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Travel & Vacations

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

Family

Children
(Skip & Barbara)

Cynthia
Oliver, III
Sarah
Glenn
Larry
Melinda
Melissa

Grandchildren

Adrien (Cynthia)
Danielle

Catherine (Oliver)
1st Great-Grandaughter
Olivia Underwood
(Catherine)

Crystal (Sarah)
Edward
Micah

Marcus (Glenn)
Matthew
Jacqueline

Tyler (Larry)
Tynesha
Jeremiah
Isaiah
Gabriel

Barbara (Melinda)
Jeremy
Lizzie
Lizzie (cont.)
Ryland

Myeshia(Melissa) Avery

Mr. Skip Racing
Winter 2009   Spring 2009

March 31, 2009 - I will not turn the computer on tomorrow, just in case the rumors are true about the VIRUS. I changed all my passwords, on anything that matters, to something I can never remember with caps, numbers and letters in random order.

I remembered the fuel system has to be connected from the regulator to the carb. and all those hoses must be changed. The old, braided hose from reg. to carb. is well over 4 years old and has been sitting for almost three years. The hose from the pump to the regulator is new and has never had fuel through it. I also remembered the trap door for the trans. cooler lines must be cut and I have to install those lines.

March 30, 2009 - Taxes are done!

A lot of work has been done on the electrical system on the car, but a lot is left to be done. This is very time consuming and it does not lend itself to quick installation. The drawings that I made are very, very helpful. Going slow is also very helpful. Several mistakes have been caught and corrected, both on the drawing and in the physical wiring. Barbara came out to see how I was doing and during the "show & tell" I found that I had left the cable for the crank trigger off the drawing and had not run the cable.

I still have to mount the delay box and the plate containing the MSD and the RPM Activated switch, which will be the next items to go in. The switch panel has been labeled, along with all the other wires that come into it. I think by the end of this week I should be done with the electrical system.

I can see start-up in the second week of April, before April 10th. I will be a few weeks before the car is ready for the track. The seat frame must be constructed and installed and the wing and wheelie bars must be put back on along with the Lexan windows. I want to have it scaled, pinion angle set and a racing alignment.

If I am forgetting anything, please drop me an email and let me know: oholber@gmail.com. I don't have the drive shaft back from Houston yet.

March 26, 2009 - The next two days will be devoted to doing the family and business taxes.

I called and talked to Linda Joffrion and told her what a good job they did at running the race over this past weekend. Congratulations to Pat, Linda and the staff at No Problem Raceway Park!

Looks like rain for the rest of the weekend. Thank God for letting us get in the Cajun SportsNationals and the Mardi Gras Nationals. Now we have to pray for good weather for the Top Doorslammer race on April 4th at State Capitol Raceway.

March 25, 2009 - It has taken me three days to recover from all the walking I did over the past weekend at NPRP. I really did enjoy the racing and talking with all my friends at the track.

I did accomplish something towards getting the car ready. I located all the original component instructions for all my different electrical and electronic equipment, then I sat down and made six pages of drawings and tables of my electrical system. I made a connection table that shows where each wire goes for each component and wiring diagrams for the dashboard, engine compartment, trunk and Fuel Pump Relay along with the board that contains the MSD and RPM Activated Switch. The only drawing I have left is the Delay Box with the Throttle Stop Solenoid. I may do a Logic Diagram if I really get carried away...

I think I used all of my Navy electrical training and System Engineering training that I received at the Nuclear Power Plant to pull this off.

Last week I talked about the improvements at State Capitol Raceway, but No Problem Raceway Park has not be sitting idle. They have added a lot of spectator seating on the spectator side of the track and the spectator parking is improved. I have always loved the multiple restrooms (with a shower) from the beginning and they have a great speaker system, almost as good as Hattisburg, MS.

Although the covered grandstands are not new, they are great! Thanks to Mr. Don Garrison for the "Martha Garrison Memorial Grandstands"! And as a side note, I know all the Jr. Dragster drivers are very thankful for the help that Mr. Garrison gives to that class. Each Q-16 event, where they also run the Jr. Dragsters, Mr. Garrison pays the entry fee for all the Jr. Dragsters that compete that day at No Problem Raceway Park. It is really good to hear stories about people that are giving back to the community and supporting kids.

March 22, 2009 - After attending church early Sunday morning, I arrived at the track around 11:00 am. Van had already won in the 1st round of Super Street. He had a 10.907 @ 147 MPH for the win.

Van worked into the night last night to replace the starter and flywheel. After finishing that job, he found the battery voltage low and had to take one battery out of his truck and put into the racecar. He has Optima batteries in everything so all is well with the racecar. Van now has one red top and one blue top battery. He will replace both with Optima yellow top batteries.

Van lost in the second round with a run of, 10.897 @ 147 MPH. A slight improvement in 60 ft. time was the cause of the breakout. PHOTOS from Sunday.

March 21, 2009 - I arrived at 9:00 am for the second day of the Jeg's Cajun SportsNationals at NPRP. Beautiful Louisiana weather in the low 60's with a D. A. of 460 (low temp. and low humidity with high pressure). The track was in excellent shape and there were over 450 cars present. They were parked all over the place, almost all the way over to LA-1 (close to a mile past the finish line), and I almost walked all the way back there.

Van and his family, Stella, Preston, Chandra, Byron and Eric were all there, along with Nick and his wife. They had leased an RV for the trip.

Van won the first round of the, race within a race, called the Cajun Challenge, or something like that, which was a way of having a time trial but the winner of the race getting to move on with a chance of winning $1000. Van ran a 10.88 on the 10.90 dial-in.

Van would not have such good luck for the second round. His starter locked up in the staging lane and they had to tow the car back to the pit area. When I left, around 3:00 pm, Van was in the process of changing the flywheel and starter. The old flywheel had some teeth missing. They will be ready for first round early Sunday morning. Photos for Sat. 3/21/09.

