My Chump Car 1989 Supra, #32

SiberianDVM

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Jan 2014 I bought a ratty 1989 Sportroof 7MGE 5 speed on Ebay, stripped it, put in a cage, seat, harness, rebuilt the suspension and brakes (stock but with EBC Yellow Stuff pads, cut the stock springs, put on RE-11s in 225/50-16, added and oil cooler and 2 qt Accusump, changed the spark plugs, and by Nov 2014 I was ready to go racing, I thought. One buddy and I entered the Double 7 Hour at Atlanta Motorsports Park. Once we got on the track, we found that we had absolutely no grip in the rear end, and not enough power in our old, tired motor to accelerate out of the turns. Still, with beginners luck, we took the checkered flag on both days, finishing 31st of 64 on Saturday and 23rd on Sunday (after attrition). The hook was firmly set and we were all ready to be reeled into "cheap racing".

So, I spent the next 3 months trying to fix the cars problems while my buddy recruited more team-mates. He got us 5 more suckers, er, drivers, and I pulled the engine for a long-block rebuild by a big local builder, replaced the clutch, rebuilt the transmission, replaced the cut springs with H&R race springs, bought some wider rims and 245/45-16 RE-11s for the rear, fixed the broken battery box mount, and got another 30 pounds of un-needed stuff out of the car, mostly in the front.

The engine shop was 3 weeks late getting the motor back, so it was run, rush, hurry to get it put back together in time for Rd Atlanta 14 hour Feb 7 2015, this time with a team of 7, counting me. Finally, all the parts were sort of back on, I pressurized the oil system with Comp Cams break-in oil, the engine fired nicely, and we completed a static break-in for 20 minutes. The next day 3 of the drivers came in to town to help me do the road break-in (car is still mostly street legal). We did about 400 miles at varying speeds and the car seemed to have slightly more power than before, and ran well.

I spent the next week putting the finishing touches on the car, changed the oil to Brad Penn 20W50, and off we went to Rd Atlanta. Friday was registration and test day. We passed tech, were assessed 4 penalty laps for excessive modifications (my springs), and got all set up in our pit. Then we took turns taking the car out for 5-10 lap test sessions. Three of my drivers had never been in this car before, so we had to adjust the seat and belts for them and show them the controls. All are experienced Instructors so all went well, except the car seemed a little down on power and did not want to idle. I adjusted the idle speed up a bit.

Saturday morning was COLD. 22°F at grid start. I was glad I had put a quart of antifreeze in with the coolant water and Water Wetter. Car started fine, idled fine, and we took our place in the hot grid, ready for 3 yellow pace laps, and then the green flag. My most experienced driver was at the wheel.

After 1.5 hours it was time for our 1st pit stop and driver change. No fuel. This went smoothly, except my driver said the car was down on power a bit, and he was being passed by everybody. We are 79th of 94. Next driver went out and said the same thing. Second pit stop we changed drivers again and fueled. Car is now not wanting to idle; I check idle adjust screw and it has backed out, so I screw it back in and add a drop of Locktite. We are 68th of cars still running. Third driver goes out; we are slowly gaining on the field due to attrition, but are way down on speed. We are the 3rd slowest car out there. Our best lap is 2:00:84, while the leaders are averaging 1:45!!!!!

At this point, my goal is simply to get the 6 paying drivers all a stint behind the wheel, so we keep going. I expect the motor to blow any minute. Everytime the safety truck goes out, I expect to see my car being towed back in. I ask the guys if they want to keep going and they all say yes. Finally, all 6 have driven, and it's my turn. Now the car won't idle at all; you have to keep your foot on the accelerator pedal or it shuts off. I stall it 3 times trying to get it out of the pit, then i'm going down pit out as the maniacs are flying down towards T1 at 100+mph and I have to blend in. Uphill to T2, then downhill to T3 and the esses. This thing sounds like a logging truck, but it will still rev to redline......eventually. No power what so ever. :: angry ::

My stint felt like forever. I was constantly watching my mirrors trying to not get in anyones way. The race leaders were still flying. I keep seeing debris all through T7 where somebody effed up. Finally, full course yellows and a BLACK flag!!! For everybody. Oops. We all trundle into the grid and shut down (not hard to do for me). Time for a Come To Jesus meeting as the race director is not happy.

