Barbara was a supervisor at Home Depot before deciding to work from home. Jeremy is working for Turner Industries and is attending classes to be a Millwright. " Liz" is a supervisor at Winn-Dixie supermarket and Ryland just joined the Navy after completing high school. All of Linda's children completed high school and all but one at least started college. We would love to see all of them go back and finish college. Linda would be proud of all of her children. None of the girls have any children and none of the boys are fathers. And for that, Barbara and I are very thankful. Mrs. Barbara Morris and her husband, McQuale, are planning to have a child.

June 27, 2011 - I took the car to our church to show to the kids in the Shiloh Institute of Academic Achievement (SIAA) Summer Camp. They were impressed and each one took turns taking photos. The adult teachers and the pastor were as excited as the kids! PHOTOS

This marks the end of my racing for the Summer. I am planning to remove the heads and get a good valve job and let Alvin do the CNC porting, along with replacing my springs. I will be removing the heads later this week.

I am having eye surgery (cataract) on Thursday. This will put me out of commission for a few weeks. That allows me to get the head work done and not be in a hurry.

I noticed 'Mr. Sonny" at the Father's Day Race. He has recovered from his double knee surgery enough to drive. I hope I am in that kind of shape in a few weeks!

June 24, 2011 - I completed all the requirements for my NHRA Competition License today and got the paperwork into the mail. I should have my renewal in about two weeks and I will be able to run at NPRP (NHRA) again. My IHRA has another year to go.

We got some much needed rain in our area this week, but it looks like the weekend will be dry. No Problem has a race this weekend. I don't have anything planned for this weekend.

I have been talking to Alvin about doing my heads on his CNC machine. He wants me to get the machine shop work done first. I need to order a new set of springs, valve locks and seals. Everything else up there should be OK. The rockers and lifters were just rebuilt in late 2009 and only have a few run on them. The springs are over 6 years old and I am a little leery of them. The bottom end is fine. Now, while it is too hot for me to enjoy being at the track, I can take the car down and not miss too much.

I have one obligation before I take the car down. My pastor asked me to bring the car to the church for Vacation Bible School this coming week. I will also speak to the kids about job opportunities in the automotive industry, web site creation and photography. After that I will be down until October.

First Day of Summer - 6/21/2011 - I passed my stress test today! My heart is good!

My legs felt like they wanted to come off and I was breathing super hard by the time I finished, but no chest pains and I made all the milestones that they wanted me to make.

My doctor will be happy and I should be able to finish everything to do with my license physical (The stress test was not a part of the license physical requirements. That was just my Dr. way of CYA and making sure I am in good shape).

Our sympathy goes out to racer, Rev. Bernell Robertson, who lost his mother and step-father this weekend. Both were my church members. Mr. Eddie Samford, Bernell's step-father, was a close personal friend. We use to cook breakfast for the men of Jordan U.M.C. each year in November and we talked frequently. Mrs. Samford was a very nice lady, beautiful, with a super personality. They will be missed.

June 20, 2011 - I enjoyed the BMRT Father's Day Race again this year. I really missed not participating. I must have answered the question 10-20 times, "Why aren't you running, where is the car"? Fact: If I had run the car, I would not have taken even half of the photos that I got!

For the first time the race was held on Saturday and I think it really made a big difference in the amount of participants. Everything seemed to go off without any problems.

Congratulations to Mr. Willie and Jay Dunlap for their selection as Father's of the Year by Bracket Masters Racing Team.

I talked with "Outlaw" about his engine. It has been removed and disassembled. One of the rods broke and the crank is ruined, but the block and pistons are in good shape. Just a little work had to be done at the bottom of one cylinder wall. At least two new rods are required. A new oil pan must be obtained, but everything else can be used. The valves in that one cylinder will have to be checked and most likely replaced. The head is in good shape. The cause of the problem, oil pump pickup fell off and oil pressure was lost. This will not happen again. The pickup will be welded to the oil pump.

June 17, 2011 - I did not make it to the track. Too many family and church things to do. Two of our Deacons passed away on Monday of this week and their funerals will be over the next three days.

The license physical was not finished today. The Dr. wants me to take a stress test on Tuesday of this coming week. The EKG was good today, but they still want to do the test.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! Enjoy your socks, ties, slippers and after shave. And then enjoy that nice breakfast, dinner and desert. The most important thing is, spending time with the family!

June 14, 2011- Ryland Gardner, Grandson and Roland & Melinda's youngest son, departed for the U. S. Navy today. He will be flying to Great Lakes, IL for Navy Boot Camp. After boot camp he will attend Quartermaster (navigation) school.

