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Update 2-13-14

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October - November - Dec. 2014

1st Qtr. 2013  2nd Qtr. - 2013 3rd Qtr.-2013  

 4th Qtr. 2013    1st Qtr. 2014

2nd Qtr. 2014    3rd Qtr. 2014   1st Qtr. 2015

Christmas Season Vacation! Welcome Home Ryland!

Merry Christmas!

As always, the Holbert, Herbert, Morris and Gardner families enjoyed a very merry Christmas at our home.

Christmas Eve night, I cooked a big mess of collard greens and a big pan of Dirty Rice. We took care of the gift wrapping and did not get into bed until after 2:00am. I got up at 9:30 and started on my Gumbo. I had shopped for all the ingredients earlier in the week, but the large crabs had been prepared about a month ago. Good size crabs are not available at this time of the year. I had my Manda "Hot" sausage and all of my other ingredients, crab meat, shrimp (large) and the seasonings. We don't put any chicken in ours, but if that is what you like, have at it. I per-boiled my Okra in a little vinegar and water to take the slime away. Cut up my celery, bell peppers, garlic, green and white onions and a whole lot of seasonings. A dab of this and a pinch of that, a little of this and a shake of that. The rue is the key to the whole thing. After all of that, it came out excellent! The dirty rice and greens were awesome!

Barbara cooked some turkey wings and a good friend sent a roll of Tue-Du-Ken, which we had also. Other friends provided sweet potato pies, pecan pie, coconut pie and lots of other sides

The gift opening went very smooth, with the star of the show being little "Tray" Morris who insisted on opening his gifts one small strip of paper at a time! We all enjoyed watching his joy as he enjoyed his 3rd Christmas.

I think I got more gifts than anyone else. Barbara got the most expensive, classy, beautiful gifts. The Queen was very happy with her Christmas and the way her dinner came out. We probably had about 15-20 people cycle through during the afternoon and many phone calls.
Dec. 26, 2014


Mrs. Barbara and I just returned from 10 days of vacation. I must say, much needed vacation. We were due for another break. The short stay in October was the first time we had been away since Dec. of 2011 and all that did was make us realize that we needed more time off.

This time we were alone, just the two of us, and we really had a ball. The weather was wonderful in South Carolina (Hilton Head Island), and we did not have any problems on the road or where we stayed.

Our only challenge came on the first Friday we were gone when our granddaughter called and had an electrical problem in the house. I called fellow racer, Dave Walker of Double D Electric, and he sent a crew over to the house and corrected the problem right away. It is so good to have friends that you can count on in an emergency. That was not the 1st time that Dave has helped me or one of my other grand kids that had electrical problems. I guess Dave is paying me back for all those times he has eliminated me in Top Doorslammer!

Barbara and I seem to go on a lot of vacations in the 1st or 2nd week of December. We get to do our Christmas shopping and get gifts that you don't see here in Baton Rouge. You also get to see the nice Christmas lights and displays in other cities.

In addition to Hilton Head Island, we also got to take a guided tour of the city of Savanna, GA. That was the highlight of the first part of the trip. This is one beautiful city, and if you ever get a chance to visit, don't pass it up.

We took the City Trolley Tour, but there is another tour, that "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" took in one of their recent episodes, that features a special "Black Heritage Tour". This one shows many of the homes and churches that participated in the "Underground Railroad", allowing slaves to escape to the north and all the way to Canada. We will take that tour the next time we go to Savanna.

I am glad we took the city tour first. We learned so much about the city and we got to see some places that we want to come back and spend some extended time looking over and to do some shopping. The rumor has it that the "soul food" is excellent in Savanna.

Ryland Comes Home! (Photos)

The second part of our vacation consisted of a short trip down the coast to Mayport Naval Station outside of Jacksonville, Florida. Our Sailor, Quartermaster 2nd Class, U. S. Navy, Ryland Gardner returned from a 6 month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. This is the 3rd deployment that Ryland has been on over in the same area. His ship, the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58), is due to be decommissioned in June of 2015. Ryland will be sent to a ship stationed in San Diego, CA sometime after the 1st of the year. Ryland will be home for 10 days of shore leave starting on Dec. 19th.

