Site Contents


(Start of Skip's Book)

Photo Gallery
Update 11/27/08

Travel & Vacations (Later)

Yahoo Finance Quotes/News


(Skip & Barbara)

Oliver, III


Adrien (Cynthia)

Catherine (Oliver)

Crystal (Sarah)

Marcus (Glenn)

Tyler (Larry)

Barbara (Melinda)


Skip's Racing
Summer 2008

Sept. 30, 2008 -

Glend McDonald, BMRT Honorary Member, past Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, and who was a valuable member in good standing of Bracket Masters for eight years, passed away on Monday, Sept. 29, 2008, after having a motorcycle accident.

Funeral Services will he held at Hall Davis & Sons Funeral Service, 9348 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, LA.,
11:00 am, Wednesday,
Oct. 8, 2008.

The Team would like to offer their condolences to the family and we are praying, especially for Glend Jr., for God' Love, Strength, Blessings and Harmony in this time of grief. (Glend's Page)

The Economy! My stock that I purchased last week had gained 6 points. It dropped down to a 2 point gain over 4 days of trading. Monday (Dow down 777 points) I lost 4 points, so I am down a total of 2 points. Today, so far, I have gained almost one point, with the Dow up over 200 points. The last few minutes of trading will be the real test. At the end of the day, it was up to the level where I first purchased it (Dow was up 485)!

We all have our opinion about the "Bailout". Contrary to what my son, the stock broker says, I am glad "that version" failed. Now Congress should get their behinds back to Washington and devise a real plan, write a good bill, with appropriate checks and balances, and make it happen.

If someone gave an official 7 million dollars (I cannot comprehend 700 billion) and said, go fix a problem, and, oh bye the way, do whatever it takes, any way you see fit, and nobody will be able to question your actions or place any blame on ANYTHING you do (no convictions can take place), what do you think will happen to some of that money? I know they took that out of the final bill, but look at how stupid that was, and there were many other consequences that we just don't know about if that bill. The next "Rescue" should be much better, and it should help many of the Main Street people.

I listened to a lot of Wall Street people, analyst, financial news reporters and everyday people today. I also heard from many Congressmen and Congresswomen, both that voted for and against the Bailout, and all of them agree something must be done, but not the Paulson Bill (or Bush Plan) in the current format.

Sept. 29, 2008 - Long time friend, Glend McDonald, is on life support after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident yesterday evening. Barbara and I are praying for Little Glend and his family.

Sept. 28, 2008 - Silas Rogers Nova ran Friday night, with Jr. driving, and ran quicker than they had at any time in the past. He had a best time of 9.59 sec.. The best to date had been, 9.67 sec.. I expect this engine to go much quicker. It made more horses and torque than my 540 on the dyno, and that was before the new CNC heads that we just installed.

Sept. 24, 2008 - My purchase of a Louisiana Fortune 500 stock has done OK with all the ups and downs, along with the uncertainty of the market. Since gaining 6 points, it has given back 1 of those points.

I dropped in on the painter, unannounced, today. The car is sanded but not ready to paint. The painter is not working on the car at all. He is doing a very large, non-automotive, project and has put everything else on the back burner (turned down real low).

I started back to work on the workbench and I now have one drawer in place. It actually slides in and out real well. I tried to make the drawer using a "sliding dovetail" joint. That is my last attempt at that. The next drawer will be a simple "rabbit" glue joint. After the drawer, I only have the two doors and the top left.

Maybe by the time I finish the workbench and get the engine assembled, the car may make it into the paint booth. Good thing about being retired, I have lots of time. The weather is getting to the time of year that I love in Louisiana. Fall, with the low humidity and mild temps.

The work on the house of installing a new roof, new insulation in the attic and the inside repairs where our hurricane damages occurred, should start shortly. We have finished with the adjuster and we have contracted with a local builder that has done work for us in the past. This contractor has always done very good work for us so we are happy to have them. I have always talked about Barbara having us over insured. This time it has really paid off!

Sept. 19, 2008 - Silas Rogers went to the track tonight and ran the re-built 540. It ran real good. Silas Jr. red-lighted in the second round and ran 9.92 on a 9.98 dial-in.

