Category Archives: Driver Blogs

Two Weeks In a Row!

At the end of my last writings I had said that I was going to go out at do a little testing on Thursday at PRP…I should have stayed home! What is great for race tracks is huge turnouts on test and tune nights. What is bad for someone like me who wants to actually test is, you got it huge turn outs. But it was good for the track to get such a great car count and I did end up getting in three passes for the night and was able to make a little ground on my set up. With getting those three runs in I was able to determine that the car was still a little on the rich side because it was wanting to pick up a little every pass. So after work on Friday I high tailed it to Norwalk Ohio to try to make a couple test passes at SMP which always has the same problem that PRP had the night before, a ton of cars. I ended up getting there around eight pm pulled the car out and took some jet sizes out of the carburetor to lean it up a little and try to eliminate the variance in colder weather. Handy enough for me they were in the middle of cleaning up an oil down so I was able to finish up what I needed and sneak in the lanes. By the end of the night at two AM I had gotten in two passes with great results of the car only moving .005 in the quarter in two runs.

Saturday was exactly what the weather man predicted, Rain and a lot of it. Since it had plans to rain all morning Amanda and I took the chance to run over to Macedonia Ohio to Precision Hotrods and Fabrications annual open house. I help out there on the weekends in the winter so it’s always good to stop in and say HI and see what all new is going on. By about two in the afternoon things where getting a little brighter and they got back on the track to dry it off so we made our journey back to Whew!SMP in just enough time for them to call us to the lanes for our one and only time trial. The night was cut short for us only after one round of racing due to more rain. Steve and I both made it through to collect our one point for the night. Steve’s opponent went red and had a nice and easy first round, I on the other hand barely made it through giving up a decent amount on the starting line my .029 light to his .004. Luckily I had enough room on the other end to work and managed to take .003 for a dead on my dial in with a zero for the win.

Sunday was a race day that I have been looking forward to and I could finally make it. A good friend of mine Nick Karas teamed up with Willow Lake Park to organize a 7.00 eight mile super street shootout race at Magnolia Dragway. Something very out of the norm for me, as we never race on a pro tree format as well as an index style race where you can only dial 7.00. But Always up for a challenge I somehow managed my way through the 32 car 6 round field to pull the trusty ole Spirit back in the winner circle for the second week in a row to collect the one thousand dollar prize money up for grabs! It was an awesome win just based on it was a totally different style of racing packed full of great racers that .90 race all the time. In the midst of all that going on I was still entered in magnolias weekly bracket program putting the spirit up for double duty, I fell just short in the fifth round of competition giving the finish line back by .001. But at the end of the day that didn’t matter I had a blast regardless and I have to say thanks again to the Dragway of Magnolia staff for having an awesome facility and great employees!Mags HR Win

This week I will be back at PRP for one of their points meet and hopefully keep this streak alive, after that Amanda and I will be making our way to Dragway 42 for their Sunday points program that I haven’t been to in a couple months to try to make enough points to make their bracket finals team

Winning Without Racing!

It’s kinda like Fishing without Fishing. That’s when you come home with fish & never went fishing. With an all Ford race @ Summit Motorsports Park this past weekend & being way behind on a ton of non race stuff I did some catching up.

RotoTillerI made it to the finish line with the rototiller in my moms garden. The problem with racing & yard work is you race when it’s nice out & stay home when it rains. You do yard work when it’s nice out & you stay inside when it rains. See the problem? So the garden is finally planted, the branches that fell all winter are burned, & Moms place looks pretty good again. In another month or so we will be making Spaghetti Sauce, Zucchini bread, & Pickles. Yummay!! A win in my book…

 

I did do some race related stuff. One thing a lot of racers neglect is their tow rigs & I’m probably one of the worst! I tow with a 1997 Ford Diesel Dually. I knew it needed some love but out of sight out of mind seems to be a way of life for me lately. You remember what needs done when your towing to the track. First I changed the oil & oil filter. The Ford 7.3 Liter Diesel motor takes 15 quarts of oil & a 20 plus dollar oil filter. I write the date on the oil filter to keep track of when it was last changed. I really only use the truck for towing so once a year oil change isn’t stretching it too far. BUT after further examination it was 2 years since the last change. Yeah I’m pretty bad. I changed the fuel filter which I do change that often as diesel is a pretty dirty fuel.Oil Change