Upon arrival, after being greeted by all the families of the 200+ man and women crew of the Roberts, the ship was open for tours given by each member of the crew. Barbara and I toured the ship and then we went to Longhorn Steak House for a good meal. Ryland was so happy to be back and we were happy to greet him. We had been praying for his safe return and the Lord answered our prayers. More Photos

Barbara and I drove home in a little over 10 hours from Jacksonville. No car troubles, many COPS in Florida, especially in West Florida, seemed like one for each 10 miles! Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana was smooth sailing with very few state troopers or county mounties.
December 17, 2014


Carburetor Problems!

For the past few weeks, I have had questions from a few racers about adjustments on their carburetors. Many of you have experienced the same type problems at the track and we (including me) always blame the carburetor.

All of these racers had either 4150 (small Holley), 4160 (Holley Double pumper, or 4500 (Dominator) carburetors.

The first problem was with hesitation after the burnout and after the run, wanting to shutdown when the brakes were applied to slow and turn after the run. My first thought was the float levels were too low.

The first thing everyone should do is, check the inlet fuel pressure to the carburetor. This should be 7.5-9 PSI when at idle (Holley needle and seats are not able to handle, for very long, pressures greater than 9 psi.). What you want is, at least 6 PSI when you cross the finish line.

There are a lot of Fuel Pressure rule that many racers do not know about or have forgotten. Just to mention a few: (Much of this will not apply to a car with the fuel tank and pump in the front of the car.)

a. Always mount the external fuel pump (pump, not the motor) below the level of gas in the fuel cell or gas tank.

b. Make sure the fuel pump has adequate capacity for your application. What do you mean? A rule of thumb is: For a high 10 second car, you want to be able to fill a one gallon can in less than 25 seconds. That's a little better than 120 GPH. One Holley Blue fuel pump is just 110 GPH. A Holley Black electric fuel pump is rated at 140 GPH.

c. If the fuel pump is located in the rear of the car, along with the fuel cell or tank, you need to have approximately 16-20 psi from the outlet of the pump/filter to the front of the car where the fuel regulator is located. The outlet pressure of the front regulator should be, as mentioned above, 7.5-9 psi.

If you have a 9 second car, you want to be able to fill that 1 gal. can in less that 13 seconds.

My fuel system on "Mr. Skip" has a 400 GPH fuel pump with by-pass back to the fuel cell and it puts out 22 psi to the front where I have a 2-port regulator set at 8.8 psi. This system will fill that 1 gallon can in less than 6 seconds. Do not use the BG 2-port regulator for any car running quicker than 9.99 sec.

I also run an alternator to maintain my voltage as I go down the track. The electronics like it and the fuel pump maintains the same output from start to finish. The alternator also helps keep my battery charged for those late round "Hot Laps". Yes, it costs weight and horsepower, but I normally don't worry about starting. If you are a bracket racer, it helps to be consistent from round to round.

CAUTION, there may be some fuel spray, be very careful, use rags and eye protection when trying these next steps.

I instructed the racer to put the car on level ground, start the engine and after the engine was at normal operating temperature (NOT), to then check the float level by removing the small plug (on older Holley and BG carburetors), and observe if any gas just comes down the side of the float bowl from the hole.

(Be very careful. If the float level is very high, be ready to put the plug back in place and shut off the fuel pump. Turn the adjusting nut approximately one full turn clockwise to lower the level in the fuel bowl. Start the fuel pump and check again). You can let the engine run to use some of the excess gas in the bowl before you start the fuel pump again.

On newer Holley, Quick Fuel, Pro-Systems and BG carburetors which have a sight glass, you would want the fuel level to be right in the center of that sight-glass or at the line that indicates the correct fuel (float) level.

