For months, our goal had been to complete BlownZ in time to debut it at the NMCA West Coast Shootout in Bakersfield. This was the first NMCA race of the year. We didn’t make it. We reset our sight on the PSCA Fontana race, and Fontana got shut down. Just our luck. We quickly eyeballed Pomona – the legendary Pomona Raceway that hadn’t seen a fast street car in over 10 years – and although we only had a couple of test hits on the car to this point, we were off to smog city. Driver James Lawrence, Crew Chief Sean Goude, and Crew Member Dean Jigamian finished the last minute thrash and loaded up the trailer.
We arrived at the Auto Club Raceway still in test mode, but with every intention of making a showing, and we’d like to think we did just that. We competed in the NMCA West 275 class, which features mid 7 second runs, and some very competitive racers including the Young Brothers (Jeff and Kevin). The Young’s consistently run in the 7.50s and 7.60s with ProCharger F2 small block Chevys.
Our goal for the weekend was to get some seat time in the car and learn the chassis and setup, and work on the tuneup. High 8s would be fine, we weren’t trying to really win – but we wanted that sweet nectar called progress. During Friday’s first test and tune session, we were going to start out with a 1/8 mile hit to get a baseline. Buckled into the car, it was hot, hot, hot – almost 100 degrees.
We left our setup the same from Barona, a very conservative timing and air fuel ratio, and almost 5 degrees of timing pulled out at launch. After a spirited burnout, we pulled to the line and put BlownZ on the trans brake. We dialed in 3,800 rpm for the launch, and the ProCharger F1R was just starting to get work done with 6 psi when we let go off the button. A 1.38 60-foot was promising, but the car began to the pull to the right soon after launch. Our driver pedaled the car at 300′ before getting back into it, and lifted right around 500′ well before the 1/8 mile mark. We carded a 5.90 at 121 mph in the 1/8, and a 9.57 at only 117 mph in the quarter mile.
For the first round of qualifying, we made some tweaks, but ran into a similar challenge. The car drifted right. We lifted and ran 9.56. BlownZ was practically a bracket car, but not for the right reasons. For a long time, we have been battling an issue with fouled spark plugs. They reared their head again in the second round of qualifying, and the car shut off on the line. We were unable to test our sway bar adjustments. Without a third round of qualifying, that left us with one-shot, one-kill for the first round of eliminations. Good thing we were lining up with the class champion.
BlownZ qualified No. 4 in the five-car field at 5.86 at 117 mph, and although we dropped out first round match with eventual 275 Drag Radial winner Kevin Young, we did card a much-improved 5.62 at 128 mph, with a 1.36 short time and our first full 1/8-mile pass with the car. This run would equate to a 8.70 at around a buck-sixty in the quarter. We’re getting there. This was still on a very conservative setup – think less than 18 degrees of timing and 10.8:1 air/fuel ratio. We’re going to work on fixing a few things, and will get BlownZ back to the track soon in pursuit of the 7-second zone soon.
Pomona TnT Pass
Pomona Qualifying Run #1