After a good a$$ chewing, the field is allowed to return to the track. We decide to pit for a driver change and a vote: continue or quit? Everybody wants to keep going. My 3 crazy guys who want to drive at night are grinning like idiots. None of us have ever driven on a race track at night before. I have replaced the stock sealed beams with 7200 lumens of best Chinese LEDS and we have another 800 lumens of LED "apex" lights. I have no idea if they are aimed properly because I never got the courage to run it in the dark. Sorry about that.

"Night Train" jumps in, fires it up, and heads off in the darkness. I would literally kill for a cigarette and I haven't smoked in 3 years. None of my drivers have a cigarette, the worthless *********s. I make do with Nicorette. By this time we are up to 54th, still due to attrition. Another 1.5 hours go by and it's time for a driver change and fuel. Car is still crap, but no worse. I check all the spark plug wires and some seem loose on the distributor cap. I put zipties on them but it doesn't help. Steve jumps in and is gone. Two hours to go. We are up to 48th. Somehow, in the dark, "Night Train" ran our fastest lap of the day, almost breaking 2:00, in a car running on 5 cylinders. I can hear the miss now.

With an hour to go, Steve is back in, and John gets in. John is even shorter then I am and we have to use cushions so he can push in the clutch. I don't think he uses the brake. He is our finisher.

Almost 10pm now and the temperature has dropped again. We are all freezing in the pits. Funny, I sweated like a pig when I was in the car. We take turns hauling our spare parts, tools, tires, and gas jugs the 1/4 mile back to my truck. Some Rd Atlanta employee has locked the man gate early, so we have to walk an extra 100 yards, uphill. When I get back, some racer has neatly taken the gate off it's hinges. Never underestimate the power of racers with tools.

The cars are still flying down the front straight. Almost everyone has gone to LED headlights now and it's blinding. The cars go by so fast, that most of us have put on colored LED strip lights just so we can find our car. Note to self, add more.

One lap to go, everyone is allowed to cross pit lane to the fence and cheer the drivers to the checkered flag. I see the #32 go by at full speed. We finish 42nd.

14 hours, 7 drivers, 10 driving stints with 3 at night, no wrecks, no breakdowns, 16 jugs of fuel, no tire changes, no individual black flags, 1 spin (mine), finished in top half of field.

I trailered the car home the next day and cranked it up just to see: it's missing constantly. Had to go back to work, so it will be the weekend before I have time to check it out. Hope it is something simple, as Daytona is in 3 months.

Anybody know a tuner for a 7M-GE in the SouthEast?
 

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SideWinderGX

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Good to hear you're having fun with it! My cousin and his friends bought an Integra and we raced at Watkins Glen, it was a whole lot of fun.

What is the car valued at currently? From the one race I went to (and the few I heard about) its very easy to skirt the rules... and on a side note, throwing a 7MGTE in there with a shimmed oil pump should solve your power issues.
 

SiberianDVM

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Base value of NA MkIII is still 400, which I have appealed, because the SC300 and SC400 are also 400. :( I have added an oil cooler, Accusump, & H&R springs which puts me into 4 penalty laps right now.

I think you are right about the turbo. Al lot of guys are doing V6 & V8 swaps now, and guys running stock motors are getting left way behind. Eventually somebody is gonna get killed from the speed differential and that will be the end of ChumpCar.
 

SideWinderGX

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#4
Yeah the rating system is a good idea but there's still a few rough edges. 400 is way too much.

Did you try to claim value for the stock oil cooler? Any way you can not claim the springs, did you replace the dampers as well? Value for parts removed will get you a few points back.

