Summer 2010: Trying new things, and putting the car to the test

This summer I have really gotten some quality enjoyment out of my car.  Since I redid the engine in 2008, this is definitely the most I have driven it in one season – although part of that comes with the fact that I was without a daily driver for a few weeks.   But moreso than I ever, I really pushed the car to the limit and more fun than ever!

Part 1 – Drag Strip:

First up was a trip to the drag strip with Jon and Sean!  What a better break from the routine of college classes than a day at 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, MI.  (which makes it a convenient drive from GVSU!).  Although we got rained out towards the end of the day, the forecast kept enough people away in the morning that we were able to get plenty of runs in while spending very little time in the staging lanes.  My best of the day ended up being a 12.90 at 110!  Not bad for a 2.2 second 60 foot on street tires, and the pessimistic trap speed reputation 131 has.

My best pass was not recorded but here is another pass from the same day:

My good friend Jon O also ran a new best that day in his cam-only Corvette C5!

Part 2 – Dyno Test

Next, I had the opportunity to participate in the Michigan F-body Association’s annual dyno day.  First off, a big thanks goes to my friend Jeff for putting this together for, and also to Jake’s Automotive for hosting it!  This has become a very fun annual and affordable event.  Gathered around the dyno of a well-kept shop in camping chairs, watching numerous cars make pulls, is not a bad way to spend a day.   Not only that, I hit the goal I was hoping to achieve with my car: 370rwhp.  Even better still, my rev limiter kicked in before the power peaked off!  Time to make some adjustments to the tune 🙂  My numbers are the higher of what is seen from a typical “cam-only” LT1, and with a smaller cam Ive still managed to keep my power under the curve as well.  Major props to Advanced Induction for the research done on their 226/234 cam.  I am very happy.  Below are the videos and dyno charts.

Dyno chart peaking 373 rwhp!

Part 3: Road Racing at Grattan

Road racing, although more expensive than just about anything else I have done with my car, was quite possibly one of the most fun things I have ever done!  This has been something I have always wanted to do, but I have to give credit to Jon O. for giving me the push to go out and actually do it.  This is something that will be difficult to resist in the future.  Not only was road racing aspect of it fun, but the people around the sport made it enjoyable as well.  I was VERY impressed with the 3ballsracing staff and their organization of the event, as well as the overall openness and helpfulness of everyone there.  I learned a LOT in a very short period of time.  The level of trust was also impressive, as tools, parts, and laptop computers were left in the open without a bit of concern.  One gentlemen even offered Jon the unsupervised usage of everything in his trailer when he had a problem with his car.  As for my experience out on the track, my car did better than I expected.  The flat torque curve of the 226/234 cam was a huge asset coming out of corners!  The engine thrived out there, but maybe a little too much since it wanted to push right through my stock brakes!  Time for an upgrade.  Also, the word on the street was that taking a solid axle car out on a rainy day was “ballsy.”  Not only did I drive my solid axle car for a session in the rain, it was also my first time ever on a track!  Yikes!  Unfortunately I didn’t get any videos or pictures of my car on the course, but here are some pictures from our day:

Early morning cruise to the track!

Getting close to 100k!

My Camaro and Jon's Vette in the pits

Early morning rain, final corner before the straight

Jon and I waiting to enter the track

Jon going through the S-curves

Part 4 – Autocross

One more time I get to thank a friend for getting me out to something I had not tried yet.  Only a week after road racing, I got a call from my friend Brian about the autocross that was being held in Detroit that Saturday.  Thankfully, I hadn’t even gotten a chance to wash my car!  So, I packed up my things and headed down.  But the story gets better.  The previous weekend at Grattan I had overheated my power steering so many times that I had managed to lose the cap for it.  Whoops!  I knew this would not pass tech, and so I have to thank Brian again for finding me one to borrow in the nick of time for my inspection.  My impression of autocross is that it is a slower, more affordable version of road racing.  I was using primarily first gear instead of third, and only one car was out on the course at a time.  The rest seemed largely the same!  I also have to admit at this point that I got beaten by Brian’s Cobalt, or “tuner” as he calls it. 😉  Here are some pictures from the day:

Staging Lanes

Gentlemen with a Saab 9-X that I was talking to in the staging lanes

Breaking out of the start box!


Another turn with Detroit in the background

Pit area

Brian showing me how its done

Oversteering with a front wheel drive!

And thats all folks!  Hope this was enjoyable or helpful in some way, if you are looking to get into any of these activities feel free to contact me and we can set something up next season!

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