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Update 9/16/09

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Skip's History
(Start of Skip's Book)


(Skip & Barbara)

Oliver, III


Adrien (Cynthia)

Catherine (Oliver)
1st Great-Grandaughter
Olivia Underwood

Crystal (Sarah)

Marcus (Glenn)

Tyler (Larry)


Myeshia(Melissa) Avery

Good Friend
Preston Johnson

Mr. Skip Racing Summer 09    

Fall 2009
 Spring 09   Winter 2009

Sept. 30, 2009 - Decided to remove the car from the trailer and change the oil and check the compression. All the cylinders are within 20 psi of each other, except #2, which is about 10 psi above the highest one and 33 above the lowest cylinder. The oil looked good and the pan magnet only had goop from the assembly lube on it. Nothing metallic at all.

The front 6 plugs were soot black, after letting the engine idle to warm up for the compression check, but #7 & 8 were just normal looking. I checked the plug wire ohms and both were right where MSD recommended (40-80 ohms/ft). Fuel distribution has always been a problem with this engine. I will have to check the plugs at the end of an all out pass to get a real reading. Right now, I will not worry about it (except I will go down two jet sizes in the front).

Sept. 27, 2009 - Things kind of went as I expected, but not what I wanted. Due to a full track oil down, I only got to make two passes, one a part throttle to about the 330' mark, and the other to the 1/8 mile mark. The best time in the all out 1/8 mile run was a very dissappointing 6.219 @ 111 MPH. Photos.

When drivers have mechanical problems after leaving the line, they should pull over and stop to keep from oiling down the whole track. It makes the clean-up shorter. The track has personnel to help you get the car off the track, and to limit the spilling of fluids (water, oil, trans. fluid or rear end oil).

After talking to Houston and Silas, I decided to make a few changes to my starting line RPM and my shift point. I am leaving at 3500 RPM and shifting at 6800 RPM. The stall of the converter is close to 5700 RPM. I will increase the starting line RPM in 500 RPM increments until I reach about 5500, and increase the shift RPM until the car slows down, or I reach about 7400 RPM (just a number I picked that has no basis).

We plan on checking everything under the hood, tighten a few bolts, change the oil and the gasket under the distributor and take it out and continue our testing this coming weekend.

Sept. 25, 2009 - Spent the last two days working on Travis' new race car's engine. He had a intake manfold leak, getting water into #7 cylinder.

I learned a lot by helping to troubleshoot the problem. Travis purchased a tool that put pressure on the water system to allow isolating the source of the leak. It was coming from a broked manifold gasket between the back head water passage and #7 intake.

We replaced the intake gasket and started the engine. He is taking the car to the track tonight for testing.

After working all that time, I decided not to go to the track before the Test and Tune on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 @ SCR, gates open at 10:00 am. I need the seat time before I get into competition. Old folks only have so much energy...

Sept. 23, 2009 - Just working around the shop and the house. I painted my small trailer.

I added a new light fixture above the workbench that I constructed and replaced all the T-8 light bulbs in the workshop. When the contractor sprayed in the insulation for the top of the workshop, he got some of it on the tubes and cut the light. Now it is like daylight in the workshop.

I re-arranged the flooring that I had under the car. The old flooring arrangement did not work out, especially when I overhauled of the engine and spilled water and oil all over everything. All of my projects came out very good. Only had to go back to Lowe's once.

I did go to NPRP Sunday for about two hours. I watched the first round of T A/D, T A/F and Top Sportsman. Only a few of my friends had participated and they lost in the first round or failed to qualify before Sunday.

Looks like the weather will continue to be bad on the weekend. My car has been ready to go, in the trailer for a week.

Sept. 18, 2009 - Had Dr. appt. in N. O. today and when we returned the weather was so bad we decided at 2 pm that we would not go to the track no matter what the rest of the day looked like.

Lizzie is celebrating her 18th birthday tomorrow with a big party. I have been assigned to cook Gumbo.

I hope to make it to the finals at No Problem Raceway this Sunday. My good friend, Ed Stuart, called and said he is here for the weekend. Ed runs in Top Sportsman class.

Houston Hawkins called and is trying to set me up to do some engine testing with Southern University in their Science and Engineering programs. I will let everybody know how that comes out.

Sept. 16, 2009 - I really like the new graphics that Jeff at "Central Graphics" designed and applied. It is unique and the car will not be mistaken for any other.
New Graphics 09-16-09   New Graphics - b

The design process is very interesting. I took the car over to Jeff's shop and he took photos of the car and measurements. Then he transferred the measurements and photos of both sides to his computer program. Using the measurements from the rear edge of the door to the back edge of the quarter panel, he laid out the graphics (flames) on the car so I could select the set of flames that I liked. He then proceeded to modify them to make them unique for the car and to cover the space I wanted to cover. This process is a part of the latest "wrap" graphics.

Next time you see the "Red Hot" car hauler, that is a full wrap and it was done by Central Graphics.

The final product looks better than it did on the computer. Jeff has hundreds of different types of graphics to select from. You can custom design your own (as long as it is in a format that Jeff's program will read). You get to see it, and approve it, before it is applied. Price is based on what you select and how much materials he has to use.

It normally would have taken about 4-5 working days for the complete process but my engine rebuild took place between the photo shoot and the application of the graphics.

Sept. 15, 2009 - Alvin and I had lunch at the Bayou Cafe today (Ox Tail Tuesday). We must have talked for over an hour about everything except racing. Alvin had already had ribs from Deep South, so he didn't eat. Alvin stated that he was getting burned out on talking about racing and needed a change of pace.

Alvin has some unique theories about different things and we sometimes get into deep discussions on his concept of different situations. With his background being so different from mine, we sometimes have to try to put ourselves in the other persons point of view to try to understand each other. Alvin is from a small town in North Louisiana and his father was a mechanic. I am from Daytona Beach, Florida and my parents were in law enforcement and teaching. That, coupled with my Navy submarine experience, can make for two totally different opinions on the same subject.

I love Chevrolets and Alvin loves Fords. Now that is grounds for a very heated discussion on any day. But normally we just have discussions on how to accomplish a certain job or projects. It is so good to have a friend that can talk on a variety of subjects, from religion, politics, world events and automobiles to anything else we can think of.

Today I happened to mention that Reggie Jackson had a problem with his rear main seal in his new engine (Mopar aftermarket) that he's building for his dragster. Reggie and I had discussed how to install the rear main seal housing, which consists of 4 thin strips of rubber that seals the block and seal housing. Reggie and I had never seen anything like it and the very tight tolerances were causing the rubber strips to get cut when the housing was forced into place. Alvin has worked on Fords that have that same arrangement for the rear seal. We got Reggie on the phone and they discussed the correct way to install it and we think Reggie will be able to get some new seal material and put it in without hurting it by using Alvin's instructions.

