News & Events
STA Parts Falcon - Squig, Taupo NZDRA Nationals Update
The NZDRA Nationals, 3rd and 4th March 2012
Squig reports....The weather forecast wasn’t looking that great, what with as they call it “A Weather Bomb” coming in for the whole North Island on Friday evening and leaving on Sunday evening. But as I had thrashed hard for the past two weeks to get everything ready I wasn’t about to stay home. We headed down on late Friday afternoon as I wasn’t keen on towing the trailer in gale force winds, the weather seemed pretty good and it didn’t really start to rain until we got to Taupo, so it was a pretty good trip especially with the new radiator keeping the truck cool on the hills. First we went to the track and dropped off the trailer, they had pre-entry open so I got that out of the way and then spent some time chatting with racers.”
Saturday morning... “Well we had no rain but it was bloody windy. We decided to head to the track late morning any way so we could find out what the plan was, spent a few hours gas bagging with racers and crews then as expected the day was canned and we were all told to be at the track early and ready as it would now be a one day event.”
Sunday “We woke to blue skies and not a breath of wind, there is a god...Got to the track a bit before 8am and began to set up, knowing that the track would be cool and it would be an early first run I decide to back down the clutch a bit. However due to the lack of air what with the altitude of the track we decided to speed up the blower by putting on a smaller top pulley, it was 20% now it would be 30%. Man did that liven it up!!
At about 10am we got the call to line up ready for the first qualifier. Watching and hearing the cars before me I could tell that the traction was limited as most were on and off the gas trying to get down the track, this can give you quite an uneasy feeling knowing it’s your turn soon and that you either have bucket loads more power, suspension to contend with and a shorter wheel base or all of the above than the cars preceeding you...and if they’re having trouble???
Saw the first pair of Top Doorslammers go down the track on/off the gas and all over the place to only run high 7’s or low 8’s, now it’s my turn, the Ferrari replica is in the other lane. We fire up I do a big skid to get as much hot sticky rubber on the greasy track, back up and then go into stage, I see that the Ferrari is already in with both bulbs lit but I’m not going to be rushed and just go about my normal routine. I bump in, one foot hard on the clutch and other on the accelerator while I push hard on the staging brake, where most others have to concentrate to hold their revs constant at about 5,000-6,000 RPM all I need do is mash the throttle and as the clutch is engaged this brings in the staging rev to a preset point.The tree flashes and I react instantly leaving the car in the other lane still sitting there, the STA Parts Falcon goes into violent tyre shake as the slicks struggle to grab whatever traction there is, I pull 2nd gear and the car flicks a little sideways a quick pedal (back off on the accelerator and back on again) and it straightens up. Next I pull 3rd then 4th, at this stage the car is weaving the rear as it slides down towards 3/4 track, it’s then that I realize that my foot’s not hard up it and I’m only at about 3/4 throttle, so I give it the rest and zip over the finish line, pull the chutes which hit hard instantly....thanks poppa George and Zachary!! The crew weren’t far behind in the tow vehicle and were all smiles while telling me that I just ran a 7.3 at 187MPH, I said no! you must of heard wrong and explained how the run went and that it wasn’t under full throttle, it only felt like a high 7. But sure enough we got the time sheet and there it was in black and white...we were #1 qualifier!
When we got to the pits we did the normal routine of checking the valve train, down loading the data., checking checking and more checking of various components especially after such violent tyre shake. Bobby Owens was there as a spectator (not racing unfortunately), he said he couldn’t believe that it was a 7.30 either, as the car shook so hard off the line and left big ugly hopping tyre marks for about 60 feet then weaved it’s way down track, he was quite impressed that I didn’t lift (this is a big accolade coming from one of the best drivers in the country...in my book). I then re-zeroed the clutch and took a little more weight out. In our checks we discovered that the breathers on the rocker covers were pukeing oil into the breather lines (about 1 1/2 litres) which in turn was leaking into the sills (as this is where they pass through). This was quite a concern due to the fact this happens right at top end when I button off and this oil could easily get under the rear tyres and cause mayhem. We drained and cleaned up everything then sealed up the vent hose best we could.
