Tigges Talk - 2015 Richmond Regional 1

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by MaineAlkyFan, May 3, 2015.

  1. MaineAlkyFan

    MaineAlkyFan Active Member

    Oct 8, 2006
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    The reshuffled Team Tigges opened our 2015 season this past weekend at the NHRA D1 Regional in Richmond, Virginia. Dave flew in from Detroit, Mark & Fred drove the rig and RV down from Massachusetts with Claire & the dogs on board, team chef Jill & Kevin drove down from Massachusetts and I drove down from Maine.

    I left right after work at 3PM on Wednesday, making excellent time across New England, arriving at The Blue Colony Diner in Newtown, CT just before 7PM. I grabbed a tunamelt plate to go along with three loaves of Challah bread for the team, which Jill turned into amazing French toast. On my way back to the car from gassing up I noticed a little curl of oil coming from the lower edge of my hood. Hmmm… no oil cooler on this car, I wonder where that could be coming from?

    I popped the hood to find oil all over, and amazingly, the oil cap still carefully nestled between the valve cover and radiator hose. I don't know if it had come loose or if I had not replaced it when I topped off the oil in pre-trip, but I sure was happy it was there. The engine was 1-1/2 quarts low (looked like more believe me) so I filled it and continued on through spotty rain showers into New York.

    I lived in Pennsylvania for several years, and came to appreciate the driving habits of the natives. You know, nice things like two people coming to a complete stop in the travel lanes of I84 at the bottom of the Port Jervis hill trying to decide how to merge… or thirty or so miles later when I experienced a first… a wrong way driver heading east in the westbound hi-speed lane of the interstate. Must have been an early start, it was only 10:30!

    I made it into Harrisburg, PA without hitting anything just before midnight, checking into a very nice (clean, easy on/off big cheap rooms) Motel 6 and checked up on the hockey scores before heading off to bed. It amazes me that there is no hockey on the radio outside of Maine.

    Thursday morning I was back on the road at 6AM, heading south on I81 into Maryland, the southeast around the DC beltway and down into Virginia on I95. Even with an hour of bumper to bumper traffic around DC, I rolled up to the Virginia Motorsports Park just past 11AM.

    The guys had pitted close enough to the gate to just walk over with my ticket, so we said our hellos and Mark gave me a very nice Tigges long sleeve hoodie that Nancy had made up. Thanks Nancy! The hoodies sure came in handy as it was unseasonably cold for April in Virginia, with a relentless wind that had made it impossible to put the canvas on the awning.

    The plan was to get one or two test sessions in on Thursday, but after the initial static timing was set and the engine was fired for the first time this year, we were greeted with a substantial oil leak out of the base of the intake as soon a Fred brought the RPM up. Bad luck following me maybe? Off came the blower and intake, and the culprit was identified, the foam gasket sealing off the valley to the intake base had pushed in. A new slightly thinner gasket was fitted and we carefully set the blower back on and gave it time to set.

    The second fire-up was just like the first, Mr. BAE sounding nasty good, shaking the framerails while filling the pit with windblown methanol fumes, you know, the kind of stuff you live for. Of course the gasket pushed out again, so rinse & repeat on the blower removal, and fit another, this time with weatherstrip contact adhesive, which held up well for the remainder of the event. From an empty dry fuel tank to top off for the next day we went through 19 gallons of methanol without ever taking the car off the stands. Thirsty beast.

    On the track, a combination of a very tight track and otherworldly air was giving most of the guys that did do test sessions fits. There was a whole lot of shaking and early shut-offs going on. As usually, Mark was down at the line reading the track and the other car's performances. Of course there are always exceptions, like Rich McPhillips' injected nitro bracket dragster that ran three 5.30's over two days all within a few hundreths of each other. Nice job guys, and I'm lovin' the new green colors!

    Sometime in there we got the awning canvas up, Jim Bowen got the car teched in with the recertified safety equipment and we all drove up to the NHRA trailer to sign waivers and get wristbands. Dave arrived from the airport, and we spent the evening catching up on off season happenings before inflating air mattresses for a fairly chilly night in the trailer, even for a Mainah.

    Friday morning brought a completely cloudless sky, with cool dry air and still persistent wind. With qualifying sessions scheduled at 1PM and 5PM, we got the car warmed up, reviewed task assignments and towed up to the lanes for Q1. Our first shot netted us a game 5.63 at 256, with Fred doing a great job driving the car around the narrow left lane groove to place us in the #3 qualified spot.