I am in the process of selecting a new cell phone. Alvin just got a new iPhone 3GS with 32 Gigs of memory. I am down to two selections, the Blackberry Storm and the 16 Gig iPhone 3GS. I am already with AT&T (iPhone), but I want to switch to Verizon (Storm). Right now the iPhone is winning, but I am going to give it a few more weeks before I make my selection (maybe Apple will drop the price again like they did last time).

Sept. 14, 2009 - Spent the day working on the small trailer, starting with the purchase of two tires. I had a problem with the right stop light not working. After fixing all the grounds and removing all the splice connectors, I solved the problem.

I put a little paint on the fenders and the side rails of the trailer. The front has not been touched yet, so it still looks bad. I hope to finish it later this week. Over the weekend I put a coat of wood treatment on all the planks on the trailer. Earlier this year I repacked all the bearings and checked the electric brakes.

I mounted a license plate holder, with a light, on the back of the trailer. Secured all the electrical wires under the trailer and checked all the wiring.

The little custom built open 16 ft. trailer is 16 years old and has seen it's share of parades, Mardi Gras, towing relatives and friends cars and trips to the track all over the South, Texas and Mississippi Valley.

Hope the weather holds up for the weekend. I need some seat time and I need to test the engine and get data for the converter fix (if needed).

The car goes to Central Graphics for new graphics on the rear quarter panels tomorrow.

Sept. 12, 2009 - Oliver & Chris left for their trip back to Maryland today. We had a family circle prayer and thanked the Lord for sending them to visit us and for them to have a safe trip home.

While they were here we really enjoyed their company and the many stories about the family. We did get to go and eat at three of the places that I mentioned so everyone stayed full of good Cajun Food while they were here.

They got to meet many of our friends while they were here, who just happened to drop by. As usual, Mrs. Barbara Holbert was the perfect host. PHOTOS

Now that all the leaks are contained on the car, it can come off of the jack stands. Tuesday it will go to Central Graphics to get the new graphics on the rear quarter panels.

I hope the weather is better for next weekend, which the long term forecast doesn't look too good right now, so I can get some test runs in and especially test the converter.

I am also looking forward to the NHRA Division 4 race at No Problem this coming weekend, Sept. 18-20th. I wanted to enter, but I don't have enough seat time, runs on the engine and general tuning and tweaking to be competitive.

Sept. 11, 2009 - Yesterday Houston stopped by to listen to the newly overhauled engine run. His assessment is, "It will go into the eights!"

My son and wife walked up just as we started up he engine. We were very happy that they got here.

The engine did not leak anything. Looks like we got all of them stopped/contained.

The weekend does not seem to good, weather wise.

Sept. 8, 2009 - My oldest son, Oliver III, and wife Chris, should arrive tomorrow for a four day stay. It will be the first time I have seen them in just over two years.

Barbara and I have a lot planned to entertain them. They love the Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from the Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville, LA (and so do I). We will drive up there and get some.

There will be several trips to Tony's Seafood, they are always fascinated with Tony's. We all love Copeland's on Essen Lane, so we will eat there one night. Parrian's will be one place we will go that they have not been. I know they will enjoy that.

I plan to cook Gumbo one day and maybe some Dirty Rice. We should all gain a few pounds after their visit.

I got 80% of the things I wanted to do completed today. I will not test the car this Friday night, but SCR has a Sat. Test & Tune on the 12th where I can get some daytime testing done. This is great! Gates open at 4 pm (My son leaves early on Sat.).

Congratulations to Texas racer, Shannun T. Walker and his Firebird. First time into the eights! He made two 8 second passes this past Sat. at SCR.

Sept. 7, 2009 - Relaxing with the wife, did a little Bar-B-Que ribs, sausage and hot dogs. Not as good as Alvin's, but they were good.

I have so many things I want to do tomorrow (9/8), I will be busy all day. I must get racing fuel, return a oil pump, warm up the engine and do my comp. & leakdown tests (and hope I fixed the leak).

Sept. 6, 2009 - A day of rest! Yesterday I started it up once and let it warm up and cool down. I removed the new K&N filter and filled in all the cracks around the pan on the front left side. I also removed the oil gauge connection right above the oil filter and put new pieces of teflon tape on all those fittings and put them back on tight. I will let everything sit overnight. I need a diaper...

While that was setting up, I decided to put some polish on the car and polish the wheels. It really looks nice after wash & polish, rubbing it down and cleaning all the windows. I feel real good about the the whole car, especially the engine. My only concern is the converter, and Coan is ready to fix that as soon as I get the data for them.

Everyone, have a nice Labor Day weekend!

Sept. 5, 2009 - The leak on the left side is from the oil pan. There is a very narrow surface on the flange where there are no bolts and there is a cutout for the oil filter. This is where the oil is coming from. I have to remove the oil filter to seal that area. I used a different pan gasket this time and it did not seal in that area.

Last night I went and purchased a new K&N oil filter and put that on. For many years I have used AC Delco oil filters, which work just fine. I thought that may have been the source of the leak, but it is not from the filter. Today, when I started up, I had the same problem with the K&N in place. This leak is double trouble. It leaks down on the header and causes a lot of smoke, plus it drips real close to the path of the left slick.

The engine started up right away today and ran very well. Adjusted the carb and checked the trans fluid with the car idling, in park and sitting level.

Sept. 4, 2009 (at the end of the day) -
The engine started on the first try and ran well. Some leak problems, but nothing that a little "Ultra Gray" or "The Right Stuff" cannot handle. All the seals are holding.

I was really up-tight about starting this engine. I had made so many errors that I thought there was something that I had forgotten. I called Alvin and we discussed a few things before I actually pushed the button. Everything went well and I am really pleased with the way the start-up went.

I put in a different, milder, cam in this engine and you can tell the difference right away. I removed the 4-hole spacer from under the carb and went back to my old open spacer, coupled with my BG 1090 carb. It is nice and crisp and everything sounds good. All the pressures are good.

When I get a good Sunday testing session, I will try the Holley 1150 with 4-hole spacer again and I may put the 4-hole spacer under the BG just to see what difference it will make.

I put a new fuel fuel regulator on because the old one would peg out high sometime. It would come right back down but scare the hell out of me. This happened three times within the last three months, so I ordered another one and it seems to be doing OK today. The old one was a little over 8 years old.

I reset all the valves after the 2nd warm-up. I hope these rings seat as they are suppose to. During the coming week I will do a compression test and leak down, after I warm it up and let it cool down naturally a few more times.