The family gave Ryland a big going away party on Sunday at his sister's home (Barbara) in Baton Rouge. It was well attended by over 30 family and friends. Many of those same friends were at the recruiting office when Ryland left on Tuesday for the Navy. Good Luck and God Bless You Ryland! Or as old sailors say, "Farewell and Following Seas!"

June 12, 2011 - Barbara talked me into trying to get my NHRA Licence physical again. That will take place Friday.

I have been talking to Reggie Jackson about his engine problem. We suspect tight clearances as the culprit for his rod bearing problem. He needs a new crank and two new rods. This time he will go closer to the outer tolerance for the rod bearing clearances. Reggie should be up and running shortly. Everything else in the engine is in good shape.

"Outlaw" has not completed disassembly of his engine yet. I am anxious to find out what happened inside of that engine.

I will take the car to the track on Friday, after my physical, and park. I still have to think about making any passes on Friday. I understand the big cars will not run until 3:00 pm on Saturday at the Bracket Masters Racing Team Father's Day Race. Maybe the Friday runs will be good practice for Saturday.

June 10, 2011 - Decided not to go out tonight. Did not feel like going... I'm not happy about the surgery being postponed.

June 9, 2011 - The Dr. called today and cancelled my scheduled surgery for this coming Wednesday. There was some type of scheduling problem at Tulane Med. Center. It will be rescheduled for a few weeks from now.

Now I know I will be able to be at the Father's Day race, but I will still let Outlaw drive if he wants too.

June 7, 2011 - I went into the shop and did something for the first time since before our vacation.

I charged the batteries, adjusted the wheelie bars to make them dead even at 8 3/4", adjusted the left front shock to 1/2 turn open (from 1/4 turn) and checked the right shock to see where it was. It was at 1 full turn open. I made sure the tire pressure was at 9 psi, rear and 38 psi front, which is what I have been running. I want the front end to come up a little more to plant the rear tires. I'm looking for improved 60' times.

I changed the oil to Lucus synthetic 20W-50 for the summertime. The Amsoil 10W-40 that came out was in excellent shape.

That is all the changes that will be made for this Friday night at State Capitol Raceway. I want to make two passes and evaluate those changes. The only correction or change I anticipate would be to readjust that left front shock. That would only happen if the car did not go straight. Taking into account the track condition for Friday night, I may not change anything.

I will take Monday and Tuesday of next week to clean up the car and get it in "Show" condition for Father's Day.

I will have eye (right) surgery on June 15th, so I will not be able to drive at Father's Day race on the 18th. Kevin "Outlaw" Gray will be the driver. I should be able to come to the track, but my participation will be very limited. I may not be able to take any photos this year.

June 5, 2011 - Yesterday I attended the "Big Dawg Shootout" at No Problem Raceway Park. They had some real fine machines down there.

Congratulations to Silas Jr. for finishing runner-up in 1/4 mile Super Pro!

I was happy to see my friends from Shreveport, "Shaker" and "Lawman", at the race. It was most pleasing to talk to Shaker and see him doing so good after the horrific crash he suffered in Texas last year.

The most exciting part of the trip was the trip home. I left the track to make it home before dark and as I was approaching White Castle, LA, a weather warning came on the radio saying to take shelter if you were in White Castle.

I had noticed the dark sky and a few lighting flashes. As I got closer, I thought about it being very clear behind me and how stupid it would be to drive through the area. I turned around and went back to the track and watched a few more cars go down the track. After that, I took Rt. 70 and the interstate and came home. The bad weather had been moving west, so I was behind the storm.

Looking at the news today, I made the right move by not going through White Castle and Addis. Addis has some wind damage, along with a few more areas of West Baton Rouge. The track did not get a drop of rain before I left. PHOTOS

June 3, 2011 - Houston's 1998 Firebird Photos.

June 1, 2011 - Time flies when you are having fun! I went over to visit with Alvin Calhoun and to see his new CNC Machine. It is up and running! Alvin has completed a few sets of heads and is working on digitizing some ports on more heads so he can complete the porting on them.

See the PHOTOS. The machine really looks great sitting in the building. Devin and Alvin gave me the grand tour.

While I was gone, my friend Kevin "Outlaw" Gray had the engine come apart at the big end. He has not completed disassembly, but the heads are off and there is minimal damage in the top of the engine. It does have a hole in the pan.

Reggie Jackson had some trouble this past weekend. He is still looking for the problem.

