The snow is getting ready to fly here in Kansas, so it's time to tear down Ol' Blue for her winter upgrades and repairs. We had a pretty good season and got a lot of bugs out of the car, but still have a number to work out. We finished the last race in Wichita with a new Personal Best of 5.01 along with a new best 60' of 1.20. The next pass would have for sure been a solid 4.90 but the track got cold quickly when the sun set and didn't hold as well. At least I know now that sub 1.20's are easily within reach quickly next season on a good track, and YES, I like the radials! We fought the new Mickey Pro 275 a few races till we figured out what the car wanted and things started to come around pretty good and we've yet to pull the tires off the ground! While we didn't win any races this year, we went some rounds and runnered up at one which was a nice improvement. Hopefully next year we'll do that a bit more often. This winter we're going to freshen the engine, maybe some other engine updates [evil grin] and try and get some more weight out so we can get closer to minimum weight. Should be an easier winter compared to all the work we did last year.
More slow but steady progress during September on ol' Blue. After removing in excess of 50 lbs of "stuff" out of the doors I needed a way to open them. So I fabbed up these door handles which are somewhat like those people use in fiberglass doors. Once again I was reminded how cheap those store bought "kits" from Bickle or Quartermax really are after spending quite a bit of time making these handles from scratch myself. I haven't weighed the new ones, but they are pretty light - they are made from 1/8" aluminum and about 6" long. The bracket that attaches to the upper panel of the door is steel, it might weigh a 1/2 lb at most. The release mechanism is just lightweight steel rod bent like the stock ones were on each end. No fasteners and super simple - they can't vibrate out. I've also been working on capping the sides of the firewall off where the air box was removed. I"m sure Kurt will be happy to know I've removed the part of the firewall he kept snagging his skin on. I used 20ga sheetmetal for the cap and removed the inner panels where the old foot vents were to save a couple lbs. Of course welding 20ga is always fun, but it worked out and didn't add too much weight. The fun part is the sealant that seems to leak out of seams in the firewall when you're welding. The cap should seal off the back side of the firewall - I didn't really like the idea of leaving it open on the ends where fire and/or smoke could make it's way around behind the fenders. Unseen is all the clean up work I did under the car. Dirt, oil, and welding required some clean up and repainting under the floorboard. It's looking a lot nicer under there now, definitely not show car quality, but should pass the 40' test.