The Big Red Truck from Texas

Diary from the World Finals...
Sunday -- Oct 20th
The Chock Full O' Nuts gang picked up the truck at the Salt Flats this morning and started their big trip back home.  They will probably get here sometime late Monday afternoon.

There is sad news today: Nolan White passed away during the night.  The landspeed racers will miss him so much and our prayers go to his family and crew.

Saturday-- Oct 19
Friday afternoon Jim did attempt to back up his 194.439 run but the engine was too fat and wouldn't clear so he turned out early.  They decided not to try to beat their new record but give Bill a shot at the wheel.

Saturday morning Bill took the truck for a license run and this time it was too rich and wouldn't clear, so he pulled out early. They discovered the number five plug wire had come from connected.  Then they took the truck to inspection for the displacement check on the engine.  You must have this test before your record is "official" to make sure your engine is within your Class guidelines.  Well, the inspector had the wrong piston in his engine pumping tool and was only showing 360 ci.  They were all agonizing about pulling the heads - which means pulling the entire engine, but then the Inspector caught the problem and they were right on 460+.

They made 3 runs after the final record run.  During the displacement test they realized they broke a rocker arm also!  It suddenly hit them how horrible it would have been if they had demolished the engine on these 3 runs and not passed the displacement test.  They had opted for having the engine "sealed" after the record run instead of checked.  They won't do that again.  Whew.....

Friday -- Oct 18th afternoon
After the tire change and a fuel change, the Big Red Truck managed to go 194.439 mph.  So now they are in Impound again waiting to attempt a record run in the morning.  They did not change the gear ratio, but Jim managed to get into 5th gear this time and said it sounded good.

Friday -- Oct 18th morning -- Set a new record a 193.402 mph
The cars started lining up at 8:00am in 40 degree weather. Chock Full O' Nuts made a morning run of 192.870 mph.  That averaged with yesterday's 193.934 mph puts them in the record book for Production Pickup Class A at 193.402 mph.  This beats the 172.695 mph record they set in this class in 2001.

Now it's back to the pits where they will change the tires  (finally got permission to use the Pirelli 26" that they ran in August).  That changed with gear ratio will be the main changes.  Jim still wasn't able to run in 5th gear on all 3 runs.  They may be able to make another run later in the day to see if they can go any faster with the changes.

Last night Jim said they decided to extend the World Finals into Sunday since there were so many entries.

Thursday -- Oct 17th -- Made a run at 193.934 mph!!

4:00 pm Utah time -- Just made a call to Jim's cell phone and Bernie picked up the call.  He was on his way to pick up Jim who 2 mins before my call ran a 193 mph.  So... they are off to IMPOUND since they beat their old record by 20 mph. Bernie said, "Well, we wanted to go faster, but we'll take it."  They'll run at 8:00 am tomorrow.

Earlier today I heard from Jim (around 2:00 pm Utah time).   The Chock Full O' Nuts gang switched to spark plugs with no ground straps -- centerfire plugs.  They are hoping this will solve the spark plug problem.

They were in line and had been a long time.  Everyone was collecting themselves after Nolan White (#131) went 424 mph and then rolled -- the chute was shredded. The end of the course was closed and an ambulance took Nolan White to the hospital. 

Wednesday -- Oct 16th -- Running the A Class Engine

The Tuesday inspection raised some tire issues. Everything else was fine, but the inspector didn't like the tires. He didn't like the valve stems and the fact they have tubes. The rule book requires tubes.  So, they changed axles and put the front tires on the back.  They put tiny 22" Firestone Bonneville tires on the front (these tires were run on LeVack and Brown's Studebaker  years ago).

A run was finally made late in the afternoon.  They only went 168 mph (old record was 172+).  One spark plug was closed.  Several spark plugs hit the pistons, but didn't seem to damage them.

Jim said the run started off squirrelly like he thought it would with those small tires, but after the top of the 3rd, it went straight as an arrow.  Jim said the Tach was right on with the speed of the truck, but the motor was popping and couldn't pull at the top end.  They might need to change the gear ratio back to 3.0 (it was 2.74).

Daily Photos
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Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Class A Engine