One thing that really needed attention since I bought the truck 5 or 6 years ago is the exhaust system. I took a trip to Summit Racing Sunday morning while it was raining & picked up a sweet new stainless exhaust system. By the time I got back to Moms the rain had stopped so I decided to try my hand @ installing the new system. After about 3 hours some minor scrapes & a ton of rust in my eyes despite safety glasses the job was complete. The truck is happy & should be good to get me down to the World Footbrake Challenge in Bristol Tennessee next month.

Not a win on the track but a great accomplishment off the track. Now to change the oil in the Gremlin before the No Box Nationals @ SMP starts this Friday.

WFC VII

 

 

 

 

Not Bad, Not Bad…

Like the title says, It wasn’t such a bad week. The goodness started off on Wednesday night @ Summit Motorsports Parks $7 Fun Night. Wednesday nights are the best way to get your feet wet in racing. There are a variety of entry level classes that mostly run for trophies rather than cash purses. That one change keeps the competition @ a fun level. Amanda was able to get off work in time to make it to SMP this past Wednesday & try her hand @ the $7 fun night. A late night for a week night led Amanda to her first final round in the new ride. She took the runner up positions in a tough race against a full out race car. A great night to gain some experience.

Saturday split the team up a little. Matt & Amanda went to the high school graduation party for Matt’s brother in Pennsylvania.Grad Matt took his race car car with him in case there was time to make it to the races @ Pitsburgh Raceway. It turned out there was time to make it there in time to get some racing in. Matt did pretty good, loosing in the 4th round to the eventual event runner up.

I had a long weekend that started off Friday evening with the Relay For Life @ Wooster High School. With my Dad passing away from cancer & myself having a cancerous mole removed this event has become an event I look forward to participating in. The outpouring of support & the lives effected by this terrible disease was amazing. I got very little sleep due to helping my girlfriend out activities which she in charge of for the entire event. It kept the morale up & raised even more money for a great cause. After about a good 3 hours of sleep it was time to help set up for the Relay Car Show. I made my donation & entered the ole Gremlin in the car show. Not being a “Show Car” I entered more for support than the expectation of winning something. Out of dumb luck I wound up winning “Longest Owned”. The funny part is that the prize was a case of Brad Penn Oil donated by none other than Stevand Racing. What are the odds. I couldn’t take my own prize & chose to donate it to a nice gentleman with a beautiful 1968 Oldsmobile 442 convertible. He was pleased with his prize & thankful to Stevand Racing for the donation.Relay

After the car show wrapped up I high tailed it home to take a quick shower then hurried to SMP just missing the first time run. No big deal I would just hit the 2nd one. Of course the day I only get one time run I go to launch the car & it rolls through the starting beam. I try to hurry up & back up but nothing! After trying a few things I decided to just drive it down the track & see what the problem was when I got back to my pit space. I quickly figured out a fuze had blown thanks to my 20 year old wiring. I figured I would try & get back to the lanes quickly to see if they would let me try & make a real pass. Because I had not taken the full tree they had no problem letting me back in. After almost having no time runs & a little excitement I made it down to the round of 14 cars. The lack of sleep had caught up to me & I was pretty late on my reaction time. I finally made it home @ 3am & took all day Sunday to recover.

Matt & Amanda started back to Ohio to run @ Dragway 42′s Sunday Pionts program. Shortly after heading this way, 42 cancelled the days racing due to rain? Weird call seeing as how it only rained breifly. So everyone had a day to rest up for the work week. Overall A pretty good week.

Matt’s car is still in Pittsburgh with no racing @ Norwalk this weekend he will run their Saturday program then come back here for 42 on Sunday. I will take a weekend to do some much needed car maintenance……

`

 

Time flies when your having fun!!!

