Building A Better Mouse Trap
By Ted Pelech
May 9, 2010
Photo courtesy of StreetLegalTV.com
Detroit, Michigan -- Even though our return to competitive drag racing wasn’t exactly ‘competitive’, we didn’t dwell on the discouraging. Instead, we focused on the positive and channeled that into getting this car ‘right’ and going in the ‘right’ direction. As we systematically disassembled and inspected the Pelech Bros. Racing Camaro at the end of the year, we looked for more opportunities to improve the car’s performance. Whether it was weight reduction, more durable materials, or better proven components, everything was scrutinized in the name of efficiency. After all, isn’t efficiency what drag racing is all about?
The NMCA’s minimum weight for our combination is a feathery 2450 pounds! As the requirements are spelled out in the NMCA rulebook, it’s nearly impossible to achieve that mark. But with the continued technological advancements of the racing industry, we’re encouraged that we can still present a capable race car for competition.
According to our transmission builder, John Hutchinson of Hutch’s Transmission Service, a tremendous number of advancements have taken place within the ten years since he first assembled our 2-speed Powerglide Transmission. And, a lot has changed in our race car during that time, as well. Hutch prescribed an array of lighter, stronger materials and series of high tech coatings & processes that reduced friction & weight, extended life, and just plain made our transmission more efficient.
Another item we’ve been intrigued by is the lightweight Lithium Ion batteries that the Knoxville, TN based company XS Power offers. The hefty battery & charging systems currently in our car consists of a 45 lb. battery, 12 pounds of heavy gauge battery cable, and an 11 pound alternator. The hi-tech Lr48 Lithium Battery XS Power manufactures weighs just 6 pounds! Further more, it’s what’s known as a ‘Total Loss’ battery, meaning it doesn’t need a alternator to maintain the voltage required for our electronic-laden race car. Voltage is maintained by a sophisticated system that continuously & rapidly re-adjusts as the battery is discharged.
I’ve heard a lot of static regarding this battery’s price tag. But when faced with getting an already impossibly light race car even lighter, XS Power’s battery is the perfect solution! Pound for pound, you can not beat the price! Deleting 60 pounds is a huge leap when the goal is a ‘race-ready’ weight of 2450 lbs and you can barely put a price on that!
We’re also faced with the fact that many racing sanctions mandate two parachutes for any car capable of going 200mph or faster. Our car was only equipped with one parachute and as we creep closer to that magic 200mph number, it’s apparent we should simply meet the requirement now as a preemptive measure. The parachute release system we utilize is a pretty slick & simple design that has been on our car since it was originally built.
With that, a call was in order to our old friend Larry Wolyniec of Competition Motorsports infamy. Along with being the original constructor of our car, you may recall Larry and his crew as being the builders of some early Super Street’s most dominant race cars. These cars terrorized the NMCA’s Super Street class and the Midwest in general during the mid to late ‘90s! Even though Competition Motorsports no longer builds race cars, Larry is still manufacturing & selling many trick bolt-on components through his www.CompetitionMotorsports.us website.
It was good to spend a few minutes talking with Larry and to hear he is his usual very busy self. Larry quickly sent us what we needed to modify our system for the second parachute!
The final item we’ve been addressing over the past few months is finishing the assembly of a spare engine and gathering a reserve of spare parts for the year. As you may recall in our last update, we we’re very pleased with the durability & reliability displayed by our engine over the course of our three late season outings to Milan, Norwalk, and Memphis.
Getting the engines to that point wasn’t easy. Our small cubic inch power plants require some very radical cam shaft grinds in order to make good horsepower and torque.
In order to keep the ensuing valve train mayhem in check, we’ve found that Michigan’s own PAC Racing Springs has the answer. We’ve run several of the other leading valve spring brands but none compare to the springs PAC offers! We ordered up enough just enough springs to cover both engines and our spare cylinder heads.
The weather has finally broke, all of the nearby drag strips are now open, and we’re working hard to get the last few details handled and our race car back on track. We’ll do a little testing to make sure we’ve got our act together and then head off to the next local or national event on the schedule!
Thanks for visiting!
Ted & Tim Pelech
Pelech Bros. Racing