CHRR Full Weekend For Johnson Racing
Our race experience at CHRR 2004
was both good and bad, like our entire year, which has been mixed,
highs and lows. The high of the year was when we won the last
race we attended at Pomona. We backed into it with sub-par performances,
but we have lost races the same way. The low was we shredded
the bottom end on both motors the first two races. Also, less
than high was the fact we were lost on our tune-up.
I started the year with a new header set-up. Scott Parks made
me a set of aluminum adaptors to allow us to go to a larger header
and I had the bungs for the thermocouples (EGT Sensors) for the
computer located in these adaptors. I also had the pistons coated,
including the crowns ceramic coated. I was told this may cut
our cylinder heat.
Because of the bottom end problems we never really had a chance
to make the motor happy before Pomona and there we were low on
fuel consumption, but also low on (exhaust gas temps) EGT and
looking at the plugs they showed no signs of heat. We concluded
we were rich, but I was troubled by the lower fuel consumption
and so were simply puzzled. But we couldn't run times we had
last year, our best e.t was 7:52 (vs 7:36 last year) and 177
mph (vs 181-182) so we were obviously down on power. The bottom
end looked great and so we had a solid engine, we were just not
performing up to par.
For CHRR I decided to put the old headers on, and that would
move the thermocouples back where they were last year, leaving
us with just the Ceramic Piston Crown coating different from
last year. Well, that's not entirely correct, This is the new
engine with the Steve Sanchez porting job on the 23 degree ProAction
heads. We have never gotten a baseline with these heads so we
don't know if they are better than the Swedberg/McKray head job
In warming the engine, we determined that the exhaust temps immediately
went back to where we were last year, so the change in location
was the cause of the variation.
For our first
run on Friday, we left the tuneup as it had been and put on the
set of American made Goodyear 12 x 30's that I bought last spring,
used, from Cam McCullum. I bought used tires because our 12 x
30's were worn out and Goodyear had made a bunch of 12 x 30's
in Chile and they didn't work well, so I didn't want those and
had to get used American made.
The car made a move to the wall and Kol had to lift and we ran
a 8:88 and 168 mph and qualified 8th in a field of 8.
For the next
qualification run on Saturday, we put on the 11 3/4 x 30"
M and H's that I had bought last Spring and never really had
a good run with. We spun them a little and the car ran a 7:81
and 178.14 but we were still 8th. Our 60 foot times were not
good on either run, I was not pleased.
Johnson Racing pit looks calm
on Saturday between sessions but looks are deceiving. The crew
is constantly tweaking the tune-up and trying anything they can
go go quicker.
After the second session with
the M&H tires, I
went over to Mike Craigs trailer and asked him if I could borrow
whatever tires he wasn't running. He said sure, and that turned
out to be his 12 x 31 Goodyears. We
put them on and went up to make our third qualifier at about
7:00 Saturday night. We ran a 7:527 and moved up to 4th, but
more importatnt, our 60 foot time went from 1:12 to 1:079. Um
Hum. The best we have ever had with Kol in the car is about a
1:07 so this was stellar. MPH was still about 177.37.
We were set for
eliminations Sunday but I decided to put more fuel in it. The
plugs looked rich and there was some dissension in the ranks,
but we were putting less fuel in the motor than we had last year
and I felt this needed to be explored. We left everything except
the main jet alone and richened it up from a .095 to and .088.
Sunday first round we went out and ran a 7:471 and a low 179.10
with less air than we had the night before and won our first
round. We also had a 1.083 60 foot on a much warmer track. Pretty
good.. Basically everyone else ran a little poorer than they
had the run on Saturday night I decided to put more fuel yet
in the motor as the air got worse and in our last run of the
day, we ran the best we have all year. We improved marginally
with a 7:468 and 179.78 mph. We had a 1.089 60 foot and it was
again a hotter, slipperier track, I felt pretty good about that.Unfortunately
we faced Enriquez, our best competitor and worst nemisis, and
Kol redlit by .002. had he been green by anything less than .029
we would have won the round as Enriquez had an uncharacteristicly
poor light of about a .178 (zero is good now) and we were only
about .149 slower, so we would have won. Just to get this in
perspective, Kol's lights were, in succession, .022, .032, .026,
an off pace .049 and then the red bulb -.002 We had put a new
transmission in the car and hadn't adjusted the transbrake release
time and since both Kol and Marc said they saw yellow before
the red on the last run, we need to slow the transbrake reaction
time down a little.
In the final, Rasmussen didn't run any too good and it's even
possible that we could have won that round. However, if the dog
hadn't stopped to take a leak, he would have caught the rabbit!
So, Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda!
No matter about our finishing position, we broke some ground
and the last run was about a tenth slower than our best last
year. Inteestingly, we were still a little short on fuel, but
each time I added fuel it stepped up, while others slowed so
I am pretty sure we have been lean up until now.
I gave Mike Craig back his tires and thanked him, he was very
Gracious, said we are partners now and what's mine is his. Well,
okay! I bought a new pair of Goodyears, 12 x 31 this week. I
had already gotten a new pair of Bogart Force 5 10 inch wheels,
which are the lightest wheels Bogart makes. With the 31 inch
tires on those wheels, we are 9 pounds per side lighter than
with the 30 inch Goodyears and the old Bogarts, OR the similar
pair of wheels with the 11 3/4" M and H's mounted up. The
new combo weighs 30 pounds per side. I couldn't believe it. You
can just feel the difference when rolling them or putting them
on the car. However, the wheels are well over $700 for a pair
and the tires were over $500, total pretty close to $1300.00.
This will get us 16-18 pounds closer to our correct weight, we
need to weigh 1428 and we have been at 1470, should be 1452 now.
The old Bogarts with the 12 inch American Goodyears are for sale,
5 on 5, 3 1/2 inch BS, lot's of runs left, $650.00.
I feel pretty confidant that we now have a place to tune from
and tires that will give us a consistent launch so I am looking
forward to the points final. McKray has the old motor about together,
and will bring it to us at the Hot Rods and Harleys deal in El
Toro next weekend. I am inclined to leave this motor in the car
to finish the season and see if we can get it into the 7:30's
or ? No reason it shouldn't do it. It actually should run better
than the old motor, (7:35 and 182.12) but that has yet to be
No matter what happens, it's our year. On the last run, we lost
one of the CNC'd shorty injector stacks in the lights, that Pete
Harris loaned us, off his and Mendy's motor. Today, Don Irvin
called and he was working a meet at Bakersfield this weekend
and he was at the first turn off by the Ambulance and looked
at his feet and there was our stack! I had told him we had lost
it, and he knew immediately where it belonged and he will bring
it to the Points Final. It's better to be lucky than good! Big