for the 2012 season
for the 2011 season
for the 2010 season
for the 2010 season
for the 2009 season
for the 2008 season
for the 2007 season
for the 2006 season
for the 2005 season
2013 was not a good year
for us. We did a lot of damage to engines and even Motor Home generators.
It started in May and continued until September.
Mother Nature was not good
to us at some races, and the ones that the weather was good, we had engine
We had two races that we
had bye runs into the finals, but because of rain or dew issues, or engine
damage we could not make those runs. How bad is it when you can’t make
your bye runs?
Well we ended up #4 in
points. Not terrible, but not great.
Over the winter months we
will be repairing the 477 Arias engine and putting that back in the car.
Then we will have the 509 BBC for a spare engine. After the last NDRL race
in the fall of 2014 we will head west to California. We will race in the
October Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield CA. Then we will head to Scottsdale
AZ to spend the winter months near Steve’s brother Mark. Then in March we
will head back to Bakersfield to compete in the March Meet.
That is our plan for 2014.
It will be a lot more traveling that we have done in the past. We hope it
is a better year than 2013. Wish us luck!
SS3 Race Team.
September 28 –
Raceway, Bowling Green, KY
We arrived at Beech Bend
Raceway mid afternoon on Thursday September 26th, so we had
plenty of time to set up our pit and get the car thru tech. The weather
was hot and sunny. This was Thursday. We don’t have a qualifying run until
Saturday, so it was sit back and relax time. I had some work to do for my
clients, so I fired up the laptop and got to it. Our Granddaughter McKenna
was with us and she “hooked up” with Billy and Carey Smith’s daughter
Riley, so they were off doing their thing. After we got home, “their
thing” turned out to be McKenna getting a huge case of poison ivy. That
poor kid got it bad. Her legs were covered!
On Saturday, our first run
was at 12:30. We ran a 7.040 and 187.52 mph. This put us in the #4 spot.
Our second run was at 4:00. We ran 7.029 and 187.52 mph. Again we were in
the # 4 spot. The #1 was 7.012, #2 was 7.019, #3 was 7.022, and our 7.029
was #4. .017 difference from #1 to #4! Is this a close field or what? The
third run was not really a run, as the track had cooled off, and dew had
started to settle, so the track was bad. We were one of the few cars that
made it down the track. We ran a 7.043 and 189.90 mph. which did not
improve our position, so we stayed in the #4 spot.
Sunday is race day. There are
8 cars in the field. We are in the top half of the field. Chances are we
would win first round. Then after that, who knows. We could have ended up
#2 in points, or even #1. It was possible. Except it wasn’t possible
because it started to rain, and we never even made a run. So we were
NHRA HOT ROD
It was the inaugural hot rod
reunion at this track, so we just had to go. This was the first time we
pulled out of our driveway to go to a race and went east instead of west.
The Renegade just didn’t know where to go! It was a 450 mile haul, not bad
for us. But it was totally different. Going east the rest areas and truck
stops were much smaller than the ones going west. We had a huge problem
stopping for fuel, lunch, sleeping etc. What the hell do the over the road
truckers do from Albany east?
We arrived at the track early
afternoon on Wednesday the 11th. It was hot and humid. We got
our pit spot set up and took the car up to get it thru tech. No problems
there, so we had Wednesday evening free. Steve and John Norton, our friend
that was traveling with us, went out and about to socialize, while I did
some work for clients.
Thursday we were supposed to
have one qualifying run. That didn’t happen because of rain. So I did some
more work for my clients. Friday we were supposed to have two qualifying
runs. Well that didn’t happen either. I covered up the car because of
rain, than uncovered it five times on Friday. Every time they got close to
calling up our class I would get the car ready to run, then the rain would
start. It was so frustrating!
So Saturday we had our one
and only qualifying run, then we would start eliminations.
Our qualifying run was at
10:44 am. We ran a 6.97 and 192.33 mph. too fast. We were the # 6
qualifier. There were 6 cars in the field, so we were dead last. That
means we had to run the #1 qualifier which happened to be another NDRL car
– Ross Racing Engines, driver Tony Lombardo. The last thing we wanted to
do was to meet another NDRL car first round. We wanted to meet the NDRL
car in the finals. Well what can you do?