Hi everyone! here is the Bi-Weekly, weekly update. These past few moths have been a bit crazy! When the weather gets warm it’s time to play catch up on all the things you didn’t or couldn’t do all winter. Before you know it it’s June & your asking yourself where did the time go? Well it went somewhere!Time Flies

I can tell you where the last 2 weeks went. Memorial day weekend is usually a fun filled action packed 3 days of racing But it turned out to be a weird one. Saturday was our first race day of the weekend. We all headed to Summit Motorsports Park for the 4th Mr Gasket Super Series points race. It was also when the Super 64 was to be contested. I had qualified for the Super 64 last year & was going to be my last race for a while.

I went into Saturday with a good amount of confidence. After warming the car up & accepting the class call to the lanes I prepped for the first time run of the day. I hit the tree in my normal spot & came up .019 red. Hmmm. I was way red the last points race as well. I didn’t think it would affect me but it obviously did.  SMP had rewired the entire timing system with state of the art fiber optic wiring. The new wiring tightened up the starting line putting me on the evil red side of the reaction time game. Time to make a drastic change. I played with different buttons & figured out if I just shift my finger position on the button & sit on the last bulb it should slow me down plenty. I was .045 on the good side on the last time run before the big race. A .045 would give me a starting point but would not cut it in a run off for such a huge prize @ stake. My competitor was stellar & I took a beating on a double break out finish. He went on to win one of the $20,000 prizes.

After all that excitement we still had a full night of racing ahead of us. 3 Stevand Racing cars @ a chance to nab a nice payday. The rest of the evening was looking pretty good with all of us making it through 1st round, then 2nd round, then third round! Matt was the first one to slip up with a heartbreaking red light to his competitors not so stellar light. Amanda made it down to 5 cars (1/4 finals) before losing on a dead on run. I finally cut a pretty good light & ran dead on my dial only to loose to a better light & a dead on run. :-/ We all did great gaining some valuable points putting us all in the top 16. I was not going to join points this year to dedicate some time to the Hornet but after going that far in eliminations I had to join. Once a racer always a racer I guess?

Sunday was a points day @ Dragway 42. Matt & Amanda had a Memorial day family picnic to attend on Sunday. Family first! I decide to give it a crack & see if I could win a few bucks, get some practice, & hang out with some friends. I was doing pretty good making it down to about 12 cars before a mechanical issue ended my day. We have RPM switches that activate a solenoid that moves the shifter & shifts the car. Well my RPM switch decided it didn’t want to shift anymore. So I had to fix that!

Saturday June 1st we were back to SMP for the 5th points race of the year. Like i said, Time Flies! We reluctantly made the 45 minute trek to Norwalk. Why reluctantly? The weatherman had the day pegged for tons of rain & thunderstorms. Chance of rain 80% through the day.Bad Weather It’s really hard to spend all that money towing all the way up there & turn around when it rains out. But in true SMP fashion we had partly cloudy skies & nice breezes. We made it through time trials & Matt & I made it through the first round of our class but before Amandas’ class was called to the lanes Mother Nature caught up to us. The heavens opened up & dropped the entire ocean on us. Driving rains & standing water was what we had to look forward to on the way home. The good news is they split the purse in our class & we got some money to help cover the fuel cost for the trip.

Matt & Amanda hit Dragway 42 on Sunday. It was kind of a short day for both, losing early in the rounds & headed home for some relaxation before starting the work week.

I will be @ SMP this Saturday & Matts’ brother is graduating from high school in Pennsylvania so Matt & Amanda will be there for that on Saturday. Matt is going to try & sneak out early & hit up Pittsburgh Raceway for their Saturday program. They will be back Dragway 42 on Sunday for their Summit Super Series points race.

Check back & see how the weekend goes!

 

Not sure where to start???

Hi everyone! It has been quite some time since I have contributed on here. Why you ask? Well It’s a long story but I’ll shorten it up a little.