I believe after testing this coming Friday I will be pulling the converter out to get it tighten up for this milder engine. I will be very happy with 9.80's this time around and it may not be that quick. The converter change should get me back under 9.50.

I had been challenging some of my friends to grudge races, but Silas and Van, without their throttle stops, would both kick my behind.

Sept. 4, 2009 (morning) - The goal was to be ready to start by the end of the day. I'm almost there. I want to be started up on Friday, 9/4 because my oldest son and wife are visiting us starting on Sat. That will take all of my time for the next few days.

I hope to test on 9/11 at SCR, if everything goes OK. Wanted to do it tonight, but I will not make it.

I want to thank "Red" Rogers for the help yesterday. It was nice to have someone to talk to and to look over my shoulder.

Sept. 3, 2009 - Celebrated Barbara's 61st birthday on Tuesday, 9/1/09. Last year on her birthday we were watching shingles fly off the house, catching water in pans in the attic, putting tarp on the roof and praying the house would still be standing when hurricane Gustav passed. This year was a lot better. We had a family & friends gathering and sang "Happy Birthday" to Barbara.

I called Stef's and talked to them about the new oil pump that did not fit. But that can be fixed very easy. The major problem with the pump is it catches in the same spot about every 5-7 revolutions. It is a Melling HV oil pump, so I called Melling and they recommended I send it back. I also talked to them about the old oil pump, that only has less than 25 runs on it, and they said to inspect the internals and if it is OK and operates smoothly, use it. That is what I am doing.

I have been using Melling oil pumps for well over 30 years and never had a problem (that I did not cause myself). We think the problem with this one occurred when the pickup tube was welded to the body of the pump.

Leo "Red" Rogers came over this morning and we put the engine back into the car. I dropped the distributor while the engine was still on the engine stand, before the pan was installed. I discovered the old shaft that connects the distributor to the oil pump was not straight. The run-out on the oil pump shaft (old pump) was less than .001" but when the shaft was installed, it wobbled all over the place. The new shaft is very straight and gave no problem during installation. It took Red and me about 2 1/2 hours to put the engine in.

I called and talked to Coan Transmissions & Converters about my torque converter. My 90 day warranty is up shortly. They said not to worry about it. Get some good data from my replay tach and weather station on my next runs and send it to them and they will fix the converter to match my needs. They were very understanding.

Aug. 31, 2009 - My "Upper Room" reading today was, "Looking for Perfection". This reminded me of what I have been trying to get with my engine, and it reminded me how much perfection does not matter.

The reading goes: ... Perfection is a noble goal but one which is ultimately unattainable. It's silly to expect perfection in ourselves, and it is damaging to demand perfection from the people we love - our children, our spouses, our friends. It's better to look for the honest effort, not the perfect job. Jesus knew his followers would make mistakes and even turn against him, yet he never stopped loving them. Like him, we can learn to love imperfect people.

So rather than trying to build the perfect engine, I will seek to build a "good bracket engine". It will not be as good as Bryon Durham's, Steve's, or R-M, which may be close to perfection, but I will still be proud of my engine and I hope it will bring some enjoyment to Barbara and myself without being perfect.

Aug. 28, 2009 - Silas Rogers Jr., driving the Rogers Racing Nova, won the Super-Pro Trophy Friday night at State Capitol Raceway.

Junior was on the tree all night, cutting RT's of .007, .016 and other good Reaction Times below .030. He also had some very good throttle-stop times. He was trying to run 10.90 all night and finally got it dialed-in in the 3rd round when he ran a 10.90 with a zero!

In the final round, he had to run Slim Davis's Mustang of The Bayou Boyz Racing Team. Silas Jr. left first and Slim ran him down, but the big 540 CID BBC came back to catch him as Slim slowed to let Silas Jr. take the stripe with a 10.93 and the win!

After the race, Slim and Silas Jr., who were pitted right next to each other, laughed and talked about the final run. Slim did not know that Silas Jr. was on the throttle-stop and thought when he slowed just after leaving the line, that something was wrong with the Nova. When he saw the Nova come around him on the big end, Slim decided to let Jr. take the stripe and was surprised when the win light came on in Jr's lane. See Video on You Tube.

Daddy Silas Sr., Uncle Leroy and Uncle Leo Rogers were all in the stands cheering Silas Jr. to victory.

Jason Reppond, driving a dragster, beat Jason Adams' 69 Camaro for the win in Super-Pro Money.

Kevin "Outlaw" Gray, also of the Bayou Boyz Racing Team, had his truck running solid nines all night.
Video of Kevin's Time Trial.

8/26/09 -I talked with Gary Carter today, Manager of State Capitol Raceway, and he said the last two Top Doorslammer races will be open to cars running 9.50 sec or quicker. Exceptions were made in the past and this will be the rule for the remanding two races in the series. The next Top Doorslammer race will be held, Sept. 26, 2009.

Aug. 26, 2009- The brothers Rogers, Silas and Red, came over and helped me remove the engine today. Wow! With three people, it really went smooth and quick.

I removed the pan and oil pump, which was bound up on the distributor drive shaft, just as I thought. Reggie Jackson reminded me that this is the 2nd time this same thing has happened to me on this engine.

I removed the rear main thrust bearing and took the mangled rear lower seal half out. Somehow I had managed to screw that up too. I will replace the lower half only. The top half is OK, as far as I can tell. All I need now is the new oil pump and shaft.

Let us pray:
Dear Lord, please help Skip to stop making mistakes on this engine assembly. Please give Skip the knowledge, patience and skill to safely complete this engine and get it running the way he wants it to, or to be satisfied with whatever You provide. With Your help, thank You Lord.

Aug. 25, 2009 - Engine is on the way out again, without the trans. (as Barbara says, "Never say never").

The distributor would not go in because the oil pump is locked up. There is a second problem. The main rear seal is not in correct, which I did not see until I was under the car trying to figure out if I could get the oil pan off without removing the engine. Looks like the 2-piece adaptor was not put on with the care it should have been and it cocked the seal. I will inspect the rear main bearing cap, put in a new rear main seal and put a new oil pump and distributor drive shaft on. The order was placed today. The Hi-vol. pump will have the pickup welded in place.

So much for running this weekend, or next weekend too. Sometimes things just don't work out, but God has a plan.

Aug. 24, 2009 - Worked on the car a good amount yesterday, but none today.

I put water pump and alternator on, which go on as a unit. The converter is bolted up, the starter is on and connected and the headers are on and tight.

