Saturday, May 27, 2017

Kody Swanson grabs the Carb Night gold

Kody Swanson led all 100 laps of the USAC (United States Auto Club) Silver Crown series presented by Traxxas "Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway. With the win, his 16th in Silver Crown competition, Kody tied the late David Steele for third all-time in Silver Crown history. The race promotion by Bob Sargent's Track Enterprises was excellent as always with a good fan turnout on a night with threatening weather. The race was capped by a thrilling green-white-checkered finish and celebrated by fireworks courtesy of Mother Nature.

We present photographs of the racers  - 

Kody Swanson started up front as the fast qualifier at 21.004 seconds 
and was never headed

Bobby Santos III made his pass for second place on lap 99
but couldn't catch Kody Swanson

Younger brother Tanner Swanson started second with a lap of 21.150 seconds 
and ran in  second place for 99 laps but had to settle for third place. 

Chris Windom turned in solid fourth place run and finished on the lead lap

Aaron Pierce started ninth and moved up to finish fifth one lap down 

David Byrne finished sixth 

Kevin Studley won the KSE Hard Charger Award as he started 15th finished seventh 

AJ Russell overcame a crash in time trials to finish eighth

The always friendly Jerry Coons Junior finished ninth in the Gene Nolen entry 

USAC's winningest female driver Toni Breidinger 
continues to improve in Silver Crown and finished eleventh

Troy Thompson from Brooksville Florida finished 13th 
to win the Wilwood Brakes 13th place award

Justin Grant ran sixth until he crashed on lap 190

Davey Hamilton Junior lost 30 laps 
due to fuel delivery issues but the RPM 
crew fixed the car and he returned 
late in the race to run with the leaders

Good guy Joe Liquori finished 17th

 Car owner Gene Nolen checks over Joe Axsom's msachine

JC Bland's entry brought back memories of 
the livery of  the 1950's Bowes Seal Fast Specials 

Cody Gerhardt only completed four laps

Kody Swanson claimed the big $8000 check

Track Enterprises, USAC and the Indiana State Fairgrounds officials are discussing a make-up date for the 63rd running of the Hoosier Hundred. The Hulman Classic for the Amsoil USAC National Sprint cars  at the Terre Haute Action Track will be run on Friday June 23 2107.  The next USAC Silver Crown race is the "Horn-Schindler Memorial" at Williams Grove Speedway on June 16 2017 

All photos by the author
Statistics provided by Richie Murray USAC

Friday, May 26, 2017

Eight Indianapolis racing engines 
 four winnersfour non-winners
UPDATED 5-27-17

While visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum, the author photographed eight racing engines on display. Four were winning designs while the other four designs never won the '500.' 

Four successful 4-cylinder inline Miller designs

 183-cubic inch Miller Marine

220-cubic inch Miller

 Supercharged 91-cubic inch Miller

Turbocharged 161-cubic inch Drake Offenhauser

Four less-than successful V-style engine designs 

1989-1991 Alfa-Romeo Indy V-8 
never scored a pole position, race win, or even a podium finish

1987 to 1990 Porsche Indy V-8 one pole position 
and a best finish of second at Michigan International Speedway 

1984- 1994 Buick stock block turbocharged V-6 
Won the 1985 Indy 500 pole position but was always dogged with reliability issues

In 1995 and 1996 the Buick engine was known as the Menard V-6
an example is on display at the Dallara showroom

1987-1992 Judd V-8 developed for Honda, it was reliable but lacked power
One race win at Pocono in 1988

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Scenes from Willie Davis' memorial service

Famed racing mechanic Willie Davis passed away on April 16 2017, and his sister and daughters hosted a memorial service May 24th at the Brickyard Crossing. The author attended and exchanged some great stories about Willie at the service. The service also featured a large display of mementos and photographs from Willie's life and one table contained a collection Willie's trophies and plaques that documented his many accomplishments.

One table documented Willie's accomplishments with 
the City of Burbank streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats 

 All photographs by the author 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chad Nichols claims BCRA Ukiah victory

The midget racers of the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) continued their 78th year of providing racing excitement throughout the state of California with a stop at Ukiah Speedway located on the grounds of the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds along together with a contingent of BCRA vintage midgets.

