Tigges Talk - Epping Regional 2020

Discussion in 'Pit Buzz' started by MaineAlkyFan, Aug 30, 2022.

  1. MaineAlkyFan

    MaineAlkyFan Active Member

    Oct 8, 2006
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    Splitting Hairs

    This past weekend Team Tigges made some noise at our home track, New England Dragway, in Epping New Hampshire. I drove down from Maine on Wednesday, delivering a Caddy 500 engine to a buddy before meeting up with the Tigges family and Dave (who had flown up from South Carolina) at the track. Much to the amazement of all, I delivered the big cast iron Caddy engine in my tiny Scion XB. Hey, I like a challenge…

    Keith & Rick arrived on Thursday morning & we took advantage of an open test session on Thursday. It was hot and muggy, but not as brutal as Atco was. We made two passes, the first a 5.80 at 255, the second a 5.67 at 259. Both passes were weak at the beginning, with sub-par 60 foot times, but they were both string straight & smooth right down the lane. The shake & tire smoking of our passes at Atco was gone.

    What was hysterical from the starting line was the huge amount of clutch dust pouring from the rear of the car. It was like standing behind one of the pro nitro cars. The clutch on the first run was literally smoking in the shutdown area, to the point that the safety workers initially thought Freddy was on fire. We were running the new center bearing pressure plate. We reduced the clutch dust while improving the performance by adding 19 grams of weight to the levers between the two passes. Things were improving, but the second pass was still producing tons of clutch dust and the can was still smoking at the top end.

    Friday NHRA had three qualifying sessions scheduled. With pending weather and a huge 80 mile tall radar image of heavy rain sweeping west to east, we were prepared to be called to the line at any time. We ended up going up twice before NHRA set the field and called it a day. This would be a blessing in disguise.

    Our first pass was at just past noon on a sticky 116 degree track. The air was horrible & the track wanted more power than we gave it. The run produced a slowing 5.78 at just 247 which was a disappointment. Something wasn’t right. We made some changes in the clutch can & ignition timing and dragged the car back up to the line at 4PM for our second pass. The car left like a rocketship, with a hard, smooth launch. Mark was celebrating, but the car drifted a little left. Fred pulled it back into the groove but the timeslip showed a half track speed of only 192 and what appeared to be a coasting 5.87 at 221. Fred reported hearing something odd at half track & there was some oil on the firewall.

    We towed back to the pit, immediately put the car up on the stands, checked the oil pan for stuff hanging out of it, turned it over a few rotations by hand, then re-fired it. It fired right up, sounded great and developed good oil pressure. We shut it off, ran the valves, drained the oil & puke tank & checked the oil return screen. Everything looked ducky. Done for the day. We were qualified 4th in a five car field, surprisingly ahead of #3 in the Regional standings Matt Gill, who would never make it past the 100 foot mark all weekend.

    Saturday morning brought clear blue skies and slightly better air. First round was scheduled for midafternoon, so it was kind of a lazy morning. Around 10AM Dave & I dropped the oil pan to check the main and rod bearings. It was there we had a ‘that’s not good’ moment. One of the main cap nuts was loose, like finger tight loose. These are normally torqued to 130 lb/ft. We pulled the cap and it came out in two pieces, broken in half at the stud bore. Had we had a quick turn third qualifier on Friday, we would not have caught this, leading most certainly to a $10K scattershow.

    Although our first round opponent, the retiring Dan Pomponio, offered a spare, we were done for the day. We will miss you out here Dan, I always like seeing you. I’ve been with Team Tigges for ten years now, and this was the first time I’ve missed the first round due to a broken car. It is a very empty feeling, especially standing at the fence thinking ‘we should be up there’. We were packed up and off the property by 6PM.

    OK, splitting hairs. Most of the magic in making one of these cars perform is in the clutch. The three disc dry clutch is designed to slip intentionally. You control the slippage using weights and preloads and manage the slipping using driving consistency and engine power delivery. One of the ‘tricks’ of the trade is to cut a hair thin (literally .001”-.0015”) taper on the discs to manipulate the aggressiveness of the clutch action. Our smoking of the tires at Atco was caused by a set-up error that inadvertently put taper on the floaters instead of the discs. We showed up at Epping with that fixed, but had a brain fart and cut the taper on the discs backward, which softened everything up performance wise and produced the massive clutch dust and smoking heat. It is amazing how a few hair thicknesses in the wrong places can cause such havoc. The next time out, all the hairs will be in the right places.

    Congratulations to 3rd in the nation DJ Cox for his funny car win and 4th in the nation Jackie Fricke for her dragster win at Epping. We will be out at least once again this year, I’m just not sure which of the three remaining events we will attend.

    Chris Saulnier - Team Tigges
    Mechanic Falls, Maine
  2. Unlimitedaero

    Unlimitedaero Member

    Oct 26, 2014
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    The best read on here. Always look forward to it.
    MaineAlkyFan likes this.

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