Houston Hawkins is easing back into drag racing. He purchase a 1998 Trans-Am. It is set up for the street right now but it will be ready to run some low numbers in the near future. Welcome back Houston.

I have some photos on my phone of Houston's car, but it may take me a week to get them from the phone to the computer. I am not much on phone technology. I probably have a cable around here somewhere to help me do that.

Today it was record triple digit hot in Baton Rouge (100 degrees)! There are two races this weekend and I don't think I will participate in either one. I have let my NHRP Competition License expire so I can't run at NPRP. My IHRA license is still good for another year.

Don't forget the: "Big Dawg Shootout" June 4, 2011 @ No Problem Raceway Park (Flyer1) (Flyer2)

May 21-29, 2011 - Another great vacation! Barbara and I enjoy traveling, and this trip was one of the best. We departed on Saturday May 21st and checked in at the Williamsburg Plantation on Sunday afternoon. It was a 19 hour drive. We spent one night in Greenville, NC. Barbara drove about 700 miles and I drove about 400. The weather was excellent the whole time we were gone.

I set a goal of seeing all of my East Coast children and grand kids and I almost accomplished that goal. I did get to see all my children, but missed two of the grands.

We got to see my two daughters, Cynthia Hymon and Sarah Walls, along with grand children, Crystal & Micah Walls and Carol Hymon with great grand daughter Layla. Cynthia's husband George was a very fine host. All of them live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Williamsburg is located just over an hour from Va Beach, and it is a little over two hours from my son, Oliver and his wife Chris, in White Plains, Maryland (that is, if the Potomac River Bridge is open, which it was not when we went and we had to drive an additional 1.5 hours, after waiting 45 min., to get to see them. The bridge was open for our return trip).

Barbara and I are well rested after the vacation. On the way back I drove from Williamsburg to Shorter, Alabama, just over 700 miles. Barbara took over and bought it home that last 400 miles. We drove straight through. The car performed flawlessly, going and coming. We had just over 2000 miles on it when we left and just under 5000 when we got back home. PHOTOS

May 20, 2011 - Congratulations to Registered Nurse Melissa Bowie, daughter of Marcus and Carolyn Bowie, who graduated from Our Lady of the Lake Medical College.

May 17, 2011 - We Did It! Ryland L. Gardner graduated from Glen Oaks H. S. yesterday! Congratulations Ryland.

A big party was held after the graduation at his grandmother's home in Baton Rouge. Many of Ryland's friends and relatives attended, including all of his brothers and sisters.

Ryland has enlisted in the Navy and will be leaving in late June to attend Navy Boot Camp at Great Lakes, IL. Ryland will attend Quartermaster school (navigation and piloting) after boot camp.

May 14, 2011 - Visited with "Sonny" and Jackie yesterday. He is back home and doing very well from his knee surgery. He is on a walker, but he continues doing therapy.

Looks like "Pass Time" will have some good days to get in taping the 10 shows they want to do at No Problem Raceway Park. They will be doing the show today all the way through Monday night. It will be nice to see some local cars on the show. They were looking for 300 cars, with 100 of them being picked for the show. It was first come first served, by early registration.

May 12, 2011 - I have backed up all of my files. The water is not suppose to harm us here in Baton Rouge, but we are ready. The river is higher than anyone has ever seen and it is not suppose to crest until May 22nd. It is not suppose to fall until early June, so we will have a long term flood event.

The people in Morgan City, LA are the very unfortunate ones. Later this weekend the Corps of Engineers will open a spillway to relieve the pressure on the Mississippi River levy system, that will flood thousands of homes in the Morgan City area and other smaller towns and farms in the path of the spillway. This is suppose to help save several cities along the river, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

May 11, 2011 - Alvin and Devin are back after attending factory CNC Machine Programming School in Pennsylvania. Devin finished at the top of the class, with Alvin a close 2nd.

When they returned, Larry Gray had the building erected. The building is almost ready to accept the new machine. The machine should be delivered and in place by the end of this coming week. The factory will do the final setting of the machine.

May 10, 2011 - Kevin's pass in "Mr. Skip", 2nd Time Trial, Sat. 5/7/2011

Shannun T. Walker's Firebird at Royal Purple Raceway - Spring Nationals - 2011

May 8, 2011 - There were some real nice cars, mostly local, at the track on Friday May 6, 2011. I spent most of my time tuning on carburetors. Mr. Willie had his El Camino at the track with Mr. Mark Washington driving. Barbara Washington was also at the track. I had not seen Mark and Barbara in about 10 years. They had been living in Mississippi and are now back in the Baton Rouge area.

