Sunday, September 27, 2015

Against my better judgement, we decided to stay in a camper in a parking lot provided to racers. Needless to say we are pretty close to the runway. No need for alarm clocks here, the echoing sound of engines revving at 6:00 in the morning is all you need. Mix that sound with the cool fall morning air and it sets the mood for a great day of racing. Things started promptly at 8:00 in the morning and kept a steady pace of motorcycles and cars headed down the track with the hopes of proving that their vehicle could be pushed further, even if it was just a little bit. 

The Bitch got her first run in early and went 154 in the mile. This was the second rookie run and was supposed to stay around 150 mph. Now he could open her up but he felt as if she had given all she had with the current gear set. So, we got right back in line and did a gear swap. This intrigued quite a few people since it was the first she took off her top to show everyone what she was hiding underneath. She also got a change in her fuel mixture with anticipation that it may give her a little boost. 

The second run for the day was around 11:30 and the clouds were finally starting to open up to show off a beautiful Ohio day. Unfortunately the slight changes that were made didn’t help. She ran 153 at the mile. Not at all a bad thing especially when you consider we are still on a learning curve and nothing was broken. Due to a long trip ahead of us, this would be the last run at this event. Either way, she came away a record holder. It really helps when there isn’t a current record in the class you run, but we’ll take it!

This trip was especially nice for us. For the first time, we were able to have some additional friends and family members with us to show their support. Cora was also along for the trip and provided additional entertainment, especially when she wanted to ride in the bellytank and people walked up to look in only to find a tiny racecar driver inside. It’s a sport for all ages to say the least! Again, thanks for everyone following us and keep checking back for updates or let us know if you would like to buy a t-shirt to help support the Blonde Bitch.

   
 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What a difference experience today. A whole new location to race for us and a whole new atmosphere to go with it. Not quite the crowd and large area that Bonneville provided and not quite the small gathering that we encountered in Maine. Wilmington runway has its own feel yet came with the same great group of racers that come from across the country to experience the rush they get for the few seconds that their wheels hit the track.

The Blonde Bitch got her initial rookie run in today. This course is timed at the mile and she came in at 122.98. He had to keep it at around 125 for this first run. Andy said he had to back out so we know that she is still ready to run. 

The Ohio Mile tops out at accepting 150 racers so it took a few hours to get through the line. After the first run, we got right back in line like many of the other racers. Unfortunately a Shelby Mustang decided to see how long the runway actually was and ran off the end. From what we heard, the car plowed through the end and whatever was in the way to finally end up in a fence. Most importantly, the driver was okay. This quickly halted all racing. While we waited, a fine mist rolled in and didn’t stop. Around 5:00 they called it for the day and officially ended all racing. We are about 4th in line when racing begins tomorrow morning at 8. Hopefully we can try to get two more runs in before making the trek back to PA. Feels like we just got here!!! 

    
 

Final Thoughts on Maine

Some odd, or interesting, things about Maine that I wanted to share. It’s always neat to see a different part of the country and see not only the landscape but also the industry that supports the area. Where we were was considered northeastern Maine and their income is predominantly based on potatoes. Who knew? When I think of Maine, I think of trees. Not so in this area, there was a lot of farmland which was currently filled with a variety of crops, but mostly potatoes. Come to find out that Maine is a large producer of seed potatoes and potatoes for french fries. It comes in as the second largest source of income for the state, only behind lobster. 

The area was also home to the largest, most accurate, scaled solar system. We kept seeing random planets along highway 1 and came to find out that it was a project of a local college. It’s to 93,000,000th scale. Seems really dumb if you ask me but after seeing the size of them and driving from one to the next, it really did put things into perspective. I didn’t see it but the sun was 40′ in diameter while the earth looked to be about 3-4″ in diameter and it probably took us about a half an hour to drive from the beginning to the end. Here is Jupiter and Saturn as examples.  

   

Going back to the Loring Air Force Base that we were on, we did hear quite a bit more about it as well. It was an extremely busy place during its time. The runway is 7′ thick concrete and was the largest heated runway in the U.S. It had the largest munitions depot which included nuclear weapons and nearby missle silos. It was the closest base to Russia which made it extremely important during the Cold War. It’s a bit of a ghost town now with empty buildings and rows of vehicles just left in their original parking spots. We did find out that it is currently only used for land speed racing, nothing else. I can only imagine what it would have looked like when it was lined up with B-52’s and all the hustle and bustle that went with it.   

   
So, there you go. Didn’t know you were going to learn such interesting facts today, did you? I like to keep you informed as well as entertained! We never did see a moose which was pretty disappointing. We did, however, have two burst trailer tires which was exciting enough. Cora was a trooper in all the traveling and got many compliments on her own hot rod. We just aren’t sure what class she would run in. May have a slight speed addiction herself someday. Go figure! 

 Thanks for following us on this adventure. Land speed racing is kind of a niche hobby and it’s nice to know we have a lot of supporters, even if you find it boring or don’t quite understand it. Some days I can’t figure it out either but when someone puts so much effort into their dream, it’s nice to see that it is appreciated. Please follow us again when we go to the upcoming Ohio Mile on the 26th & 27th of September.  

  

Sunday Results

Sunday was another beautiful day for racing. Not many people left so you could keep hot lapping if you really wanted to. After Saturday’s unsuccessful attempts and trying lower and higher gear sets, we went back to the original gear set for our first run of the day. We also changed plugs and taped any holes shut that we could around the front axle for better aero. That run was 153 in the mile and 164.6 at the mile and a half. Not bad but still just couldn’t seem to crack the 165 even though that was the best that we had done here.