Took my own advice and purchased some stock before the market opened Friday, it went up 6 points today! Maybe I should be like the guy in the auction commercial, and sell it now!

Sept. 17, 2008 - My losses are nothing compared to the people in Galveston, TX. Our prayers are with them as they recover.

We have had several good things happen since getting our power back. The insurance adjustor came and did his assessment. We are waiting on the results. They will replace the whole roof, along with all of the sheet rock that was wet and the insulation in the attic that got wet. We got a FEMA Blue Roof on the house yesterday. This roof may be on for a while. Roofing contractors are booked up for months. Cox restored our cable service yesterday.

Funny thing happened while we had no cable service. We discovered that we can get HD Digital service over our indoor antenna, if we are watching a new TV with a digital converter. Our new 42" flat screen TV, with digital converter found 12 digital channels in our area (using auto program), enough to see the Saints lose in HD, and the Jets and Cleveland to lose. All of which I was pulling for. The Digital HD picture over the indoor antenna was as good as the signal we get over cable. The only problem is, no ESPN, NFL Network or CNBC.

I talked to the painter. They are about to ramp back up, after regaining power in his shop. I should have the car back shortly.

With all the work that has to be done on the house, I may not get to work on the engine any time soon. I am having a hard time getting back into a regular routine, including time to update the computer web sites.

How is your 401K doing? Don't panic! Now may be the time to go bottom fishing (DOW is down over 750 points in three trading days). Your monthly allotment to purchase shares will buy a lot more shares at the lower prices. I learned that from my stockbroker son.

Sept. 13, 2008 - Yea!!! We have telephone and DSL service, but no cable yet.

Last night hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast of East Texas and Western Louisiana. There is massive flooding and some loss of life. I also heard about a train wreck in California, also with loss of many lives, and there are still people trapped in some of the train cars. Please Pray For All Of These People and their families!

Sept. 12, 2008 - My oil pump arrived, and now I can put the pan back on the engine. I have toyed with the thought of changing pistons and cam to make this a pump gas engine. But after thinking about it for an instant, I decided to keep it like it is and make a few 8 second passes. I can always build a cheap pump gas 468 BBC and go bracket racing while still running in the mid 10's or low elevens.

Sept. 11, 2008 - A day to remember the good people that lost their lives in the 911 tragedies that occurred in New York, Pennsylvania & Washington, D. C.. God Bless Their Souls.

Sept. 10, 2008 - My power has returned, but my internet service is out, along with my telephone (I am on DSL for internet service), and my cable is still out. So, I would not have internet no matter what!

We had a lot of wind damage to the roof of our home, and got some water into several of the rooms on the front part of the house. We have the infamous "Blue Tarp" on the top, and we are waiting on the FEMA "Blue Roof Program" to install a temp. roof on the front of the house. Our insurance adjuster has talked with us, but has not made it to our neighborhood yet. The main electrical connection to the house was pulled down and several cables snapped. The workshop did not sustain any damage!

The generator ran for 10 days without any trouble while providing power to all the lights, the ceiling fans, several small fans, 4 TV's, computer, printer and the gas hot water heater controls. One of the more important items was the sewage pump.

Next time I will purchase a small window A/C unit. Several of my neighbors, with generators, did this. The transfer switch that we installed after Katrina was an excellent purchase. It allowed us to power everything that we wanted to run without any extension cords. We were limited to the size of the generator, and could not run anything that required 220 volts. My generator is 5000 Watts continuous power. I was very pleased with the setup. Barbara wants a larger generator that will run the A/C for the whole house! If I know my wife, we will have it shortly.

The Coleman generator, with B & S engine, is about 7-8 years old and we had never run it that long. I learned a valuable lesson. The generator has an automatic shutdown when the oil level gets down to half on the dipstick. Twice it stopped for no good reason and I went out and checked the oil and gas and filled the crankcase before starting it again. Both times it ran without any problem. A neighbor told me about the automatic shutdown. I use Mobil One oil in my generator and I changed oil once during the 10 day period, and after the final shutdown. I am ready for Hurricane Ike and the remainder of this hurricane season!