If the float level is low or high; with the engine running, using a big flat blade screwdriver and a 5/8 box end wrench, carefully loosening the screw in the top of the Needle and Seat, and using the wrench on the nut, either raise or lower the level until the gas JUST spills down the side of the float bowl from the hole, or the level is at the center of the sight-glass. Only move the adjustment 1/4 turn at a time, and wait for the level to move to the new level. The front and rear bowls are adjusted the same way, with Clockwise movement of the adjustment nut lowering the level and CCW adjustment raising the level. bring it up, by adjusting the meddle and seat adjustment nut.

I found this very good article on fuel systems. Pay attention to the part on electric fuel pump voltage. Please put a RELAY in the ckt. for your fuel pump, especially if the battery is in the back with the fuel pump like my setup.

Take a look. (2008 but still good)

To get back to the things I recommended to the 1st racer. I had him check the Idle Adjust Screws on his carburetor. I like to set them (with the engine off) at 1.5-2 turns from all the way closed. That works well for a Holley, Quick-Fuel and Pro-Systems. For a Barry Grant, most of them work better with 2-3 turns out. Always try to keep them the same. There are some tuning instructions for using a vacuum gauge, with the engine running, to set the idle adjust screws, but I have not had any luck doing it that way.

Anyway, for my 1st racer, none of my recommendations worked. That is why I posted the above information on the fuel system.

After several runs and adjustments, including jet changed, fuel pressure changed and other adjustments, I suggested another carburetor and would you believe, the same symptoms appeared with that carburetor!

I did not have any luck with my second racer either, but I think his problem will be solved when he replaces his Holley Blue (110 GPH) fuel pump with at least a Holley Black (140 GPH) fuel pump, or better. Both racers are in the 11 second range for now, running in Street or Non-Electronics class. Both vehicles have engines that should be running in the mid to low 10's.
December 3, 2014 .


Ironman Race @ State Capitol Raceway - November 15, 2014

The weather held off and the race was completed, cold weather did not deter the racers. There was a full field for all classes and competition was very good. PHOTOS (new camera!)
Nov. 18, 2014

Baton Rouge S.M.A.R.T. Program

The S.M.A.R.T. Program has been in existence since December 2003, when it was recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization grew from an idea inside the Bracket Masters Racing Team. Due to IRS rules and the by-laws of Bracket Masters Racing Team that existed at the time, the original submission to the IRS was denied. After a reorganization and re-submission, the Baton Rouge SMART Program was born. Baton Rouge SMART Program is not a part of any other organization.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for, Students Managing Automotive Research Technology. The purpose of the organization is to help students of average grades or students that show good aptitude for automotive, or any technical discipline, that would like to enter college or technical school.

During the past 11 years, Baton Rouge SMART has helped several students from the Glen Oaks area, and other Baton Rouge area schools, to enter college and technical school. We normally work with Guidance Consulars to help students that normally would not get any scholarship help due to grade point problems.

At this point, there are only two members of Baton Rouge SMART Program, President: Warren Birkett and Secretary: Oliver A. Holbert, Jr..

Support for the program has come from local city councilmen and councilwomen and local businesses, such as, banks, machine shops, parts stores, automotive repair shops and individuals. All donations are tax deductible.
Nov. 18, 2014

Mini Car Show For Glen Oaks Auto Tech and Welding Students - Nov. 12, 2014

Instant Results! Working on a suggestion by Mr. Beathley, the group put a two car, car show on for the kids. Mr. Tarrus Jones showed his Nova and Mr. Skip showed his Camaro. An added bonus was, Mr. Ray O'Conner came with three of his Jr. Dragsters. The kids and instructors were impressed. The Jr. Dragster drivers were on hand to talk about their cars.

Mr. Baker invited the Welding class and instructor to come over and Bracket Masters President, Mr. Tarrus Jones, provided Pizza for all the kids. That was a bigger hit than the cars!