I mentioned on here towards the end of last summer I took a now job. That job took a huge commitment of my time. The job was commercial remodeling. A little back round on commercial remodeling. 90% of it is done @ night & all of it is out of town. The job was fun & exciting but the combination of out of town & out of town proved to be too much on me. I took a new job back running residential construction to try & get some normalcy back to life. Not sure if that is possible. LOL

I ended on here last fall with a few projects that I started on. How are they going you ask??? Well no where near as far along as I envisioned . Does any project ever finish on time? I think not. The motor for the Car Craft Magazine build up is currently @ the machine shop. All the parts finally came in & some progress is being made. Slower than expected but moving in the right direction none the less.

The Hornet Stocker project is moving @ a stellar snails pace. I have been attempting to collect parts over the winter but there again a snails pace. I even took long enough for some of the parts I collected to become obsolete. By obsolete I mean NHRA disallowed the parts without notice. Pretty much a bummer. I did get a few things in order & will update the progress in a future blog.  After the shock of Spring wears off I will be back @ it as this car has become a priority!

Hornet front end parts ready for sandblasting then powdercoating!
Hornet front end parts ready for sandblasting

 

Not a whole bunch has changed here @ Stevand Racing but in a way it has. A freshen up for Matt’s seasoned 360, I unfortunately touched nothing on the old Gremlin, but the exciting news is the addition of the Concord! Not the airplane but a 1981 AMC 4 door Concord. It will be piloted by none other than Matt’s girlfriend Amanda Hoover.

Keep a close eye out here for Weekly updates & interesting stories then a daily eye on our Facebook page for daily updates & some fun photos to break up your week!!

 

 

We Are Back At It, Just Like That !!!

Well here we are before you know it closing the off season, and rapidly approaching the 2013 race season. You may not have heard much from us in the off season but it certainly wasn’t because we had nothing to talk about. Its more so the opposite. We have been busier then ever upgrading and adding to our fleet of vehicles. I can tell you that with being less then a month away we still have our work cut out for us to get everything done in time.

I quick recap of the past few months included me finishing up my concord for my girlfriend Amanda to race this upcoming year. I’ve had my 1981 AMC Concord since high school and used to drive it daily for a year or so. So one day I decided to tear it all apart and make another “race Concordcar” out of it.  I always had drive ability in mind for it that way I could hop in and drive back and forth to the track. Fast forward some five years later and its finally done! The process was always upgrade parts on my spirit and use the old ones for the Concord so after a few years of savin parts and money I was finally able to pull it off (with a lot of resources from friends and family as always) So the focus of the Concord this year will be to have Amanda race it when she can and just have fun with it all together!

With the concord finally being done around early February I turned my attention to my Spirit. Every winter I say I am going to be done early and ready to go race down south at some of the early races…that never happens. After having some bearing trouble the year before I told myself I wanted to take the motor out just to give everything the once over. So i got the motor out and over to Hanshues garage in Medina to have a look. With much relief everything looked a lot better then the year prior. Being that the motor was already out and half apart we made the choice to go ahead and install new bearings while we were already inside of it. Everything went back together rather easily and I was able to drop it in the car a week ago. At this point I am just finishing up bolting things together on my car and should be ready to hit Pittsburgh Raceway Park next weekend in all hopes of taking my Spirit and Concord out to get a few passes on both of them to make sure everything is in good working order. Nothing major has changed on the Spirit so my hopes are just to make a pass or two with it and make sure its as good as when it went away at the end of the season, The Concord however is new from front to back so I would like to be able to make a few passes on it just to assure everything is working properly as well. You never know what is likely to happen with a fresh build and always hope that it works flawlessly.

Just like that we are getting back in the swing of things Now only if the weather would work with us we can really start to enjoy our time out at the track! Make sure to stop back in to see how everything works out.

A little look back @ 2012

As we prepare for the 2013 racing season I can’t help but take a look back @ all the fun times we had on our racing adventures. From racing in our back yard to out of state jaunts, they all have a story.

Overall Matt & I had a pretty successful year. No major breakage. Many Many minor pains but I will take those over a motor explosion every time. We walked away with  our heads up high & a car to race next year.