We would like to thank the electricians from Pike Electric, in Middle Tennessee, for the fine work that did in replacing two broken electrical poles and removing the trees from the power lines in our back yard to restore our electricity. We were in the area that had an estimate of 14-21 days, from Sept. 4th, to have our power returned. We got it back in 6 days from the estimate (10 days total).

Aug. 31, 2008 - Ready for the hurricane!

Hurricane Gustav is on the way! Pray for the People of the Gulf Coast.

Tracking Gustav 1

Gustav Track 2

Aug. 29, 2008 - Removed the pan on the transmission. There are no indications of any type of problem. No metal flakes or pieces. The oil looked very good. The transmission only had 12 runs since the case was re-certified by TCI. TCI also reconditioned the trans. with all new high $$ steels and clutches in April of 2006. I put the pan back on and will use the trans. as is. No engine oil pump yet.

Aug. 28, 2008 - I have re-ringed the engine. All I need now for the bottom end is delivery of a new HV oil pump. It was ordered a week ago and should be here any day.

We have all of our supplies for the coming hurricane season. The cars and truck are full of fuel, the generator is ready to go and we have extra food, water, fuel and batteries. All we can do now is pray that it misses Louisiana.

Yesterday morning we started up Silas' 540. Sounds very strong. He and I are very happy with the outcome of this project.

August 26, 2008 - Alvin removed two valves from the new head to inspect the seats and the valves themselves. All of the valves looked very good in the old head. Alvin could see some signs of water leakage into three of the cylinders under the new head, and one of the new valve faces showed some rust. The seats of the valves and the heads were perfect.

We suspect the leakage is from re-using the MLS head gaskets during the last rebuild. The head gasket under the old head was never removed from before the dyno testing. I was instructed on how to prepare the MLS head gasket for re-use and followed the instructions. That is the last (and first) time that I will re-use a head gasket.

We also found indication that #8 cylinder is running very lean. Number 1 cylinder is also lean, but not as lean as #8. This has been a problem with this engine since I switched to the dominator/demon carbs. When the engine was built, I had a BG Gold Claw RS 775 CFM carb (like a 4150 Holley) on there and the distribution was great. I upgraded that carb to a 1025 CFM and still had good distribution. This has not been the case with either the Holley HP 1150 Modular Dominator or the BG King Demon 1090. I plan to try some form of stagger jetting to try to correct the problem.

I purchased the new rings and a new set of MLS head gaskets. I had to go back and look at my old 2005/2006 building notes to determine that I have two different thickness head gaskets. The left bank (1-3-5-7) has a .041" thick gasket and the other side, where the new head is, has a .051" gasket. This was done to compensate for imperfections in the block deck and the chamber volume of the two heads. The new head is where the leaks occurred. We also found out the new head has intake valves that are made of a different material, where the other side has nice shiny stainless steel valves.

Tomorrow I will start filing rings and remove the pistons one at a time and re-ring the engine.

I put all the new Dart push rod guides on both heads. They have not been torqued or aligned. After they are aligned, Dart recommends marking them so they always go back into the same spot.

August 25th, later - I pulled both heads and decided to re-ring the engine. I am too close to take a chance on $130 worth of rings. All but two of the cylinder walls looked good. The other two needed some Scotch Brite to clean them up. Now all of the cylinders look good and so does everything else.

The painter said it will be, "a little later"... I told him to take his time. I don't need the car in my way right now anyway, while I do the engine.

August 25, 2008 - I accomplished so much this weekend I am just amazed! We got the engine back in Silas's car and it is ready to start, as soon as we put the fluids into the engine and trans. Silas is out of town until Friday, but his brother, Leo, will help me start it and then they can make the car show. This was not an easy task. We ran into many problems, but solved all of them, one by one. Thank God!