We used Mr. Willie's El Camino as a test bed for two carburetors. I was completely baffled by one of the carbs I had just worked on early in the week. We could not get it to perform as well as I thought it should. I was at wits end before the end of the night. I finally had to give up. Some time things just cannot be fixed without major parts replacement.

I took my car to the track Saturday, May 7, 2011 and I made the first pass so that I could determine if the tire balancing, wheelie bar adjustment and shock softening worked. I am happy to report, everything seemed to work perfectly. The burnout was smooth and the car left very well and went straight. The 60' time was the best we have had all year at, 1.327 sec. The is way off our best of 1.278 sec., but it is much better than anything we have had after the gear change.

(Late Entry - 5/9/11) After the first run I adjusted the wheelie bars, based on painting the wheels before that run, and looking at the results. The wheels had barely touched in one spot on both wheels. I adjusted both wheels up to 7 15/16". During the runs the rest of the night, the wheels did not touch the ground. I did video, focusing on the front right wheel and during launch it almost rolled straight out. No lift at all. I may need to adjust the front shocks (again) to allow more travel (lift on the front end).

Also something else I noticed. Since the car was scaled, the 60' times have not been as good as before. The car does go straight, which it did not do before the scaling. Looks like I have given up 60' time to go straight (safer). I would like to go straight AND have low (consistent) sixty-ft times! My pass was, 9.191 @ 146 MPH, RT-.031 and 60' was 1.327sec.. That was a real good pass!

For the rest of the day, Kevin "Outlaw" Gray, did the driving. His first time trial was, 9.25 @ 146 MPH and he ran dead on, 9.25 on a 9.25, in the first round but he had a red light. We bought back in and Outlaw was late on the light. He had a break out 9.21 on a 9.25. The car ran excellent all day. PHOTOS.

May 1, 2011 - Alvin Calhoun's building is up! It is almost ready for occupancy. The machine should be delivered shortly after Alvin & Devin complete their CNC machine training at the factory. They should be working on CNC heads very shortly.

April 29, 2011 - Welcome to Louisiana,#1 pick, DL - Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram! Saints pick Alabama running back to go with vets Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Reggie Bush.

I removed the slicks and took them to be re-balanced. Before they were put on the machine, I told them that I was feeling a bounce during the burn-out and when I leave the line.

During the past few times I have been to the track and felt the bouncing, I thought it was both tires. After going up on air pressure and increasing the shock settings, it seemed to bounce only on the left side.

One tire was out of round and way off on balance. The other one had a bent rim, but not very bad. That tire was out of balance too, but it was round.

Both tires were balanced again. Don't know if that will do any good, but it will have to do until I can get a new set.

The two tires are almost a year old but were only installed just over a month ago. They sat on the floor of my shop for all that time. I did rotate them periodically. One tire had a big piece of shipping tape on it for that whole time which put a big dimple in the tread of the tire. I have no idea if that had anything to do with the present problem.

April 28, 2011 - My heart and prayers go out for the people across the eastern part of the country, especially the South, as they recover from the devastating tornados that touched down.

There is flooding in some parts of our great land also. Please keep all of these people in your prayers.

April 25, 2011 - The more I think about Friday night at SCR, the better I feel about the results. The 60' times were horrible, but the car went straight and it ran very quick.

I raised the wheelie bars back up to the height that I was running early last year. They are now at 7 5/8" to the center of the wheel with 10 psi of air in the slicks. The front tires are at 40 psi..

Looks like the Spring Nationals in Houston will have a good weekend for their race.

April 23, 2011 - I passed my NHRA Chassis Certification today @ No Problem Raceway Park. Barbara and I took "Mr. Skip" down there and we were about the 6th car in line. Mr. Wesley, the Div. 4 NHRA Inspector and his wife, were very nice. Mrs. Wesley and Barbara hit it off very well. Mr. Wesley has been inspecting my cars for over 15 years (longer than I have been able to run quick enough to need the sticker!). We are certified down to 8.50 sec. in NHRA (7.50 in IHRA).

Friday night, and I stress Friday night, we took the car to SCR to make a few passes and test our changes. The first thing I found out was, the engine does not like a 3000 RPM launch. It would not launch with that setting at all. As soon as I moved the launch RPM back to my normal 3800 RPM, it came up to speed and everything worked like it was suppose too. Some of the other changes, like the shock setting being moved up to 7 clicks on each side in the rear (firmer), made no difference to the "bouncing" during the burn-out. Next time out I am going to move the shock adjustment back to 3 clicks on each side (softer).