I'd suggest ordering a set of custom ground cams to eek more power out of the 3.0 n/a (no one would know), but I don't know if the money spent would be worth the horsepower gained.

How bad are the stock bushings? Ronniek on here makes poly replacements, if you pm'ed him he might be able to make a custom order of hard black poly bushings (typically they're red).
 

SiberianDVM

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Chump Car keeps changing the rules, so; no value back for parts sold now, except when doing engine swaps.

No stock oil cooler on my NA.

The springs worked great, so I hate not using them, but I may try using the old cut fronts with the new H&R rears (the cut fronts don't fall off the perches the way the cut rears did).

I replaced all the bushings with black poly last year, but I get nailed 25 points for them. If I didn't claim them and ever got to impound, some sharp eyed rules lawyer would call me out.

Changed the spark plugs and wires this past weekend: the #3 plug was fouled and was either the source or a result of the miss. Maybe using NGK Standards was not a good idea? Went back to NGK Laser Platinum and the miss is gone and has more power, but I still think it could run smoother. I plan on working my way through the EC and EFI chapters of the Service Manual over the next few weeks.
 

suprahero

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Great read. I love that you know how to drive a car and use punctuation..........lol
 

SideWinderGX

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NGK coppers will give a great spark but copper plugs need to be replaced more often than any of the other ones. I'd check all your basic sensors and make sure they're in spec: AFM, AIT, coolant temp sensor for the ECU.

Was the car a 7MGE from the factory? If so it should already have the 4.3 rear end ratio. There are other ratios out there that will help you out, and you wouldn't have to claim anything: 4.56, 4.88 and 5.29. If you're middle of the pack this will bump you up quite a few places, just make sure none of the tracks you go to don't have such a long straight you run out of gear.
 

SiberianDVM

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I'm going to go through the as much of the OBD1 codes as I can this weekend. I'm pretty sure the car was a 7MGE from the factory. Would the VIN show a different type number?
 

hvyman

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You can check the vin tag on the door jamb. It will tell you what diff it came with which will tell you what engine it came with.

I think something like g320 is lsd. been a while tho.
 

SiberianDVM

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The only OBD1 code I got was a 41, for throttle position sensor. I checked the resistance between the terminals with an ohmmeter and the VTA-E2 in the closed position read infinite instead of 0.2-1.2kOhm, so I ordered a new one. Maybe it will smooth out the idle some.

I also ordered a leak down tester, as the discoloration of the #3 spark plug is returning, although slowly. I sure hope I don't have to pull the head right away. :(
 

wmcoons

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Great thread! My friends and I have been running an 87 in Lemons and Chump for 3 years, started out with a 7mge and now it's a 7mgte, R154 and still with the 4.3 lsd diff.

Look us up on Facebook and i've got a few video clips on youtube, we're the Supra Troopers.

I'm hoping we can do our first full 24 hour race this year, woohoo!
 

SiberianDVM

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Leak down test was perfect on all cylinders. Also replaced the throttle position sensor, which seemed to smooth out the idle and eliminated the 41 CEL code. So now I'm going to swap out the #3 fuel injector and hope for the best.
 

SiberianDVM

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Thanks for the compliment. :)

Our next race will be the Daytona Roval, May 24. Our 7 man team has temporarily dwindled to 5, but that just means more seat time for the remaining idiots. The weather should be much warmer, so I am paying special attention to the car's and driver's cooling system. Only 1 of our drivers have ever been on Daytona, and there is no test day, so it should be an adventure.
 

SiberianDVM

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Check that the EGR is not FUBAR.
EGR was deleted before I got it.

Right now the only thing I notice is a very slight/hesitation/roughness from idle to about 1800 if the throttle is opened quickly. If opened slowly, sounds smooth. Above 1800 it ramps up well.

I still think the #3 fuel injector may be sticky. They were a set of remans we put in during the engine rebuild.
 

3p141592654

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7M is sensitive to vac leaks, even really small ones. A crack in the accordion tube, or small leak at a vac accessory will cause driveability issues at low engine speeds.
 