March 20, 2009 - Attended the Friday session of the Jeg's Cajun SportsNationals at No Problem Raceway Park. Had a very good time. Saw a lot of old friends and watched Van try to get his new throttle stop dialed in. Stella and Nick were the crew for today. Here are some photos from my visit on Friday.

March 18, 2009 - Let's see, Reggie dropped by and we discussed the electrical system on my car and on his dragster. He is about at the same point as I am. He looked over my switch panel, which has 6 switches, lights and fuses and comes with the primary wiring already attached for the panel power and for the ignition system. He is going to install the same panel in his dragster. It is made by QuickCar.

I cut a hole in my dash and installed my switch panel today. I also installed wiring for the starter and the starter solenoid.

I had the tach mounted on the dash, but I had to remove it and remount it a few inches toward the rear of the car. The windshield would not fit with the tach in the position I had it. I also connected and labeled all the tach wires. I mounted the coil and it is connected to the distributor.

All I have left to mount is the MSD and the RPM Activated switch, Shifter and Delay Box.

I sent the "Dropped pan" filter back. I ordered the wrong thing, and they don't have the same thing for a dominator carb. Looks like I will either not run a air cleaner or get a short (3") scoop for the top on my cowl induction hood. I have also entertained cutting a hole in the hood and let the top of the filter stick out of the hood (about 2.5"). I have a 14" K&N filter with the K&N filter top, so it would not look too bad. Either way, the hood will have to be cut.

I got my 4 ft. braided fuel line and it is going to work out perfect for the fuel gauge. I also got a new shifter knob with the line lock switch embedded in the knob. I put a new 4 ft. shifter cable on my old Hurst Quarter Stick shifter. Works perfect. Checked out the neutral safety switch. It is working just fine.

I have one gauge left to meet my goal of having all the gauges installed this week. Next week the goal will be to get the trans. cooler, shifter and MSD installed. The following week I will install the Delay Box (includes the throttle stop controller), and the Lexan windows. Looks like three weeks to startup!

I am going to No Problem Raceway Park for the Jegs Cajun SportsNationals, Friday, Sat. and (if Van is still winning) Sunday.

March 17, 2009 - I "Started" several things yesterday and finished none of them (see old folks story below). I installed the wiring for three of my gauges, but did not connect anything to switches, because the switches are not there yet.

I trial fitted my throttle stop to see if it would actually work with the cable, and it did. The mounting for the cable will have to be moved to clear the underside of the cowl panel. Again, everything looked good until I put the cowl panel on. Just like the hood and air cleaner. Speaking of the air cleaner, I have not received it yet, but I am sure it is going to interfere with the throttle stop. Maybe I can cut a slot out of it or bang and hammer a passage. Building race cars are fun!

I put the right side header back on and found out that the old head (right side) has deeper header bolt holes that the new head. I had to go to Pro-Fab (Sonny) to get some shorter header bolts for the right side. I had to put the header on to find out what route to send the fuel and trans. cooler lines through to the front of the engine.

Today I will continue wiring the tach and the other gauges. I will (start to) install the switch/fuse/light panel today. Then on the other hand, maybe I'll mount the alternator, or cut the hole for the trans. cooler lines. Oh I know, I need to make that board to mount the MSD and get all of those electronics in place, what about the shifter?...

March 15, 2009 - Spent a lot of time in church and relaxing today during the rain.

Friday and Sat. I worked on fixing the problem under the car and I got that done.

I worked at installing the gauges, namely the tach and fuel gauge. The tach is in place, after adapting the mount to the 10 year old Pro-Comp-2 Replay tach that still works great. The fuel gauge is in place but is not connected to anything yet. My braided hose was a foot too short. I sent all of those nice isolators back and mounted the fuel gauge on the cowl panel outside, in front of the driver.

I am also working on the trans. cooling lines. I have to cut a trap door into the side of the trans tunnel to be able to connect the lines.

I also found out the hood would not fit with the K&N air filter installed. Had to order a new, shorter air filter with a drop down filter pan to get the clearance.

I have been discussing, with Van, using my old throttle stop, which is the CO2 linkage type, double acting, with this cable setup. I think it will work. I already have everything needed to put it on, I just need to install everything. When the new air filter pan arrives I will see if it clears. I may have to go with a under the carb type throttle stop.

I spent a lot of time cleaning up my old Hurst Quarter Stick. It has the air shift attachment. Not pretty, but it works great. I have to mount it and cut the hole for the cable.

This week will be dedicated to connecting all the gauges and the tach and mounting all the MSD and associated electrical components on a board. I will put the switch panel in the dash.

A friend sent this to me, it is exactly how I feel when I go into the workshop in the morning and come out at the end of the day:

Recently, I was diagnosed with
A. A. A. D. D. (Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder)

This is how it develops:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox, when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the study to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

----the car isn't washed,

----the bills aren't paid,

----there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter,

----the flowers don't have enough water,

----there is still only 1 check in my check book,

----I can't find the remote,

----I can't find my glasses,

----and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!

GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY.

GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.

LAUGHING AT YOURSELF IS THERAPEUTIC.

P.S I just remembered.

I LEFT THE WATER RUNNING IN THE DRIVEWAY!

Keeping up this web site makes me put everything down on paper (screen) and I can read what's left to be done (along with the thousand sticky-notes and the multiple lists that I make).

March 12, 2009 - Setback. Kevin Gray came over to have some carb. work done and I was showing off my work on the car. I mentioned the transmission crossmember that I fabricated and mounted. He got under the car, with a flashlight, and said: "Mr. Skip, this is not going to hold up. The welds are bad! Who did this?" Leave it to Kevin to be blunt and to the point!

Anyway, now I have some more work to do under the car. I need to fab a plate to cover a crack in the frame where the crossmember attaches to the frame. This was suppose to be the original fix, but I tried to shortcut and fill the crack with MIG welding wire.

My alternator came back. The mount and crank drive are just beautiful. Jones Racing Products did an excellent job. I need to check on my drive shaft. It has been gone for about two weeks. It was sent to Houston to be balanced after the U-joints were changed and the yoke reworked to fit into my transmission tail shaft.