We ran the first round at
3:14. The winner of this round would have a bye into the final. We won
with a 7.055and 186.98 mph against Tony’s 7.234 and 184.85 mph. So we had
the bye to the final. Except for the fact that Steve heard a big BANG at
the 1100 foot mark. We were broke! We would not be going to the finals!
Another bye run that just did not pan out for us.
That big bang was the 3 cam
drive bolts breaking off. It damaged the cam drive plate, all 8 exhaust
values, one push rod, and pulled out one rocker arm stand insert. Another
race with more damage!
Steve, with the help of all
the guys at Pro-Formance Racing Engines got everything fixed and back
together. So we will be leaving for our final race of the season at
Bowling Green, KY on Wednesday 9/25/13. We are 11 points behind the
leader. It is possible for us to take the lead, but the #1 and #2 cars
will have to go out early, and we will have to go rounds. Possible, but
August 23 &
We left mid afternoon on
August 22nd with daughter Valerie and granddaughter McKenna
along for the ride. We stopped for the night at a rest area on route 71.
We arrived at the track about 1:00 pm on the 23rd. Our first
qualifying run was scheduled for 7:00 pm that evening, so we had plenty of
time to set up our pit area, get the car thru tech, eat lunch and dinner
and all the other stuff we needed to do.
It was hot and humid. The
corrected altitude was in the 2800’s. Not great air, but not as bad as it
was in Norwalk. However, the track was bad, really bad. Even the 8.50 cars
were having trouble getting from A to B. We always start with the slowest
cars and work up to the fastest. By the time they got up to running the
7.50 and 7.0 cars we had seen so many cars blow the tires off, get out of
the groove, get close to the wall or sideways we had a meeting and decided
it was too dangerous to continue. So we did not get our first of two
Our second qualifying run was
scheduled for 4:30 pm on the 24th. We asked the track manager
if we could run our 1st qualifier around 2:00 and then the 2nd
one at the scheduled 4:30 time. We were told ABSOLUTLY NOT! We would have
the one run and that’s it. We really wanted that second run as we just
repaired our engine from the Norwalk breakage. We needed a new cam after
that damage, and the new one is a little different from the old one. Not a
big difference, but enough that we really were not sure about the tune up.
We made our run at 4:52 and
found out that Steve figured the tune up just fine. The car ran 7.03 and
191.40 mph. We were #1 qualifier for a little while. Then Ronnie Robinson
made his run and ran a 7.01. That bumped us down to #2, where we stayed.
We were really happy and excited. The car ran great, and had zero
problems. The track was better than it was the night before, but it still
was not good, especially after the 8th mile. Many of the cars
could not make a full pass. Our car, with that big wing and fat tires did
not have big issues.
The air was improving as the
night cooled off, so Steve changed the pulley before the first round. The
last thing he wanted to do was go too fast. We had our first round of
eliminations at 7:28, against Gordon Horn. We ran a 7.175 and 174.41 mph
against his 7.18 and 195.27 mph for the win. The mph difference shows that
Steve got out of it early. He was ahead of Gordon, and didn’t want to
break out. Again there were several cars that could not negotiate the top
end of the track.
We made our second run at
9:20 pm, against Billy Smith. Steve had a great reaction time of .014 and
ran 7.118 and 182.51 mph. Billy, in his front engine dragster, could not
hold that top end of the track, so he was done at the 8th mile.
We had a bye run in the semi
final run, so we were going to the finals.
Well we thought we were going
to the finals. After the second round the track announced it was having
trouble with the computer that controlled the tree and timing systems, so
they would be down until they got them fixed. At midnight we were still
waiting to run the semis. The other two remaining 7.0 cars were Mike
Sexton and Mark Vaught, both front engine dragsters. Both of them got this
far because they won “peddle fest” runs in the previous round. They had to
run each other, and both of them knew it would be another “peddle fest”.
The later it got, the more dew got on the track. Mike and Mark came over
to us and said that they just did not want to run on this already bad
track that now had dew on it. They told us that they just cannot make it
down the track and they admitted that we would be able to beat which ever
car won their round. Our car was able to make the run, theirs could not.