SiberianDVM

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Accordian tube is between AFM and TB? That was replaced by PO with aluminum pipe and silicone tubing. I've removed it about a thousand times while working on the car, so I've come to know it well, and it's pretty tight. All of the small diameter vacuum tubing has been replaced with silicone.

I'm not worrying too much about low engine speeds anyway, as long as it doesn't start shutting off like it did at Rd Atlanta. It's gonna spend the majority of it's life at WOT.

But I need to sort out the #3 plug fouling. How big a job is it to pull the fuel injectors?
 

maxburn

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It's not bad I think I pulled the throttle body and it opens it up enough to change them
 

SiberianDVM

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Used a mechanics stethoscope on the fuel injectors yesterday: all except #3 made a distinct tap-tap-tap. #3 made a very faint tap-tap overlaid with a whoosh-whoosh. It sounds very different, so today I will start on replacement.
 

SiberianDVM

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1 hour job turned into 2 hour job when I forgot to hook up the 1/4" water line going to the bottom of the ICS valve, but finally: it works!!! Replacement of the #3 injector fixed the misfire & made it idle smoother. I can't wait to get it into the next race.

Beware of remanufactured injectors.
 

maxburn

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Definitely have to watch them I replaced some injectors on my grandpa's cadillac and 3 of the 8 were bad out of the box lol
 

SiberianDVM

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I didn't do the engine assembly following the long block rebuild, but I did buy the remanufactured fuel injectors. They all tested normal then, but this one apparently started failing right after we did the engine break-in runs.
 

3p141592654

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Good deal. By the way, an injector balance test is quick and likely would have pinpointed this fast. Pull each injector clip one by one and check the idle drop. Need to be fast as the ECU will correct the idle speed back to spec. Can also be done by monitoring fuel rail pressure drop if you have the test gear.
 

SiberianDVM

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Brakes:

We are still using the stock single piston calipers (NAPA remans), stock vented rotors (new NAPAs), stock master, ABS system, with Motul 660 RBF and Porterfield R4 racing pads. The system seems to work decently,with no rear end lockup, but it could stand some improvement as there is some ABS pulsing on heavy braking. Of course, CCWS changed the rules right after I stocked up on stock calipers. :(

Right now we are wearing out a set of front brake pads about every 14-18 hours and the rears are lasting 2-3 times as long. Front rotors are showing moderate wear and I am having them resurfaced every 2 races. So far the rear rotors look almost new after over 30 hours of racing.

Is heavy front and light rear wear normal on this car? Should I replace or clean the proportioning valve? Or just use a more aggressive rear pad? Should I look at adding some front brake cooling/ducting?
 

3p141592654

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Based on street driving its at least 2:1 longer wear on the rears.

You could look at using dual piston Previa calipers as they are a direct fit. Unclear if it would buy you anything though. I think you really need a bigger disk to make a difference.

previa
caliper assy: 47730-28200
pads 04491-28351 04665-28170
 

SiberianDVM

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Thanks. Probably even more than 2:1 in racing, so it's probably "normal" for this car. I may take the proportioning valve out and make sure it's not full of gunk and try to route some cooling to the front brakes.
 

SiberianDVM

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I made it back from Daytona, mostly in 1 piece. This was our 3rd race, and the 1st that we DNF.

Our transponder failed before start; had to rent one and zip-tie it in place; lost 3 laps.

Heat was our enemy. Oil temp was over 260°F most of the day, except when it was raining. After about 4 hours, the clutch failed. Car stalled coming into pits and would not restart due to clutch interlock. With no P/S, I broke the weld on the steering wheel quick release. Once we got the car pushed to the garage, with a Vicegrip on the steering column, I found a bolt on the clutch pedal assembly had backed out and fallen into the floorboard, so I fixed that, then had to borrow a welder and fix the steering wheel. 30 laps lost.