I talked to Van Johnson last night. He is getting ready for the Jegs Cajun Sports Nationals at No Problem Raceway Park on March 20-22, 2009. Van needs to get some seat time to finalize his throttle stop settings. He will be competing at NPRP on Sat., March 14th, which is Van's birthday, and he will also be testing this Sunday at SCR. Happy Birthday Van! I will probably go out and support Van at NPRP this weekend and next.

March 10, 2009 - I just returned from Engine Parts Warehouse, where Mr. Gary Carter works. Gary is also the manager of State Capitol Raceway. I congratulated Gary on a "Job Well Done" in putting on a very successful Mardi Gras Nationals this past weekend. Gary has been the on the track person that has sparked this entire operation. Gary is the person where the buck stops! His mild manner and understanding of what the racers are going through is appreciated by the racers. With the full backing of Mr. Lewis, Gary has turned State Capitol Raceway into a track where racers enjoy coming AGAIN.

Enough cannot be said about the improvements that Mr. Lanny Lewis and The Lewis Companies have made to State Capitol Raceway. The track is longer, wider and safer. There are more spectator grandstands on both sides and a lot of concrete parking for the racers and vendors. There is now enough parking for many thousand fans (That should get the spectators cars out of the pits during major events!).

March 7-8, 2009 - I had a ball at the Inaugural Mardi Gras Nationals at State Capitol Raceway! What I thought was great, Sat. and Sunday, was the track surface. Seven of the 8 Top Fuel qualifiers were under 4.900 seconds. Most of the field ran over 300 MPH.

The IHRA 1/4 mile Pro Mods put on an excellent show. They were my personal favorites. The Pro Mod Camaro of Raymond Commisso set a new IHRA Pro Mod record of 5.970 @ 246.08 MPH (His Camaro is the same color blue as mine. I like his silver flames, but mine will be different)!

The 1/8 mile Outlaw Pro-Mod final was a all Louisiana show. IHRA was nice enough to add this class to the program to give our local guys a place to compete. Outlaw Pro Modified final results -- Bill Doucet, Chevy Corvette, 4.111, 189.42 defeated Joseph Palmisand, Corvette, 4.243, 173.87! Congratulations Bill!

Photos From Saturday Qualifying March 7th - Skip

Staging Lane Photos from Finals on Sunday March 8th at Mardi Gras Nationals - Skip

Photos from walking around the pits at SCR - Skip

Mardi Gras National Folder of less than perfect photos by Skip

All Results from Mardi Gras Nationals. (Winners Photos and Article from IHRA.com)

March 5, 2009 - I cleaned the inside of the car and painted everything flat black. Now I am ready to start the inside wiring. I have purchased a different switch panel, that incorporates the switches, lights and fuses in one panel. The internal and connection wire is much larger than the other panel that I was going to use and the quality is better. It is a dirt track item from Clausen's Racing and it is made by "Quickcar Racing Products". The only thing that I will not have is the rocker switch to prime the fuel system. I will have to flip the toggle switch on and off to prime the system (You do prime your fuel system before you start the engine, don't you? Priming the carb. allows the floats to rise gently and not slam up when the fuel rushes into the bowl, which could possibly hurt your float setting. This is especially significant on the first start of the day or after sitting a long period).

I don't care for the dashboard setup on this car and will modify it to suit my vision and arm reach. The tach will be mounted on the top of the dash, not in it as the other owner had it (he didn't like it either). I have decided to leave my fuel pressure gauge on the outside and not fool around with the isolator (KISS principle, right Charlie!).

Looks like testing in March is a little too aggressive. I guess Kevin Gray was right. Too many things that I want to do and not enough time. If I rush I may miss something important. I am still waiting on the alternator and drive shaft to come back.

March 4, 2009 - State Capitol Raceway update - Enough cannot be said about the improvements that Mr. Lanny Lewis and The Lewis Companies have made to State Capitol Raceway. The track is longer, wider and safer. There are more spectator grandstands and a lot of concrete parking for the racers. The inaugural "Mardi Gras Nationals" should be a super event for the track and the Baton Rouge area. Headquarters for the event is at the Sheraton Hotel, downtown on the river.

The Baton Rouge Weather Will Be Great For This Weekend!

March1, 2009 - Van Johnson was at State Capitol Raceway tuning his Chevelle for Super Street racing, NHRA style. Van, Stella and Chandra along with his friend Nick were tending to the car.

Van got off to a rough start, having to look for fuel. Several Baton Rouge area racers came to the rescue with enough fuel to complete the testing session. Stella and Chandra are in charge of the weather station, calculations and general log keeping. They also enter all data in the timers to set the throttle stop. Van made several runs. The first pass was way off the mark, but subsequent runs netted 10. 92 and 10.89 @ approximately 150 MPH. Van then let it all hang out and ran a 8.77 @ 150.6 MPH. Houston Hawkins come out to help with the later runs. Van PHOTOS

State Capitol Raceway Test & Tune Photos - March 1, 2009.

Feb. 27, 2009 - Pinks - All Out at No Problem Raceway Park this weekend, Feb. 27-28. No Cameras or Video Camcorders allowed.

Feb. 25, 2009 - I went to check on my drive shaft and it was still in the big plastic bag, laying on the counter, right where I left it on Feb. 12th. I picked it up and left. I will get the work done someplace else.

Started laying out, on paper, the electrical system for the car. I did an inventory of connectors, splices and different size and color wire. I have the eight switch switch panel, which has enough wires attached to reach any component in the car, but there is no fuse panel. I used ckt. breakers before, and I am going to incorporate them into this system. First and foremost I put a big strong ground cable on the engine block to the frame. This should insure all the current flows back to the battery on the negative side from the starter, water pump and cooling fan. I am using the Ford relay to power the starter and bendix.

I am beginning to rethink my layout. The switch panel may end up under the dashboard.

