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.