I drained the rear end and tried to stop the leak at the drain plug with a new gasket and some thread sealant. I also tried to stop the same type leak from the transmission drain plug and from several of the bolts that go into the trans pan. The crank trigger is on and connected but the damper bolt, along with the gear for the alternator, is not in place yet so the engine can be rotated slowly.

August 22, 2009 - After taking a day off, the engine is in the car. That is the last time I take the engine out without taking the trans out with it. It is a pain to install the engine by itself. The person that designed this engine placement system needs to...

I may invest in another method of securing the engine, which would make it necessary to change the steering system also. The two piece motor plate, with the steering rod going through one of the "ears" on the front motor plate makes this job much tougher than usual.

The engine installation in the car I put into the wall use to take about 30-40 min. to get the whole thing in, by myself. This car takes a good three hours +, and even if someone was helping it would take at least two hours.

It did not help that I forgot to put the flexplate on before I put the engine in. I caught it before I connected the trans, but it was a pain to do it under the car. At least I know I can change a flexplate at the track, without disconnecting anything except the converter and trans, if the need ever came up, say a national event or division meet. Other than that, it would take it home.

I should be ready to start up some time this coming week and do testing on Friday or Sat. I still have a good list of things to do.

August 19, 2009 (later) - Helped neighbor, took a nap, watched TV and some other things so I did not accomplish as much as I wanted on the engine.

I did get the piston-to-valve clearance taken, which was good. I have a lot of room for a larger cam. My only problem is, the heads don't flow any better above .750 lift. My cam is .748/.748 and that is taking advantage of all of the head potential.

I installed the oil pump and put the pan on. I had to disassemble the pan to clean out the area under the screen and behind the trap door. Used loctite on all the screws on the inside of the pan. I think I got all the gaskets and sealant in the right spots to stop leaks. We will see when I start up and warm it up to normal operating temp.. I also got one head torqued down and the other one is ready to be put on.

Tomorrow I should get the other head on, install the damper, put the lifters, install the intake manifold then put the rockers and pushrods in the engine and set the cold valve lash. The flywheel will be last. The engine should be real close to being ready to swing into the car by the end of the day.

August 19, 2009 (8:00 am) - I thought about this all night and decided to remove #7-8 rod caps and inspect them. Some of you probably already figured this out, but I found #7 bearing lower half in the upper position and the lower in the top. Rod bearing #8 was correct. This was the whole problem with no side clearance. After switching the bearing halves, the side clearance was correct with .012" clearance (spec. is .010-012").

The new Clevite 77 High Performance rod bearings do not have the chamfer on one edge any more. They are now cut off where the chamfer use to be and the part number is changed from "H" to "HN" (narrow). Now you have to read the small writing on the back of each bearing half to make sure you are installing it correct. I got 14 out of 16 right. Had I not taken the side clearance readings, I would have had trouble. I had two sets of old readings to compare them with (my journal).

August 18, 2009 - Today my Upper Room reading was about "Journal Keeping". I read the Upper Room daily to help me get started off on the right foot. A big prayer before going to sleep and the Upper Room and a prayer each morning to thank the Lord for getting me up.

Today's reading, about journal keeping, made me think about the years of writing about my racing activities. Before the internet, I kept hand written notebooks. These date back to 1991 when I was racing my first "Masterpiece" with the 360 engine (.040" over 350). That was one sweet engine. I finally pulled it out and put it on the ground and covered it up and built a 383. After a couple of years of running the 383, it expired and I took the heads off and put them on the old 360 and went racing again. I won the Friday night trophy at SCD that night! I finally sold that short block and the new owner blew it up.

It is nice to be able to go back and look at some of the racing adventures that I have had over the years. There have been many, many more good times than bad. Lots of trophies, winning money and just plain old round wins against some to the best racers at our local tracks. You will always find me at the front of the line or close to it (sometimes I get a bye by being up front!) If I can't beat the best, I can't win the money!

Some of my wins have come at out-of-town tracks where Bracket Masters Racing Team was visiting or where Houston Hawkins and I would travel, before there was a racing team. Houston and I would beat the track champion or one of the local good guys and that would make us real happy.

I remember going over to the little 600 ft. track in Theodore, Alabama back in the mid-90's and I went three rounds and Houston went all the way to the finals before losing. Talk about fun, if you think 1/8 mile is short and quick, try 600 feet! We use to see Rose, Wyatt and Big John over there sometimes. When you get back to a 1/4 mile track, you think you are sightseeing it takes so long.

Houston, Marcus and I, along with many of the families of Bracket Masters, traveled to Bud's Creek in Maryland for a race sponsored by the Quartermasters Racing Team. In the first round, Houston and I had to run each other. We drove 1200 miles to run each other. Houston won and went on to the semi-finals when the race was called because of curfew.

Houston and I traveled all over the South going to the 1/8 mile Edmond Hall Baby Pro-Mod heads-up "index" races. I would run in the 6.0 class and Houston would run in the 5.30 class. We never won, but we collected money for getting to the final four a few times.

The 555 engine is making major progress. I have the pistons and cam in the block and the cam is degreed. I'm having some trouble with side clearance of #7-8 rods. I have to figure that out before the oil pump and pan go on.

I found that my timing pointer was off by about 2 degrees (retarded). How did I figure that out? I used a laser beam line tool that I had used when I laid out the walls in the workshop. I had to enlist the help of Barbara to do the marking on the block while I held the laser on the wire pointer and degree wheel.

I hope to get the pan and heads on tomorrow, if I solve the side clearance problem. The pan is the toughest part of this whole engine assembly. This engine has been plagued with oil leaks since it was new in 1999. The only time it was not leaking was during this last short run. I have a lot of "The Right Stuff" ready to go.

August 17, 2009 - Friday night a friend of mine, Ronnie "fofo" Ferret, had an accident at the track and sustained burns to his face and his car was burned very bad. Fofo is one of the best people that any racer could meet. He is always very respectful, and has a kind word for everyone.

He makes posts on "" all the time and he is one of the most knowledgeable racers on the internet. He will help anyone and share his information with anyone that asks. My prayers go out to Ronnie for a fast recovery.

I spoke with him today and I expect to see him back at the track in "L' il Sumptin" Camaro or the monster N2O assisted 1968 Camaro 565 later in the year. Right now his wife has him grounded until the burns heal.

If you want more detailed information and to see photos, go to - click on: Bench Racing: "fofo bad luck but OK" (you must be a member or join the message board, which is free).

Read the 4 pages of posts from well wishers as well as comments from fofo on how to avoid some of the problems that he had during the fire.

August 16, 2009 - Yesterday I went to SCR to observe the Top Doorslammer qualifying. I left after the first round. They had 13 cars in the class, and I wanted to stay, but I had family things to do and had to leave.