    Back at the pit, we did standard between round servicing, with Mark & Kevin pulling the trans and replacing the clutch while Dave & I pulled the valve covers, sparkplugs, drained the oil from the pan, puke tank and framerails and got the car re-fueled. We also swapped the slicks side to side, as we are chasing a slight pull to the right at the hit of the throttle. Dave & Fred adjusted the valves, while Mark analyzed computer data for discussion on how to make any adjustment to the timers for the next run.

    Q2 came right on time, and Fred did another great driving job into the sun, tripping the lights to improve to the #2 qualifying position. Drag racing is funny, for all the hours of work you do, the only place to actually drive it and learn any useful information is for those few seconds on the track.

    Those runs are so much fun… pre-stage, stage, swap feet, watch, wait, then fist pump to the numbers on the scoreboard. Run over to the truck & jump in, waving to the spectators as you head down to the timeslip booth then the top end to pick up Fred, who is out of the car waiting. '5.60!' is shouted out from the truck. 'What did it MPH?' is the excited response. '262' as the tow strap comes out and the body pole gets inserted. 'Ha, I knew it was fast, it always hops the rear tires when I lift if it's over 260' with a sly grin. Roll the chutes, ground the coil, shut of the battery and close the air bottle & put the safety pins back in the fire bottles then tow up to the scales & fuel check. I got to do some new tasks this time out, taking the starter from Mark after fire-up and pumping fuel for the tech-guy at fuel check.

    We did an extended service right when we got back, dropping the oilpan and checking all the rod bearings, replacing the blower belt with a new one and giving everything a closer look. I really love the teamwork part, everybody knows the tasks, and the order they are performed in. I removed and cleaned the Oberg telltale filter between turning the engine for Mark & Dave while they were under the car checking the rod bearings. There is a nice rhythm that develops when you work together. We try to keep that going at the same pace which really helps keep us focused once we are in eliminations and time is critical.

    We had heard there were showers available, but didn't know where they were, so I drove up to the fuel barn to try to locate them. A track worker helped me out… 'Showers, ya. Go up the return road until you come to the dumpsters, then take a left through the gate and follow the path out behind the BMX track to the building, ya can't miss 'em'. Uh-huh.

    Super Gas was still running, and it was poorly lit on the return road, so I figured it would be best to wait until racing was over to go find them. It took Dave and I thirty minutes, three chained & padlocked gates and about three miles of driving in and out of the facility grounds to finally get to the shower building. The showers were not cold, but not really hot, had less flow than a blocked hat nozzle, and dripped into a less than adequate drainage system. They were showers though, and they saved the RV water for the girls.

    Friday was a very satisfying day of work at the drags. We reviewed our day under the awning, surrounded by the highs and lows of racing, to our right #1 qualifier Mickey Ferro, the only funny car in the '50's this weekend, to our left the Mercier gang packing up for the long tow back to Ontario with a DNQ. Saturday was eliminations, with scheduled rounds moved up to 10AM, 1PM and 3PM due to approaching weather.

    Saturday we woke at 7:00 to low cloud cover. By 7:30 it was raining, and it didn't stop all day. What do you do during rain? Wait, wonder, look at radar, discuss what the official decision will be and when will it come, try not to eat too much. The call to cancel the racing for the day came at 1PM with no cars having been down the track. I spent time taking pictures, trying to stay warm while walking around with an umbrella. I spent some time talking to D1 TAD champ Karen Stalba about her proud son Paul, who had just licensed at Atco with his new Jr. Dragster. We talked about hockey & kids, and waited for what might happen on Sunday.

    Jill & Claire drove in town to a Martin's supermarket to get some steaktips for dinner. Apparently, people in Virginia (at least at this store) had no idea what steak tips were. They returned with red meat which was promptly marinated & served up with rice. An evening of general hilarity ensued in the RV, with stories, lies, seven humans, two dogs, multiple conversations, hockey on TV and boxing on Ferro's TV next door. Current TAFC record holder Jonnie Lindburg was racing at the Houston National the same weekend and made a Facebook post of his car's Racepak dash. A question for you Jonnie… What exactly does Kuken Star mean in Swedish?

    The sound of rain on the top of the trailer Sunday morning didn't offer much hope for any racing to occur. Jim came around at 9:30 with the news, the fields are set, eliminations to be held Mother's Day weekend. Two test sessions Friday, one test session and round eliminations Saturday. Forty minutes later we had come from race ready to packed in latched down and ready to roll north. We all made it back home around midnight some earlier, some a little later.

    1,600 miles of driving, 27 hours on the road for a combined 11.23 seconds of time on the loud pedal. You don't do this drag racing stuff because it makes any sense…:cool:

    Richmond Pictures
    Last edited: May 8, 2015

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