I may take those tires back and have them re-balanced. They were balanced without the screws in the rims. Maybe they are unbalanced, although that has never been a problem in the past.

I had stressed "Friday night", the 60' times were much worse than they had been last week. The two runs I made were only, 1.364 and 1.370 in the sixty (1.335 last week). I could still feel the spinning, leaving the line. The car did go straight on both runs. I kept the air pressure at 10 psi as I did last week.

I have no idea what difference the wheelie bar adjustment made. We will put dial-in polish on them next time and look at the track.

I had changed the jets at home, but trying to solve the hesitation problem before the first time trial, I change front and rear to 893 square. During the week I had put 88 in the front and we had been running 87 in the rear. Last week we had been running 902 in the front and 87 in the rear. This gave a EGT reading at #8 exhaust of, 1350 degrees. This week, with the 893 square, I had an EGT at the same position of 1430 degrees. That did not make sense until I looked at the weather station. The Effective Altitude was double what it was last week (744 ft. vs. 1549 ft.). It was a wonder that I had a time that was equal to the best I had last week (9.234 @ 145 MPH). And that was with a worse 60" time and the Friday night track prep.

I did not put the 4-hole spacer back under the carb.

April 20, 2011 - I have done several things to the car since the last race. I re-jetted to 88/87 and I changed the wheelie bars to 7", from 6 5/8". I also evened out both rear shocks at 7 clicks each (from 5 Rt. and 7 Lf.) The last two changes I will make is to soften the right front shock to allow some increased travel and I will put the 4-hole spacer back under the carburetor.

Lots of changes at one time but with the exception of the rear shock settings, they are all going back to the way the car was at the start of last year. I also had a 4.30 gear back then. That may be coming out real soon and I'll put the 4.56 back in. The 4.30 gear, with the M/T tire, has me crossing the line at 6800 RPM and only 143 - 145 MPH.

It is hot weather again and that means I slow down approximately .23 sec. This happens all the time so I don't worry about the time, with the exception of 60' time. I am way off what it (60') should be, or what it has been in the past, Summer or Winter.

If this new shock setting does not stop the bouncing in the burn-out, I am going to have the tires re-balanced. The car does not vibrate going down the track. This never happened until I put these tires on.

April 18, 2011 - I talked with Mr. Alvin Calhoun today. Mr. Alvin has purchased a new CNC Head Porting machine! This will go real good with the Superflow Flow Bench that he obtained a few years ago.

Mr. Alvin and his son, Devin, will travel to the factory at the end of April for CNC training. While there, the factory will digitize the ports on a few heads that Alvin will provide while they are in training. This will be the 2nd trip for Alvin and Devin to the factory. This is a done deal, not just a dream. Congratulations to Mr. Alvin Calhoun for stepping out on faith and thinking outside of the box (big time) to improve his business.

Mr. Alvin is constructing a new building to contain the CNC machine along with all the fixtures and tools that go with the machine.

Once the CNC machine is installed, Mr. Alvin predicts he will be ready for business around June of this year (2011). Once the machine is set up and in operation, it should be able to turn out one completed head each hour!

Mr. Alvin will be taking orders for CNC ported heads: 225-355-4681. Alvin answers his own phone and he is still working on heads, so some calls may be returned later.

Talk about "State of the Art", this is it. Alvin was already one of the best head porters in the area, having many satisfied customers, including me, Mr. Skip. I think many of those satisfied customers will be coming back for the perfect port job and to get, "Just A Little More" out of their heads. I am going to be at the front of that line!

April 17, 2011 - I've got a streak working! A losing streak! I can't remember the last time I lost 6 rounds of eliminations in a row. It may be more than that. It is not the car this time, like it was the last race when the T/B did not work, everything on the car was working. The driver is the problem.

I ran in the SCR Cajun Super Series 1/8 mile Super Pro class. After an initial 5.93, the car laid down 3 straight 5.85 passed (5.84 dial) and a 5.86 on a 5.85 in the last round. The 60' times were all from 1.334 to 1.339 sec. All we did all day was put gas in the tank and make sure the tire pressure was at 10 psi. The crosswind was very bad all day and was a real challenge.

Except for the last round, when I slept the light, I had some real good lights. In the first round I ran Wayne Henry's dragster and had a .019 to his .024 RT. At the end, he ran 4.933 on a 4.93 dial and I had a 5.858 on a 5.84 for a .0108 MOV. Earlier, in time trials before the 1st round, I had a .011 RT.