My most memorable race this year had to be the NHRA Bracket finals in Indy. The fellowship @ this race has been awesome the past 2 years. Being a team event comprised of people you raced against all year it is a bit tough @ times to find fellowship. I am not sure what changed but this event has become a favorite. Matt touched base on his “Update of all Updates” Blog on September 9th on my progress @ the Bracket finals. Besides winning a Shootout on Friday & getting down to 8 cars in the main event was only a portion of the fun. The weekend included some creativeness with cap guns, yes the childrens kind, A flat front tire on the race car, A severe shock from the race car coil, & some serious golf cart wheelies. It’s always a success when you get a visit from the law when you have actually not done anything illegal.

That was my favorite weekend. I look forward to more Shenanigans this coming season. How about you?

Shenanigans

 

*Ahem* Can I Have Your Attention Please!

MTAFDoor

About a year ago we sat down with Josh Flagner of More Than a Fan and discussed to possibility of doing a drag racing related blog as part of the MTAF website. Little did we know how awesome of a relationship this would turn into. The blog has given Stevand Racing an avenue to share our real life track stories and promote our sponsors. With the blog growing way more than we ever expected it has given us the opportunity to step up.

With the Josh’s help, Stevand Racing now has it’s own .com. This doesn’t sound like a lot but it is pretty huge. You can now just type www.stevandracing.com and you’re on our site! Stevand Racing will still be linked to More Than a Fan, so all our followers can fill their plate with their sports needs with just one click.

We will be adding more to the site as time goes on, including complete sponsor pages, Brad Penn oil order page and more product reviews. The overall look of the site will remain the same due to the wide acceptance of the original design. Don’t mess with success! Well, not too much.

Click Here!

If any of our readers has ideas, suggestions or just good, old-fashioned feedback, be sure to let us know! You can email the site at mailbag@stevandracing.com or email Andy, Matt or myself by just putting our first name in front of @stevandracing.com! Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter @StevandRacing and check out our facebook fan page!

Keep an eye out for some new blogs  as we recover from the holidays and get back at our preparation for the 2013 racing season.

 

 

Let the build begin!

A while back I had talked about a project that I would be working on this past summer. As with most projects this one is running behind. I have started the process of building an AMC 360 engine that will be documented & have an article written about it in Car Craft Magazine. I plan on following the process on here for our dedicated followers. Check back often for the progress.

The firs order of business with any engine build from scratch is to find a good core engine to start with. Any motor can look good on the outside & turn over but be junk once you dig in. It’s heart breaking when you spend a couple of hundred dollars on a core only to pull a head & find a badly rusted cylinder or a crack from freezing.Let the build begin!

So our first step with the build is to disassemble the engine slowly & look over each part carefully to see what kind of a life the engine had & if it is worth salvaging. I started to disassemble the old 360 to see what we had. It didn’t look too crusty on the outside which is a plus. I pulled the intake & the heads. There was not much sludge in the valley. The bores looked surprisingly good for a 40 year old motor. The head gaskets were factory originals showing that the heads were never off this motor. The less a motor has been messed with the better piece you have to work with. This motor appears to be a gem.

DisassembledThe next steps are cleaning & checking. We use a degreaser we get from a commercial cleaning supply company. One inch in a spray bottle & the rest filled with water is enough to make you choke from the fumes & peel the skin off your hands. Perfect! Spray it on all the parts scrub with brushes, rinse in scolding hot water & blow dry with compressed air. Sounds easy but it is a ton of work. Once all the parts are clean we can start the checking process. Close inspection & accurate measuring is one of the most important processes in my opinion. A flaw or an off measurement caught before the build starts can save thousands of dollars & endless hours wasted. We check all bore diameters & deck heights. The deck height seems to be an important measurement in AMC engines. We have seen some off as much as .015. That is huge in the engine world.

These first steps don’t seem real glorious but are extremely important to start thing off on the right foot. The next steps will be to modify the Ready for checkingblock for improved oiling & partially fill the block with Hard Block to strengthen the cylinder bores. Then off to the machine shop!