Nobody wanted to drive the car with a suspect steering wheel, so I got in and did 30 minutes before the monsoon flooded the track. Nothing like going through the high bank at 125 mph at not being able to see anything due to the rooster-tails. Flat areas got flooded, cars were wrecking everywhere, so they red flagged it for a while.

The other drivers got their nuts back, and one hopped in when the red changed to yellow, then green. We did a few more hours (car ran good and was competitive when it wasn't broke), then the brakes went away. We took it to garage to change the front pads, and found that another bolt had fallen out, this time one holding on the front right brake caliper. Another 20 laps lost.

We fixed all that, then saw an oil leak and heard a strange noise coming from somewhere underneath. Jacked it up and looked/listened but couldn't find it, so we figured all our luck was used up, so we threw in the towel. Another 30 laps lost.

Due to our transponder difficulties , we're not sure exactly where we finished, but we think it was something like 64th of 108.

Frick.
 

SiberianDVM

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Just got back Monday from our 4th ChumpCar race: The Slightly More Than 12 Hours of Sebring; 14 hours to be exact, that was held on Saturday, Sep 26. I had plenty of time to get the car ready since the last race, so I had no excuses. This time we went with a team of 4, which was about the minimum that I would want for a 14 hour race. It's not the driving time that gets you, it's all the prepping, hauling, unpacking, setting up, repairing, fueling, tearing down, repacking, hauling home, and unpacking and unloading.

We all got there Friday, and set up in Pit 61 and Garage 61, right under the 1958 Ferrari banner, very close to pit out. Got the car in the garage, up on stands, and did the final checks (found 2 missing shock tower nuts!!) and brake bleeds. Also got the canopy set up along the pit wall, and all the gear laid out.

So, naturally, we had a monsoon. The next morning everything was soaking wet. It all dried eventually, but what a mess. Race day dawned clear, but was partly cloudy and steamy hot all day. During the time since the last race I had made some hood vents and altered the water thermostat a bit to try to keep the engine cooler, and it helped about 20° F for both the oil and water temps. The car would idle much better when coming in off a run and never stalled like it would before.

For this race I decided to try a new (to us) front brake pad compound, the Raybestos ST43 and a new set of Frozen Rotors front rotors. They worked well throughout the race. Still running Bridgestone RE-11 tires: the rears are still going strong after 3 races, the fronts decided to get washy about 12 hours into the race, but they already had about 8 hours on them from a previous race. Due to liberal use of Loctite, no brakes fell off this time. :)

Mark was 1st out at 0900. We wanted to try to minimize our pit stops by having 1:55 drive stints and 5 minute fuel stops/driver changes. Due to our excess points, we had 5 penalty laps, so we started in 92nd position, out of 93 starters. Six cars did not start the race. Mark was instructed to drive conservatively and to save the car, avoiding mayhem. During this 1st stint, he ran mostly 2:55 laps, with one at 2:52, and we moved to 80th place.

Jimmy was up next, from 1100 to 1300. Same instructions: save the car. He did a great job, with the car running smoothly, and ran his best lap of 2:50. The car was taking about 13-14 gallons of fuel after each stint. Now we were up to 66th.

Steve was next to go about 1300. Sometime during his run there was a red flag due to another car hitting a wall, and then the driver getting out of the car and collapsing before being taken away by ambulance. The cars were all stopped out on the track for a while, then brought to pit lane while things were sorted out. With the engine turned off, it was very hot inside even with Coolshirts (we need some forced air blowing in the drivers face), so the drivers were permitted to get out and drink some water. They went back out for about 15 minutes of yellow and green before Steve came in. Sometime during this mess, Steve got a 1 minute stop and go penalty for passing under the yellow. WTF? EVERYBODY passes under the yellow!!! We were now up to 52nd, at about 1500 (3PM).