We would probably win the race. But that did not happen. Again we had a
meeting, decided it was too dangerous to continue, so the race was called.
The NDRL combined the total
payout and split it between the three of us. That was fine with us. But
the points – that is where it hurts. If we had run just the next round we
would now be only six points behind the leader. If we had run and won the
final round we would be 1 point behind the leader. As it is, we are eleven
points behind the leader. We could still do the deed at the final race in
Bowling Green, KY, but it would be a lot easier to make up one point, or
six points instead of eleven.
The first in points – Larry
Harlen, and second in points – Robbie Freels dodged a HUGH bullet at
Now for the good and not so
good stuff that happened at Edgewater. Many of the NDRL racers seem to
have August birthdays, and I am one of them. My daughter Valerie makes
cakes – as a side business – really good cakes. She had made one for my
birthday, so we invited the NDRL races to our pit area Friday night to eat
cake. Then the Sexton pit area had the same deal on Saturday for some of
the other racers.
The other outstanding event
at the track involved our daughter Valerie and her daughter McKenna. We
had a lot of time to kill on Friday, so Val and McKenna got on the golf
cart and cruised around the pit area, return road and track. They noticed
a wide path into a wooded area off of the return road, so they followed
it. They stopped to pick some wild flowers, and then started back to our
pit area. All of a sudden there was a white SUV following them – close –
really close. Val was scared. McKenna was driving the golf cart, and Val
didn’t know if she should tell her to stop or pull over, because the SUV
was right on them. Finally Val had McKenna slowly pull over. The driver of
the SUV got out. It was TJ, the track manager. She ranted and raved about
trespassing and picking flowers on other people’s property. Val just kept
saying “I’m sorry”. It became the joke of the weekend. Everyone took
pictures of the bouquet “that almost caused Val and McKenna’s life”.
The wild flower thing was
funny, sort of, TJ was following them so close it could have been
dangerous, but the rest of the way the NDRL and the racers were treated
that weekend was not funny. We have held this event at this track for
three years. Once with the NPCA and twice will the NDRL. Every time we
were treated like crap. They don’t prep the track correctly, they over
charge us, etc. So next year we will not be racing at Edgewater. It is too
bad, because that track can be great, and the pit area is shaded and nice,
but we (the NDRL and the racers) are just done with being treated the way
they treat us.
NDRL @ Norwalk,
In my previously posted recap
of this event I only gave the details for the qualifying rounds,
elimination rounds and engine damage. But after that was posted, I
received an email from Bob Wenzelburger titled “I Loved It!!” The email
included pictures that he took of the “Backup Brigade”.
This all started with the
track announcer. A couple of the gasser cars had “backup girls” dressed
like they did back in the day. Short shorts and boots. The announcer kept
talking about the girls and their costumes. He said over and over again
that he thought backup girls should be mandatory. He just would not quit
talking about backup girls.
After qualifying we were all
sitting around waiting for racing to start. By “we” I mean our daughter
Valerie, granddaughters Maris and McKenna, and Maris’s boyfriend Dylan. I
said that the three girls should all wear their shorts and team shirts and
go out on the track and act like they are backing up Steve, but each one
of them would be giving him different signals. Of course I would be behind
Steve giving him directions on the radio. Well Maris had a very sore and
swollen sprained ankle, so she couldn’t do it. Val and McKenna didn’t want
to do it without her.
The first round we were up
against Mike Sexton. He was pitted right next to us. I mentioned our idea
to his crew and they loved it. They asked me if they could steal my idea.
I said “go for it”. One of the guys on Mike’s crew actually does run out
on the track and back him up, so he would be in the middle giving the
directions that Mike would follow, and then the two girls would be on
either side giving crazy directions.
Once Val and McKenna heard
that they would have a guy in the middle, they decided to “backup” Steve
with the two of them and Dylan in the middle.