The engine is coming along just fine. Taking my time, trying to get everything right. All of the pistons have the rings installed, but they are not in the block yet. I cut the ring gaps and put them on the pistons Friday night. I purchased all new main, rod and head bolts. The crank is in and torqued after making sure all the clearances were in spec. Had to swap some bearings around to get them all in spec.

The new ARP bolts, which are shorter but stronger than the ARP bolts that came with the rods, coupled with the new Clevite 77 HN bearings, which do not have the chamfer on them any longer but are actually a little narrower than the old "H" type bearings. The bolts are 5 gm. each lighter and the bearings are 1.5 gm lighter for a total 11.5 grams per rod lighter than the combination that the engine was balanced with.

We called Eagle Motorsports to ask what to do. They said I would be OK if the person that balanced the engine did it to "Zero" (whatever that means). Alvin tried to explain a lot about balancing to me, but it went in one ear (hearing aid) and out the other. Alvin had calculated that we were only 1% lighter than we started and he did not think I had a problem.

When I talked to Eagle, the tech. said the exact same thing. Anyway, Remi, who did the balancing, said he balanced the rotating assembly to "Zero", so I am OK.

I talked to Charlie Robertson yesterday at the track and we both agree, we should not build anymore engines. Let the people that specialize in that stuff do it from now on.

Silas Rogers and I had a conversation that was very similar. Silas purchased a short-block and put his heads and other top end items on it. Silas is enjoying racing every weekend.

All I need is a Big-M block to hand to a engine builder and they can put my rotating assembly, cam and lifters inside, bolt on my other stuff and I can go racing again for the long term.

When I purchased the 540 BBC complete engine, it ran for over two years before I decided to overhaul it. It NEVER ran as quick as it did just before I rebuilt it (9.21 before vs. 9.26 after).

August 9, 2009 - Completed the crank journal, rod bearing and Piston-to-Wall measurements today. I also changed out all the rod bolts for the stronger ARP 2000 series. Next is the main bearing measurements. After that I will start cutting ring gaps.

The next Top Doorslammer race is this coming weekend at State Capitol Raceway. I understand there will be some new cars competing in that class.

August 7, 2009 - I have my rockers and lifters back from reconditioning at Comp Cams. I have my block back from Womack's and I picked up the last item, rings, that I think I need to complete the engine. Tomorrow I will take the rest of the measurements. I took #3 piston-to-wall clearance and it is perfect at .0058". My inside micrometer set came in yesterday.

Speed-Pro does not make my ring (4.560+.005" file-fit) any more under the name Speed-Pro. As the old saying goes, "A hamburger, by any other name, costs more"!

August 2, 2009 - I had to go over to Alvin's today for instructions on how to use a digital dial bore gauge. We both have the same type instruments. After a few simple lessons, I finally got it. I thought I was going to get away from snap gauges, but not so, at least not yet. I just went on the internet and purchased a inside micrometer set that should do the trick.

He also made me feel at ease about some of the things that I have seen inside my engine, and he confirmed a lot of the readings that I have taken.

The best thing about the visit was the "Baby Back Ribs - Calhoun" that Alvin put on the grill while I was over there. They tasted perfect!

August 1, 2009 - Monday morning everything is going to the machine shop. Don't feel like being bothered with it any more. I did the honing, but it did not come out like I wanted. I have a lot of piston to wall clearance to play with (it is tight), in fact, I will be better off with more clearance.

I did prove one thing, much to my delight. #3 rod is straight.

I had commented on my crank being standard size for the past 10 years. It now needs to be either cut or polished on the rod bearing surfaces. I will let the machine shop decide on the mains. They are borderline.

I purchased all my gaskets yesterday and some other misc. needed items. Gary Carter, at Internal Engine Parts Warehouse, pointed out that my intake gasket was the wrong configuration for my heads and manifold. He showed me where it had been leaking. The other side was destroyed during removal, so we only had one gasket there. I am sure both sides had to be leaking. Intake leaks can have a devastating effect on engine power. Gary ordered the correct gasket for my engine.

At my age, engine disassembly, measurements and assembly is not as much fun as it once was. After this one, I shall pay someone to do this, or better yet, buy a crate motor! I am almost at that point right now.

July 30, 2009 - I am going to do the honing anyway. Maybe I will be ready for Father's Day 2010.

The engine is completely apart and the block is ready for the honing. I have decided this is the last leg for this block. After this next set of runs after this rebuild, however many days or years, this block is history.

I am starting a special savings account to invest in a Big M Block. Maybe some nice sponsor will donate one and I can put their name on the hood and front fenders! The rear fenders will go to the sponsor who donates some CNC Heads (I would be happy with Dart Pro 1 CNC 355 heads).

I am going to IEPW tomorrow for all of my gaskets and some main bearings. I changed the rod bearings in January this year, but not the mains. All of them look very good. The mains have been in there since April 2006.

July 29, 2009 - Having big second thoughts about doing the hone job myself. The more I read, the more I think I can't do it justice.

July 28, 2009 - Boxed the lifters and rockers and sent them back to Comp Cams for overhaul. That will cost lass that 1/2 the new price.

I have had a slightly larger cam for about 4 years, that I had forgotten all about. I had wanted to try it back in 2006, but never got around to it. Now is the time! It will be more compatible with the new converter stall and the RPM range of the car.

Alvin gave me a honing tool and talked me into doing the cylinders myself.

July 26, 2009 - Silas Rogers stopped by today and was surprised to see the engine on the motor stand. We talked a long time while I worked on taking the engine apart.

I have removed both heads and removed the cam, the only problem I see so far is the cam has the beginning of ware marks on #3, 4 & 5 exhaust lobes. You can see the marks, but cannot catch them with your fingernail. Since all my valve train parts are Comp Cams, and are rebuildable, I am going to send the lifters and rockers back for freshening up. I'll ask about the cam, and send it back, if necessary.

The pan is not off yet. I am going to remove the pistons from the rods and get the rods reconditioned and add some new ARP rod bolts.

I hope I don't have to do anything to the crank. I will get the block honed and cleaned. I will have a lot of time to clean up my other parts and get ready for taking measurements and assembly.

July 25, 2009 - Houston took a fall while working at home and broke a finger and some of his ribs. He is doing OK, but in pain. Get well soon friend!

We have been talking about what to do about the engine. After running a bunch of calculations using some on-line programs, we think we are on the right track to get our power back.

I found a couple of old emails with instructions from the original engine builder on the specific way to hone the cylinders and recommendations on the brand of rings and the end gaps (.020" & .024"). So we were wrong about the gaps being too wide.