April 16, 2011 - Headed out to SCR for the 2nd Cajun Super Series race. Big cars run time trials at 1:00 pm, according to Gary Carter.

I reset valves for the better part of yesterday. They were set at .030" each. I moved them back to In: .026" and Ex: .028", which is what the Comp Cams book says. The cam card says, .028" on all of them.

The more I talk to other racers, the more I hear about trans-brake solenoid problems. It seems that the very long solenoid does not hold up. I know at least 5 racers that are having or have had that problem recently. These include, Silas Rogers, Mailman (N.O.), Van Johnson, Henry Turner and me. Some of the problems could be in the valve body. I won't know until I race and have to use it.

I am increasing the air in my M/T Drag Slicks. I had been running 8 psi in them, which is what I ran in the Toyo Slicks. Now I will move up to 10 psi and probably go up a little from there. I did some dry hops at home, while testing the trans-brake, and the tire pattern was very bad. Only the outside edges of the tires were laying down a good pattern.

I spent most of Thursday working on the S 4500 Superwinch. I had to go inside and change the receptacle in order to use the new cord and switch. The upgrade is great. You could run over this one with a truck and it would not be harmed. I replaced the two hold down bolts with new, grade 8, bolts. The winch works great!

April 13, 2011 - I've been working on a lot of church projects. I am a member of the Trustee Board and head of the Fellowship Hall Building Committee. We have had three meetings in the past week.

I ordered the new corded switch for the winch. It will come with a new receptacle. That means I have to remove the winch and then remove the cover and replace the receptacle to use the new cord.

While I was trying to troubleshoot the winch, I got the old cord to work, although it is broken on the end. At least now I can get the car in and out of the trailer.

Haven't decided what I will do this weekend about racing, if any. The car is ready to go. I just have a couple of small items left on my "To Do" list.

I just looked at the SCR web site. They have the 2nd race in the Cajun Super Series this coming Sat., April 16, 2011. I enjoyed the last race and I may participate in this one.

April 10, 2011 - After church, I decided to work on my Superwinch for the trailer. I will have to order a new cord for the "In" & "Out" switch. As of right now, it is working.

I watched the "Masters" today (and yesterday). Tiger has almost gotten Eden out of his head! I think he's on his way back. Best he has played in two years.

Ronald "Hot Boy" Hall - Louisiana grudge Fest & Bracket Race - PHOTOS - April 9, 2011

April 9, 2011 - Attended the Ronald Hall race at NPRP. I got to see many of my friends from years past when we partnered with the United Drag Racers of New Orleans.

There were a lot of real nice cars at the race. I can see this race becoming more popular in the future. More exposure on this and other web sites will help the car and spectator count a lot. I talked to Mr. Hall today about putting future flyers for his races on the site.

April 8, 2011 - I got tired of doing Taxes. If the govt. shuts down, there won't be any IRS people working to look at my taxes anyway!

The new solenoid is installed and working. I also replaced the pushbutton that activates the T/B solenoid. Everything seems to be working without hesitation now.

The new solenoid looks a lot different and draws a few more amps than the old one. I talked to TCI about the difference and they said it was a new design. Looks like the one they used about 15 years ago.

I may spend Saturday at NPRP looking at the fast cars out of New Orleans and Hattisburg. Those guys always put on a real show. See NPRP web site for a good view of the complete flyer.

I may go the the finals at SCR on Sunday, after church.

April 6, 2011 - After determining that I had not checked ALL the grounds on the car, I got back to completing that task. I shortened some of the leads, removed a couple of splices, re-luged some connections and in general, just made it a much better electrical system. I doubled the wire size going to the starter, using nice new lugs that fit just right and added a new ground wire from the starter solenoid base to the ground terminal strip.

I put all the buttons and connections back the way they were before we started trouble shooting over the weekend. What bothers me is, I never found anything that I could identify as, "The Problem". The best thing we discovered was making the starter solenoid have a solid ground.

The TCI Tech guy, Dennis, had given me some electrical specs. on the T/B solenoid. At 12.5 VDC, it should draw 8 amps. It should also read 1.5 ohms at 80 degrees F. I checked the ohmic value after disconnecting the wires at the solenoid and the value was 1.5 ohms. Not at all what I expected. I just discovered that I have an ammeter that reads up to 10 ADC. I'll take that reading later.