As we were the Top Qualifier, we decided to sit out the next round of qualifying what with the breather issue and due to the fact that 2 cars out of the 5 car field had broke (many stayed away because of the weather) and out of the remaining 3 cars we were confident of keeping the #1 spot...which we did! This then gave us a bye run in the 1st round which enabled me to do an easy burnout, launch hard to test the clutch for the next round and click off early and coast to the finish line. In the final we met up with Russel Lowe in his angry Camaro, he had lane choice due to his stella 7.4 previous run against our early shut off run, but he was still happy to flip a coin for lane choice even though he couldn’t see the tree in the left lane (great sportsman). I thought nothing of him not being able to see the tree as I had done exstensive work on my car in the off season moving my seat over to the right as I had that trouble at Fram. All sorted as I have no problem at Fram anymore... not so at Taupo, obviously the tree positioning is not standard (something that I will be looking into). I came to the line and suddenly realized I couldn’t see the staging beams and could only barely see the top bulb. I bumped in blind obviously to deep and what with my reactions lately and the car leaping out the gate as it does now ......I RED LIT......by only a few thousandths of a second. Not that I knew as I was gone and heading down track to a personal best of 7.15 @ 191 MPH...YEEHAAA!!! And that’s at Taupo at altitude, the reading was 2,500 feet above sea level and on a slick track. What can we do at Fram in a few weeks on a sticky track and at sea level.....A SIX???
I could have waited for him to move first as that’s what I did back when I couldn’t see Frams tree but then that time I lost the race due to being slower off the line despite running faster and that hurts more.
But congratulations to Russel and his crew, awesome effort.
One of my main crew members (Titch) hasn’t managed to make the last few meetings (he wants to do something for himself for a change....go figure) I do miss him but he’s dirt track racing and I wish him the very best. So I now am very fortunate to have my boys Zachary (14) and Hunter (11) step up and lend a hand.......you guys did awesome, it makes racing that much more enjoyable when your family is involved and you’re not disappearing for the weekend and leaving the family behind. Hopefully Devin my eldest son will be able help out at the Fram Nationals in a few weeks (he was playing at a gig this week end and couldn’t make it).
All in all a good weekend a Personal Best, #1 Quallifier and with a Ford against a sea of Chevs! The comments on the STA Parts Falcons new look was great.......... and even better it’s still in one piece."
NEXT EVENT: Fram Nationals - 16th-18th March 2012
STA Parts Falcon - Squig, First Run at Meremere
STA Parts Ford Falcon Drag Car 2012
A total rebuild… with modifications and improvements taking off a massive 60kgs in weight!
First run of the season at Meremere 11th February 2012.
Squig reports.... “ all went well on Saturday night and I managed to keep it off the wall and the STA Parts Falcon is still all shiny and new. We had a few issues with the car shaking violently on the launch and throwing itself hard left towards the centre line, but I had anticipated that this may happen so I did a couple of solo passes in the right lane so as to give me a little room for error. On the 3rd pass I removed the new wheelie bar that I had recently made and put back on the old one (that's one experiment that I'll put down to experience). It launched straight and hard, weaved a bit due to the track conditions then at about 2/3 track I popped the chutes..... man do they work well!! We called it quits after the 3 runs as we had a few teething problems that we want to sort, like the driver’s door popping open on every run due to the car twisting and shaking and not all the data system working properly and to basically go over the whole thing and check all is well! I must be getting wiser as I get older (there has to be some bonus) as only a few years ago I would have tried to do another run with drastic consequences…like the door coming off and being destroyed. So it was a great debut....with heaps of interest in the car, many people were blown away with the STA Parts Falcon's new look and standard of finish.”