Another Successful Weekend

The title pretty much sums it all up, but with success there are always obstacles to overcome. This was another week of unforeseen dilemmas. If you recall I left last week complaining about having to spend four hundred dollars in tires for my Spirit. Well that did’t happen, apparently it was some sort of sign that I shouldn’t buy tires because the Monday that I had the guy call and place the order he was quick to call back and tell me the owner of Hoosier Tires had died and there was no one in the office to process the orders, so after waiting another day, I tried back and still no luck. Yes there were other options on getting them but at this point I had burned up half a week trying to do it this way and it was going to be a hassle to get. So a call to Steve and he brought a used set that he had in storage to try out.

Now for the bad news! On Thursday night I was driving home in my truck and I hear this unusual sound coming from under the truck. I listen closer and it does it again, I think to myself, “oh, that’s weird” and proceed on not thinking much of it until of course I get to the next stop sign and now my truck wont shift out of first gear! Just great. So I limp  home and start to do some research on what it could be. I pretty much come to the conclusion that its not any of the “simple fix” problems that those trucks are known for. So here I am one night before a three day race with a broken tow vehicle and a car and trailer that are to big for any truck I can borrow. Now what? I make a call to a family friend of ours Hayden (Mr. Ford mechanic) and he pretty much confirms me that I’m screwed! But thankfully he is willing to help out and to the tune of $2,100 i can get a new Ford direct transmission for my truck. (That $400 for tires doesn’t seem so bad now) So we set it up to get it to his place and fixed in a few weekends from now.

Now that we have that all figured out I still have to find a way to get my stuff to the track , luckily Steve made it in town early enough to drive to the track and drive back to my house (45 minute drive) and get us back to the track just in time to sneak into the lanes with the last class running for our one and only time trial for the night. We made our passes and everything went smooth as silk. So smooth that Steve made the last minute call to enter both Top and Mod. Something that we don’t usually do but it was his second to last race of the year and he had the itch. I’m one to never talk someone out of racing so I quickly take his money and ride up to buy an entry for him before he changes his mind.

Friday night we both did really well. I myself giving it back again by .0007 witch is virtually nothing even though I had a significant lead off the starting line, I just made an error at the finish line. Steve, on the other hand, was going deep in both classes as he has been on a roll for the past month. He made it down to eight cars or so in the box class and ended off the night with a victory in the no box class. Which brings the total to three wins in three weeks which is awesome!

Saturday brought us to the first of the big pay days, there was two thousand dollars on the line today and I could have used every penny of it at this point. The morning started off a little slow with some AM showers but that gave us just enough time to hit up the local BBQ joint down the street which was well worth the wait. When we got back I got to looking at the tires that Steve brought from storage and made the choice not to switch them with the ones that were on the car. Due to the rain they cut it from two down to one time trials which is fine with us since we seemed to have a pretty good handle on things so far. It had looked like we picked up right were we left off the night before, Steve going deep in both classes with myself knockin them down in the no box class. Steve ended up losing  fourth round of no box on a goof run when the car slowed up and he made the choice to spray and drop to try to break his opponent out. It almost worked but ended in a loss. But went right back up for the box class and managed to go a few more rounds and took himself out with a .003 red reaction time. On my end of things, I found myself in the best possible spot; a by run at three cars to the final round which is great because all I have to do is make it to the starting line under my own power and I’m in the finals. I come up for the finals and meet up with Nick Bowman a PRP local who has been on a roll of his own lately. We made a pretty decent split with the money seeing how we were both in need for it and the runner up only gets $750. So we did some working shook hands and went at it…Well almost, Just as we were getting ready one of the three cars left in the box class had a minor brush with the guardrail. Driver was OK and car was only a little bumped up a lot better then what could of been. So after a short clean up Nick and I shake on it again and go at it take two. We have run in the finals a few times and they always seem to be good ones and this was no exception. He had me on the tree by a little but gave me enough room on the other end and I gave it a little to much working and got behind once again! This time .0006! Was I mad? Yes! But in the end it didn’t much matter. I made a little bit of money to my transmission repairs and Steve and I were in both finals for the weekend that is a successful weekend no matter what.

Sunday was cut short due to some timing system issues and the eventual rain storm that was expected to come in. After that we made the double trip to return my trailer and go back to get steve’s and he was on his way back to Ohio, Another weekend in the books for us here at Stevand Racing.