Keep Racing Fun- Bonneville Speed Week 2013


Late in the day, Sean arrives from Salt Lake City with the Silvia ECU.  This ECU has a JWT daughterboard installed so the main processor can be removed and replaced with different chips.  We take the chip from the race car which is scaled for the big Cobra MAF and 1000cc Injector Dynamics fuel injectors and put it in the loaner ECU and install that ECU in the car.  We cross our fingers and the car starts right up!  Yeah we solved the problem!  The only issue is that this ECU does not have the control for the VE high rpm cam change over.  We will have to wait until the morning when the correct JWT ECU arrives in Salt Lake City.  Yes, Sean will have to make another trip early in the AM once again! We are super relieved that we have found the problem.

The sun sets on the salt once again.  We move to the end of the road and set up camp.  Once again no one appreciates the beautiful sunset!

Chris Allen's Toybox camper has this awesome fold out external grill and we cooked carne asada.  It tasted great.  We finally had a good night without too much worry.
We are busy in the morning.  Sean has left before dawn to pick up the ECU from the Fed Ex depot in the Salt Lake City airport.  In the meantime we prep the car in anticipation of making a run. Here George Peters sets air pressure.  LSR cars all run Goodyear drag racing front runners all around for tires.  This is because they are about the only super high speed rated tires available anymore.  They are skinny for minimal rolling resistance and are inflated pretty hard because they have soft sidewalls.  It is a hassle to set pressures on the car because of the spun aluminum moon discs that are used to reduce drag.  Setting air pressure takes about 20 minutes.

Sean returns from the airport with the new JWT ECU and jumps right in to help prep the car by servicing the intercooler tank.  The intercooler tank holds about 40 gallons of ice and water and not only keeps the intercooler cold but also serves as ballast to help keep the car down at high speed.  Annie installed the new ECU and reassembled the dash and I was busy changing plugs as the old plugs had gotten fouled out with fuel and soot when we were trying to diagnose the electrical problems.  To our relief the car started right up on the new ECU as well.  About this time I make the discovery that someone has reduced the fuel pressure when we were trying to troubleshoot the car and I misunderstand the correct pressure when I ask Chuck what it is.  As a result I accidentally set the fuel pressure too high.

Chuck gets his safety gear together and adjusts his harness.  LSR racing has really stringent safety requirements so Chuck has to wear a super thick fire suit and gloves rated for a Top Fuel Dragster.  He also has to wear a Hans device and arm restraints.  Considering that LSR crashes tend to be very violent and the car is traveling so fast that the fire trucks might be several miles away by the time they roll, the attention to safety makes a lot of sense.

We tow the car to the starting line and get Chuck secured in the car.  With all of the gear and the containment seat this takes several minutes.  Before Chuck leaves the line the officials verify that all of his gear is in place and working.

Seconds before leaving the line.  LSR racing is sort of anti climatic from a getting cool running perspective.  The car accelerates quickly out of sight and disappears.  Because of the extreme danger, photographers are not allowed on course.  Since we have to jump in the chase truck, it's hard to get photos of the start.  The car quickly runs away from the chase truck and we all have a job to do when recovering the car.  I guess you will have to wait for our videos to come out to see what it's like.  It was a pretty difficult run, the car almost spun at around 160 mph and the tail of the car was wiggling all the way down.  Chuck has balls of steel.
Chuck waits as we work to recover the car at the end of the track.  We have a check list that we must cover according to the rules.  One person has to check the engine bay for damage and leaks.  Another crew person must check the outside of the car for loose or missing parts.  The officials must be radioed immediately if any problems are found as a loose bolt can kill at over 300 mph.  Annie recovers the parachute and puts the safety pins back in the fire system.

We have gone 181 MPH on a 167.5 MPH record!  On this run we went out at native wastegate pressure of 20 psi to shake down the car.  The engine has been dynoed at up to 37 psi so this is just a fraction of its potential power.  The car was also down on power and belching black smoke because I had misadjusted the fuel pressure.  To get an official record your have to back up your speed the next day and your record speed is the average of the two runs.  Your car must be impounded overnight.  So we had to take the car directly to the impound area.

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