July 24, 2009 - After a lot of activity when we first determined the problem with the engine, I have come to a complete stop. Mainly due to doctors appointments and medicine changes. I am trying to get use to new medicines and it is effecting my balance and keeps me very sleepy all the time. They say this is normal for the first few days and I will get over it.

For those of you that don't know, I have had a voice problem called "Spasmodic Dysphonia" for the past 10 years. Back in 1998, when it first occurred, I went to several doctors and they could not help. So after 2001, I just decided to live with it.

With spasmodic dysphonia, the words don't come out the way I intend them to. They tend to be broken and sometimes very "breathy" or almost silent. I know what I want to say, but can't say the words in a complete sentence or very loud. When I open my mouth to speak, you never know what is going to come out, or if it is going to come out at all. It is very frustrating. Many times I don't comment at all on things that I want to talk with people about. Sometimes my voice is almost normal. But many times I almost cannot speak at all. I never know what I am going to get.

One good side effect I have found. I have become a much better listener and I find that I don't have to comment on every subject (somebody usually says what I wanted to say anyway).

About two years ago decided I would see if there had been any progress in solving my problem. I started to go back to a series of doctors to try to find something that would help. There is no cure, and only a very few people in the world have the problem. Less than 200,000 in the USA, >.02% of the population of the USA. There is not much research or interest in finding a cure, and not many doctors have ever treated a person with the problem.

Botox shots every 3-6 months seems to help some people, but I took one in 2001 and it did not help me at all. The shots have to be targeted to the correct spot in the voice box and the dose level must be correct. The doctors have no idea where to start. All they can do is "hit or miss" and try to get the dose correct. I only took one shot, it made me worse than before, and decided not to go back.

I retired from Entergy Operations Corp. in 2001, mainly because my voice hindered the job that I was doing. My job as the Lead Vibration Technical Specialist involved speaking to a lot of engineers and upper management on a daily basis.

I have decided to try it again, but the doctors want to determine if it will help this time or if it will be a waste of time. During the past 10 years, some medicines have been tried that help some of the suffers, but they don't work very long and tend to lose all effectiveness after a few months. The Botox seems to be the best fix, and it must be given every 3-6 months. Only a few doctors give the shots. One, that I know of, in Baton Rouge, at Our Lady of the Lake "The Voice Center". There was one in New Orleans before Katrina, but he moved to Mass. Most people from all over the state use to go to him.

During the past two years I have been to speech therapy three times, group therapy(still going), psychologist and psychiatrist, more than I can remember, at least 4 ENT's, and several Neurologist, the latest being a "movement specialist". Each one seems to know a little bit more about the problem and they all want to help. I am determine to find some help from someone.

I had to laugh at myself a few months ago. My new Cadillac CTS has "voice recognition" for several things. The system often get confused when I try to ask it to do something. I want an iPhone, but it has voice recognition and would be almost useless!

Speaking on the phone is almost as bad. Please don't get upset when you don't understand what I am trying to say, or I take a long time to finish a sentence. I want to say it normal as much as you want me to hurry up and finish.

I don't deal with the drive through windows anymore. That just does not work for me when I have to shout at the speaker.

Trying to order a take-out over the phone sometimes get reactions from hanging up on me, to telling me to speak up, or the classic is, "call back, we have a bad connection"!

I belong to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association. A small group of people that have the problem. Mrs. Karen A. Feeley has written a book, "Easier Done Than Said - Living With A Broken Voice". Much of the research was done by Mrs. Feeley and another woman that has the problem. They did research and an extensive survey, sending out questionnaire to over 2700 people. Seven Hundred fifty eight responded from all over the world that suffer with spasmodic dysphonia. It was very enlightening and confirmed a lot of things that I have noticed with myself.

July 21, 2009 - Talked to Alvin Calhoun about engine problems. After a few minutes of me talking about rings and ring gaps, he asked one question. "Did you hone the block when you put in the new rings?" No..., I didn't.

Then I told him the reason I didn't, I only had 8 runs plus 13 dyno pulls on the engine when I rebuilt it (after the wreck). Alvin feels the end gap or the brand of rings had nothing to do with my current situation. He feels it has everything to do with the rings not seating because the cylinder walls were too smooth.

We also don't think anything needs to be done to the heads, except change the thickness of the head gaskets. We will do a good inspection of all of the springs (41 runs) and other parts up there, including the lifters. They have 125 runs on them. All the main and rod bearings have 41 runs too.

When we finish disassembly, we will know all the answers and reasons.

July 20, 2009 - Houston came by this afternoon, while on his lunch, and we warmed up the engine, took a compression check of all 8 cylinders with the throttle wide open and all the plugs out. They ranged from 165 to 230 psi. We squirted oil into one of the low cylinders and it came up to over 230 psi.

We also checked three cylinders using the leak down tester . The results were not good on 3 of the 8 cylinders. Number one seems to have bad leak into the pan indicated by the leak down tester(76% of 100%). The other two also were leaking into the pan. The good one's were in the 94-96% range.

We took the instructions out for the rings that I used during the re-build earlier this year and they indicated that I should have .020" for the top ring and .024" for the second ring, which I file fit myself. The Reher-Morrison book calls for approximately .018" and .020" for my engine. They also say: "Follow Mfg. instructions", which I did.

I will go back to my instructions that my original engine builder, Bryon Durham, gave me when the engine was new. I used them for 4 previous rebuilds and never had a problem. The rings that I used in the past were Speed-Pro Plasma-Moly file-fit rings.

There are some other things that I will try to get done while it's out. New springs, new lifters, valve job (if needed) and we decided to take the heads down a few cc's even them out and raise the compression ratio. We will hone the block, check the bearings and crank and do what's called for.

The engine is almost ready to be pulled as of now. It should be apart by Friday. I have some Dr. apt. this week that will slow me down.

Since it is so hot, maybe by the time it is cool again in South Louisiana, I will be ready to race. If I can make the Battle of the Bayou (BOB) on October 31, 2009 at State Capitol Raceway, I will be happy.

The hard part is done. The car is great, looks good (my new graphics are ready), it goes straight and everything works electrically.

I should have some time to help Reggie Jackson finish his dragster.

July 19, 2009 - Disappointed, Disgusted, Depressed and feeling very Down. We did not break anything, but something is very wrong!

Yesterday we went to SCR. With help from Reggie Jackson, Barbara and a nice young man, Glenn Young, we got the car unloaded and up for the first time trial in Super Pro. I forgot to turn on the air bottle and therefore it did not shift. The seat belts were set up for Houston, so while everyone waited, I had to adjust seat belts. The car ran a very poor 10.21 at only 131.82 MPH. I have no idea where I shifted, but it was very high.