Feb 22, 2009 (modified 2/23/09)- All of the sheet metal is installed in the trunk, the fuel cell is installed IAW NHRA rules and the fuel system is connected. The batteries are in place and the only thing left back there is running the wire from the switch panel to the tail lights and fuel pump relay in the trunk. I installed the fuel pump relay today.

The next project will be to install the switch panel and wire all the gauges and components.

While talking with Reggie Jackson, I pointed out in the NHRA rule book where the seat should be braced IAW NHRA General Regulations 6.2. (This is mandatory for NHRA and recommended for IHRA). Check your class (SST, S/G, Super Pro) for specific rules for YOUR car and sanctioning body.

I will have to fabricate a seat brace from 1/2" pipe or box tubing to conform to the rules when competing at a NHRA track. If I had a Funny Car Cage, this would not be a problem. That is something that I may do (have done) in the near future.

Feb. 20, 2009 - Got a lot done, but nothing on the car. Cleaning up, straightening up and organizing the shop. It pays to stop every once in a while and put things in order. I will accomplish much more, quicker, when I go back to work on the car.

I went to Fastenal and got a variety of nuts, bolts and washers (grade-5 and grade-8). I was tired of looking for one of this and one of that through many drawers. Now I have a good assortment of everything I need to finish up. I also purchased some more drawers and bins to keep things in order and tried to sort out the old stuff to make it easy to find things.

Feb. 18, 2009 - Completed the radiator installation and catch can, and started the wiring in the trunk. This will be mixed with sheet metal work and fuel cell installation.

I got the leak stopped on the welding machine shield hose, thanks to Permatex #1, which we were not allowed to have on submarines, but we all kept a tube for emergencies. That shield gas tube will NEVER come apart!

Feb. 17, 2009 - Having problems with leaks in my welding machine's shield gas system. I've been trying to fine the parts to repair it, but my MIG machine is 10 years old, the company has merged. The leak is in a hose that is not used by anyone any more (size is too small, .155" OD). I am trying to rig it up with some of my Navy ingenuity and parts from Home Depot. None of the local welding supply places, or regulator repair shops, could help me.

I did get all of my bottles refilled for my welding machine and cutting rig, and I had to purchase a new regulator with gauge and flowmeter.

I laid out where the catch can and the trans. cooler will go and fabricated the straps to hole the radiator in place. I have two tabs to weld to complete this project.

Reading the NHRA rule book on lights, I may not be able to use the LED lights for tail lights. I will get a determination from the Div. 4 Director's office technical dept.

Had an email from the owner of my old car, "Masterpiece", today. Mr. Eddie Fisher is upgrading the body with new fiberglass parts and putting in a new floor. He is also painting the car. It should be stunning when it comes out, not to mention quicker!

Feb. 15, 2009 - While watching the Daytona 500, I worked on the car. I installed the push/pull disconnect switch and fabricated and installed the bottom support for the new radiator. I must fab. two upper supports to hold it in place. Progress!

Feb. 14, 2009 - The Valentine's Day Ball was great. Lizzie made a speech to the father's and Security Dads. We enjoyed ourselves.

Feb. 13, 2009 - I had some UPS and Fed-Ex deliveries today. New seat and blue cover to match the car, "Push/Pull" disconnect assembly to comply with IHRA rules and some other stuff. I know the UPS man by name (Alford) and he always takes care of my stuff for me.

I am going to have to fabricate a new bracket for my new radiator. The old arrangement was very flimsy and I did not like it anyway. Reggie Jackson came over and we discussed how we could mount it. My little MIG machine has already paid for itself many times over. The new support and the disconnect switch bracket both have to be welded.

I had cut all the cables and put lugs on those cables for mounting the disconnect switch on the back panel. Now I will have to re-run those wires to the new location.

I am installing LED lights in the tail light assemblies. They will be connected to the relay that operates the fuel pump. This way I will always have tail lights when the fuel pump is running. I lost a race once because I forgot to turn on my lights at dusk over in Eunice, LA. As I said in the past, I can always fine unique ways to lose races.

Tonight, Valentine's Day, I am escorting my grand daughter, Liz Herbert, to a Father/Daughter Ball sponsored by "The Security Dads" at Glen Oaks High School.

The Security Dads are a very good organization that provide additional security on campus at Glen Oaks High School and at their special functions. They give out scholarships to deserving students and support the school in many other ways.

Feb. 12, 2009 - Sent alternator back for a new assembly. This one will fit about mid way between the water pump and the frame, it will be supported by the water pump bolts, and will allow for adjustment. The people at Jones Racing Products (C. J. and Chris) have been just great. This was one of the many companies I talked with at the PRI Show.

Today I decided to trial fit the drive shaft. I have the Dedenbear tail shaft on my PG transmission with Dedenbear case. The tail shaft has a roller bearing where the drive shaft yoke goes onto the output shaft. It did not fit. This is what I expected. I had this problem before and this trial fitting was to find out if I had this exact problem again. (The diagonal link must be disconnected at the back in order to get the drive shaft in place). This car has one standard drive shaft loop placed at the spot that NHRA dictates, and two more welded 360 degree loops that would capture the drive shaft in case it tried to come up through the floor. I have had this problem before, broken U-joint and broken drive shaft, many years back, and the results are not good for the inside sheet metal.

The normal yoke shaft OD is around 1.501" or slightly larger. My yoke has to measure 1.497" to 1.499", and a hardened surface in the area of the bearing is recommended.

The drive shaft had no weights on it and I suspect it was not balanced. At any rate, with new parts it has to be re-balanced anyway. It also had one good u-joint and one bad one. I took the whole thing to have it completely reconditioned and to get the correct new yoke.

Good things happen when you are good to others! Today I wanted to get rid of the four tires and rims that came with the Camaro.

I thought about putting them on the junk pile, but I thought I would call Bert Riley, who sold me the car, and offer them to him for free. Bert was at the house in about 30 minutes! He loaded the tires and then asked to see the car.