I took the pan off of my engine (555 CID BBC) and inspected #4 rod bearing. It is perfect (8 runs + 13 dyno pulls). The inside of the engine was in great shape. No metal anywhere, except on the screen at the inlet to the oil filter, there were a very, very few metal flakes and just a little thread material from the white towels that I use to wipe things during assembly. I had one broken plug (on outside) on #3 cylinder and when I pulled it, most likely from the accident, it was very rusty on the end of the plug. The engine has been sitting with the spring tension taken off for almost two years (valves closed and plugs tight). I am going to pull the oldest of the two heads, since it has not been off since before the dyno testing. The other head is new, and was put on after the engine went to the dyno shop (It had been repaired and leaked after a full day of dyno testing. It could not be repaired by DART and I purchased a new one). I want to see what the cylinder walls look like.

The painter is not done with the car that was suppose to take only a week and a half. I knew better when I sent it. It is working out in my favor, gives me one more check to help pay for it.

August 22, 2008 - Most of the week has been spent assembling Silas' engine. We are finally ready to put the engine back into the car.

We had to purchase all new rockers and push rods. This was after I had set all the valve lashes using the old rockers and push rods. The old aluminum roller rockers would not clear the new stud-girdle. This proved to be partially caused by the length of the push rods.

Those new Dart adjustable push rod guides are very good. They are also very time consuming to set correctly. I purchased a set for my engine after setting them on Silas' engine. They allow you to get the roller on the rocker right in the center of the valve stem (side-to-side) without grinding or trying to bend the fixed push rod guide. (I can foresee some racers losing some "pinch nuts" off of those guides if you don't follow the directions).

I had some real screw-ups during this adventure. First thing, when putting the poly-locks on the head, I put all the short ones where the long ones belonged and the long ones in the wrong place and then called Dart to tell them they had not sent any short poly-locks! I finally discovered my error when I had to change all the push rods because the old push rods were 0.150" too long. My second mistake was during the push rod checking process. I removed two springs on #1 cylinder and put checking springs on. When I tried to put the regular spring back on, I forgot to make sure the valve was in the shut position (put air in the spark plug hole with the piston at TDC) and I spent over an hour trying to get the locks back on the valve stem, but to no avail. After sleeping on it, I finally tried it with the valve shut and the locks slipped right in place. It only took a few minutes to get the second spring back on. I don't do this enough to remember everything.

This time, while my car is in the paint shop, was suppose to be for finishing the shop workbench and inspecting my engine and transmission. I also have the trailer to finish. Maybe next week I will put "Skip" at the top of my priority list...

August 15, 2008 - Worked on getting the small trailer ready to paint. Grinding, sanding and priming. Tomorrow we will complete assembly of Silas's engine and I hope to get it back into the car. I am also meeting with a graphics designer to work on the logo for the site and the car. How about Michael Phelps Olympic performance!

August 14, 2008 - I have been very busy (so busy I forgot the date) helping Silas Rogers get his car ready for the Old School Car Show which will take place the last Sunday in this month, 8/31/08, in Clinton, LA.. Silas is really pumped up about this show and wants to win a trophy for his car.

Other than that, I have been keeping an eye on the progress of my car at the paint shop. It is almost ready to paint. We had to wait on the new hood to come in and it is beautiful! Harwood makes some real nice fiberglass pieces, which have strength and they are relatively light. We had to modify my attachment points and some of the sheet metal to get it to fit. The previous owner had added extra aluminum sheet metal under the old hood to provide attachment points, which I cannot use.

While talking to Van Johnson about installing my Lexan, he turned me on to a new (too me) product called "Rivet Nuts". They provide an attachment point for screws and take the place of using "Pop Rivets". With these, you can remove a panel, or in my case, the Lexan, whenever you want, and it can be screwed back on very easy. The tool is almost like a pop rivet gun, and the action to insert the rivet nut is the same, but you end up with a threaded insert. There are many sizes to choose from for different installations. I am going to use them to put a removable panel under and over my fuel pump and filter in the trunk. It will let me change the filter and service the pump without having to drill out pop rivets. One word of caution, if Mr. Johnson uses it, it has to be expensive! The size rivet nuts that I am going to use are $25.00 per 100, and you have to purchase the screws on top of that, $3.80 per 100. A kit with tool and 75 assorted rivet nuts, 5 different sizes and no screws, is approximately $75-90, according to where you purchase it.