The two cars made their
burnouts. Then six people – three in each lane, run out on the track and
start giving backup signals. The track announcer said what is this, a
backup brigade? The backup crews had a blast. The people in the stands
were clapping, cheering and whistling. But best of all the track announcer
must have realized he had created a monster and shut up about backup
I just wanted to let your
know that even when bad things happen – like engine damage, there is so
much fun stuff going on at each race. So when you read about us destroying
an engine, then hurting the new engine I’m sure some of you are asking
“why do they keep doing this?” Things like this, and the people that we
race with keep us coming back for more.
Norwalk, Blue Suede Cruise
Park, Norwalk, Ohio
We left mid afternoon on
Wednesday 7/17 with daughter Valerie and Granddaughters Maris and McKenna
on board. We spent the night at a Wal-Mart just 20 miles from the track,
so we pulled into “Linders Lot” early Thursday morning. We were #11 to get
in. Then we found out that they were not letting anyone in until 3:00 pm.
So we sat in the heat (98 degrees and 70 some humidity) for hours. We
wanted to be early in line so we could get a spot with electrical hookup.
Well our #11 spot worked out well. We got a spot with a 50 amp hookup. So
the grandkids had air while they watched their movies on DVDs. While they
were doing that Steve and I were out in the heat (105 heat index) getting
the car ready to go.
Friday we had two qualifying
runs. The air was terrible. The temp was in the mid 90’s, the humidity was
close to 50%. The water grains were over 110 grains. The heat index was
105 to 108. The corrected altitude was 4200 feet. We made two qualifying
runs. The first was 7.22 and 184 mph, and the second was 7.21 and 187 mph.
Saturday we were supposed to
have two more qualifying runs, but because of rain, we only had one. The
weather was much better, 79 degrees, but the humidity was still 75%. Steve
did some timing changes and we went up for the run. We ran a 7.039 and
191.35 mph, which put us in the #5 qualifying spot.
Sunday – first round – we
were up against Mike Sexton. We won with a 7.11 against his 7.67.
Second round – we were up
against Billy Smith. We won with a 7.033 against his 7.019. A holeshot win
for Steve. Third round we were up against Mark Vaught. Steve made a very
short burnout, then backed up. He then turned the car off. He felt a big
vibration in the engine and knew something was wrong. We were done.
That Vibration – Damage – 2
rods, 1 piston, 2 valves, crank damaged, but can be fixed, cam damaged-new
one ordered. Block needs 2 sleeves. Why??? It seems that the torque info
for the rod bolts was incorrect.
Okay, now we know what we
need to do. We will not make the Aug 3-4 Maple Grove race, or the
8/17-8/18 Empire Gold Cup Nationals, but we should make the late August
NHRA Hot Rod
Raceway, Bowling Green, KY
We left early Tuesday, June
11, to fly back to Nashville, TN where we left the Motorhome. By early, I
mean out the door @ 4 am. The first half of the flight was on time, but
the second one was delayed several hours because of a mechanical issue, so
we didn’t get into Nashville until afternoon. We picked up the Motorhome
from the Onan dealer – it now has a working generator – paid the bill and
headed to Bowling Green. We stopped at a grocery store to stock up then
continued to the track. We got there a half hour before they closed the
gates for the night, so we were able to get in, pick up the trailer and go
to our pit spot.
Steve wanted to get there
early enough that he could go thru the entire car – stem to stern –
checking all bolts, nuts, screws, connections, etc. Three weeks ago there
were so many people working on that car until so late at night we just
wanted to make sure that nothing was overlooked. My next sentence will
make you realize what a great group we race with. Nothing was loose,
nothing needed to be redone, nothing was overlooked, NOTHING! All the work
done, by many people was done absolutely perfect! We again send our thanks
to all those involved.
We have attended this event
for many years. It is always HOT & HUMID! It was again this year, but not
as bad. I always record the weather data for each run. The highest temp I
have is 86.7 degrees and the highest humidity is 52%. Other years the
temps are in the upper 90’s and the humidity in the 60’s or 70’s. So,
yeah, it was hot but not brutal.
