For the love of &^$%*@%^

Headed home from Darlington, somewhere just past the Hardeeville exit it happened. Running 90 in the outside lane I hear a bang and then a vibration so hard I though the car was coming apart. The exhaust got noticeably louder as well so I really thought I had blown the damn motor. Racing home, trying to beat the beginnings of the hurricane and here I was on the side of the road in low country South Carolina.

Walk around… nothing. Open the hood…nothing. WTF?! Looked under the car..nothing right off till I saw the rear U joint had exploded. I am guessing all of the parade burnouts and shenanigans were too much for it. Luckily for me Progressive has an awesome road side assistance program. I was too far south for any of my Street Legal Stock Car folks to come rescue me. I popped out my car show camp chair and set down in the woods off the road and waited on a ride.

They tried to take me on to a Dodge dealer. Um no! Took me like a minute on Google to find a good old South Carolina shop. J&C Auto in Hardeeville are seriously the best folks I have ran into in quite a while. They were busy as hell, and actually ended up just loaning me their car to go grab the part and loaning me a jack to get under the car. This place was packed with cars and you can tell the locals loved them. I can’t say enough praise for the shop.

 

 

Between looking for the parts and what not, it took about six hours to get back on the road. All in all, it worked out just fine and I beat the hurricane home. It’s all part of the adventure.

 

Engine carnage

So I recently bought a batch of 5.9 (360) engines to rebuild. With the pending purchase of another car and the need to swap the engine out of the 71 when I do the 5 speed install, I thought it would be a good time to gather some stock for the builds.

I made a deal with a guy local to us who has a barn full of motors. I ended up with two complete long blocks and one bottom end. As luck would have it, the first teardown was a bust. The motor looked brand new on the outside. The paint was still shiny black. I have no idea exactly what happened, but I was told that the oil filter reportedly came off of the motor and the person kept running it. In my 35 years of working on cars, I have never seen one this bad that didn’t fly into a hundred pieces!

I guess the fact that it would not spin at all should have been a hint! The #3 bearing spun and the bock was black as could be right there. The piston pins were welded to the rods! I managed to be able to save three of the 8 rods. Get a look at the rod bearings!

So, good news is the supplier is going to bring some more cores by so I can continue with my original plan of a three engine build.  may keep this block and build it later as a low RPM truck motor or something. The crank is beyond repair. I may make some funky yard art out of it.

With that, I was happy to see that the heads looked like brand new, so I ordered a set of springs and retainers from Hughes Engines so we can at least get some top end action going!

 

Spending a day with true legends!

On July 5th, we were invited to bring the 71 car to a fund raising event for the Living Legends of Auto Racing museum in Daytona. What an awesome time! We met Bobby and Donny Allison as well as Linda Vaughn! We also had the opportunity to meet several other local legends and view some of the most beautiful classic race cars that I have seen. It was great to be able to help out the museum and we know we will certainly be attending more events with the museum. If you are local or just visiting, be sure to stop the museum at 2400 S Ridgewood Ave #36, South Daytona, FL, and let them know we sent you that way!

 

 

 

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! 🙂

 

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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It’s that time of the year!

Well it has been a year full of ups and downs! Highest of the high and as about as low as one can get. 2018 and we’ve been back in Florida for a full year now. Sammie and I hit the 20 year mark since we met online! I won’t forget this is the year that I almost lost her. There are plenty of things to be grateful for. We are alive and happy and so many things have worked out in our favor despite the near tragedies.

Thanks to everyone that follows this little blog, the cars, the adventures and my rambling. I am hoping to beef it up some next year with more video, more car stuff, maybe some boat stuff too. Who knows? 2019 is going to have to be bigger and better! Hopefully by March, the Dodge will be painted, and the BRZ will be ready for another run at Daytona.

Here’s to health, happiness and many more awesome years ahead!

Getting kicked in the balls by life

So things were kiking right along and then this happened:

That’s my wife, Sammie. 30 years of smoking coming to an end in one scary week in the ICU. Luckily she survived with some long recovery ahead of her. No oxygen bottle to drag around! One day I thought she had bronchitis. By that night I was taking her to the ER. She woke up and could not breathe. She was turning blue! Overnight in the ER she got worse. Heavy pneumonia had set in. She was seconds from being intubated and put on life support when she miraculously becan to show improvement. They put her on a respirator but with a mask as opposed to the tube. Man that was scary as hell! So, over the next week she was given tons of antibiotics and steroids to start beating the pneumonia.

Now she is home and doing much better. She still has a road to go with her lungs healing. She quit smoking altogether. No withdrawals! We”re looking forward to many years together. Next post…more car stuff I promise!