Monday, August 10, 2009

Racing Shoes

For years I've drag raced the '62 ChevyII Nova on DOT slicks on steel wheels and using the street 215R60-15s mounted on Cragar SS on the front. Lots of unneccesary weight where it does harm.

****click pic for full size****

This view shows the skinny fronts and DOT slicks rear. These are Weld Draglite wheels, 3.5x15 front and 6.5x14 rear mounting 4.5x15 Hoosier skinnies on front and 9.25x14x26 Hoosier Pro DOT slicks rear. I didn't weigh the fronts, but tire and wheel can be carried with my little finger.

If you're wondering about 15s front and 14s rear it is about rolling friction front with the taller tire tripping the light a tad later than a shorter one and the rears use a short wheel to give sidewall to the 26 inch diameter tire which is as tall as the car will allow. Taller and wider would be better for contact patch but won't fit this car. (8.30 inch tread)

The Draglites are a nice looking wheel and they are light, very light. They are specifically labeled competition not street and clearly curbing one would break or bend it badly. It was much more than simply ordering wheels and mounting them, the studs that mounted the street Cragar SS were much too short for the Welds' hubs. This meant installing 2.5 inch studs and complicating that was that the stud knurls were larger than the existing holes, on the rears only slightly but requiring drilling that I could do. The front rotors are 3rd generation Camaro and had metric studs, much larger knurls were required than the holes to use all SAE thread studs; so much so that I took the rotors to the NAPA shop to have them drilled and pressed.

Then the fun started, one rotor was under spec for resurfacing so a new one ordered and then they broke the good one, wait for another new rotor and another stud order. I got my rear axle hubs drilled out and mounted the streets on open lugs I had to order - more wait. Went and got the tires mounted and during install a front couple front nuts galled on the studs requiring breaking them to get them back off. Order studs again and wait. Finally we have what you see here and the car is awaiting loading on trailer.

That is another story, I spent 6 hours today unloading the car trailer's load of construction equipment and finding a place for it to live in my inadequate space. You don't want my day, I'm beat. There was some real heavy and some real awkward stuff on that trailer - not to mention just a flat lot of stuff. The car is now aboard.

The object is Firebird Raceway's Nightfire, 4 days of racing and in pit camping. I'll be running NHRA Pro bracket, at that elevation 13.99 sec to 7.50 sec with no electronics. I foot brake, oh well. There will be cars from all over the west along with Pro Mods, AA Altereds, and Nitro Cars. It is a blast and the air reeks of tires and fuel and treats for the ears.

Depending on density altitude, which is a factor of barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature, the car should run right at or below 13.00 seconds this time of year. If DA were to get close to sea level the car would get into 12s. Wish me luck, with various disasters occuring I haven't been out for 3 years, lots of missed practice.

If you're thinking, "How hard can that be with a street car?" I'll explain. I'll need to get off the line with no more than 0.020 seconds slower than perfect to be competitive. If I get the tire pressure right and the burnout right the car should go the first 60 feet in 1.70 seconds (0-45 mph in the length of 4 street lanes width) and if all shift points are right out the end of the 1/4 mile (1320 feet) in 13 seconds flat at about 107 mph. With these light tires and wheels the car may have both front tires in the air coming off the line, if I can get the rear tire pressure right and the burnout right. The burnout softens the tire compound to make it sticky, too little and the tires are too hard and slip, too much and the tires get greasy and slip. There's a lot to go wrong and you get one try to beat the other guy or you're done. Then there is the little matter of the dial in, in brackets you predict your ET and if you're quicker than that you lose, because the timing lights are staggered, if you both run perfect you'd reach the end in a tie despite running against a faster or slower car.

Win or lose it'll be a blast, but it sure is a lot more fun to go rounds and I've seen it go more than 6 rounds to get to finals. The best I've ever done at Nightfire is semi-finals, but I'm also just about the only dedicated street car running, the rest are dedicated race cars. There is a difference. A large one. I'll take an actual camera.

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