Black Widow warms up for Nostalgia meeting

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This was our final hit-out before the Nostalgia Match Race next month on the 21st November.

The day before (Friday) it rained after a picture perfect and hot Thursday, so heading into Saturday it didn’t seem real good, then on the weather channel the night before, they said extreme weather with lots of wind, possibly no rain, for the Sydney basin.  Well, the ‘lots of wind’ notice was perfect. It was howling at 4am when the wind rustling through the whole neighbourhood woke me up.  It just didn’t get any better from there weather wise.  Sure the sun was out, but 100 mile away in the mountains, it snowed.  Was it cold….look at the pictures (on the new site listed below).

We arrived at the track about 7.30am after Joey had a slight confrontation with the ticket box and the trailer on the way in. No problem, as the trailer was wedged against the box, we just had a dozen guys lift the ticket box up and to the side, moved the trailer, put the box back and everyone was happy….well everyone except Joey.  The ‘instances’ that people just won’t let you forget.

After we parked the rig, we wasted as much time as possible before rolling the car out just in case the winds may have died down any…..well, when we left at 6pm, the wind hadn’t dropped off at all.

Unloaded and set the car up on the Buddy Jax and the boys went to work preparing to fire and warm the car.  Everything was still as we had it set for the washout on Sept 5th, so it was just a matter of refreshing what we had the engine set at.  Fired the engine on petrol and checked the timing, and all was where it should have been.  Tommy had the offset mag drive out between events and rebuilt the whole unit to make it run perfect, so Vince needed to check his timing and Mario wanted to double check everybody before firing the old girl on fuel.

Primed the engine, cranked the starter and that beautiful roar that only nitro and a drag racing engine can produce wafted through the pit area.  Ran it for a little while, played with the high-low system, set the idle speed and then shut her down. All looked just fine.

As there was a small attendance at this event (the Track Championship Series) they brought our scheduled on-track time forward to about Noon.  We towed out to the lanes and proceeded to get Mark belted into the car, then pulled forward onto the start pad.

The Officials pointed at us, and said it was our turn.  I started the engine and handed the starter and the batteries to Big Tony, as we are moving a few guys around on the team to give everybody experience in every position (Tommy has put his hand up to drive for his next experience) and Big T was filling in for Joey, who was out on the start line with Vince, doing ‘work experience’.  In one of the videos of the day, you will see Vinnie waving Joey’s hands around like a puppeteer…..bit funny when you actually see it.  Joey remarked ‘Man, it’s different out there….’  In our current ‘move around crewmember mode’, Tommy actually got to wash parts this time, an experience that he will never forget…or become accustomed to.

Oh yea, back to the run.  Mark done a nice burnout, and as we had moved our burnout start a little further toward the start line, it meant that we didn’t have to bring Mark back so far on the pad, and we stopped his reverse about 3 metres behind the start line.  Mario checked the engine over, didn’t need any adjusting, blessed her and again said to send it.

Mark rolled into pre-stage, pulled the high side, focused, and then lit the second light.  Vroooom and gone.

The plan was to run it out to about half track or just beyond, with Mark having the final say on when to pull the throttle back.  4.1 seconds into the run, he lifted, pulled the chutes and touched the brakes and stopped in the shut down area.  Everything looked fine, and we towed the car back to the pit to analyse what we were going to do next lap.

Incremental’s for that lap were;

1.171  60 foot.   4.322 to half track at 177.86mph and backed off to a 7.324 @ 123mph.

Back in the pit, winds still howling, we checked the data logger and all appeared pretty fine, so we done a leak down on the engine, 5 and 6 were a little shy of the others, but not overwhelmingly of the scale to warrant an actual inspection.  So, we decided to leave it together, and send it again.

The Officials asked if we would be ready at about 2.30pm, and we said no probs, we will be in the lanes waiting.  So we buttoned it all back up, set the clutch, packed the chutes, added some fuel and headed for the lanes.

Once again, same guys in there new positions, but a little bit smoother in their operations, and Vinnie only having to move Joey around by the waist this time (as he thought the car was going to run over him on the backup…check the videos).  Started the engine and proceeded to the burnout pad.  Another nice sharp burnout, back her up, stop, check the engine over, pre-stage, pull the high lever, stage……gone.