I had taken the radiator out to have it tested and it was on the floor. Bert asked if I thought that small radiator would cool my 555 engine? I told him I that I had my doubts, but had not ordered a new radiator yet. Bert said he had a new 4-pass, aluminum radiator at his house and I could have it!

I ended up giving him the tires, the old radiator and a switch panel that came out of his old car. I got a lot of free space in my workshop and a new radiator. God is Good!

Feb. 11, 2009 - Lots of work has taken place on the car. I fitted both the hood and the trunk by installing the Dzus fittings. I finished the transmission mount.

These two items seem like small accomplishments, but to me, they were major. Both were Very time consuming.

I welded the bracket for the right battery, which is right over the fuel pump and filter. The bracket had to be positioned to allow changing the fuel filter.

All in all I had three welding projects. Dzus tabs for the trunk, transmission mount and battery bracket. I should only have two more welding projects. I will have to weld a bracket for my electrical cutoff switch (IHRA says that switch must be "Push of Off"), and I will fabricate a mount for my switch panel. Most drivers like for that panel to be mounted either in the overhead, on the loop, or in the dash. I like for mine to be right over the trans. tunnel close to the passenger side. My delay box, trans brake button and shifter are also mounted in that same area. I like to be surrounded by switches and gauges like in an airplane (or submarine).

I did not go to Super Chevy, but attended a funeral in Daytona Beach, Florida on Sat. Feb. 7, 2009. A good friend, Mr. Earl "Tank" Griggs, passed away from heart failure. He was 71 years old. Earl was called "A Gentle Giant". He was about 6'6" tall and weighed over 300 lbs. One of the nicest persons that anyone could ever meet. He was the father of our "Class of '56". He taught school for 32 years and was a football, basketball and swimming coach for 23 years. He graduated from Morris Brown College and got a Masters from Rollings University. He played professional football for the Buffalo Bills, back in the early 60's.

The new car is a dream on the highway. I drove from Baton Rouge to Slidell, about 75 miles, and Barbara drove the other 625 miles to Daytona Beach! She never got tired and would not let me drive anymore. I played with the XM Radio, On Star and the Nav. system until we arrived (You really don't need both On Star and a Nav. System, but since On-Star if free for the first year, what the heck!). I drove about half way back home, Daytona to Tallahassee, FL. We had a very good and safe trip.

We happened to be in Daytona Beach for the end of the first week of "Speed Weeks". The economy has hit NASCAR. They cut ticket prices by 1/2. All the hotels and motels that are usually full were cutting prices to get people to come and stay. In general there was not a lot of activity like I am use to seeing at that time of year. They had sold out (at 1/2 price) by the end of the weekend, but those tickets are usually gone well before the end of Summer.

Feb. 2, 2009 - I was pulling for the Cardinals. I lost a $5.00 bet to my wife.

Congratulations to Mr. Van Johnson and Zubie Racing, LLC. They won runner-up at the 1/8 mile race at NPRP this past weekend.

Now the good part of the story. Van came out of the trailer with a 1/4 mile run of, 8.764 @ 150 MPH, with a 1.253 sixty ft. time!

Van has accomplished what I want to do when I come out. My friend has beat me to the promise land! Congratulations Van, Stella, Preston & Chandra (My Angel).

Today I learned another hard lesson when it comes to purchasing used equipment. I got hosed on a set of wheels. I purchased them from a racer (not from Baton Rouge) about 6 months ago, but just had them mounted today.

The wheels were 1/2 priced. A very attractive deal. There are many details to this story, but I will not bore you with them. Just beware when purchasing used racing equipment. Inspect and make sure of what you are getting.

After much altering and fixing, I got the wheels to fit, so all is not lost.

Jan. 31, 2009 - Looks like that new Camaro is not due on the showroom until Spring. I had hoped it would be out in early February. GM has over 11,000 orders already.

I had a minor setback on the car. The trans. crossmember fell out!

The welds holding one side were bad, and had been that way for a long time. In this car, the front and rear motor plates hold all of the weight of the engine and transmission. There is very little downward force on the trans. mount (at least with the low power engine that the past owner had in the car). I spent the last two days fabricating a new cross member and I am still working on mounting it. That left side header that I said should not have to come out, well, it must come out to do the welding on the crossmember attachments and the frame.

Thanks to Reggie Jackson, who talked me into replacing everything under there and reinforcing the frame where the old one was attached, I will be much safer and everything will be rigid. Reggie did a quick inspection of a lot of the welds under the car. One of his (many) jobs at the Nuclear Plant is welding inspection and approving welding packages.

When the power of this 555 hits the slicks, I expect the front end to come up (hopefully not too much) and there will be some downward force on that transmission mount and crossmember.

 

Jan. 29, 2009 - Upon further review... The O2 sensor system that the post on Racepics.net was talking about was made by, AEM company, and can be purchased from Summit Racing.
Q&A on AEM Wideband A/F system.

Jan. 29, 2009 - I just read a very interesting post: "Best Kept Secret...", on Racepics.net, by Frenchy, in the Bench Racing Section, on engine tuning using O2 sensors. Check it out.

NOTE: I called JEGS and the unit that is referenced in the post is no longer available (from JEGS). Everything is much more expensive now. All they carry is various components or kits by Innovate Motorsports, which would use the Bosch wideband O2 sensor(s) for giving A/F ratio.
http://www.jegs.com/i/Innovate
+Motorsports/540/3781/10002/-1#

I had O2 sensor bungs in both sides of my last set of headers, but never installed the sensors. I may put them in this set of headers.

Since I don't plan to use Nitrous, I know I can use my years of experience at reading plugs to get by. For all the N2O people, you might consider the A/F monitoring system. Four hundred dollars is not too much compared to a head or a complete engine.

Jan. 28, 2009 - Put both headers on and the starter. Everything fit as it should. Tight, but it fit. I even put a few plugs in to see how much trouble that would be.

The morning was spent rounding up hoses for the radiator, a trans. mount from Sonny at Pro-Fab, and a hose for the evacuation system. The trans. mount is 1/2" too short, but a shim will take up the space.

