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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:28 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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Just got back from the latest Lemons race on Tuesday evening after spending a couple nights afterward in New Orleans. Even though we didn't place that well, it was a great test of the new fuel cell and electrical systems we busted our asses getting installed. Here's the recap!

We got to the track at 2:30 AM Friday after leaving Houston 3 hours later than planned. Most of the team was camping at the track to save money, so we pitched our tents and grabbed a few hours of sleep. We skipped the test and tune session on Friday to focus on last minute details like bleeding the brakes (after upgrading to an aluminum 2-bolt master from Doctor Diff) and replacing our expired belts. Our fuel cell installation passed tech inspection with flying colors, which was nice. We hosted a crawfish boil at the track Friday night with a bunch of other Lemons teams from Texas.

Those of us camping at the track got rained out of our tents at about 6 AM Saturday morning, while a tornado reportedly passed within a few miles. After righting our EZ-ups and putting our paddock area back together, we threw all our wet clothes, sleeping bags, and race gear in the cab of the tow pig and turned the heat on full blast. Turns out a Chevy 2500 with a Duramax is a pretty effective (though inefficient) clothes dryer.

We decided pretty early not to take this race too seriously, since there were a lot of faster cars in our class and we didn't really have the speed to compete. We took our fuel stops easy and basically treated the race like a proper shakedown for our new upgrades. The new HEI system and engine bay wiring harness performed flawlessly. The Dart overheated badly on Saturday morning after losing most of its coolant from the crack in the water jacket (and the driver didn't keep an eye on the gauges). We bandaged that with (another) bottle of aluminum Barrs Leak and sent the car back out no worse for wear. Made one more unscheduled stop that afternoon when the throttle cable frayed through and had to be replaced... another lingering "temporary" repair we haven't yet bothered to fix correctly.

Otherwise, the car ran great. The track at NOLA Motorsports Park is a load of fun. It's got a couple very technical turn complexes, a fast set of esses, and a long front straight. There were only 41 cars on the 2.75 mile full course, so it was almost like a track day. I set our team's fast lap that day with a 2:32 and change, and I only had about 5 laps that afternoon before the rain started and I had to slow down. Had a lot of fun battling on a wet track with a 1st-generation Cadillac CTS (with a Chevy 4.3 V6 and 4L60 swap). The off-track highlight of the weekend was Saturday night's black tie cocktail party, which we also threw with some other Texas teams just because we thought it was a funny idea. Finally got an excuse to install the trunk bar we built for the Race Dart a few years ago. When the rain came back, our friends from Dallas with a BMW E36 saved the party with the big wedding tent they had set up in the paddock. Come to think of it, I don't actually remember falling asleep that night. It was a good party.

During the second stint on Sunday morning, the pulley on our new Denso alternator loosened up, throwing the belt and overheating the engine yet again. After getting that put back together and finding the engine very difficult to restart, we realized we were down two cylinders. There was also a little glitter visible on the dipstick, but oil pressure looked healthy and coolant temps stayed down, so we raced the rest of the day with a likely crossblown head gasket. The loss of power gave me a chance to learn the track and focus on carrying as much speed as I could through the corners, and I managed a fastest lap only 8 seconds slower than the previous day (presumably with less than 2/3rds the power). We decided not to add fuel for our last driver since our new cell should have had plenty of room, but pumping six cylinders and only burning four apparently does horrible things to fuel economy. My friend Bob ran out of gas 3 laps before the checkered and had to be towed in. Luckily we could still drive the car onto the trailer after throwing a few gallons of gas in it.

We'd already planned to rebuild and swap in our spare engine after this race, so it was no great loss for this one to go nuclear a couple times. It was long overdue for a rebuild after getting a crack in the water jacket a year and a half ago and then eating an air cleaner nut a few months later. We proved out our upgraded systems, and we have a lot more planned before our next race in November, which will also be a full 24-hour race.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:59 am 
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Thanks for the great report, Frank!! Sounds like a ball (I guess you did that too).

Look forward to seeing at another LeMons event sometime... We still need to do our motor and a few other things, so CMP is out for us in 2 wks.

Lou

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:42 am
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Location: Fort Bragg, NC
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SpaceFrank wrote:
...eating an air cleaner nut....


Great recap Frank! Thanks.

It would appear that Lemons Slant 6 cars have an appetite for air cleaner nuts... :?

My local partner will be at Joliet this weekend and will surely come back fired up to dig into things after experiencing his first Lemons race.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:39 am 
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EFI Slant 6
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Location: Pauls Valley, OK
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Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a great time. Seeing this and browsing your EVR face book page you have linked in your signature makes me realize one thing: I need to be racing! Maybe someday...
:D

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:17 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:49 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
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Thanks for the kind words, y'all. Lemons is a blast, and it's just the right kind of weird for a lot of us Slant 6 types.

Lou, it's a ways off at this point, but we have tentative plans to do the race at Barber next year.

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Somehow I ended up owning three 1964 slant six A-bodies. I race one of them.
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