I decided to give this solenoid one more try. After completing all my changes and corrections, I started the car and tested the Trans-brake. It worked perfect! I checked it several times and could not make it duplicate the problem I had at the track. I tried both the Bypass button and the Delay button and both of them worked as they were suppose to.

I will keep the new solenoid for a spare, when it comes, and change it out if the problem re-occurs.

It is income tax time! No more car work until the taxes are done.

April 4, 2011 - "Problems"...

I talked to TCI's tech. staff today. After listening to my story they sold me a new T/B solenoid.

I took the alternator off to take it to be tested. It did not seem to be working, even above the RPM when it is suppose to turn on.

The inside wiring is so altered, I must take my time and put it back in the original configuration.

The guy from TCI asked me the same thing as the MSD guy. "How long have you had that T/B?" When I told him, over ten years, he said I got my monies worth! It probably had well over a thousand runs. It was in the car when I was running the 383 in the late 90's. I guess the next thing that will go is the Delay Box. I have had it since the late 90"s too!

I want to hurry and get this trans-brake working so I can work on the performance of the car. I need to tweak my suspension to get the most out of the engine. I may have to go back to the 4.56:1 gear. I should be happy it is going straight and running in the low nines... Never satisfied.

Did anyone notice on the No Problem Raceway Park schedule, they are having "Pass Time". They are only taking the first 300 pre-entered cars.

  Sat., Sun., Mon., MAY 14, 15, 16 - PASS TIME (Registration Form)

No Problem Schedule


FIRST 300 Registration Forms Accepted!  SPEED CHANNEL will select 100 Cars for Pass Time Program.  $40 Entry gets you Friday Trophy Bracket Entry AND Saturday, Sunday and Monday Entry for Pass Time.  Crew and Spectators can pay $30 for a 4-day Pass or $10/day at the Gate.

April 3, 2011 - New day, same track, same result! I lost every round I ran this weekend.

Have you seen the commercial where the dog is fretting over how to keep his bone safe. The song in the background is saying, "Problems...". That was me and the Mr. Skip Camaro all weekend. Every time we thought we had the problem fixed, it would come back. Out of 5 passes, only 2 were complete runs, and even those were not "good" runs.

I took the car to the track Friday night, but never took it out of the trailer. If I had run Friday, I probably would not have run Saturday. I really wanted to get some runs on those new M/T slicks when the track was prepped for the big cars. I don't think Sat. and Sun. was any better than Friday night.

The number one problem is, the Trans-brake will not hold 100% of the time. The new tires still don't have enough runs to stick very well (no matter how well the track is prepared). Sixty foot times were not as good as the old tires. I think the 12 way adjustable shocks are not set right for these tires. During the burn-outs I can feel one or both tires bouncing. The car does go down the track smooth and straight, so I don't think it is a balance problem. I even experienced "tire shake" in my elimination run Sat. night when I lost to Mr. Mott's Pontiac Firebird.

I had starter problems, which turned out to be a bad ground at the starter solenoid. I did not know that those solenoids (Ford type) grounded through the case. Houston Hawkins, along with Kevin Gray, worked on the car all night. We did a lot of things to try to fix the T/B problem, but it still exists.

After losing in the buy-back round Sat. night, and the T/B worked OK on that run, I decided to go home. After sleeping on it, and the car was still in the trailer and hooked up, I decided to go back to the track Sunday. On my only time trial, the T/B did not hold!

Reggie Jackson and I decided to swap out the buttons and use the delay box bypass button, normally used to back up with my pro-brake. It worked fine in the pits, just like last night, but on the line, it would not hold. We may need a new T/B solenoid.

At one point we had blamed all the problems on low battery voltage but overnight, I charged the two Optima batteries to full charge and we still had the problem.

Since I had decided to bottom bulb race anyway, and the T/B did not hold, I came off at just above idle and even though I had done a good burn-out, when I left the line the car just blew away the tires. I had a .041 RT and a 1.754 sixty-ft time. I must have spun almost to the 330' mark.

As for increased performance, I don't think that is going to happen. The engine RPM is only 6500 when crossing the finish line, down from 6800 RPM. The MPH is only 144, down from 148 MPH. Although I checked the timing before going out Friday, I need to check it again to see if something has changed.

The trailer has a leaking tire and my winch will not let the car come out of the trailer under power (it will bring it into the trailer). "Problems..."

March 31, 2011 - Yesterday, my grandson, Matthew Holbert, passed through Baton Rouge and we had a chance to have dinner. My 17 year old grandson, Ryland Gardner also had dinner with us.

