Big O Tires Nationals
Las Vegas, October 25-28
Thursday – Bill arrived at the Big O Tries Nationals in Las Vegas a day early to test our a brand-new car and help out with adjustments as Chief Anthony Dicero and crew worked diligently to prepare it for Friday’s qualifying runs. Spencer Massey visited the pit and sat in the car. As he got the feel of it, he suggested removing the heel cup from the accelerator pedal which proved to be a much better fit when Bill got back in the driver’s seat. Small details go a long way when you’re assembling a new race car. Normally, the process takes three months. But in this case, Chief Dicero was working nonstop to get it done in two weeks!
Friday – The car passed muster on Friday morning with the race tech, so driver and crew warmed up the engine and tested forward and reverse in the pit. Then it was performance time. Not surprisingly, the burnout proved weak, so Dicero tweaked the throttle stop. After a few adjustments, the car launched its first full pull and stuck a nice run at 5.467 ET, 250.55 mph. But it dropped a hole 200 feet before the finish line. Bill said that when the cylinder went out, the car nosed over and he could feel the car slow down. Still, it was enough to put Bill and crew in 6th place out of 22. That would be all she wrote for the day, as delays caused the second qualifying run to be postponed until Saturday.
Saturday – The second qualifying run was set for 1pm. But some changes needed to be made first. A shift in density altitude (from 2,700 feet in the first round 4,600 feet in the second) prompted Anthony to take some fuel away and tweak the timing at the last 200 feet to keep the engine from putting out a cylinder. But the tweak didn’t work exactly as planned – the fuel reduction came a little too late, and the engine dropped two holes. It brought the tem down to 10th out of 22, but it was still a solid run at 5.69 seconds and 243 mph.
But the final qualifying run brought new challenges. The run was delayed until Friday evening, and the cooler conditions presented a wild card that the crew would have to develop a strategy. In cooler temperatures, cars can run faster but the challenge was how to improve the speed without smoking the tires. Bill launched the car and it puffed the tires but he drove through it without smoking. However, at about 1.3 seconds into it, the tires started to shake so Bill stepped off the gas to save parts for the Vegas regionals the upcoming weekend. The team was pumped with a 5.46 run. But Chief Anthony knows the car has more performance to offer. The proof will come this weekend, when it’s back to Vegas for the regionals.