Our first qualifying run was
@ 1:00 pm on Thursday. Right at the hit of the throttle the second chute
popped out and blossomed. Steve felt the car decelerate and thought “oh
shit, did I just damage this new engine?” Just as he was thinking this, I
keyed the radio and told him the chute popped out. He is now saying “Thank
God!” While I am saying, “Shit that damn chute!” Just a matter of
prospective! We ran a 9.33 and 89.21 mph. We went to a two chute setup
this year. The main chute has the cable that we have used for years. The
second chute has the cable that came with it, and is not as good. I was
always a little afraid of the cable on that second chute, and I can see
that I was right about it. At this point (you are required to have two
chutes if you go over 200 mph) we are not required to have two chutes, so
I took the second chute off the car. End of problem! Our second qualifying
run we ran a 7.184 and 184.83 mph. Our third and final qualifying run we
ran a 7.102 and 187.65. So we are sneaking up on the tune up for this new
engine. We ended up #5 qualifier. Not bad for a car with a new engine.
Race day – round one we were
up against Gordon Horn. But in the last round of qualifying he hit the
wall, and he was not able to make the call for first round, so we had a
bye run. Thankfully Gordon was okay.
Second Round – Steve staged
the car. The other guy staged. Steve’s light flickered. He thought he was
not staged, and then he realized the lights were going down – too late. He
was late. He had the better et – 7.074 to a 7.082, but did not get the win
light. The next pair of cars up did not get a light at all. It was
discovered that the plug came undone. But we found this out so late that
we could not protest. Oh well. It is ok. We can see that we are closing in
on that 7.0 tune-up.
The car that beat us went on
to win the event, so we lost to the best car in the field. Also they were
from San Diego. So at least we lost to someone that traveled as far as we
Between qualifying rounds two
and three we were visited by Dani Leigh, aka Squirt, and her Father. They
have been our fans since 2007. If you look at the 2007 Indy Goodguys event
write up on this website you will see a picture of Dani in our car at the
age of 4. Well now you can see a new picture of her in our car at age 10.
I cannot tell you what it
means to see the same fans come to our pit area year after year to support
us. Dani and your Dad – Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
We really love it that you
come to see us year after year. We can’t wait to see you again.
SS3 Race Team
Raceway Park, Bowling Green, KY
May 25 – 26,
We left for Bowling Green Wednesday
afternoon, the 22nd of May. We hit a lot of construction, so
the going was slow at times. We stopped for the night just north of
Columbus. The next morning Steve was up first. He started the generator
and then pressed the “on” button of the coffee pot (I always have it ready
to brew). The coffee was about half done when the generator quit. Steve
started it again, and the coffee pot continued for a few minutes until the
generator quit again – what the hell! This has never happened before.
Doesn’t that damn generator know that I NEED my coffee? Well Steve started
it again and went outside to open the generator access door to see if he
could figure out what was wrong. He could see that the cooling fan was not
working, so the generator would overheat and shut off. This time the
coffee finished by the time the generator quit. While we were having our
coffee Steve got online and found an Onan dealer in Louisville. They had
the fan belt for our generator in stock, so we told him we would stop on
our way through to pick it up. Steve thought he would have time at the
track to change the belt. When we got to the Onan dealer they told Steve
that many times it was not only the belt that was the problem, but some of
the fans have a plastic part that cracks. They gave Steve the info for the
Onan dealer in Nashville. We were planning on leaving the whole rig in
Nashville and flying home anyway, so we made arrangements for the Onan
dealer in Nashville to keep the rig for the two weeks and fix whatever
needed to be fixed on the generator. Now all we had to do was get thru the
weekend of racing with no Motorhome generator. We would have to make do
with the gas generator in the trailer, unless we could pit next to one of
the few poles at the track with an electric outlet on it. Well we were one
of the first to pull in, so we got that pole with the electric.
We got to the track early because we knew
that an NHRA tech would be there that could do the re-cert of our chassis.
He was supposed to be there all day Friday. So we got the car out of the
trailer, got the body off it so that the chassis was exposed, and then we
waited. We waited some more. Steve drove around in the golf cart trying to
find the guy. Finally we were told that the guy would not be there until
Saturday morning. So the car stayed naked all night. But the re-cert got
done first thing Saturday morning. Then it went thru tech, got the body
back on and got ready for the first round of qualifying.