Matts Visit
Ryland, Grandpa & Matthew

Matt is 17 years old and is about to graduate from high school in Vacaville, CA. Each year, a California businessman, Mr. Willie B. Adkins, sponsors a bus tour of several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) for several students from the Fairfield, Vacaville area. This year there were 20 kids with 5 adults. There were 9 boys and 11 girls on the tour. They took a flight from Oakland, CA to Birmingham, AL and visited Alabama State U., then on to Miles College and Tuskeegee U.. They also took the Civil Rights Tour in Birmingham. They traveled too Atlanta, GA to visit The King Center, Clarke Atlanta U. and Spelman/Morehouse Colleges. They also visited Jackson State U. and Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Today they will visit Southern U, Xavier U. and Dillard U. here in Louisiana. While in New Orleans, they will take the Katrina Tour and eat dinner on a riverboat. They fly back home on Friday, April 1st.

Matthew has already been accepted at Cal Poly, where he would like to study Biology. He has also been accepted at Tuskeegee U., but after touring Morehouse U. in Atlanta, he has applied to them for acceptance.

March 29, 2011 - It started up! I cleaned ALL the grounds on the car and even re-routed a couple to make then go directly to the block and not the frame. I already had two ground straps going from the block to the frame. Now my ground terminal block inside the car is connected to the block, instead of the frame. I know some of you out there are saying, that is overkill! You are probably correct, but it gives me peace of mind, and it won't hurt.

I am ready for this coming weekend at SCR. The first Top Doorslammer races are this weekend! I will not be running in TOP, but I will be in Super Pro.

Can't wait to see what difference, if any, the new tires make. I would love to see some sub- 1.300 sec. 60' times. The best lately is, 1.317, with the normal being around 1.335. Some of this is due to the change in rear end ratio from 4.56 to 4.30, coupled with the drop in timing from 42 degrees, down to 38 degrees. At this point all I want is consistency. Nine point zero nine (9.09 sec.) is quick enough in 76 degree weather. As the Summer get hotter, the car WILL slow down.

Maybe I will get a slight increase in performance from the new and improved MSD. I also changed out my distributor cap, which was a MSD Tech recommendation.

While under the car I checked for leaks. The normal transmission leaks from the pan and around the screws that I had had for the past 10 years is no longer there. The new Stef's Transmission Pan did the trick. No leaks anywhere! I had read an article that said some of the old aluminum, ribbed, deep transmission pans, like I had, were prone to porosity (leakage through the metal). This must have been my problem. Now if I could just stop the two - three drops per week leak from my two valve covers... I have tried the very expensive multi-layer valve cover gaskets (blue) and now I have the cork with the thin layer of metal. Nothing seems to stop the leak. Maybe I have the same problem as I did with the trans. pan.

My home A/C went out last Weds. evening. Lucky for us the weather has been relatively mild. It gave us time to research, talk to three vendors and select one based on product quality, service reputation, and price. I did this just like I would select a new product for the race car! Yesterday, they installed a new central HVAC system. We are ready for the Louisiana Summer!

March 24, 2011 - Yesterday I started installing the new MSD Digital 7 Plus. The new one is only like the old on in physical dimensions and color. Almost everything else is different. The unit is improved because after this installation it will only be a matter of plugging in a new box to change the next one (in 11 more years). Every connection has been converted to a plug-in connection. That means all the pigtails are cut and terminated at the correct length.

I have not completed the ground connection checking and cleaning, so I have not powered up the new MSD (I'm scared to try it!).

I had the new M/T slicks mounted and they are on the car. Cleaned and polished the wheels when they were off the car. The new tires were balanced. They took a lot of weight!

March 21, 2011 - I called MSD Tech. Support and asked if there was any recommendation they could make to help insure I don't fry the new box. Their only suggestion was to clean all my grounds and check connections tight. Kevin suggested the same thing, starting back at the batteries and my ground in the trunk. I have a ground terminal strip inside the car, close to the MSD, that is grounded to the frame. All of that will be checked before I turn on the new box.

MSD also said there is nothing that can be done to repair the old Digital 7 Plus. It worked for over 11 years. I got my money's worth.

During troubleshooting, I checked the connections on my switch panel in the dash. There was a screw missing on the power switch for the Ignition Switch. There was still contact, but it could have been a very high resistance connection, and intermittent sometimes due to vibration. The screw was replaced and a drop of loctite applied to the screw. All other screws on that switch panel were checked for tightness.

1st Qtr. 2011

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