I put my small trailer in the shop and changed out most of the running lights and tail lights. I added some reflectors and serviced all 4 hubs. I now have all new bearings and all of my lights are bright and the signals work excellent. Now I will paint the small trailer. After that, I will turn my attention to the large trailer, servicing those hubs and then give it a good washing to get the scum off of the outside from sitting up for almost two years.

I am trying to design a new logo for my "Mr. Skip" web site and to go on the car. I have a few ideas but nothing solid yet. I stopped by Central Graphics and talked to them, but they don't do art work from scratch. When I get the design and some graphics that can be put on the computer, they will produce the logo and put it on the car and trailer. I picked out some real nice flames for the new paint job. It is going to be different, like nothing else around Baton Rouge.

Barbara and I plan to have a Blessing & Dedication for the workshop on Sunday, August 31, 2008. I hope the car is back by then so it can be blessed for the upcoming testing and return to the track. That is the day of the car show and, the first big IHRA 3 day race at State Capitol Raceway.

August 6, 2008 - Today is the big day for Camaro lovers like me. The 2010, Generation 5, model will be shown on CNBC and on the Chevrolet web site. GM announced the production date of, Feb. 16, 2009 as the day we will be able to purchase them. It will be called a 2010 model.

That's me inside the 2010 Camaro! Mine will be a LT, 300 HP, V-6, VVT, DI in Pearl White with Tan interior!

Cartoon - Camaro 2010

I almost purchased a CTS back in February, with the 300 HP DI V6 engine. This Camaro has the exact same engine, in a lighter body, and will get an EPA 26 MPG on the highway using regular gas. I am waiting to place my order. This time I will get exactly the options I want (it may be 2010 before I take delivery).

Those of you that want to drive a 2010 6.2 L V8 BBC SS Camaro have a choice of 2 engines, ranging in HP from 395 to 422, using premium gas.

My first Camaro was a 1969 Z28, green with a pure white vinyl interior. In street trim, it ran 11.35 @ 116 MPH. I have owned two 1967 models, both of which were racecars, with engines ranging from 350 CID Small Block to 555 CID BBC. They have run times from 10.60 to 9.15 sec. My next 1967 Camaro creation should be better, quicker, faster and safer than the last one.

August 5, 2008 - The car is in the paint shop, which is about 10 min. from my house, and within two hours of dropping it off, 3 people were working on it. The front cap comes off (which I did not know). I must purchase a new hood, since the old one is cracked and beyond repair. The new hood will be a 6" Outlaw Cowl Induction unit from Harwood.
Photos at Paint Shop

Oh, bye the way, the Men's Day program was one of the best programs that they have had at Shiloh. Everyone had a great time, and I am relieved that it's over!

July 30, 2008 - I am ready to send the car to the painter. The windows have been removed and I have covered all the items that I don't want any over spray to touch.

While the car is gone I will finish the workbench, inspect the engine and transmission oil pans. If I find anything in the transmission pan I may take it down to Raceland, LA and let Earl Folse look it over in his transmission shop. If there is anything wrong in the engine, I will overhaul it myself.

I don't expect to find anything wrong in the engine. The engine, transmission and converter only had 8 passes, and the engine was running when the safety crew got to me after the wreck. The converter failed after I sold it, so there may be an issue with the transmission.

July 25, 2008 -Accomplished a lot on the electrical system. I removed the old power cable from rear to front, which was run through the passenger compartment of the car. I did not like that arrangement. That cable was too short to route it under the car, so I took it out.

That cable was made of red, fine stranded, 0/1 welding cable. It is very flexible and light. I took that cable and cut it into lengths to connect the two batteries in parallel and to hook up my new charging posts and on-off switch at the rear of the car. I made several ground connections with this same cable, after painting the ground cables black. So now I have all red positive (+) cables in the trunk and all black (-) ground cables.

If you have ever tried to find that same type of cable and the ring connectors (lugs) that go on the ends, you know what a job that is. The bottom line is, go to your local welding supply outlet, not the big box stores or even the electrical supply houses. All those other places sell is very heavy, large stranded, heavy, stiff, house cable.The rating and size are correct, but it is not suited for the race car. The only color available was black, so I have a black power lead going from the on-off switch to the starter relay in the front. My electrical system is going to be one of the best (other than Van's system with gold plated connectors). I am satisfied with copper connectors/lugs.