It is so many small items that have to be done. When I walk from the front to the back of the car all I can see is more little projects. Kevin Gray and his son, Ferrel, came over to get some carburetor work done. He asked me when I was going to be ready to go to the track. I said, March. He laughed and said, "You may make March if you work every day, 24/7!"

If I am going to make the first "Top Doorslammer" race on April 4, 2009, I need to do some testing in March. I think I can make it!

Jan. 27, 2009 - After cutting, grinding and reaming on the front motor plate, drivers side, I finally got the engine bolted in with the water pump in place. Now I have to remove the two engine bolts on the passenger side at the bottom and install the pickup for the crank trigger. I suspect this will be another adventure. When the alternator arrives that will go on the other side. I am going to try to install the headers next then go back to the front of the engine.

I am so glad I decided to put the engine in first. I discovered the transmission mount is missing and the man I purchased the car from does not know what happened to it. I will have to have one fabricated if an aftermarket unit will not take up all of the space (2 3/8") I also discovered I have to cut a trap door into the transmission tunnel to install the cooler lines. The fabricated trans. tunnel is too tight to get hands into it, or to have room for my -AN fittings. Speaking about the trans. cooler, I have to find a place to mount that too. I have a very nice round unit with fins, but mounting it is going to be a challenge.

While I am thinking about it, I better put the drive shaft in and see if there are any more surprises.

Jan. 24, 2009 - Two big meetings tomorrow at SCR, the first will be for the Fast Bracket (Top Sportsman) at 1:00 pm, the second is the monthly BMRT meeting which will be held at 3:30 pm.

Today I took the engine off the engine stand, put the converter on the transmission and connected the eng. and trans. and put them into the Camaro. Only four bolts at the mid plate are holding it, along with the hoist and jack, while I try to determine what type of transmission mount to put in.

I ordered a new alternator which will mount on the front of the engine, through the motor plate. After putting the engine in, it looks like there may be some interference with the steering mechanism. The alternator should be here around Weds. or Thursday.

This is why I decided to go ahead and put the engine into the body early. Now I can solve the little problems before I am rushed, which I should never rush, I have all the time in the world.

Jan. 22, 2009 - The painter says I can come get my car parts tomorrow!
I ordered a low mount alternator kit, complete with 65 amp alternator and belt, pulleys and brackets, for use with a BBC and a motor plate.

Jan. 22, 2009 - My Upper Room meditation for July 10, 2008 was one that I removed and kept for future reference. It is filed in my Bible next to 2 Corinthians 4: 1-18, and reads:

"Cracked Pots"
We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
2 Corinth. 4:7

The short story that goes with that reads:

  My life in Christ has helped me to accept the nature of the clay jar that I am. I have weaknesses. I have strengths. For some people who know me, my strengths outweigh my weaknesses. For others, my weaknesses outweigh my good traits. But we all live somewhere between what we have been and what God is reshaping us to be.
  This is an image of God's kingdom. We live in an "already-but-not-yet" time. God's salvation in Christ has already come, but it is not yet enjoyed by all people and all creation. Jesus gave us a glimpse of God's future glory, but its full realization remains future. We live between the already of what God has done and the not-yet of what God will do. The work god has begun in us is not complete.
  Yet God's glory is seen clearly in our sinful, broken, imperfect humanity, "We have this treasure in clay jars." We can focus on the clay jar, or we can focus on the treasure. We can condemn each other for being a cracked, chipped, misshapen, leaky, brittle, traditional, or contemporary jar. But if we focus on the treasure, we have hope - hope for me, for you, for enemies as well as friends, for the world - because the treasure is God's extraordinary power at work in us.
Written by:
Mr. Mike Ripski (Tennessee)

The Upper Room has always been a part of my life. My father read it each day before going out to do his police work. I never read it before a young instructor at River Bend Station, teaching a class in Nuclear Power, mentioned that he read his Upper Room each day. After class I asked him if he had an old copy that I could read. That was in July 1981. I have read it daily since then and some of the stories have been life changing and very inspirational to me.

January 20, 2009 - Today is a great day, first of all, my son Glenn is celebrating his 46th birthday! Happy Birthday Glenn!

As I told Glenn, we will allow President Obama to share his day as he is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.

I listened to reporter Bob Schieffer, of CBS News and Face The Nation, explain how in his lifetime he never thought he would see an African-American President of the USA.

Bob recounted growing up in Ft. Worth, TX and how he had never shook hands with a black person until he was a 1st LT. in the military. Not because he did not want to, but because in Ft. Worth all white's lived on one side of town and black's lived on the other side. He never attended a school that had a black student.

Bob is one of the most respected reporters in the industry and one of my favorite reporters. I agree with his comment about living to witness this historic event.

When I was in the Navy, serving on nuclear submarines, as a member of the engineering department in 1964, I stood watches with a young sailor from Midland, TX. He was always in awe of this black person that could do the same things that he did, learn the same things that he learned and hold an intelligent conversation, just as he could. He had never had any contact with black people before joining the Navy.

I spent a lot of time with some of my grandchildren over the past few weeks, talking about my black experience. I grew up in Florida, in the segregated South, during the 1940's and 1950's. Each Summer my family traveled (above the Mason-Dixon Line) to Philadelphia, PA, and visited with my grandfather. We always continued our trip after a few days and went up to New York, NY. There we stayed with my aunt in her one bedroom apartment. This was because my mother attended Columbia University each Summer and earned her Masters Degree.

As a very young boy and as a teenager, it was a unique experience to go "Up North" and have the many freedoms that the people there enjoyed.

When we got to New York each Summer, my father would go to "The Polo Grounds" and purchase reserve seat tickets, in the best seats we could get, for the N. Y. Giants baseball team. Then we would go across the river to Queens and "Yankee Stadium" to purchase tickets for Yankees games. Then we would go over to "Ebets Field" in Brooklyn, the home of the Dodgers, and purchase tickets. Mom was a Dodger fan and would not attend any of the games at the other two stadiums (she was in school anyway). At home, in Daytona Beach, FL, we could go to the games to see the local "Class D" baseball team, the Daytona Beach Islanders, but we had to sit in segregated stands, way out in right field.

