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by Ray Alexander
Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA December 14, 2013
This was another event billed as “American muscle against imports.” The Chrysler LX Hemi cars have engines made in Mexico, transmissions designed and made in Germany, and if it came with clutch-driven half shafts the differential was made in Germany; it was assembled in Canada, and we refer to it as an American car. At some time we need to get over this “made in” stuff and realize a vehicle is a composite of parts made all over the world, specified by a group of engineers who want to enhance the product; while they may have great disagreements amongst themselves, they present a united front against the beancounters. I have never worked where the engineers won, but it appears that European engineers are getting some concessions.
There are three old guys that are proud to represent Spankin Time; Bill Scharing with an SRT8 Challenger, David Lloyd SRT8 Charger and Ray Alexander SRT8 Charger. These three old guys are not ready to look for Hemi powered wheelchairs just yet. Their combined age is 213 and the combined speed is 398 mph. Don’t turn your back and do not attempt to look up our sleeves.
Spankin Time specializes in making power. They have a lot of Kenne Bell (KB) superchargers installed making big power. If you can get it past your beancounter they will supercharge your lawnmower. Adam Montague owns Spankin Time and has drag raced for several years. He is also the sponsor of this event.
I stopped at the shop on my way to Bakersfield. Adam was working on a black SRT8 Charger. He said, “This car is owned by another of you old guys.”
Adam is not content with anything as is. The KB appears to have a huge throttle body, but Adam believes that one screw is starved for air. He fabricated an impressive air turnaround for the KB on this car. The car is owned by David Lloyd and will be at Famoso tomorrow.
Let’s go racin’.
Tech Inspection was what it was; they complained that I had no blow down tube. It didn’t do them any good. I was told that I didn’t need one because the nitrous bottle has a hard partition between it and the passenger compartment. I have a blow down tube at home, but the tops of the bottles need to be changed to accommodate the tube. If I ever get both bottles empty at the same time I might make the change. Other tracks have complained with the same results.
The Spankin Time team has Mopars and Mustangs both putting down rear-wheel horsepower between 750 and 1,000. I wanted my first race to be against Bryce, but as the lines fed out I was racing against Bill Scharing in his Challenger. I had no chance of beating either of them. Bill ran the fastest of any Mopar for the day at 9.976 seconds and 139.79 mph.
As the day progressed it became obvious that people preferred to race against cars they were familiar with. It also became obvious that there were first time racers here, that was a wonderful thing. With a small number of competitors, your learning experience is easily absorbed and tolerated.
There is a small tight knit group of people that have been racing together for a couple of years and one guy went to nitrous. He broke a half-shaft on his second run. I know the noise and the hopeless feeling when your car will not move. I spent a lot of time looking for a 1 ¼” socket. I found a 1 ¼” combination wrench, it wouldn’t reach the nut. I found a socket near the end of the day. The owner eventually sold it for a very reasonable price. The group has a blown Dakota pickup, it was the only truck for most of the day. A ’49 Chevy pickup showed late in the day, it was not running the stock six-cylinder engine.
Adam couldn’t get his Challenger ready for this event, so he brought his Mustang. He ran faster than any Mopar and we just don’t want to hear about it.
There hasn’t been a quarter mile track operating in southern California for about a year. Fontana is in the process of reopening. Everyone that I talked to had the best 1320’ time they had ever had. I ran .3 faster than ever.
In the afternoon I ran against a C6 Corvette, it had the same cold air intake that I have on mine. It went carefully around the water trap and stopped. We got the burnout signal. I did mine; he pulled forward then backed into the water trap and burned. Meanwhile my tires were cooling. We were set and the lights came down. At 60’ I was .3 ahead, at 330’ I was 2 seconds ahead. He quit somewhere past the 330’ mark.
Living at the high horsepower address seems to come with some teething problems. Jesse’s Challenger blew a valve cover gasket on the first pass; he claimed all the oil stayed on his motor. A Jeep broke the rear driveshaft and David Lloyd broke his power steering pump.
There were at least two major malfunctions that halted racing for lengthy times. We finished the day running a single lane, the one not covered in oil.
Early in the day the track announcer had advised they would shut down at dusk. In reality they ran until no more cars came to the staging lanes and that was well into dark.
Spankin Time is going to do this again on January 18, 2014.
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