I received my AN fittings today and ran the by-pass and vent for the fuel cell. I purchased a hose cutter, which works excellent, as long as you put one thin wrap of electrical tape on the braid before you cut it. I put 4 fittings on in the time it took to do one, earlier this week.

I started covering the opening where the fuel cell is going to reside. Now that I have my vent and by-pass lines run, I can complete that task. I took all the cables and the fuel cell out of the trunk for the painting. All of the ends of the hoses are capped off.

All I have to do is remove the old Lexan to be ready for the painter.

This has been a very good week.

July 23, 2008 - Spent a lot of time making a list of things to do. The list has over 20 items and that does not include the engine and transmission pan removal and gut check to make sure everything is still OK. That will be done while the car is at the paint shop.

I completed running the fuel line and changed out some of the tie-wraps for hose clamps on the fuel line. Could not complete the bypass and vent. Sonny is on vacation until Friday, and I needed some AN fittings, so I ordered them to be safe. Not sure he has exactly what I need anyway.

I purchased new power cable to go from the trunk up to the front. Rounded up all my electronics, and the new switch panel. Found all the gauges for the dashboard.

Cleaned the complete inside of the car. Removed all the existing wiring, to be replaced with a complete new electrical system. Took all the decals off the outside and removed the glue. Now that it is totally yellow, I am sure I don't want it to be yellow.

I also purchased some sheet metal to cover the fuel cell and the other openings in the trunk. Since I mounted the fuel pump directly behind the right rear tire, it needs to be be protected with some sheet metal also. I purchased some large heavy duty construction paper to make templates for my sheet metal panels.

I went to see the painter. The car will go into the paint shop on Aug. 4th. We decided on the deep blue/purple.

Testing in late October seems to be a good target.

July 21, 2008 - Mounted the fuel pump and connected the short hose from the pump back to the fuel cell. I started to route the #10 fuel line from the front to the rear.

When I removed the old fuel line, I discovered the section that I thought was rubber hose was actually rubber hose covering the copper line. Maybe for protection? Anyway, it's gone now.

Making up hose ends is no fun, especially the cutting part (on braided line). Making the bracket for the fuel pump was fun. I used my welding machine for the first time in about two or three years. I had to make the bracket so that the pump would be lower than the fuel cell outlet. I made it out of 1/2" square tube and 1/2" x1/2" angle iron (yes, I welded, cut and did some grinding inside the shop). The tube went straight up and down and the angle was horizontal at a 45 degree angle to the front of the car. I came out very good (for an amateur).

I had to break one of MY rules and use a 90 degree outlet on the fuel cell. I have been told to stay away from greater than 45 degree turns in the fuel system. This fuel cell has a #12 outlet that goes into the pump/filter. I think #12 line can stand a 90 degree bend! The discharge of the pump is #12, but it goes down to #10 to the front of the car where the regulator is. The outlet of the regulator is #8 to both bowls of the BG King Demon 1090 carb.

Today was a very good day! Maybe because Barbara and I went to Outback Steakhouse and had a wonderful dinner last night. I had the New York Strip, medium well, and she had the Baby back Ribs. My steak was perfect and her ribs were falling off the bone. Barbara and I married on Oct. 20, 1985 and we celebrate each month on the 20th by going out for dinner. It can be any place from McDonald's to Ruth Chris, the place does not matter, just as long as we are with each other. In all those years we have only missed 3-4 months, mostly because of family crisis, but even then, we always try to have a happy 20th!

July 20, 2008 - Started on installation of the new fuel system. Removed some interference and started to build a bracket to hold the fuel pump/filter combo, with bypass.

This is the Pro Star 500 Magna Fuel pump that flows 400 gpm, the same rating as the last pump that was on the other car. and is rebuildable without sending it back to the factory. Rebuild kits are easily available. I hope this one is a good as the last setup that I had.

The fuel pump motor will come up into the trunk area, but the pump will be slightly below the outlet of the fuel cell. I must relocate the right side battery to make room for the pump. The pump will be controlled by a single relay located in the trunk.

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