Super straight, right down Broadway.  Mark kept the throttle wide open all the way.  The car left really really lazy and you will see by the figures, same good mid track mile-an-hour, and a six, our first and only our second full power run.  Yea, not bad, not bad at all.

Incremental’s for this lap were;

1.209   60 foot.   4.446 to half track at 176.86mph and crossed the stripe at 6.710 @ 211.20mph.

Returned to the pits, analysed the logger and the car, and decided to have a look inside, so the order from DeDon came to ‘strip-it’.  You will see in the pictures that Vinnie, Big T and Joey are in the heat of the battle, little clutter and confusion, but intent on their work.

The engine checked out perfect, not a ring, piston, bearing or even gasket needed refreshing or replaced.  Darn fine.  Changed a few nozzles while the top was off the engine to balance the cylinders out a bit, and the ‘Bomb Squad’ put her all back together.  Come this time to set the clutch and Mario pulled the inspection cover, slid in the feeler strips, and the clutch had worn more than we wanted, anticipated and had hoped for.  We were done.   Our new discs had not arrived, so we were standing there with a fresh race car, a keen crew….and no clutch.  Sheeeesh, what a let down.

OK, what we then had was a fresh engine, ready to run the next time out.  A crew that had been moved around for experience.  A group of guys that laugh at each other and had a great day out.  A gaggle of ladies that laughed all day that made their trip a sensory overload. But above all, we had a race car all in one piece, time slips what were dropping every time out, and a crew that have a great time when there together.  What more could you ask for.  OK, well we may ask for that, but not just yet.

Our next event is a display at the Top Fuel race at Sydney Dragway on 30th-31st October, then we head into the 4 way match race at the Nostalgia event, also at Sydney Dragway on Sunday 21st November.  This is the first time outside of the Continental U.S.A. (the birthplace of drag racing) that an event with 4 Nostalgia styled nitro burning cars has occurred.  We have been building toward this coming event since we received the car in December last year.

Naturally to make this event, or for that matter, any event happen, it takes people.  We have some super people helping this whole deal come together.

3 weeks from this event, and with nothing major to happen on the car maintenance wise, Joey and I decided to ‘reconfigure’ the inside of the trailer.  Phew, lucky we had 3 weeks.  Lucky Joey is a sheetee.  We re-laid all the items and locations that we were just not happy with from when we first finished the trailer for the Purple Haze, some 6 years ago (how long….gees).  We have also doubled our itinerary of parts that what the trailer was made for and also the tools and equipment necessary to perform the correct maintenance on the vehicle at the track.  Well, it all just about fits nice and neatly now.  We have also cut down to nearly zero the dependence on Joey and myself to point the guys in the right direction to access tools or equipment, as everything is labelled and custom fitted.  A super cool deal inside now.

Speaking of tools and equipment. We are super proud and excited at the same time to carry the Teng Tools logo on the car, trailer and Hyundai van.  Teng Tools, through Claye Brierley and Steve Kane have taken our operation on board as a marketing partner for their iconic brand of hand tools.  Quality is the word association here. We now have Teng Tools toolboxes in the pit box and the inside of the trailer, and coupled with all of the engine storage items they have, our hand tool program is super organised.  When you are visiting our team at a venue, please ask for a Teng Tools brochure of their nearest stockist and have a good eyeball of their range of products exclusively used by the Black Widow Team.  They are superb. When we started out with this operation, we desperately needed the hand tools upgraded, and it was us that approached Teng Tools to use their equipment, as they are renowned for quality.  They are not a household name here in Australia, but throughout Europe, they are in the top 2 in every Country, and you would know how competitive that market is. There is a link here on our website, so click on and browse some quality hand tools.  As I have said beforehand, we are very tickled that Teng Tools have hooked up with our team.

Every Wednesday night is our team/car night, and religiously all the guys turn up to massage the car and receive their orders (some foreign orders) for the coming week.  Wendy and I can never thank these guys enough, they are all dedicated and skilful to boot, and we make no bones about it, the ‘Crew Make This Car Happen’.  Again, Thankyou.

This will be the last ‘Blog’ that we will publicly present, as our brand new website is finished and has just recently been launched, so please join our supporter network through our site, and every time that something is posted about our travels and comings and goings, you will receive an automated e-mail.  We will have our site as a very up to date tool, as there is always something happening and we would like all of you people to enjoy the ride with us.

Many thanks, Steve and Wendy Turner…

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