Chuck Johnson’s Bonneville Adventure – Part One

,

Chuck Johnson's Bonneville Adventure
Only Nissans are allowed in this garage!

Every year there are two meets where racers bring their cars to the salt.  The more familiar meet to the casual enthusiast is the famous Speed Week held yearly by the SCTA.  This is where the big boys come out to play and vie for official world land speed records and the SCTA is the traditional roll keeper for the coveted 200 mph club. The other meet is the World of Speed held by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association. The USFRA has two entry level classes for beginning top speed racers, the 130 mph club and the 150 mph club.  The 130 mph club allows people to run on the salt in a minimally prepared street car.  The 150 mph club requires additional safety equipment such as harnesses and a roll bar.  Although these speeds may not seem difficult, in the hot thin high altitude air of Bonneville, on the slippery and rolling resistive salt causes cars to run significantly slower than most overzealous and inexperienced racers think they can.  Many seemingly well prepped and highly modified cars fail when attempting entry into the 150 mph club for these reasons. Racing on the salt is not as easy as a causal observer in the peanut gallery might suppose.  The salt can be rough and slippery, unpredictable gusts of wind can sweep the course.  Serious crashes and high speed spinouts are not unheard of even in the lower speed classes.  Running on salt isn’t simply going in a straight line; it requires skill and big huevos. This is real racing on a real course timed by a real clock.  Unlike the illegal midnight banzai run on public highways that most of us have probably experienced, bench racing and rice lies have no credibility here, the speed you obtain tells your unembellished story to everyone.

Not content with simply going fast, Chuck needed a challenge.  Anyone could make some of the more popular and aftermarket supported cars fast but the engineer nerd in Chuck is a sucker for punishment, hence his unique choice of weapon for this battle.  Although typical fast cars like a Turbo S13 Nissan, an NX2000 race car and a B18C5 powered hybrid Civic line Chucks quiver, Chuck wanted to run his 1988 Nissan Sentra B12, having a great sentimental attachment towards it.  The car has been in Chuck’s family since it was new.  This is no ordinary B12, having basically grown up with Chuck.  The Sentra is packing over 400 whp of turbocharged SR20DE power. 

Chuck Johnson's Bonneville Adventure
Christa Kojima helped by fitting in tight places.

The wimpy 68 horsepower E16 motor the car came with was swapped for an SR20DET.  The SR was fitted with a Pulsar GTI-R exhaust manifold modified to accept a Tial 44mm external wastegate and graced with a Garrett/HKS GT3037 ball bearing center section turbo with .70 exhaust housing.  A reliable HKS EVC 1 was used to control the boost pressure.  The big turbo breathed through a 3′ open exhaust and 2.5” intake tubing custom fabricated by Afterhours Automotive using Hose Techniques T-bolt clamps and couplers with a recirculated Greddy Compressor bypass valve.  A big Spearco front mount intercooler cooled the intake charge.  Jim Wolf S3 HL cams helped the engine breath at higher rpm.  For engine management, a JWT ECU was used with a Cobra mass airflow meter and 72 lb injectors. A Walbaro 255 LPH fuel pump fed fuel to an SX filter and fuel pressure regulator.

Power is transferred to the wheels via a lightweight JWT aluminum flywheel and a JWT segmented metallic sprung hub clutch disc with a heavy duty pressure plate.  A much stronger than stock, 5-speed transmission from a Sentra SE-R was used with a Viscous LSD to help traction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*