My turn. I was a LOT less nervous than this time 2 years ago, when Sebring was my first ever WTW race, in a rented seat in Miata. That time I almost puked before getting in the car. Still, I had the butterflies. But I built this car, and it is a tank. It took me 30 minutes to get the hang of the car and the track, then I started feeling better and actually started fighting for positions. Sebring has 3 long straights followed by difficult turns, and I was getting the old girl up to 105-115 mph at times. The brakes felt good, but the front tires were only so-so. T5 was slick, and I was not the only car having trouble there: I drove off line to the right through the grass twice to miss cars that were spinning in front of me. About 45 minutes into my run, it started raining in T7, T8, & T9. I knew it would get really slick going into the hard braking zone at T7, so I started easing up going through T6. Other drivers did too, but there are always the 10% who don't get the memo. Over the next 30 minutes the carnage was heavy, and I spent most of my remaining drive time under FCY. Car was running good; ended my stint in 46th place at 1700 (5PM). My best time was a 2:58. We added 1 quart of oil.

I have no idea how many exactly, but cars are being loaded onto trailers and going home. Some are wrecked, some are just broken down. The late 70s Camaro pitted next to us has gone home after a failed transmission. After our DNF at Daytona I want to finish this one badly, and I have chewed at least 10 pieces of Nicorette gum. I would kill for a cigarette. While walking to the men's room, I stopped to talk to a girl sitting and smoking a cig. The secondhand smoke was fabulous.

Jimmy was back in the car from 1700 to 1900. The rain had stopped but was predicted to come back. Heavy clouds overhead made it seem darker than it was. Some cars were starting to turn on their headlights. Jimmy starts to pick up the pace and runs a 2:46, then a 2:40. He radios in that he is in a clear section of track with no traffic, so he is able to do his thing. Temps are 210° water and 230° oil so I tell him to watch them and to back off if they go any higher. At 1830 Jimmy radios in that he has to pit, as the car has stumbled coming through T17 and the gas gauge is on E and the reserve light is on. We scramble to put on our Nomex and helmets so we can fuel. Did we short fuel last time? We put in another 5 gallons and send him back out to finish his stint. That cost us 5 minutes and 2 positions. We are now in 38th, down from 36th.

Mark is back in from 1900 to 2100. He will be racing in full darkness, but he has 8000 lumens of LED headlights and doesn't complain, at least until about 2000 when he says the front tires are going away. I had checked the pressures and the tread and all looked good, but they have a lot of racing hours on them now. We tell him to drive to the condition of the car. He sets his best lap of the race, and then radios in that he is low on fuel!! So we bring him in and give the car another 10 gallons and lose another 5 minutes and 2 positions. We are in 28th position.

Steve will finish the race from 2100 to 2300. One stint is enough for me these days. We add another quart of oil. Check the tire pressures and let 2 psi out of the fronts. He takes off and I chew my finger nails. Steve is hauling ass. After 10 laps we are up to 24th. After 20 laps, still 24th. Then Steve radios in that he thinks a headlight fell off the car.

The car definitely looked weird coming down the front straight, so we tell him to pit next lap and I go looking for tools. When he comes in, the left headlight is dangling by the cord, but still shining! I duck taped it back in, as the retaining ring is somewhere out on Sebring, and he is gone in 2 minutes. Still 24th position.

At 2245, Steve radios in that he is low on gas and must pit. The car is sputtering on T17. I know we have been getting full fills, because I have been doing it. So in we come with 15 minutes to go. Since the fuel stop is a minimum of 5 minutes, we put in 10 gallons. This extra stop drops us to 25th.

And that's where we finished. At Sebring, they allow the crews to come out to the race fence on the last lap to cheer them in. If you ever get a chance to get that close to race cars at WOT, any race cars, even tired old race cars, then DO IT. It gave me goose bumps to see and hear our old girl go by at 110+ mph, that 3" open pipe sounding glorious.

Now if i can just figure out a way to get another 300 pounds out of this fat bitch.................
 

FernandoDLT

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#33
I loved the read! Any interior pictures? Theres tons of way to reduce weight. You can get that car under 3000lbs easy.