F-Body Shootout
Paradise Garage

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

Physicists are working hard at breaking the Dirt Barrier, the theoretical limit to how slow something can move.

Maryland International Raceway, Budds Creek, Md.

Bracket Race: Saturday, July 1, 2000

There's something about a policeman about to pull you over. You see them, they see you, but the lights aren't on. And yet somehow you know. Even sitting at a stoplight, you know. It's like a cat trying to act normal as he plans to pounce on your feet as you pass. You see him sitting there, licking his paw, and you just know on a primordial level that he is not licking that paw because it is dirty. I sat at the light, about to turn onto Rt. 234 to Budds Creek, wondering what vile sin I had committed other than daring to drive through Maryland in a red musclecar with out-of-state tags.

Sure enough, with the next available safe location, the lights turned on. I pulled over. He drove past. What?! Yes -- it was not my day to pay the road use tax. He stopped the truck in front of me! Heaven only knows what he did, I surely didn't see anything, but no doubt the officer will think of something before approaching the guy's window.

I joined the New York F-body Enthusiasts and their guests at Maryland International Raceway for a club rental from 9 am to 1'ish. This was the Paradise Garage 1986 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z first pass on the track under my ownership, and from what I know of the car's history, probably its first pass ever.

R/T   60'    1/8     1/4    mph 
.760  2.314  10.661  16.956@77.42
I stage to be clobbered by -- well, anything.
This was a bit disappointing. I had hopes of high 15s, not high 16s. But I haven't been to the track since last November (except for a brief two-pass "exhibition" run in my wife's Bonneville on March 19) due to the sale of the Firebird, and I was rusty. So perhaps it was just me.

R/T   60'    1/8     1/4    mph  
.733  2.491  10.883  17.280@76.82
.750  2.369  10.751  16.979@78.39
.652  2.430  10.896  17.278@75.65
.854  2.346  10.816  17.080@78.41
.675  2.510  10.962  17.413@74.40
By this point I resigned to the fact that although I still sucked (witness pitiful R/Ts), the car was no rocket either. That last run was using a new launch technique (taching up to 1700 rpm instead of 1200), one which I did not bother to retest.

In fact I came to the realization that the car was basically slow. Real slow. Getting directions from a stuttering retard slow. Way beyond jeers of "hey next time try making a run without a trunk full of cannonballs." With the rest of the field turning 12- to14-second passes, I was into Pitiful Slow where people were afraid to make fun of me, instead offering consolation such as "well you know 1986 wasn't the best year and you can always get a 350 and at least you don't have car payments oh excuse me I have to go click off another 12.7 now." So I decided to make fun of myself and wrote "World's Slowest F-Body" on the hatch glass.

Twins, separated at birth? Almost. Both are 1986 IROC-Zs; the one on the left has a TBI 305 instead of my TPI 305.

This proved premature, as later in the day I met a 2nd-gen Camaro running mid-17s. So mine is only the second slowest.

R/T   60'    1/8     1/4    mph  
.667  2.436  10.905  17.182@78.10
.832  2.342  10.713  17.014@77.31
.789  2.359  10.740  17.000@78.62
.788  2.325  10.642  16.868@78.83
.744  2.401  10.808  17.180@75.96
.646  2.389  10.764  17.014@78.53
These last four runs were from my only fair fight in the day, running against a 2.8L V6 Fiero. I actually won sometimes.

I studied a problem which began as an irritation but which was quickly getting worse. Note that a few runs are two or three tenths faster than the average. I was having an odd trans problem where it refused to shift from 2nd to 3rd at full throttle. It would just keep on taching up past 5,000. I chickened out at 5,500, not interested to see just how far it would go. At first it seemed random and beyond my control. But this did not prove to be entirely the case.

R/T   60'    1/8     1/4    mph  
.615  2.390  10.696  17.081@74.66
.397  2.353  10.658  16.888@78.74
.699  2.344  10.683  16.831@79.50
.611  2.345  10.661  16.859@79.29
The third of the above proved to be my best for the day. I had learned a trick: when the engine hit 5,000 rpm, I released the gas and then immediately hammered it again. This forced an upshift, and my times improved a bit.

It's hard going from a mid-13-second car to a high-16-second car. Used to be that a test-n-tune could be fun just because, heck, it's fun accelerating that hard and going 105 mph. 16.8 just doesn't feel too fast and 79 mph, well, the car's seen higher speeds taking me to work than it did at MIR today. But I still have a chance to win at bracket races, so I'll keep with the competitive events and try to get my skills honed.

R/T   60'    1/8     1/4    mph  
.841  2.464  10.855  17.038@79.41
I knew I didn't have a chance in hell of even qualifying for the Fast Four (above) but I thought it a bit rude to announce the benchmark before I'd even finished my run.

R/T   60     1/8     1/4    mph    dial
.513  2.476  10.844  17.141@77.81  16.90
Round one of the bracket race, I wasn't really all that close to my dial-in but fortunately the Firehawk I raced was even worse.

R/T   60     1/8     1/4    mph    dial
.766  2.409  10.774  17.076@77.55  16.90
I raced a friend of mine in the second round who knew I was having trouble with the trans. He jokingly said he hoped it got worse. If only he jokingly hoped for a winning lotto ticket instead. Now, my throttle off/on trick didn't always work. Sometimes it still wouldn't shift. My day was done anyway, coz he waxed me pretty well.

Or was it? I stuck around the track to watch Josh race his Mustang in the ET Series.