Oh what a night!

So when you are a photographer AND the car owner, what do you do? You find the best and give them a call. I found Dave Green at Flag to Flag Photography.  It was awesome having him shoot some photos of our track night. Short of having someone else drive the car, this was the choice we had to use and I am so not disappointed. Dave shot great pics, and made the purchase easy at the end. This is in no way, all of the photos he shot. Just a few to highlight our evening…. and maybe one that snuck in from a time capsule.

 

 

Now I’m off to the garage to start the hard work for the next run. Oil change, 5Speed conversion, rearend oil change, new spring bushings in the rear… and I am sure I’ll find some other stuff.

Stay tuned!

Finally made it to Daytona!

I am in total disbelief. Who would have thought it. When I was racing those Carolina dirt tracks in the 80’s and only able to watch NASCAR on TV, (Cable TV which my dad was getting illegally at the time) I never fathomed I’d be here, running a car that I built, on the Daytona International Speedway. Now granted, we weren’t racing door to door, but trying only to beat our own time, it was still the thrill of a lifetime. I had chill bumps pulling onto pit road. Knowing all those childhood heroes of mine had been right here and rolled onto the same track was an indescribable rush.

I know this is nothing to many that have had the privilege to do this often, but the first time here was almost overwhelming. I’ll be running the late season run in the BRZ while I do some upgrades on the 71 car.

My car doubtful that it would pass a full blown NASCAR inspection, did the job! Due to the gearing, I was limited to about 130 in the high banks. I was told that I did break 140 going into the tri-oval but I was pushing that tired motor to the end of its limits. A road course section with an automatic is a PITA! All that did was make we want to build a better motor and change out the gearing before the run next year. By the way, I just bought the five speed last night!

So, to Bobby Issac, Buddy Baker and Dave Marcis… I thank you for some childhood inspiration!

I do seriously want to thank EVERYONE that helped me get here. I have had sponsors from $5 to $200 and up that helped make this happen. I haven’t forgotten who you are.

Never pass up a chance for a drive…

Last weekend we started painting our pool area. We want some Florida colors! I’ll still be working on it this weekend. BUT… in between coats of paint and various other chores, I took the 71 for a quick 30 mile loop from our house up to Daytona Beach, then back to New Smyrna before heading home. I wanted to actually figure out my top speed at around 5,000 RPM. Hey, I am about to head to the speedway so I want to see if it will hold together.

The new Dynomax race bullet mufflers are just what we needed. That and routing the exhaust out of the side finally. I am happy with the sound and the performance. For what it’s worth… yes she makes triple digits just fine.

Time to hit the track,,,,

Well here we go! Childhood dreams coming true! Funny, even after my short time at Drive Petty and playing around the track in Vegas, nothing can match the excitement I have about driving the 71 car at Daytona. While we won’t be racing, we will have a couple of 20 minute track sessions and who can argue with the feeling of driving a vintage NASCAR replica at speed at the most famous track in the world! Sure it would be fun to rub doors with the King, but I am sure my inner Walter Mitty will handle that!

In all seriousness, guys do this almost every weekend all of the country thanks to the SCCA and Tire Rack. These track events are geared towards the non-professional ,full time race driver and allow the general public to test their skill and their car without having to own a race team. I am very thankful for the opportunity and look forward to visiting other tracks later on this year.

Stay tuned for track photos and video after the event. If you want, come on out and spectate!

https://www.tracknightinamerica.com/events/1994506-track-night-2019-daytona-may-3

Grounded by Chinese junk!

Well I am as about as cheap as anyone…I mean, I shop bargains and I have seen some good products out of China, but this week has seen two huge failures from my bargain shopping. I guess lesson learned.

First one, I noticed the brake lights on the Charger staying on all the time. What did I find? The “no-name” switch from Rock Auto melted down and fell apart.

Luckily the local parts store had a quality version for about $10. Problem solved and we move on to the next day. I went for a good drive and towards the end the car started stuttering and backfiring. I got home and looked everything over and nothing. Next day, off for another drive and everything was great then… again. Skipping, backfiring, the whole thing. It finally hit me that either the coil was breaking down or the module had issues from overheating. The distributor was a JEGS HEI replacement for the Dodge stock distributor. This guy right here:

Fix for it… swapped out the module and coil with Accell parts and man she runs AWESOME!

Super Coil and their HEI module seemed to make life grand. I can hardly wait until the weekend to go for a drive.

Lesson learned… do be cheap! 🙂

 

Can’t get enough of this!

April is on the way! That means track days at Daytona International speedway! Hopefully I can run the BRZ one day and the Dodge he next. I can hardly wait! Spring in Florida seems to be kicked off with the 500 even though it is in February. Since I posted last, I have managed to get the lettering done on the Charger, and got her all egal here in Florida so I have made a few runs with her now to test it out. Not quite the low end beast I had hoped for, but she loves that high end wind up!

I did a short video out on the 95 on the way to the speedway to do a photo shoot. Man that was fun! Almost as fun as being flocked by German tourists wanting to do a photo shoot with it.

