In The Beginning 5/1998 6/1998 7/1998 8/1998 9/1998 10/1998 Current News
It's really kind of strange how it all began. There we were at dinner one night when we started kidding around. The next thing you know, the wheels were in motion, so to speak ;-)! If you know my brother at all, you know this is not an unusual thing. It was just around Christmas time when we pulled the trigger. We made a deal with Jody Tornabene, driver of the 750 horsepower, ground pounding Primestar modified, to use his 92 Olsen. As for the engine, well, we are a Dodge dealer and have always talked about doing a Mopar motor some day. What better time than now? Respected engine builder Dan Bedell is in charge of the motor program. I know we're in capable hands here. Randy Ross, owner of the team that I've worked with for nearly 15 years was kind enough to give us shop space in his race shop. Hopefully I'll be as much help this season to Ross Motorsports crew chief Scott Jefferies as he will be to me! Larry Henry at Mopar Performance helped us out with some engine parts. Special thanks to Kenny and Lisa at Number 1 Autobody for all their help getting the car painted and to Don VonFricken at JR/ART Autobody for the supplies. And thanks to Rick Feiden for his usual great graphics job. Stay tuned for more details...
And as promised... We're working like crazy to get everything together. It's a fairly major job, starting from scratch. Couldn't do it without Todd, Rick, Scott and Cory. I completed Kenny Tremont's school with no major problems. The major work following the first race is to make changes to help the motor run cooler. We're also trying to get the trailer situated.
Our cooling problem was solved by relocating the radiator, and placing duct work to channel the air better. The results proved to be worth the effort, we only ran about 185 degrees this Saturday. Of course this was after overheating the motor the first night out. As a result, when we practiced the car Saturday morning, we blew a head gasket. The motor teardown showed no permanent damage, with the exception of the some of the valves j-u-s-t kissing the tops of a couple of pistons. Not sure why yet, I may have over revved the engine in the slick stuff the pervious week. The engine is back together and running excellent.
Until Saturday night, that is. <G> I'm guessing that I zing'd the engine when I broke the axle on the front straight. The motor seemed ok the next week, but halfway through the feature we lost a cylinder. Looks like a bent exhaust valve. We're going to modify the pistons and do a valve job this week, and hopefully that will be the end of it. We also have to send the car to PMC for some front clip work.
Well the motor is back together, with the reworked pistons. Thanks Dan Bedell and Walt Bedell! Also thanks to PMC Fabrications for doing the front clip and the new tin. All for naught this week, nothin' but rain.
The motor is back to 100% this week, but now we're having some problems at the end of the straights. Possibly running out of fuel or something. I have to lift at least 50 feet before I want to to keep the motor from breaking up.
Well, after chasing my tail in a circle, trying to track down a non-existent charging problem, I was able to borrow a mag to try. Hopefully this will put us back on track in our search for the phantom rev-limiter.
At the conclusion of the tail chasing, we have determined that we have a valve float problem. Hard to believe considering the spring pressure that we're running. So the solution is to run titanium valves. Only kidding<g>! We've shimmed the springs to increase the seat pressure. The result is that the motor no longer breaks up at the end of the straights, but we have definitely lost some bottom end. We will need to experiment more with this over the winter to see if we can come to a better compromise.