2012 was a good year for the Unibody crew, we broke the 140 mark
and bested the sbc powered ‘70 pickup that also ran in D/PP class
but we are still a ways away from that record.
2013 was to be the year we run the famed Mummert aluminum heads to
see what they can do for us. To do this a completely different
short block would need to be built so it was back to the shop for
some machine work. Being we are still restricted to 305ci there
wouldn’t be any changes in bore and stroke but for the Mummert
heads we would need a different piston head to fit the combustion
chamber to get 14:1 compression. I called Ted Eaton of Eaton
Balancing to see what pistons to run. For what I wanted to do a
new piston was designed that would fit the head and give me the
compression I needed. It was a different shaped dome than had
ever been used before so it was going to be interesting to see
just how well it worked
Things got off to a slow start, we had wanted to have the new
engine in the truck for testing at El Mirage in May but there was
a hold up with the pistons so we went out and just beat up on the
engine from last year. There is still points to be had. Jake
made a few passes at 133+ mph, ran real good but nothing better
than the year before. Same story for June, no pistons so just
running the old stuff. Side note on June is that the trip home
was very interesting. The days were very HOT and we had already
been having some vapor loc trouble with the 460 in the our
support/tow rig ‘77 F-350 on the way out but on the return we had
noticed that one of the tires on the trailer was going flat so I
found the screw that was causing the problem, pulled it, inserted
a plug and aired it back up. Fixed right? Stopped for gas in
Mojave, went to start the truck and nothing. A little time
diagnosing and found the starter was bad. Called the NAPA up the
road and at 3pm Sunday afternoon they had one in stock and were
happy to deliver it. Changed it right there at the island of the
gas station and we were on the road again. Even with problems I
felt blessed that they were worked out so easily. Over the pass
at Tehachapi and descending down towards Bakersfield I glanced in
the mirror to see one of the trim rings on the trailer fly off.
We’re running late now and I’m just gonna let it go. Next I saw
the tire disintegrate. Not to bore you too much with the details,
we didn’t have a spare, it was now 5pm and all shops were closed
and all I could do was call a friend in Visalia to bring us
the spare off his boat trailer. We got home at 10 pm that night.
Ten hours to make a trip that normally takes four. I now have four
new radials and a spare on the trailer. Lesson learned hard.
Finally late in June I was talking with Ted and found out there
was a mix up at the piston manufacturer and they had lost my
order. They apologized and said they would get on it. Two weeks
later I had my long awaited pistons in had and was ready to get
the new engine together
Pretty straight forward 292 build except I decided to use a 239
crank that I had laying around just because. Since I was going to
have to grind the journals down to 1.888” anyway I figured I would
offset grind to get 3.3” stroke. The 239 has the oil holes on
opposite sides of the journals to feed each of the rods next to
each other, somewhere I had read that this was a little better way
to do it for high rpm so I gave it a try. As with the last engine
I “Indexed” the journals to get them exactly 90 degrees from each
other and squared the decks on the block to be equal
distance from the center line of the crank. When the short block
went together and I checked the pistons they came out exactly the
same as for even with the deck and TDC.
The July “Elmo” meet came up and although I had a short block I
had no heads so I went out as a spectator. Kind of fun to get to
watch for a change. When I got home I let Ted know of my
predicament and he agreed to loan me a set of his Mummert heads
and a set of roller rockers to get me by. Special thanks to Ted,
you all know how helpful he is but he goes above and beyond. A
real good guy to know! Heads on the engine now and it’s ready to
install two weeks before Speed Week. I know there are guys that
work right up to the last minute but this is really close for me.
All I can do is set it up the best I can, load Jake on the trailer
and head off to Bonneville.
After all the trouble I had with the F-350 (“Uncle Hulka” my big
tow) it was comforting to know that everything seemed sound on the
truck for the trip out, even the A/C was blasting 40* air across
the 100* Nevada high desert. We got to “the Bend in the road”
with no issues on Wednesday, had dinner and a beer then went to
bed. Tech on Thursday. When we got to “Tech” the fresh newly
apointed inspectors were ready to find problems and they went over
my truck with a fine tooth comb.
Although the truck had passed many times before they wanted to
measure the tubing on my cage and took issue with the safety film
on my windows. They say “if you don’t find something wrong, you
aren’t looking hard enough”. We passed and got our 2013 sticker.
Take a break on Friday to see what everyone else brought and
racing on Saturday!
Drivers meeting came around Saturday morning and everyone was
eager to hit the course. After the meeting and a drive down the
“Combo course” we went back to the pits, I suited up and we towed
“Jake” out to course three. Staging went fairly quick and we were
at the front of the line in no time. I had never ran this engine
under load so the plan was to take it easy on this first pass.
The engine had been warmed up while waiting in line so when the
starter gave me the signal I cranked it up and he cleared me for
Ease off the line in first, feel the power come on. This feels
pretty good I’m thinking to myself. Run it up to about 6k and
shift to second. This thing wants to GO! Easy. Run it up to 7k
and shift to third. Dang! we’re pulling hard! Run it up to 7k
again and now we’re in fourth. Still pulling strong I take it a
little easy but why I think to myself, didn’t I come here to run?
The peddle is nailed to the floor! Even in fourth this old “truck
motor” is pulling harder than I have ever felt it. At mile two the
ol’ Y was pushing the truck along at 137.698 mph, by the two and a
quarter it was going 145.583. Not a bad gain in a quarter mile at
that point in the game. When we tripped the lights at mile three
147.195 was recorded. That was 5.2 mph better than my best the
year before. That’s no small feat in LSR.
When we got the time slip I was giddy as a school girl. “Let’s try
it on the combo course, I know there’s more speed to be had
there”. That’s what I thought but after nine more passes I
couldn’t better my first. Sometimes tinkering and tuning edge you
up but it seems everything I tried just went the other way. Don’t
get me wrong, the truck ran good every time, well maybe not so
good the time two rockers backed off on me (oops) , but it was
always fun. It was also good to talk to the guy from Texas in his
red Chevy powered D/PP truck, we all have a good sense of
camaraderie out there but it was still nice to hear the all mighty
scrub couldn’t get over 135mph this year.
No record for me yet but Keith Cornel and Ken Schmidt of Rolling
Bones Hot Rods put up the Y-Block Challenge this year for the best
improved speed over the year before in a Y-Block powered vehicle.
Keith and I are the only two out there and I beat him by .2 (point
two) mph so I came home with a trophy after all. High light of
Speed week for me. Thanks guys! I love my Y-Block friends