 

I wished I could simply say that I am done and ready to just drive it. I still have to rebuild the entire rear end. I have new shocks, sway bar, and springs to go. She drives awesome now like she is. Corners like a beast! But… still not quite track ready. I can’t wait to hear the echo of this thing going under the tunnel ad Daytona in the spring!

Thanks to everyone that has been following, sponsored, helped out, gave me ideas, and generally watched a 50 year old act like a teenager. Hopefully you will still be hanging out listening to more of the story!

The two year mark…and then some.

I can’t believe that has been a little over two years in the making. The entire idea behind this project at first was going to be a Roadkill style beater. Just make it run and drive it to work. Fortunately, (or maybe not) this car was too far gone for that silly idea. Then… why not make an off road car out of it. Well, because we moved to Florida, that’s why not! Sooo.. let’s build a street legal NASCAR tribute car. That should do it! I am so happy with the direction we went. I still have a long way to go to finish all of the little fine details on this thing, but two years has shown a LOT of progress!

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All primed up!

Soooo. here we go! 75 degree day in Daytona and I finally threw down some primer!

Yes, home paint booth, YES, Harbor Freight “Professional gun” and YES, used air compressor from Facebook marketplace. I did aid water and particulate filters.

First off, when you start painting a car, you will find MANY opinions, instructions, warnings, naysayers, YouTube certified experts, etc. I was warned that my garage would explode, I would die, my cats would die, the car would look like shit, I was not a pro, etc. THEN I was told to go for it! I was shown many exampled of home paint booths and some bad ass results. I hadn’t done this since around 1995. It all worked out pretty well and I am happy with the results. That is Eastwood 2K Urethane filler/primer. It shot really well even with the Harbor Freight gun that was going to be the death of the whole project according to some online certified paint guys.

I finally have gone over the whole thing with some wet paper. I used some 800 grit since it was all I have handy. The paint arrives tomorrow so lets hope we get some warm weather here in Daytona.

Quick Trick alignment

Before someone asks the question…. yes, an alignment shop could do this. Maybe! Most shops, unless you have one like we do nearby where an old NASCAR mechanic works, won’t even come close because all they have is the data in the machine. They can’t adjust to a target or setup for a specific track or front end parts. So here we go.

Disclaimer: I haven’t done this in well over 20 years! I learned on an old Hunter machine that really was strings and projectors. It was called the Lite-A-Line.

Luckily, my mentor back then was an old retired NASCAR guy. Too bad now, 30+ years after, I can’t remember all that I learned.

So now, we laid out the string to get started:

There are lots of details all over the internet about laying a string alignment. I’ll do a video on it later, I promise. I used the string first because the front end was so far off due to this being a completely new front end build. The one thing I was missing was the grease or bearing plates under the front wheels. This allows the wheels to turn easier to get more accurate readings. The idea with the string is getting a fixed and square measuring point to be able to set the front toe in. The left side was well over an inch out and it needed to be near 1/8″. So I got that done rather quickly then enter the Quick Trick Alignment tools.

https://www.quicktrickalignment.com/

To be honest, my ex father-in-law and I made a setup almost identical to this back around 1995 when my son was racing go-karts. If only I had been smart enough to sell it then! This tool makes the rest of the setup very easy. Also disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement. I didn’t get anything free or otherwise for this review. Hoping to get a sticker or something in the future! So anyway, I found  this setup on Amazon. I had some points saved on my card, so I nabbed this setup for under $100. Their website price is around $289 I think. I have seen them on Amazon and eBay for under $200 for the “last year’s model”

I will do a full instructional post soon, but my review thus far is that that the tool is well built and does come with everything you need minus the wrenches. you will need the specs for your particular application. Everything is beefy enough to last and having it in a carrying bag makes it easy to take to the track with you. The “only” thing I might add will be a second level. Also thinking of devising a laser level mount so that you can set alignment using a laser level from the rear wheel shooting a gauge on the front. I’ll see how that works.

My Firm Feel front end pieces require:

4 to 4-1/2 degrees positive caster
> 1 to 1-1/2 degrees negative camber
> 1/16″-1/8″ toe in.

And I will illustrate that when I do the entire setup. For now, I wanted to get hands on with the tool and get a basic alignment done. Having one wheel toed out over an inch made the car hard to roll in and out of the shop.

That’s it for now!

Sanding Elbow!

Well, I gave this so much thought. After all of the work that Sammie and I have done on this car I just can’t bare to hand it off to someone else to paint. We’ve had zero outside labor help since the day I picked it up. Once the previous owner helped shove it on the carrier, that was the end of the help. Painting it and doing the graphics just seems like we will be writing another of our own chapters in the build!

I am no paint and body guy. Not in any form or fashion! I think I may have found the end of the internet while searching and watching YouTube tutorial videos though! I’ve already bought a spray gun, and the primer from Eastwood. I am waiting to buy the paint until we are closer to the finish line. I still have to get the new(used) compressor and get it plumbed into the shop. My little buzz bomb won’t run a paint gun.
So any way, I have been religiously hitting the car with 320 grit by hand right now. Jesus that is one big car! Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be satisfied with the work and be ready to throw down some primer. I’ll save the home grown paint booth for another post.

Thanks for following along!