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The Drag Race: More Lessons in Patience

Unrequited Requests

We got to the drag strip at 4:00pm, around two hours ahead of schedule. We were feeling pretty good for a change. The line has barely started to form, and we were in the third or fourth spot. On GRM challenger was in front of us; a guy named Phil who'd laboriously restored a Datsun Z car. Sean and I started to get a clue about the level of competition. Rob and the crew showed around 5:30pm.

Sean had called Orlando Speed World several times, asking if the Monza's lack of a rear window would be a problem (we knew it wouldn't be for the autocross). He'd only gotten their answering machine, and gotten no calls back. When we got to the tech checkout, the punchline was as predicted: no rear window, no race. The tech guy allowed as how a sheet of Plexiglas might be fine with him, and we dejectedly puttered into the pits.

A Quick Pick-Me-Up

Phil asked us what was up, and we told him the tale. "Go to Home Depot, there's one about 20min from here. Get the Plexiglas, a metal strap, screws, tape, and meet me back here. I'll help you out." Cautiously energized, we borrowed Rob's Jeep and hauled ass for the nearest Home Depot. An hour later, we were back, and furiously working on the car. Phil and Sean drilled and taped, I double checked with the tech guy, and pretty soon, Sean was in the staging area, ready to run.

Top-Fuel Funny Cars Cheat Death! Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Well, it was Friday, but you get the idea. It was loud, very loud. The Monza wasn't loud, because it still had the stock exhaust, but every single other car there was loud. Loud and lopey, since specialty drag race cars don't idle very well. The GRM challenge people gave us vinyl stickers for the side as Sean inched his way through the staging area. Everyone gawked at the "Shelby Voyager" turning in 14 second times, and the other GRM participants were turning in equally respectable times.

Our times? Well, we got two runs in, and the same time for each run: 16.9 seconds. There are plenty of reasons why it wasn't better, so I'll list the top few: never done this before, low stall speed torque converter, stock engine and exhaust (even the catalytic converter), no tuning (beyond tweaking the advance). Any one of these could have shaved a second off the time (alas, they're not additive). Sean was still happy; the Monza came off in the middle of the pack.

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