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Old 09-08-2020, 06:27 PM   #101
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So I lost her when I started trying to explain the magic and mystery and almost religious qualities of chasing speed. When time stands still and you become one with the machine for a precious few moments and maybe even step past the point of control. "You're so full of it" she says and gives me the wave off with a flick of her head. I wanted to show her the benefits of maybe an airbag under the right rear spring or the right sized front tire as far as staging lights go. Maybe adjusting the front shocks, tire pressures and a bunch of other stuff. I mean, honestly, if she waits for the green light I'm gonna be three car lengths down the track.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:13 AM   #102
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Usually this time of year we get together for what we call Speedweek where we campaign an old decrepit Ford roadster on an a deserted section of roadway in Eastern Washington. For the first time in many years there was no speed week this year and it feels very strange. We did get together for a Labor day soiree at Rancho del Shark. We suspect that it might be the last time we are able to all get together as Old Shark's health is diminishing rapidly. A good time was had by all. As the afternoon progressed and interest in a certain grudge match reached fever proportions, we set up the christmas tree on a county road that runs past old Sharkbait's ranch. It's a gravel mat type of road, pretty flat and straight. We've got a quarter mile space measured out and even put some conduit under the road on a weekend some time back when no one was looking so that we can run some timing lights and such. I noticed that no one offered me any help when I began to prepare the old 55 Chevy for the upcoming combat, a best of three run, heads up competition with Sharks old Ford pickup. They all seemed to be willing to go over old Sharks rig though. I smiled to myself.
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Old 09-13-2020, 12:45 AM   #103
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So I run the old 55 down toward town to give it a 15 minute warmup. When I get back, we get down to business. The gravel mat road is kind of rough so there isn't much of a chance to heat the rear tires without shredding them. You can still hook up pretty well though. We trade a few insults and I pre stage. Mrs. Jim looks pretty nervous to me. I've got my game face on when she looks at me apprehensively. She stages both lights at once. I stage deep and bring up 2500 rpm on the dial. We're running a sportsman setup on the tree so it ticks off 1/2 a second for each yellow light. When the third yellow light comes on, I'm gone. She has made a fatal mistake of waiting for the green light to light. The old 55 is up out of the hole like a scared jack rabbit. I sand bag it some and shift at only 6500 rpm at second and third. It's a candy run for me. I pull up at the end of the road and signal her over. "What the blank happened" I ask? She just looks at me with narrowed eyes. "Listen up" I say. "Remember what I showed you. Stage the first light and wait for me. Then light the second light. Then easy move forward until the first light goes out. Don't red light though. Remember to bring the rpms up and shift her at 4500 rpm. That big motor just wont wind up too far. Use all of that torque to your advantage. Keep her between the lines and keep digging all the way past the finish line. Don't wait for the green light. As soon as the third yellow light lights you go. By the time you get your foot up off of the brake and punch the gas the green light will be on anyway. Let's do this".
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:22 AM   #104
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We return to the start where Mrs. Jim gets all kinds of attention and various advice. Feeling good about things, I offer lane choice. She decides to take right lane. I can tell that she is even more serious than before as she puts all of that hair into a braided ponytail and then turns her ball cap around backwards. "Push her as hard as you can and forget about 4500 rpm" I offer her as she climbs into the old Ford. "Just watch out because the valves will start floating around 6800" . I look over at old Shark and he looks pretty serious and concerned. She stages up the first stage light and looks over at me. I stage up the first light and then shallow into the second stage light. I look over at her. She stages the second light and inches forward to turn off the first stage light so she is deep staged. She looks at me and I give her a thumb up and then point forward with my fore finger. She nods. This time I bring up close to 2800 on the dial. I can see her perfectly through peripheral vision. As the third light illuminates the back rear right side of the truck darn near hits the ground and the front left wheel lofts about three inches as she blasts out of the hole as it was reported to me later. She is into second and pulling hard as I glance at the tach and see over 7000 already. I pop the shifter and grab second gear and glance back at Mrs. Jim. She is right there this time and has her chin tucked down and is looking ahead. We grab third and wind them up. She's got both hands on the wheel and glances at me a couple of times as the finish line nears. She moves from the front passenger window to the rear passenger window as I look out at her, but just. We smolder over the line at better than 130 mph. I'm telling you that the instant that I begin to let up past the finish line, she is pulling past. My heart flutters a little bit. We grind to a halt and she jumps out with a really big smile as I clench a fist at her and state "That's what I'm talking about".
