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

Smack me. I'm a moron.

Maryland International Raceway, Budds Creek, Md.

Bracket Race: Saturday, July 1, 2000

Rather than party with NYFE and the F-body gang after the F-Body Shootout, I stuck around Maryland International Raceway for the ET Series. Josh came down to photograph me at the NYFE event, even though he couldn't run (since he's a Mustang driver). He wanted to make some passes during the ET Series practice session, so it only seemed proper for me to stay and photograph him in return.

Josh gets ready to rip off one of his new ETs.
The big bogey for Josh was the loss of nearly a full second from his best run in April 1999. He finally gave up and took his 1995 Mustang GT to Horsepower By Hermann, where they cranked up his fuel pressure from 38 psi to 50 psi. Then they told him to raise it even more at the track. So he did.

Josh started at 50 and was instantly pleased -- 15.21@92.39 and 15.30@93.00. That was already faster than he'd gone in a mighty long time!

So he cranked it up to 52. He was rewarded with a 15.07@93.76.

Impatient, he notched it up to 54 psi. His runs scattered a little, showing 14.98@94.18, 15.03@93.56, and 14.89@94.32.

Finally, he adjusted up to 58 psi. For this his runs changed little: 15.05@94.19, 15.08@94.19, and 14.89@94.69. Since his old runs of 14.5 were in the spring, at it was in the mid-80s at MIR today, we both think he is probably running close to his original times by now.

Of course, we don't want his original times anymore. We want better. After all, that Tri-D H-pipe ought to be worth something!

So why were his times all similar from 52 to 58 psi? Our theory is that even at 50 psi the engine was running lean at upper rpm -- and a close analysis of the timeslips show that most of the gain from the adjusted fuel pressure comes in at the top end. But once that minimum fuel pressure is reached, adding even more doesn't help anything, as the fuel injectors trim back to accommodate the excess pressure. We realize we need more data points to back this up, and we're looking at track dates to do just that.

As the day wore on it became apparent that hardly anyone was running in the Street Trophy class. In fact there were five cars counting Josh, and he had to leave before eliminations. I got itchy... and couldn't resist a little scratch. I signed up.

R/T   60     1/8     1/4    mph 
.506  2.393  10.792  17.165@73.05
.647  2.405  10.865  17.236@75.65
.629  2.427  10.886  17.280@72.20
By now the transmission on my 1986 Camaro IROC-Z simply was not engaging third gear for any reason. This was frustrating going into eliminations, but I figured the worst damage was already done so there was no reason to stop now. I adjusted my dial-in to reflect my new, even slower times, and decided to just hold it in second gear at 5,500 across the line, hope everything holds together and not even try for third gear.

R/T   60     1/8     1/4    mph    dial
.540  2.382  10.831  17.072@74.65  17.15
The IROC lines up for another practice round.
I take full responsibility for breaking out, I can't make any BS claims about the car strangely behaving differently during my first elimination run. As I neared the finish I took a look in my rearview mirror and noticed my (faster) competition was not doing as good a job at running me down as I might expect. When this happens, your brain will do one of two things:

a) dayum, I wonder why he's not catching up to me.

b) %$#@!!!! BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!!!!!

I of course chose the Short Bus answer, A. By the time some smarter brain cell was synapsing "hey maybe you oughta slow--" it was too late, I'd already crossed the line. It was a total lack of mental discipline that lost me that race, plain and simple. This is what happens when you take too much time off from racing, and I sincerely hope I won't have to do it again.

Today was a real reminder that to be good at any sport, including bracket racing, one can't just jump in and out as one pleases. Practice practice practice. On the wife's Bonneville if necessary. I have a 1/8-mile course very close to my house so I might start visiting there just to get more reaction time and launch practice. I won't be practicing at test-n-tunes though. With the IROC's anemic 16-second passes, the thrill of bracket racing is purely in the competition, not the speed. With few exceptions, you won't find me anyplace they're not passing stuff out at the end.

On the way home, the transmission behaved normally. Turns out I didn't blow third gear after all. It's still there, just not at WOT. I'm really hoping something's just out of adjustment.