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© 1999 Brian F. Schreurs
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Maryland International Raceway

Test Session: Saturday, November 13, 1999

We took the Firebird to Maryland International Raceway and met up with Josh and his Mustang. It was MIR's last test-n-tune for the year; we both had some testing to do. For us, we needed to verify the performance gains of the MS&R Airbox; Josh needed to find out whether there were any gains at all from his Tri-D H-pipe.

Normally MIR is a very nice track. They usually prep it and they usually keep the cars moving. They also actually perform a real tech inspection so the total beaters stay off the track. However, today we had some issues. Herewith, then, at MIR's expense, are some Things We Hate:

  • We hate pro cars. Pro street, pro stock, pro modified, whatever you want to call yoursorryselves, we don't like you. You spend thousands on your cars, line them up, and break them. Come on! Build your car right or don't drag it to the track. We're sick of waiting 30 minutes for track officials to clean your mess.
  • We hate double-standard tech. Every time a mosquito-killer went down the track, officials wasted 5 minutes inspecting the track for liquids. Okay. But if you're going to chase every oil- burning car down the quarter, how about not letting them on the track to begin with! Just require a goose-test in the tech booth. How hard is this?
  • We hate lax post-incident inspections. A Corvette spewed antifreeze down the track. Okay, fine. Accidents happen. Two hours later, same Corvette, same antifreeze, same mess. Um, hello, how about making the car pass another inspection before letting it back on the track?!
  • We really hate pro cars. You guys break too much. We paid the same entry fee you did. You're stealing my money by causing the track to be shut down while officials clean up your mess. And you don't even have the decency to apologize for it.
Josh sits in the Mustang, waiting for another chance at the staging lanes.
During the several hours of downtime we had while track officials cleaned up after various and sundry exploding pro cars, Josh came up with a really, really good idea.

Force the pro cars to use one lane, and the street cars the other. When the pros blow up their cars, start cleaning up their lane and do a quick safety inspection in the street car lane. If the street lane is clean, let the street cars continue to run. Make the pros suffer for their own follies and let the streeters get their money's worth. A simple concept, but very good.

Thanks to all the breakage, we got six runs in seven hours. Not the best use of our time. But, we did get our test results.

First, let's look at Josh's H-pipe. Josh has been having some trouble getting his car set up properly. In fact he has been slowing down every time he goes to the track all year. We're not sure what's wrong yet, but he's slid from 14.7 at 94 mph to 15.4 at 92 mph. While we know the stock H-pipe didn't cause this degradation, we were hoping the Tri-D pipe would at least partially reverse it.

The Firebird solemnly stands ready for action -- should it ever get another chance.
Josh's first three runs, with the fuel pressure set at 40 lbs, netted an average e.t. of 15.26 -- definitely better! Hooray! Then for his second set of three runs, he adjusted the fuel pressure to 41 lbs and saw his average drop to 15.22. Every little bit counts, right? But here's the weird part. His mph remains virtually unchanged, averaged at 93.0 and 92.7 mph respectively. So he saw a two-tenths gain from his runs earlier in the year but no improvement in trap speed.

Something is definitely not right. But thanks to the continuous supply of broken pro cars, we didn't have the time to figure it out.

Now for the Firebird. This was a retest of the MS&R Airbox in an effort to document proof of its performance benefits.

We made the first three runs with the MS&R box and K&N filter in place. We averaged 13.75 seconds at 104.1 mph. Yes, we know that's a little slow for an LS1 Firebird, but our clutch is fried so that's pretty good for us right now.

Then we installed the stock airbox with a fresh AC/Delco paper filter. This dropped our average to 14.18 at 101.0. Wow! Huge! Four tenths!

Well, wait a second. The 60-foot time also slowed down. The engine was much easier to bog with the stock airbox. We believe this is due to the engine's difficulty in building air velocity through those pitiful baffles. So, with a tenth lost at the 60-foot, that's about 0.15 at the traps. Which leaves us with about two-tenths left over attributable to the airbox. Still, that's very good.

Now our biggest problem is getting the car quick enough that it'll stay out of the 14s forever. We're hoping a new clutch will be worth at least another two-tenths. We'll keep you posted.

And MIR... we'll be back. But not to another $30 test-n-tune.