During the afternoon, after talking with Mr. Baker, Mr. Ray O'Conner agreed to furnish a vehicle for the program to work on. He also agreed ed to swap out that car periodically so the kids will have something fresh to work on as they progress in the program. Photos 1     Photos 2

November 18, 2014


Combined Organizations Visit Glen Oaks High School Auto Tech Program

Representatives of Bracket Masters Racing Team, Baton Rouge SMART Program & Drag Race Co-Op, LTD. visited the new Auto Tech Program at Glen Oaks High School on November 11, 2014 to talk with the new instructor, Mr. Benjamin Baker.

Mr. Baker listed several areas that the organizations could help his program and the students. Mentoring is one big area that we can help in immediately. The program could use a old or new vehicle for the kids to practice working on. He is also looking for support from the community.

Tarrus Jones, Sr. of Bracket Masters Racing Team, Warren Birkett and Mr. Skip Holbert, of Baton Rouge SMART Program and Mr. Willie Beathley of Drag Race Co-Op, LTD. met with Mr. Baker.
Nov. 18, 2014


Video: Battle On The Bayou - Video -
11-1-14 & 11-2-14:

Saturday - Video, various cars

Sunday - Video, Mr. Skip & Silas Rogers, Jr.


Road Too The Final Four!

Saturday was the coldest day of this Fall season. We got up with temps. in the 30's and it did not get over about 65 degrees all day. I changed the jets to try to make sure I did not run too lean. All classes were restricted to 1/8 mile racing due to gusty wind and cold. The huge head wind would turn to a cross wind at various times. We had been running low 5.70's on Friday night but today we were down in the mid 5.60's after the jet change. I probably could have gone up a couple of more steps, but everything was great right there and we did not have any more time trials.

We won round one and I was happy, happy! There were so many cars that it took a very long time to get back to us, and around 8:30pm, a car exploded an engine at the top end and the crew could not get it cleaned in a reasonable amount of time. The track decided to "postpone" the race until the next day, Sunday, and they gave the racer that could not come back some choices for the future. PHOTOS FROM Saturday 11-1-14

They had already paired the racers in Top Doorslammer and that resulted in some competition bye runs on Sunday in Top Doorslammer. We were not lucky enough to get a bye, but we prevailed anyway as "Outlaw" took out our next door neighbor, a very quick flat black Camaro that had dialed-in 5.18. Outlaw cut a .010 light and ran a 5.632 on a 5.63 to move into round three. This was our first time getting past round two in Top Doorslammer! It also earned us a bye in the next round!

In round 4 (final-four), we were paired with Silas Rogers, Jr., in his little black S10 truck. Junior cut down the tree with a .004 RT and ran 5.20 on a 5.19 dial and took us out. Outlaw had a .013 RT and run 5.663 on a 5.63 dial-in. Silas Jr. went on to win Top Doorslammer by taking out the #1 qualifier in the final! Congratulations Junior! We got a check and a $$$ sticker!

PHOTOS From Sunday 11-2-14

November 4, 2014

Back On Track!

After vacation, anniversary and some doctors visits, I was able to get in some much awaited track time. Friday evening, Kevin "Outlaw" Gray met me at State Capitol Raceway to get ready for the annual "Battle On The Bayou" race. My crew chief, Mrs. Barbara, was fighting a upper respiratory infection and was not feeling well.

We got the car ready for racing, but the last time it was at the track was in the middle of June when it was very hot. We still had our jets in the carburetor set up for Summer. The car came out of the trailer with a 1/4 mile pass of 9..125 @ 145 MPH. Not bad for such a long layoff.

We had some issues with our rear suspension on our 2nd pass and Kevin had to get out of it right after the 1/8 mile. We also noted that the car was holding the front left wheel off the ground for about 330 ft. after the launch. I had reset the right wheelie bar during the layoff, but noted that I would reset the left front shock only after we made a couple of passes. The rear end problem had nothing to do with those adjustments. Kevin jacked up the car and we found 3 loose locking bolts on the diagonal link. After tightening them, we made a 3rd time trial. It was an excellent run, clicking off a 9.051 @ 147 MPH. The car went straight down the track with no rear end movement. We adjusted the left front shock by tightening it up by a 1/4 turn (Koni continual adjustable shocks).