After a little debate, we taped up any additional holes that could be taped, changed the fuel mixture to be slightly richer and planned for more aggressive shifting. I just kept telling Andy to find the gas peddle the next time!

With an enthusiastic launch and every shift at 6200 rpm (just below the rev limiter), all the changes must have helped. We ran 154 at the mile and 166.08 at the mile and a half. That ended up being the fastest we had gone. Compared to Bonneville, he had done around 125 at the mile and 150 at the mile and a half with the same gear set. So, technically he was going quite a bit faster here. It’s just hard to compare the two since you have more length in Bonneville to run. 

Overall, it was a good experience with all the new changes that were made to the car. They did make it go faster and the best part was is that he didn’t break anything!!!

Andy would like to note that if you see the timing slip below, he is now a record holder in his class. Only because there wasn’t any record but someone has to be the first!

  
    
 

Friday & Saturday Update

Just a quick update, busy days. 

Friday – Made 2 licensing passes yesterday to be approved to go faster. First one was to be around 125 or under. We ran 121.65 at the mile and 124.74 at the 1.5 mile. 

Second run was to be around 150. Ran 147.05 at the mile and 153.94 at the 1.5 mile. This was after backing out of the throttle so there still is more there. 

Only issue is a slipping clutch which we are adjusting the spring pressure up. 

   
    
   Saturday – Next run came in at 152.05 at the mile and 164.42 at the mile and a half. Just did a few adjustments and are in line for another pass. Beautiful day up here, 84 degrees and sunny with a nice breeze. Still no moose!  

    
 

Another Adventure Has BegunĀ 

The first thing that comes to mind is to just say, “the Bitch is on the move again!”

Hello and welcome to past followers and any new visitors that may have heard about our little adventure. As you may know, the Blonde Bitch has undergone extensive upgrades in the past year to get to Bonneville. Due to poor salt conditions Speedweek was unfortunately cancelled. Luckily it was before we were on our way.

So…..this led us to a new part of the country for racing – Limestone, Maine at the former Loring Air Force base. Just can’t seem to do anything close to home, that would take away all the fun. The base was built after WWII for heavy bombers and was eventually closed in the mid nineties. The strip is now used for land speed racing and some private aircraft. The runway is 2.9 miles long of which we will go 1.5 miles under power and be timed at the 1 and 1.5 mile markers. 

I’ve had a few requests for random photos from our drive since a bunch of you are stuck in an office while we get to view this great country of ours. Since we’ve been in Maine, I’ve been looking for a moose but this is all I’ve found for now. 

As you can see, we’ve had an addition to our pit crew. Cora is very excited to finally get to see the racecar out of the shed. Then again, she gets excited about a lot of things! If you are wondering, yes, she has been brainwashed into loving anything with an engine and that goes fast so I’m guessing she’ll do just fine at this event. 

The only interesting part of our trip so far was last night when a trailer tire almost blew. Andy spotted a bubble in the tire while driving and we got pulled over before anything happened. It got changed quickly and off we went. A fairly boring drive other than Cora asking repeatedly for Cheerios or to watch Frozen, again and again and again.

Keep following if you’d like to see how the car does in such a different environment and with all the changes that were made to the design. It will be nice to see her stretch her legs again, they’ve been cramped up for a few years. Guess that’s what you get for having a kid!

And, I’ll let you know if I see any. 

 

Speedweek 2015 is cancelled- now what?

Poor salt conditions has forced the SCTA to cancel Speedweek this year. 

Check back for updates as we are attempting to plan an alternate trip to either Maine or Ohio for some racing.  Both of these events are held on airport runways which are much shorter than the salt flats but will be good for testing.

Stay tuned. 

Speedweek 2015 -will it happen?

After months of work and countless hours spent working in the shed, Speedweek is in danger of being canceled. 

Apparently salt conditions are poor this year and it is unknown if they will be able to find good salt to race on. When we went in 2012 there were four race courses, 2 long courses, 1 short course, and 1 rookie course.  When the SCTA crew went to do course layout recently there was not enough good salt for the same course layout. 

They feel they may be able to get 1 or 2 short courses and nothing else.  If there is only 1 course we will not make the trip, long lines would be make it hard to even get one run in per day, but if 2 courses we will be on our way. A final decision is going to be made no later than July 22nd.

Until then we are hoping for the best. 

Bellytank upgrade #1 – It’s all about aerodynamics!

Well, maybe it’s not all about the aerodynamics.  On the last run we made in 2012 the steering wheel abruptly changed 90 degrees to make the car go straight. This was found to be the connection of the steering arm to the steering box had slipped. At 170 mph this did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling, so it was in need of a redesign.  

The end result is a custom built rack & pinion mounted to a round tube axle made from scratch, because off the shelf is never good enough. Coil over springs replace the old leaf spring and are mounted completely inside the body.  

Since horsepower is hard to come by with a flathead, any little bit of aerodynamic improvement will help… Hopefully!
    
 

The Blonde Bitch rebuild

Speedweek is approaching quickly and the scramble is on to get the bellytank ready to go. Over the next few weeks we will update everyone on the rebuild process and the upgrades that have been made.  

First pic is status as of June 27th, the frame was just repainted and assembly has begun.