BLOG 2009

Previous year happenings!

2009 Season

November - El Mirage

The November meet is a two day event and marks the end of the Land Speed Racing year.  The WGBR #2111 Truck made the first day of the meet count, while continuing to run in class 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Pickup (G /BMMP).  During the last couple of weeks, Mike had made several turbo boost map adjustments which turned out to be perfect.  Keith drove the truck down the course and found that the new turbo settings made it much easier to control in the lower gears.  The run was fabulous and before Keith knew it, he went through the timing lights at 164.969mph, bumping up the record we set in October by 10mph.

After analysis from the parachute deployment left truck pitch in October, it was theorized that the parachute was mounted too low and when it opened it picked up the back of the truck.  Consequently, Mike made a height modification to the parachute mount (in theory, in our case, a higher parachute mounting point is better).  On the first run, when Keith set the record, Keith tried to pull the parachute but was unable to get the chute to deploy.  Mike made a minor adjustment and the WGBR Team decided to perform a low speed parachute deployment test.  When the SCTA officials called for the second round, the #2111 truck was back in line and down the course Keith went; a slower 135.317mph pass.  However, once again, Keith was unable to get the parachute to deploy.   Mike and Keith examined the problem and decided to call it a weekend (and thus the year).

Tom Hanley from Owego, NY (works with Keith at LM) came to the meet to check things out and lend a helping hand.  Tom was amazed at the variety of vehicles and really enjoyed looking at the motorcycles close up.  Tom has dreams of building a bike and racing at Bonneville.  Before he left, the WGBR Team made sure that he had a rule book to follow when he constructs his LSR bike.  He also has a new collection of pictures and stories to share with his friends, when he returns home.  Where else can you find a motorized couch with end tables equipped with a plant and a lamp, or a green full length bar including bar chairs, or the coolest LSR vehicles in the world?  El Mirage (and Bonneville).  Thanks Tom, we enjoyed your visit.

The #788 Nebulous Theorem III was not so lucky.  Somewhere near mid-way down the course on his first pass, Rick Yacoucci heard a loud engine bang, lost power and turned to the right (required if you think you scattered parts on the course from a blown engine or need immediate fire/rescue).  This was the first time any of us could remember that Rick turned to the right so we were all happy to hear he was OK; the engine was not.  Their weekend ended in a hurry.

The #369 Roadster was not at the meet.

October - El Mirage

The WGBR Team had a great Sunday.  Keith was driving the #2111 Truck and made his first pass at 148.470mph on a 150.000mph 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Pickup (G /BMMP)  class record.  While this run was a little short of the record, it was a LSR driver's license Category D licensing run for Keith.  The wind started blowing and we were starting to think that the meet would be called before the first round was complete.   However, with some patience, the wind died enough to have the call for the second round.  The WGBR Truck made  a second pass with Keith back in the cockpit.  The truck ran great and there is no issue with horsepower.  The truck was spinning the tires at will in 5th gear, at speeds greater than 150mph; finding traction was difficult and Keith had to pedal the accelerator.  The wind created a strong (15mph+) cross-wind and cause the truck to drift to the right about a mile down course.  The real fun started immediately after the timing lights when Keith pulled the chute.  The truck immediately pitch sideways to the left causing Keith to scramble to keep it under control.  Needless to say Keith's heart was pumping, not to say anything about the hearts of the spectators that for a split second saw the WGBR Truck heading right for them (at 150mph).  Good thing Keith recovered, for all involved.  The celebration started as soon as Lee Kennedy came by to check on Keith and tell him he had just broken the previous record, going 154.507mph.  The run will be memorable as it was also Keith's first LSR on the dirt (he has set several records at Bonneville, but his first at El Mirage) and Keith received his LSR Category C license.  Please check our our video of this run.

#2111 on the course setting a new El Mirage LSR of 154.507mph in 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Pickup (G /BMMP)
Jim Jensen signing Keith's time slip allowing granting Keith his LSR Category C License

Rick Yacoucci drove the #788 Nebulous Theorem III to a new record too.  Rick's pass was 234.194 mph on a 7.2L / Gas Streamliner (B/GS) previous class record of 228.574 mph.  And equally impressive, he owns the honors of having the top speed of the meet.

#788 Nebulous Theorem III on the way to setting a new record of 234.194 mph in 7.2L / Gas Streamliner (B/GS)

The #369 Roadster was not at the meet.


October - Bonneville World Finals

HOT VW's Press Release-new LSR Record-Fast four cylinders..............

SCTA – BNI World Finals October 8-12, 2009
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

The White Goose Bar Racing (WGBR) team of Mike Manghelli and Keith Pedersen finally struck pay salt this year at the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and Bonneville Nationals Inc (BNI) World Finals (WF) event in October. The BNI had postponed the event one day due to rain storms that dropped several inches of water on the Bonneville Salt Flats and had a spectacular event after the day of drying. The teams blue and yellow Volkswagen Rabbit Pick-up truck experienced a disappointing turn of events at Speedweek when they first fired their turbocharged 2.0 L VW motor and proceeded to break the transmission on only the fourth tune up pass on the truck. At the World Finals event however, the WGBR team managed to run a 165.990 mph on the first run against a 158.828 record held by a turbocharged Toyota truck. The required return run netted a 165.880 mph because Mike shut the truck down early and coasted through the mile after seeing some disturbing readings on the gauges. Fortunately, the data and a quick check of the engine showed no problems that would prevent the team from running the Rabbit in the upcoming late October El Mirage dry lake S.C.T.A. event. The two way average for the new G/BMMP record was 165.989 mph.