We decided to try our luck in Super Pro Money eliminations. We were back to racing in the 1/8 mile, which would be the distance for Top Doorslammer during the "Battle". We won rounds one and two and got a buy into the semi-finals. We dialed a 5.71 and broke out with a 5.706 @ 118.9 MPH. We were ready for Saturday!
November 2, 2014


Happy Birthday!/Happy Anniversary!

Skip & Barbara celebrated 29 years of wonderful marriage on Skip's 76th birthday, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. We were joined by many of our family members and a few friends. There were many phone calls from Skip's children, who are all out of state, and from family members & friends from near and far. PHOTOS
OCT. 22, 2014

Great Vacation!

Orlando, FL was our destination for this well deserved get-away. We met my oldest boy, Oliver III and his wife, Chris, who flew in from Maryland, and shared a two bedroom suite at the Westgate Resort, not far from Sea World and Disney-world. We did not go to any of theme parks as we have been to most of the parks in the area. We did go to a show, a Vampire Pirate dinner show, and enjoyed the presentation. As usual, we did a lot of shopping. We walked all over two of the Outlet Malls and my son and wife went to two of the large regular malls in the area and one outlet mall.

We traveled to my hometown of Daytona Beach, FL to show my son where I was born. It was his first trip there since he was a baby. We also visited with my sister, Bea Bea, in Palm Coast, FL, about 30 miles away from D. B., FL.

While in Daytona Beach, we toured the home of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), founder of Bethune-Cookman College (now Bethune-Cookman University). This is where my Mother and Father graduated.

Mrs. Bethune took my father out of a Miami, FL orphanage and put him in grade school in Daytona Beach back around 1925. She also did the same thing for my aunt and uncle who were in that same facility.

My father, Oliver A. Holbert, Sr. went on to become a police lieutenant, a deputy sheriff and after 24 years of law enforcement, he retired, completed his degree at BCC, and became a high school History teacher. He accomplished many, many more things during his lifetime which would take a book to write about.

My uncle, Mr. Edward Rodriquez, went on to get his degree from Bethune-Cookman College and his Masters from Morehouse University in Atlanta. Uncle Rod served in the Red Cross during WW-II. He returned to BCC and taught History and became the 1st Curator of the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Museum, the home of Mrs. Bethune.

My aunt, Erma Rodriquez, also graduated from BCC, went into the Woman's Army Corps (WAC), during the war and after her discharge she got her Masters from Iowa State University. She taught History at Southern University in Baton Rouge and returned to BCC later to teach and retire from BCC.

The stories of my father, uncle Rod and aunt Erma proves, it is not where you come from, it is what you do with your lives and opportunities. All of them eventually ended up as teachers (all had degrees in History) and taught at various levels from high school to college.

My mother, Sarah N. Holbert, also graduated from BCC and became a business woman, owning several businesses. She went back to school and got her Masters from Columbia University in New York City and then became a 4th grade teacher. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune spoke at my mothers funeral in 1953.

I attended Keyser Lab. School from grade 1-6 on the campus of Bethune-Cookman College. I graduated from Campbell High School and joined the Navy a few days after graduation and stayed in the Navy for 24 years. While in the Navy, I earned my Associated Degree from Pensacola Jr. College in 1974. I have lived a very blessed life and accomplished many things that I wanted to do. My "Bucket List" is very, very, short.

All in all, we had a very, very good vacation. Good weather for the 8 days we were gone and no problems with anything. All of us us arrived back home safely. Barbara drove the whole trip, driving all the way back, 702 miles in one shot, in just under 10.5 hrs, including food and fuel stops! This was the first time we had this car (Cadillac XTS, V6, 304 HP) on the road and it got almost 30 MPG, fully loaded, on the road. Our gas expense, for mid-grade fuel, was just under $225 for 1886 miles from Baton Rouge and back.