In time trials Chad Nichols set a torrid pace of 12.496 seconds in the orange Shanoian Esslinger to lead all qualifiers, trailed by David Goodwill at 12.666 seconds for second fastest, and Maria Cofer in the Arata Racing #88 third at 12.913 seconds. Floyd Alvis is his #1 Buick powered machine was the fourth fastest as JR Williams Fontana-powered #74 rounded out the top five qualifiers.

The #88 of Trophy Dash winner Maria Cofer 

Maria Cofer jumped into the lead at the drop of the green flag for the trophy dash and led all four laps to claim a popular victory while Floyd Alvis repelled David Goodwill’s repeated passing attempts to claim second place, while Chad Nichols came home in fourth place.

Ms. Cofer again grabbed the point at the start of the heat race and led the first three circuits until the Arata #88 midget pushed high out of the groove in turn two which allowed Nichols and Goodwill to slip past her. At the drop of the checkered flag after six fast laps, Nichols claimed the win over Goodwill, Cofer, Alvis and Williams.

The BCRA drivers met the fans at Ukiah
Form top to bottom Chad Nichols, David Goodwill and Maria Cofer 

During the track intermission before the feature race, many fans took advantage of the opportunity to meet and get the autographs of BCRA drivers Chad Nichols David Goodwill and Maria Cofer. In the BCRA vintage feature, Norm Gray’s car refused to fire and Bob Pena claimed the trophy over Doug Shanoian.

Once again, Ms. Cofer took the point at the start and held off repeated attempts by second-place runner Goodwill to pass her using the upper groove of the slightly banked paved ¼-mile track. These efforts nearly resulted in disaster on lap 5 as Goodwill slid high out of the “groove” in turn one and onto the dirty part of the racing surface. As Goodwill masterfully fought for control through turn two, Nichols slipped past and led duo stretched out a 10-car advantage over Goodwill’s black #3g machine.

The machine of winner Chad Nichols 

On lap 13, leader Cofer encountered lap traffic as she entered turn three and she tried to pass the slower cars of Alvis and Williams on the high side of the race track, but she lost momentum out of the “groove.” Chad Nichols pounced and made a nifty set of moves to pass Cofer and then clear the lapped traffic. Over the final 11 laps, Nichols stretched his lead to more than five car lengths at the checkered flag over Cofer, with a fast-closing Goodwill in third, and Alvis fourth as JR Williams failed to finish.

The BCRA dirt midgets return to action in an action-packed back-to-back weekend of races which begins Friday June 9 at scenic Ocean Speedway and concludes the next day with BCRA’s first visit of the season to Petaluma Speedway.   

all photos by the author

Sunday, May 21, 2017

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 convertible coupe 

Oldsmobile sold its ‘88’ series from 1949 through 1999, and for 24 years the 88 was Oldsmobile’s top-selling marque. The ‘88’ was redesigned for the third time in 1957 based on the 1956 Motorama Oldsmobile two-passenger show car with stylized rocket emblems  mounted on the fenders above the headlights and taillights reminiscent of jet engine exhausts. 

There were three trim levels the basic model was known as the ‘Golden Rocket 88,’ with the next step up the ‘Dynamic 88,’ and the highest trim level dubbed the ‘Super 88.’  Of the near 385,000 Oldsmobiles built during the 1957 model year, 132,000 were 'Super 88' models and just 7,128 were Super 88 Convertibles like this mildly customized version owned by Win and Edda Moore seen at the Moraga Community Faire car show held May 13 at the Rheem Valley Shopping Center. 

Under the hood, the Oldsmobile ‘Rocket V8’ engine in the ‘88’ series sported 371 cubic inches of displacement and to celebrate Oldsmobile’s 50th anniversary all engine blocks were painted gold.  The base level 'Golden Dynamic 88' engine produced 277 horsepower, but the engine in the 'Super 88' series featured a four-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carburetor and produced 300 horsepower. 

The high-performance 'J-2' option added three two-barrel carburetors and high performance camshaft  which increased output to 310 horsepower with 400 ft/lbs of torque.

The convertible coupe rode on 122-1/2 inch wheelbase chassis with front coil springs and rear leaf springs and a curb weight of 4285 pounds.  A 1957 Oldsmobile Special 88 could accelerate from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in just over 9 seconds, and when equipped with the J-2 option knocked a second off that time.  

In the interior for 1957, Oldsmobile added a "safety" deep-recessed steering wheel. This car is equipped with the Hydramatic transmission instead of the three-speed column shifted manual transmission. 

All photographs by the author