Suspended without Pay!
By Ted Pelech
Oct 05, 2010
Detroit, Michigan -- The answer to our electronics trouble has arrived! But just to be sure, we dropped into the Milan Dragway’s Test Session last Thursday in order to prove it. A cloudless, comfortably cool, Michigan day greeted us that morning as we arrived at the shop to load our car & equipment into the hauler. You just couldn’t ask for better day to go to the race track. Jeff Prock of Applied Nitrous Technology was on hand to oversee the tuning & set-up of our car and Joe Oplawski from Hyperaktive Performance Solutions also joined us to test & monitor the function of the new electronics module that we’ve been eagerly anticipating.
Jeff began cross examining the nitrous tune-up with the current atmospheric conditions while Joe executed a couple last minute changes to the software configuration and began preparing a quick simulation to test the functionality of our electronics. The pressure began to lift as Joe monitored the computer screen and then gave the internationally recognized signal for ‘All Systems Go’; a simple thumbs-up and a confident smile!
We set the car on the ground and took it to the staging lanes to make our first attempt of the day. The engine was running smoothly and revved sharply thanks to the crisp air and fresh sets of Speed-Pro piston rings & PAC valve springs! I pulled into the water box, set the line lock, and laid down a short burn-out. Even though Joe’s tests indicated everything would function perfectly, I was still a bundle nerves & doubt as the nitrous bottles were opened and I pulled toward the starting beams. I lit the ‘Stage Bulbs’ and stomped the gas pedal hard against floor. The engine instantly plowed against the torque convertor. Milan’s starter lit the tree and I cut the trans-brake button loose!
The car lunged from the line, getting up on the tire ‘right now’, and viciously slamming the wheelie bars against the track. It was just too much, too soon. The tires unloaded and shook with a fury, dropping the nose of the car to the track. The run was over almost as quickly as it started.
The shake was so bad, I thought for sure the wheelie bars and quarter panels would be left laying on the track, somewhere behind the car.
If you recall, our previous outings a Norwalk, Milan, and St. Louis left us with no traction and lots of tire smoke. But we’ve over-compensated for that, swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. Now the problem is too much traction! Lack of traction hurts engine parts, while too much traction hurts suspension parts.
Throughout the afternoon and evening we continued making minor front & rear suspension adjustments, looking to settle the car down and turn uncontrolled tire shake into efficient, forward movement. Progressively, the strut valving & travel limiters were tightened, tire pressure increased, and wheelie bar height decreased. The results were minimal. I guess we just weren’t taking big enough swings at loosening our cars grip on the track.
As darkness began to set in and track time become short, Prock made the decision to change the 4-Link geometry for what would most likely be our final shot at the track. Tim & I worked quickly to carry-out the prescribed change. This time, we saw a noticeable difference! Instead of dead-hooking, overloading the wheelie bars, and going into shake at the first turn of the tire, the car waited to do it until the 2nd Stage of Nitrous-Oxide turned on. That may not sound like progress to you but to us; this was the hint we had been looking for!
The car is now back in the shop and we are doing usual maintenance, a minor repair, and setting the car up for the next evolution in our suspension adjustments. Even though our previous electronics troubles are apparently remedied, we’re just not quite good enough in the suspension department to go out on the NMCA tour yet. But, we are a
whole lot closer! We’ll continue testing and when we figure out what this car wants for a suspension set up, we’ll be looking for a fight!
Thanks for checking in!
Ted & Tim Pelech
Pelech Bros. Racing