Sunday Test-n-Tune
Paradise Garage

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© 2000 Brian F. Schreurs
Even we have a disclaimer.

Yeah, we thought the name of a world speed record salt flat was a good pick for a family sedan.

75&80 Drag-A-Way, Monrovia, Md.

Test Session: Sunday, March 19, 2000

Itching to see whether the winter blues had finally left his Mustang, Josh conned us into joining him for a day of testing and tuning at 75&80 Dragway. Since the Paradise Garage Firebird is being retired from racing, we instead slapped some numbers on the Paradise Garage Bonneville and headed out!

The Bonneville stages, somewhere behind the mess of concrete and electronics.
Of course, the real problem is that the Mustang isn't suffering from winter blues. It's suffering from summer, fall, and winter blues, the cause of which remains unknown.

Josh arrived first and got his runs in. He complained bitterly of traction problems, a situation the track blamed on the temperatures. It was, in fact, a bit nippy. While this makes engines run stronger, it also makes tires not stick so well. Everything's a tradeoff.

Josh was further discouraged by being assigned to Lane 4, what is supposed to be a grudge match lane. We don't know how that came to pass, but what we do know is that he had the misfortune of continually lining up against Mark Wisniewski's green 12-second Firebird Formula.

Whatever has been ailing the Mustang is still broken. Josh's timeslips were 15.45@93, 15.38@91, 15.58@93, and 15.48@92. These match up nearly perfectly to his last several visits to 75&80, generally regarded as a slower track. Compare to his runs a year ago, 14.5 to 14.7, and consider we've added a cold air intake and an aftermarket H-pipe. Something goofy is going on here.

Yeeha, down the track we go, halfway to a blistering 16-and-a-half seconds.
Eventually we showed up in our 1993 Pontiac Bonneville. It has a 3.8L V6 and a four-speed automatic. It's front-wheel-drive. We felt a little funny lining this car up, but hey... if it has wheels, it's a racecar!

When our turn came, we avoided the waterbox and simply staged. At the beams we held the brake and brought the engine rpm to about 1200 or so. With the green we took off running! Well, walking very fast. Perhaps jogging. It seemed much slower at the time but we managed a reasonably respectable 16.44@82. Better than we expected, actually.

We decided to make one more pass just to make sure the first was not a fluke. This time we spun a little off the line (yep, you read that right -- we were surprised too) which cost us. Our 60-foot
dropped by .03 and our quarter slipped to 16.50@82.

With more favorable conditions, we figure we could click off 16.4s all day. But then, is that worth spending a day doing? We doubt it.

It's time to focus our energies on making the Mustang as fast as possible. And the first step to that is to find out where our eight tenths went. We want them back.