The second time trial was against Jason, in his new Camaro. Just what I wanted, but I slept the light and the car only ran 9.89 @ 135.17 MPH. Jason ran a 8.67 @ 154.68 MPH. Now I'm really upset!

After the 2nd T. T. I raised the starting line RPM to 5700 (from 4300)and the shift point was set at 7000 (from 6700). I also kicked the timing up from 35 to 38 degrees.

In the first round of eliminations, I ran Rose Ezell and although I cut a .001 green to her .016 green, the car did not run the number and she won the round. I ran 9.858 @ 135.25 MPH on a 9.70.

Although I was quick to point to the converter, after talking to Houston, he feels there is something wrong in the engine. We may have broken valve springs or leaking valves. I did some tests myself a week ago and had some suspect readings, but blew them off. Plus, I found out I did not do the tests correct (compression).

We are going to look at all of that again this week, do what it takes to fix it, then test it again. Thank God we did not hurt anything big or hit a wall. As Barbara pointed out, which is the same thing that Houston said after the Father's Day race, I can just leave it as it is, put a good dial-in on the window and win some rounds.

July 18, 2009 - I was scared off by the early rain yesterday, but I do plan to go to SCR today and see what difference the changes made. IF I Like It, I will stay and run in Super-pro or Top Doorslammer (dreaming). I am not as sure as I once was about getting into the 8's in mid-Summer.

July 16, 2009 - Doomed to failure!

I finally got to talk to my painter and asked him about the primer and how he mixed the paint.

Wait! Let's back up a little. I told him about my two try's at painting the fender wells and he told me that I was using the wrong paint!

He had put clear coat-base coat paint on the car, and I was using a regular enamel paint. What really ticks me off is, I told the paint store that it was clear coat-base coat when I went in there to purchased it. I even took the spoiler in with me and they used their little detector to determine the correct color, and they commented on how cheap the paint was ($18.00/pt). Not cheap to me!

Back to the painter. He gave me a price to repaint both quarter panels, plus materials. I asked about some type of stripe to break up the vast amount of open blue space behind the door and he gave me a price on that.

I took the car to Central Graphics and had Jeff lay out some flames for the back half of the car on his computer. This will be partial wrap of both quarter panels. It will be unique. The price was right (much less than the paint, with or without the stripes) and he may be able to get it done by the end of next week. With all the rain in the forecast, this seems to be a good time to do the work.

I started the car, checked the timing, which was at 42 degrees, and put it down to 36 degrees. Houston was right again, the timing was wrong. He was also right on the converter. The engine now starts much better than it did for Father's Day.

I set the idle, adjusted the carb and checked all the fluids before I put it in the trailer. I had to back up a few times so I must have put everything back correct from the converter change.

IF it doesn't rain tomorrow, I will take the car out to SCR and do a little testing. (No comments on my fender well paint job!)

July 14, 2009 - Opps! As some of you expert and novice painters must have figured out, I mixed the paint wrong. Exactly opposite of what it should have been. No wonder it would not cover the primer. The paint was too thin.

Now I have to determine if it can be fixed with some light sanding and the correct mix of paint. I can always start all over if it does not work (Mike, I should have let you do it!).

I don't think anyone makes as many mistakes as I do.

July 13, 2009 - Painting sucks! My body work came out OK, not perfect, but very acceptable. The painting on the other hand is very bad. I used the wrong color primer (black), and I can't cover it. I will have to start all over with gray primer. One thing did come out right, I mixed the paint correct, shot it correct and it came out with a very nice gloss.

We are going to have rain for the next few days so I can take my time a do the body work over again. Next week, after the rain stops, I will try to paint again.

I really wanted to run this weekend, to test the new converter, Friday and Saturday, but the forecast is for rain.

July 9, 2009 - Moving right along with the car. The drive shaft is in, the torque converter is connected to the engine and I put the Type "F" transmission fluid in the car today. I did a compression check on all 8 cylinders. All is well inside the engine, as much as I can tell. Next on the list is to check the timing at 36 degrees.

I want to make some more changes, but I would also like to know just what difference the new converter makes. Since the tires are off, I will swap sides to help with the 60 ft. times. After I make a couple of runs, I will raise the wheelie bars about two inches, make a few runs and then change the carb to my BG 1090.

I still have not decided what to do about the hood scoop and air cleaner. Right now I am running without the air cleaner and it is not sealed to the scoop. I know this is costing me some tenths. I need about 2 1/4" to get the air cleaner on. I contemplated cutting a round hole in the top of the cowl induction and just let the K&N filter (with K&N top filter cover) stick out. I can always make a nice even cut and replace it if it does not work. The other solution is to purchase a 9" high cowl induction hood, like the yellow/gold Monte Carlo at NPRP.

I did some small cosmetic things, but I still have both fender wells to finish. Now I remember why I pay people to do my paint and body work! The last time I spray painted a part of a car was in 1997, right before Super Chevy in Houston.

July 7, 2009 - I'm Looking At The Man In The Mirror" (My Favorite), "I'll Be There" (Very close 2nd) - Dance On Michael! 1958-2009.

Drained the oil from the transmission today and reconnected everything going to the tranny. I will use Type "F" transmission fluid. This is what Coan recommends (They also like Amsoil). Years ago, TCI recommended Type "F" trans fluid, and that is what I have used every since in all my transmissions. With the exception of this last re-build, I put in Lucus Semi-Synthetic trans fluid for 11 runs.

July 6, 2009 - God Bless the family of Steve McNair. I saw him play his last college game for Alcorn University, against Grambling University. It was one of those high scoring games where both teams scored over 50 points and it seemed as though the last team to have the ball would win the game. Grambling won, much to Barbara's delight. I also saw many of his games when he played for Houston and with the Titans. He was a great player, a gentleman in every sense of the word, soft spoken, never complaining, playing under the worse of conditions while hurt, but playing his heart out. He did not hog the spotlight like many of his teammates. He will be missed by all of his fans.

July 4, 2009 - Happy Birthday USA!

I ruined 3 tail shaft seals trying to put them in under the car. I had to take the tail shaft off and put in on the workbench to get the seal in correct. The converter is in place and the trans is bolted back to the engine. Nothing else is done, except the cooler lines are re-connected.

Mr. Skip Racing website ( has has over 70,000 hits since conception in March 09, with an average of 260 unique visitors per month. I would like to thank those loyal visitors that look in on my adventures from time to time.