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:33 PM   #105
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"I wish you were riding with me" says Mrs. Jim. "That way you could critique my driving". "Like THAT would be a good idea" I offer. She uses a descriptive adjective. I smile. "Hey, is the tranny banging into second and third or is there some overlap"? I ask. "In English please" replies Mrs. Jim, hands on her hips, shaking her head back and forth. "Does the shift into second come with a quick jolt or does it kind of take a moment for the engine to slow down a bit"? I ask. "I mean, when you smack the handle, is the shift instant or does it take a moment"? I ask. "I'm not smacking the shifter" she offers. " You should be" I say. "I think it does take more than an instant to shift" she offers. "That's not good. I'm worried about that transmission. I'm not sure how much abuse it can stand" I say. "Put that motor back together myself, I know it's rock solid"I say to her. "The tranny, maybe, not so much" "Look here, when we get back to the start you say you want to negotiate" I tell her. "I'll be receptive so just play along cause I've got a couple of ideas that might shave a few milliseconds off your trip down the track. That's the good news" I say.
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Old 09-24-2020, 12:37 AM   #106
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"What's the bad news" queries Mrs. Jim. "Unless I break something, you aint gonna get in front of this car with that truck. I'm sand bagging big time. The car is pulling like a freight train when I shift at 6500. I'm pretty sure it'll pull well into 8000 rpm. The car is pretty phenomenal" I tell her. "Oh' she replies. So we return to the start and I offer up that maybe we should change the secondary carb springs to get them open as fast as we can and install an airbag on the right side rear of the truck to convert some of the up and down motion to forward motion. Most of the guys happily get involved in a little truck modification. It's dark when we get ready for round three. We line up some trucks along the field next to the road and turn on the headlights to provide some illumination. Mrs. Jim and I make a run with the truck and with a few pounds of air in the newly installed airbag on the rear axle, the truck doesn't try to slap the rear bumper on the ground when coming up out of the hole. Lighter springs on the secondary carbs gets them open sooner. We easily shave off a couple of tenths. Shark is beside himself with glee and already spending the purse, in his minds eye. Race number three is over the instant that the tree goes green. I'm at 8500 and pulling hard when I slam the shifter into second, likewise into third. I'm seeing headlights in the rear view as I rip past the finish and trip the clock. So we get back to the start and let em idle for a bit and shut em down. I casually saunter over to the Shark and put my hand out. He's pissed and empties his full supply of swear words upon me. I smile like an old shaggy dog. I place a wad of bills that is the purse into my left shirt pocket. "You smell that"? I ask and look all around. I stick my nose down by my left shirt pocket and proclaim, "Smells like money". Mrs. Jim comes over and sits on my lap and tries to empty my pocket. Hey, hey, hey, what are ya doin there Miss Behavin? I ask her. "I'm going to take that money before you blow it on another gun or whatever" she proclaims. "What"? I say. "When I counted guns in the safe the other day there seemed to be an extra one"? she says. "Haven't you heard of the gun Fairy"? I ask her. "Are you serious"? She scoffs. "Like a heart attack. And you know what, they just love to get a Husband in trouble with his wife" I say. "Is that right" says Mrs. Jim. "Yeah and you might not know this but let's say an innocent wife just happens to be dusting the guns in the safe and thinks that there might be more guns in there than last time and then she makes this big mistake of actually counting the guns, and guess what, there IS another one in there, but guess what, when you count them guns, it sets the gun fairies off and what they do is sneak another one in there when no one is looking, just to cause friction between husband and wife cause they love doing stuff like that. But here's the deal, if you don't count the guns, then they quit sneaking an extra one in there. So what ever you do, don't count guns , ever". Mrs. Jim studies me for a few moments as I smugly smile at her. "You ever hear of the Diamond Necklace Fairy"? asks Mrs. Jim. "NO, but that sounds like the scariest of all the fairies" I say. "I sure hope that they don't come around here anytime soon and stir up a bunch of trouble"........ and so it goes.....
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