I played Navigator and worked the Cadillac User Experience Navigation System (CUE). It was quite an experience (pun intended). Since almost everything is controlled by the CUE system and by the Driver Information Center (DIC) in the steering wheel and the dashboard.

You almost need two people to work everything. We have had the car for over 1.5 years and we had the owners manual, the CUE instruction manual and the iPad that came with the car, trying to get around Orlando. Yes, you read it right, we were given an iPad with the car with pre-loaded instruction and tutorials on how to work the CUE system.

The CUE system and DIC change radio stations and show different parameters about the car on the dashboard. Speaking of the dashboard, you have your choice of three different layouts on the digital HD screen that serves as a dashboard in front of the driver. Each of these layouts have many choices of what appears in front of the driver. Somewhere, there is a control that lets each driver save his/her dash layout, just like the memory seat adjustment. I could write a lot about that. We have been back to the dealership three times to get the seats, steering wheel and mirrors adjusted correct and saved for each of us.

Driving and navigating this car is an adventure. We also have On-Star, which we use to get us out of trouble when we can't make the navigation system work the way we want it too (or to save time).

The voice commands work great! Voice control of the navigation system, the Driver Information System and On-Star all work very well, this includes hands free phone calls. The car has its own phone number so you can make and receive calls, using On-Star, even if you don't have a cell phone (this cost extra for minutes after the first 200 minutes or 1 year, whichever comes 1st.).

We learned a lot during this trip. SriusXM Radio is also great, especially if you are listening to a football game over a lot of miles. Of course, all of this comes at a very high cost over the months of subscriptions for all the available services. The Nav. system does not have any subscription cost associated with it after the initial cost.

The 2013 XTS is a great car, we love it! This is our 3rd car with built-in Nav. system so we have experience with it. Our 2011 Lexus RX 350 had an excellent Nav. System that did not do as much as the Cadillac CUE system but it was much easier to operate. Our 2009 Cadillac CTS had Nav. which was much easier to operate also. I wish Cadillac had continued with the system in the 2009 CTS, which was better than the 2011 Lexus system.
Oct. 12, 2014 (Happy Birthday Houston Hawkins!!!)


Good Cars At State Capitol Raceway Friday Night

I ventured out to the track last Friday night to get a look at the cars preparing for the big grudge race shootout on Saturday. I was not able to attend so I was looking for a preview on Friday night. I got to see three Pro-Mods test, Earl Folse, Bullet and the team with the orange GTO. While I was there, the GTO was the only one to get down the track without blowing away the tires. In the few times I have observed that car, they always seen to have their act together and get down the track, no matter what the conditions. I was impressed.

Several of the cars from the Drag Race Co-Op group were on hand to test their cars. They made some very impressive runs.

I spent most of the night talking with Joe Scott and "Rambo" of the Bayou Boyz Racing team.


This weekend looks like it will be a good race. The Night of Fire , October 3-4 at State Capitol Raceway is normally a good show.

Looking at the racing dates for the coming few weeks, I will probably try to make it out on Oct. 17-19th for the Fall Bracket Brawl for that high $$$$$ payout race at State Capitol Raceway.
Oct. 1, 2014.

Good Weather Ahead!

Looks like the Summer is officially over and the weather is changing right on schedule. Today the high was 89 degrees F, but it was very low humidity and very comfortable. The days ahead promise to be more of the same.

Bracket Masters Racing Team is sponsoring a race on November 22, 2014 at State Capitol Raceway that will feature a GURANTEED PURSE for Super Pro and Footbrake classes! The race will be called the "Turkey Day Shootout".

Looking at my planned family events and other factors, that will probably be the next time I venture to the track. Maybe one test & tune before the race, but those are my plans for now.



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