Daddy also loved movies and Broadway shows. He and I would sometimes go to a movie in the morning, a movie in the afternoon and a baseball game in the evening. At home, we had one black movie theater, where we only got to see movies that had been out for at least 6 months (sort of like waiting for a movie to come out at Blockbuster). In New York and Philadelphia, we had our choice of several first run movies every day. As a result, when I returned home, I had seen most of the movies that came to our "Ritz Theater" in Daytona Beach. The white theaters in Daytona, which there were at least three, did not allow blacks to attend and they always had first run movies.

I also got to go to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. I got to see all the latest acts first hand. The Apollo is still there, around 125th St. and 7th Ave. My friends at home only got to listen to the records. Radio City Music Hall, with the Rocketts, was a real treat. We went the Radio City each time the movie and the show changed. I saw Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and many, many other fine entertainers.

Traveling by car in the South (below the Mason-Dixon Line) was always a challenge. Imagine, leaving home from Florida, going to New York, a 1200 mile trip, knowing that the only hotel or motel that you could stop to sleep was in Savanna, GA, Winston-Salem, NC, or Richmond, VA. We were also challenged to use the restroom. When we stopped for gas, the first question that my father would ask was, "Can we use the restroom?" If the answer was no, we moved on until we found a station that would allow us to use the restroom. During one of these trips was when I learned that women, at certain times of the month, had more urgent needs when it came to using the restroom. During these trips, we would leave the highway and make our way into town to find either a Greyhound or Trailways bus station, where we could always use the restroom.

Today, my family and I can travel anywhere, anyplace and stop wherever I can afford.

Travel has always been a major part of my life. That is the major reason that I spent 24 years in the Navy. I love to travel, and so does Barbara. During my travels around the world, I have come to appreciate coming back home more that leaving. The United States Of America is the best place that I could live on Earth.

The statement that Michelle Obama made, and she caught a lot of heat for, is a statement that I, and many other black people in this country, feel at this moment in history. I have never been more proud to be an American that I have been during the past few months.

You know what else, for all the flak that NASCAR takes, back in the 40's and 50's, I never had any problem attending any of the races on the old Beach-Road Course in Daytona Beach where they held Grand-National Racing (forerunner of NASCAR). I am still a big fan of NASCAR! I attended the race when Wendell Scott, first black driver in Grand-National Racing, drove one of three Chrysler 300's in the big race on the beach. He was sponsored by Mercury Outboards. Wendell did not finish due to engine trouble, but the other two Chrysler's finished one-two!

Jan. 19, 2009 - MLK Day!

Yesterday, Sunday, after setting all the valves, installing the intake and putting the valve covers on, I decided to put the damper on the crank.

I always like to install the damper very close to zero, with #1 piston ready to fire (compression stroke).

After moving the crank to the zero position and checking to see if #1 piston was at the top, I tried to drop the distributor into place. It would not go into the hole and seat. I removed the distributor and looked down into the hole and everything looked good. I moved the crank a few degrees and tried to drop the distributor again, with no luck. I put a long screwdriver down into the slot in the top of the rod that drives the oil pump and it would not turn!

Panic! All I could think about was, the only new part on this whole engine, other than rings, was the new oil pump, with pick-up welded to the pump that I ordered to go from a standard pressure oil pump to a high volume oil pump. I had done everything recommended in the pump installation instructions. I had removed all the cover bolts, check the inside for burrs and smoothness and reinstalled the cover bolts using Loctite. I had checked the pump to make sure it rotated smoothly before installing it. I had used the old pump shaft, which is aftermarket with a steel sleeve that goes around the oil pump shaft. Unlike the factory SBC shafts with the plastic sleeve that snap into place on the oil pump, this one just drops into the passage and the oil pump is bolted on the #5 (thrust) bearing cap.

HERE IS THE LESSON LEARNED: After, or somehow while, you bolt that oil pump on, make sure that shaft is not bound up before you put the pan on! (Some people don't try to drop the distributor until after putting the engine into the car! I would have really been upset!)

After thinking of several ways to get this thing free, I decided to remove the pan and the oil pump. The oil pump was still free and the shaft was in excellent condition. It had just been bound up and the slots had not aligned properly between the oil pump and the shaft. After flipping the engine a couple of times, on the engine stand, I had everything working properly and the distributor dropped right into place (I removed the left bank valve cover to make sure of the firing position of #1 piston and got the distributor pointing exactly where I wanted it). This is another of the many engine building lessons (mistakes) that I will have to remember.

Today, 1/19/09, I finally installed the damper.

Jan. 16, 2009 - After talking to Van Johnson, who has one isolator installed going to his fuel gauge on his dash, Van helped me decipher the instructions. He needs to help Auto Meter write some good instructions for that item. I do not need an isolator for the oil gauge, only the fuel gauge. That will save me over $130.00, including the braided line to connect the unit.

I finished the engine today, with the exception of the water pump and damper. Those will be put on tomorrow. I was so happy with the look of the engine, I polished my valve covers for the first time since the engine was new in 1999. I will be full speed ahead on the gauges and wiring right after the damper is put on.

And true to form, the painter is not done with my spoiler, cowl panel and trunk as promised. I don't really need it until after the engine is installed. I still have a lot of sheet metal work to do under the back end, in the trunk on the fuel cell protection and protection under the fuel pump.

Van also told me to take my time, enjoy the engineering and design of the car. Solving those little problems and learning about new tools and new methods of working to get the job done. Van said, I am retired, so all I have is time. Somewhere, in my many hours of reading I read, "Patience Is A Virtue".

Jan. 15, 2009 - I have spent a lot of time at, FASTNAL Industrial & Construction Supplies, here in Baton Rouge lately. They are an excellent source of fasteners of all types. Eric and Andrew are very good salesmen and go the extra mile to make sure I am satisfied.