I will try to keep it interesting and real, mistakes and all! Now that I am back on the track it should get better. Barbara and I are planning to start traveling again to different tracks.

Bracket Masters website has had over 500,000 hits this year to date, with over 8000 unique visitors. That site has averaged over 1 million hits for the past three years.

July 1, 2009 - The converter arrived, along with the turbo shaft and bolts. Everything fits, so far. I am changing the tail shaft oil seal to take care of the approximately one drop per day leak.

After I finish overhauling Bert Reilly's 750 Holley Dominator, I will finish my work on the converter and the body work. I want to be ready for the next Doorslammer Race on July 18th.

Everyone have a happy 4th of July celebration!

June 29, 2009 - My converter shipped today. I rewired my tail lights to come off of the light switch. I did have them coming off of the power to the fuel pump, but I always turn every switch on each power panel on each run anyway, so there was no reason to introduce a possible fuel system problem caused by the tail light circuit. Otherwise, I am just waiting and taking care of house, yard and family items.

The next Top Doorslammer race at State Capitol Raceway is on Sat., July 18, 2009. I hope to be able to run at least 8.99 for that event. If not, I will run in Super Pro again.

June 26, 2009 - After cleaning the rear end and the back underside of the car, I realized the only place for the rear end to vent was where I had plugged it off. I constructed and installed a vent with a hose that goes above the rear end housing. I also checked all my accessible bolts on my oil pan and all the header bolts for tightness.

I called Brandon, who did the scaling and setup of the chassis, and thanked him for making the car go straight. Houston Hawkins, who drove the car on Sunday, commented that only once did he have to "drive" the car, when it got out of the groove one time. He said he could have turned the steering wheel loose after the slight correction to bring it back. He said driving this car is kind of boring! During my 4 passes on Sat., I was very happy with the way it drove, but not bored in the least! I was too much aware of everything working and paying attention to gauges and listening for something to go wrong. Thank God, nothing did.

June 25, 2009 (late) - Went under the car and fixed a couple of small leaks. Valve cover leaks and a plug out of the rear end was missing, which I replaced. I drained the 10W-40 break-in oil (11 passes + startup) and replaced it with Lucus Synthetic 10W-30. A sample was sent to a lab for analysis. Everything seems to be burning just fine. The end of the plugs and the outlet of the headers are about the same, light brown, color.

Coan says the stall should be approximately 56-5700 rpm. The converter ships Tuesday of this coming week.

I removed the old converter late this evening, having to cut all my neat tie-wraps and undo my good looking runs of wires and hoses under the hood and car.

June 25, 2009 - The winner is Coan! Talked with the present converter company and I talked to Coan. That was as far as I got. The new converter should last a lifetime behind my engine. They have all my engine, cam, tire and rear end specs, along with my dyno sheets.

Coan is deciding on the correct stall after they finish going over the data. The converter will be their 9", Max Performance, $teel $tator, $pragless unit.

I should have the new unit by the end of this coming week. This converter will have a turbo input shaft, much stronger than the last one. If I can get 3 tenths out of the new converter, I will be very happy.

June 23, 2009 - After much discussion with "My Technical Staff and Advisors" (Houston, Van & Marcus), we decided there are some things that need answers.

I have a new aftermarket converter that I purchased over two years ago. The past two weeks were the first runs on the converter. I called the converter company and told them what was going on (crossing at over 7800 RPM). The technician said I had the wrong converter and this one cannot be reconfigured to something that I can use with my combination. I was very disappointed because when I ordered the converter, not directly from them, but through a mail order company, they were given all the specs. on the car, engine and dyno sheets. Now I have to start my hunt for the correct converter all over again.

I have decided to look at the following companies: ATI, Coan, TCI and TSI. Marcus likes ATI, I like Coan and TCI, Van has a TSI spragless converter that he likes.

I have an old 9" TCI which is configured for a SBC 4500 stall. My 9" TCI has no runs on it. Due to the economy (my deflated pocketbook) I hope to get TCI to rework this unit to match what I need for my present BBC engine. If not, I will make a decision based on which company $ound$ the be$t.

Yesterday I reset all the valve lashes and checked a lot of other items under the hood. So far, all is well. I have a lot of other maintenance to do and some cosmetic items to fix around the rear fender wells where the tires made the room that they needed on the top end.

June 22, 2009 - Today, I am extremely happy! We never made it to 8.99, but there were so many positive things that happened with the car that I can't help being very pleased. We ran in Super-Pro on Sunday. We lost in the second round on another red light. We ran 9.24 for out best pass.

We took the hood off one time on Sat. morning after the first pass and never took it off again!

I would like to thank Mr. Houston Hawkins and his wife Marva, for taking over the driving and handling of the car on Sunday. I was just too beat and exhausted to drive. I really enjoyed seeing the car go down the track. I could get use to this! My grandson, Jeremy (19 years old), wants to drive and I may just give up the seat to him.

Houston pointed out some issues with the car, namely the wheelie bars being too low, the timing may be off a little, the converter is very much in need of more stall and we are still trying to find the correct starting line RPM and shift point. Each time we changed something Sunday, the car got quicker, our MPH went up and the 60' came down. Houston ran and 9.24 @ 143.28 MPH on his last run. Almost a tenth quicker and 2 MPH faster than I was.

Houston had nothing but good things to say about the way the car handled, the power of the engine and how good everything worked. As I said before, I am very happy! That was a lot of work. Now we can concentrate on becoming consistent. With consistency comes winning!

I shot some real nice photos of the car and I have a video clip that I am trying to edit. The video uncut version has a lot of ground, guardrail, sky and other junk in it.

June 20, 2009 - Everyone is happy except me!

The car, off the trailer, ran a 9.336 @ 141.11 MPH, and that was the best run of the day! I expected at least a 8.99 at over 150.00 MPH, but that never happened. The car went straight and everything worked, but there is not enough power to go where I want it to be. At least not right now.

Track surface temps. were rumored to be over 130 degrees, and my weather station said the temp. was 103 degrees at 45% humidity.(we can take about 7-8 degrees off of that number, just because my weather station always reads high, and still get about 95 degrees). My tires only had 4 runs and I had 9 PSI in them. This was at 1:13 pm, and it got hotter into the afternoon.

I did compete in Top Doorslammer because the track relaxed the rules to allow all the cars that ran at least 9.50 in time trials, and paid to be in the class, to compete. I lost in the 2nd round when I had a red light (-.027).

After losing and getting back to my pit, I felt very dizzy and had to get into the truck with the A/C and some water. The heat had gotten to me.

Tomorrow, Houston Hawkins will drive "Mr. Skip" in Super-Pro for the Father's Day Race. ("If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!")


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