Our run was at 11:45 am. The car left good,
and the 60 ft time was good. The eighth mile time was a little fast – it
was on a “breakout” run. But then Steve heard a pop. He could see a little
piece of the head gasket poking out. He got out of it, but it still went
thru the lights at 7.10 and 167 mph. We took it back to the pits and
started taking things apart. It was not good.
The #4 main bearing had seized on the crank,
causing the rod to shatter. The pictures show part of the rod coming thru
the side of the block, and some of the remaining pieces of rod in the oil
The cam would not turn as some of the rod
was wedged in there, and there was damage to a couple of valves. So to
make a long story short, that engine was toast! We did not make the call
for the second qualifying run, but we still ended up #2 qualifier based on
that 7.10 run
Here is where things get interesting. There
was a Jegs Super Quick race at this track this weekend. And one of the
racers in that event was Richard Edwards. Richard also raced with us in
Nostalgia racing for years. So we knew him very well. He knew of our
problem. He was there to race in the Jegs Super Quick race. He had the
engine in his dragster for sale, as he had a new engine on order. He came
to us and offered his engine to us. He said he would not race this
weekend, but would take the engine out of his car and put it in our car.
We knew that this engine would work for us so we said okay. I wrote
Richard a check and we started the exchange. We got our damaged engine
out, took our engine-less car to his pit to put the new engine in.
After the new engine was installed we went
back to our pit where the intake, blower, starter, etc went on. All was
done by 3 am. We were ready to start the car, but because this engine had
a Super Mag 20, it required a 16 volt battery to start. We tried to start
is with our 12 volt battery but it was a no go. At 7:00 am Richard was at
our pit area with his 16 volt battery, and it started right up.
We went up for first round of eliminations.
No one could believe it. We ran a 7.18 and lost to a 7.11. We have a car
that can be tuned to win!!!
We will be back in two weeks for the Hot Rod
Reunion, and we will be ready to compete!
Test ‘n Tune
April 27, 2013
& May 3, 2013
Over the winter Steve did some routine
maintenance – new rods etc. and changed the hat to a more nostalgic “shot
gun” style. And of course when you make a change it results in many other
changes, such as wiring, fuel lines and so forth. So we really needed to
get to the track and see what these changes did to our 2012 Pro 7.0
Photo taken by Ron Rigby
Saturday, April 27th was one of the first really nice days.
Look at the picture and notice the trees – not a leaf in sight. Also,
notice that new hat. We got to the track, warmed up the car, everything
seemed good, and we went up for a run. Steve planned on making an eighth
mile pass. First thing that went wrong was our radios would not work, so
we went back to the old style where I ran down the track after the burnout
to get in front of the car and guide Steve back with hand signals. Then
because I couldn’t tell him told “hold it right there” until I pressed the
button to start the data recorder Steve kept creeping up trying to stage
the car, so I had to keep chasing after him to get to the damn button. We
looked like a couple of clowns in a circus act. The car made a pretty good
run. The eighth mile time was 4.54. Out eighth mile index is 4.50, so we
were happy. When we got back to the pits I downloaded the data. That was
the second thing that went wrong. The data recorder didn’t start recording
until mid run, so I got EGT’s, some boost, fuel and oil pressure data, but
no launch data or shift data. We really couldn’t figure that out but I’m
thinking it was low on charge. Then we tried to go up for a second run.
Steve could not get the car to stay running – it was getting way too much
fuel. We took it back to the pits and tried and tried to figure out what
the problem was. We started the car so many times the starter died. That
did it! We packed it up and went home.
The next day Steve started to work on the
car. He found that the shaft in the snout for the blower had snapped in
half. So a new snout and a repaired starter, fully charged radios and data
recorder and we were ready to go back to the track and try again.
Friday, May 3rd we headed back to
Empire Dragway. Thankfully this was a totally different experience! This
time nothing went wrong. We made two runs. One eighth mile and one full
pass. The eighth mile run we ran a 4.58 and 154 mph. The quarter mile run
we ran a 7.08 and 190 mph. The radios worked, the data recorder worked,
and the car ran great. If we can keep this up we should have a pretty good
We are ready to head to our first race in
Bowling Green, KY on May 25 and 26.