We ordered some more Riv-nuts for the windshield (Lexan). I also ordered the pneumatic tool to install them, but it will not work for my application. They did find some steel riv-nuts that have a ribbed surface on the outside that crush almost as easy as the aluminum ones, using my manual tool. I will not have to use the pneumatic tool or the cheater bar.

Today I put all the lifters in and started to put the push rods and rockers on the heads. This might sound like an easy task, but I am installing the Dart adjustable push rod guides on both heads, in all positions. Since they are captured by the rocker studs, it is very time consuming to adjust, fit and torque each one. Takes me about 15-20 min's. each. I have 10 of 16 completed. I had several push rods that had a nice ware ring around the top where the stock push rod guide was bearing on the push rod. Also the side to side geometry was not good on several of the rockers. Now, each one rides directly in the center of the valve stem (lash-cap). I may still get the ware ring, but the geometry being correct should let me rev. a little quicker. I should finish tomorrow and get the intake manifold back into place (if I don't have any "Honey-Do's"!)

I decided to go with isolators for the oil and fuel gauges for the car. I have always had my oil and fuel gauges on the cowl panel, right in front of my eyes. This time I will have them mounted in the dash. The two isolators arrived today. The instructions are... something else! Good thing I had Navy Nuclear Training. I still may have to call Auto Meter to get some more directions.

January 11, 2009 - Friday I took the parts that need painting, spoiler, cowl panel and trunk, to the painter, Billy Brickham of Brickham Collision in Central, LA.. He estimated I should have my parts back by this coming Friday (Ha! Ha!).

I started installing the gauges. I did not get very far, but it was a start. I also put the oil pump on the engine and the oil pan. I installed the heads using MLS head gaskets. Due to the many ms-matched parts, deck heights and chamber volumes of my engine, I have a .051" thick gasket on the right bank and a .041" gasket in the left bank. The chambers measure 119 cc on the right side and 122 cc on the left.

In case you don't remember or don't know, I have a 1999 Dart Pro-1 345 head, that was ported by Alvin Calhoun, on the left bank that flows about 390 cfm. I have a 2006 Dart Pro-1 345 head, that flows about 385 cfm out of the box, on the right side. All in all, we calculated, with deck height, chamber volume and head gasket thickness, we are very close to the same compression on each side, about 13.5:1. I have very high domes, which have been relieved to clear the valves, on Ross pistons.

I want to, and expect to, run in the high 8.90's. This same combination ran 9.15 @145 MPH it the other car. The new car has a much better suspension and the weight is lower. This engine will not be for sale. Imagine trying to explain all of this to a potential buyer!

January 8, 2008 - Looks like the Fast Bracket will become a reality after the drivers meeting and sometime early in the new season. Larry talked to Gary Carter, Track Manager, and he is looking forward to having the bracket.

There will still be a drivers meeting, everyone interested is invited. The meeting will be at SCR on Sunday, January 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm.

What has XM, On-Star and a Nav. System? My new car! Decided to help out the economy and get a new GM car. I decided not to wait on the new Camaro, but I did get the Direct Injection V6 304 HP Engine. Couldn't pass up that Red Tag Sale!

Today I finished the cowl panel installation. I have removed the spoiler and the cowl panel and they will go to the paint shop tomorrow. I used the steel Riv-nuts (not shown in photos). The aluminum Riv-nuts threads do not hold up very good unless there is no stress placed on them. If you want to get the screw tight (torqued), you must use the steel Riv-nuts. Installing the steel Riv-nuts is very hard using the manual installation tool to crush the Riv-nuts. Not impossible, but hard. I only had 6 of them to put on today and they were a real challenge.

I may order the pneumatic installation tool to put the windshield and rear window in the car. As I write this, I am thinking, maybe I can design some type of cheater bars to slip over the handles and be able to apply more pressure to those Riv-nuts. It will be worth a try. Judging from the cost of the manual kit, the pneumatic one is probably very expensive.

P. S.: I just went out on the internet and looked up prices. I was right! Very expensive. I did fine a method of installing steel Riv-nuts without anything but regular old hand tools. I also think my cheater bar technique will work!

January 2, 2009 - Happy New Year to all my friends and racers around the world! As God commands, I also hope my enemies have a good year also.

I worked on the rear spoiler on the car today for a few hours. I am almost done with it and it is coming out very good. I had to fabricate a "break" to bend the wing. Now I know why they included the piano hinge that I did not use! I almost started over so I could use it, but decided to put a permanent bend in the top of the wing to accomplish what the hinge would have done. I don't need it to be adjustable, my wing won't move after it is mounted permanent. I did use the riv-nuts, so it can be removed. I will send the spoiler to the painter and complete the installation when it comes back. If I can help it, the car will not go back.

The next project will be to complete the cowl panel in front of the windshield. After that, the wiring and gauges. These two go hand-in-hand. The Lexan will be done after the wiring. I decided not to install the rear bumper. That was going to be a nightmare with no benefit, except cosmetic. I am still trying to decide on the front. Looking at photos of the old "Masterpiece", it did not have a front bumper.

12/30/08 - Today, I was contacted by my friend, Larry Gotreaux ("The Stampeede Bandit" Mustang), about my views on trying to establish a bracket at State Capitol Raceway for cars that run between 8.99 and 7.50 seconds. This bracket would be limited to doorslammers only.

One of the main benefits would be to decrease the amount of rounds that these cars must run to win a bracket (Q-16 only goes 4 rounds). The field could be unlimited entry, or if the racers prefer, it could be limited to 8, 16 or 32 cars (5 rounds). Another benefit would be the exciting racing between these closely matched, really quick doorslammers!

This idea is new for this area, and is open for discussion. There are no rules yet, and they would be decided upon with the track and the racers.

If you have thoughts on the idea, pro or con, please contact Larry at: larry@thestampeedebandit.com
you can also email me at: oholber@yahoo.com and I will pass your comments to Larry.

 

Fall/Winter 2008

Summer/Fall 2008         Page 1 - 2008