The team is hopeful that additional tuning will gain greater results next year. The runs would have been faster if Keith, who normally drives, would have been in the seat instead of Mike. Mike drove at the last minute because Keith could not make it to the salt this time. The team would like to thank John Romero, who was the crew chief on the truck at the WF event and is always there when you need him. Also the rest of the WGBR team, Rick Yacoucci, Pete Belich, Jim Stevens and Greg Waters for their assistance in the impound.

In addition, perrenial Volkswagen land speed racer, Larry Monreal, brought his yellow Ghia back to the salt and also set another record. The two way average speed for the #57 racer averaged 164.158 miles per hour and was also powered by a DOHC Volkswagen four cylinder watercooled engine.

All in all, it was a great weekend for the VW guys at the final land speed event on the salt in 2009.


September - El Mirage

The WGBR crew performed several diagnostic checks on the #2111 Truck after returning from Bonneville. Several changes were made, but unfortunately during the head check we discovered an issue with the lifters and concerns with the leak down test. The head was removed for further diagnostics, which continues. Consequently, the truck was not able to be raced at El Mirage September meet.

The #369 Wilson and Waters Roadster's engine is still apart in search of what went wrong at Bonneville with the #2 piston.  Consequently it was also not raced.

Mike Manghelli was the driver the #57 Larry's Old Volks Home, 1970 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia hoping to set a record in the 1.5L / Blown Gas Altered Coupe (H/BGALT) class.  However, an issue with the fuel pump prevented the car from going very fast and Mike ended up going through the timing lights 40mph under the record (105.609mph on a 147.662mph record).

#788 Nebulous Theorem III

Rick Yacoucci drove the #788 streamliner to a new record, 201.895mph on a 191.670mph 3.0L / Gas Streamliner (F/GS) and it could have been even faster...  Rick describes why:

It all started when we were pushing the car in line and I (Rick) noticed that I had to turn the handle bar about 40 deg to the left to make the car go straight... ok, no problem I thought... I get strapped in and I can see that the shifter is going to be a problem with the handle bar in that position, ok...  So Wes [the starter] comes over and tugs the belts and tells me were next.  I warm up the motor everything sounds good.  I get the signal from Wes that were clear to go.  The push truck starts pushing, I stand on the throttle and were off.  Getting ready for second gear,  I can barely get the palm of my hand on the shifter.  I get the shift into second and the tires break loose.  I start peddling and I'm in someone's tire rut.  I start moving to the left where I see better dirt but the rear of the car is going to the left and now I'm going to the right.  Ok...  The dirt is better here , then here come this cloud of dust inside the cockpit.  Oh great,  just what I needed!  Then the tire ruts that I had just got out of, start moving to the right. Ok, time to go into high gear...  That goes well but now there's no more good dirt over here so I start heading over to the left side of the track.  The dust is getting bad in the cockpit and I can barely see the cones on the left side.  I get right next to the cones and the dirt is good.  My foot is to the floor and were going good.  It looks like I wasn't the only one that saw the good dirt on the left side because here comes the tire ruts...  Oh well.  By this time I am having a hard time seeing anything and on top of that I'm having another problem, the dust is getting so thick I can't breathe....  Ok we can breathe later.  First I got to get through the lights.  The dirt is really soft and the car is moving around but I can't do anything about it because at this point I am driving by Braille (so I can't leave the safety of the cones that I am just about running over)  Then all the power goes away...  I'm saying things I can't write down.  Then I see the row of cones indicating that I went through the lights.  I pull the parachute ( I love this part ) and pull off the course, yank the belts off rip the canopy off, see this cloud of dust blow out of the cockpit and get a breath of fresh air.... Whew what a ride!  I look down at the dash and see my top speed was 205mph before we lost power.  Just then John Romero comes up and says we went 201mph cool!!!!!.  Curious about what happened to the engine I bump the starter and it sounded fine.  I hit the ignition then the starter, stepped on the throttle and the pedal felt like it wasn't connected to anything.  I get out of the car and look at the throttle body.  The lever that the throttle cable connects to is broken off.  But hey we got a record...  Had to work a little for it but it was worth it.  All that happened in 40 seconds but it took me an hour to write it ;-)

 Thanks to Jimmy Stevens for a bad ass F motor with more left in it, Jack Costella for the baddest car, Bill Daniel, Steve Smashey, Phil Wilson, and Pete Belich for being the best crew, The White Goose Bar Racing team Mike Manghelli, Keith Pedersen, John Romero and Mike Waters for a place to pit and the use of all their stuff including their brains.

#788 Nebulous Theorem III at the timing lights setting a new record of 201.895mph in the 3.0L / Gas Streamliner (F/GS) class


August - Retrospect, Bonneville Speedweek 2009 by Mike Manghelli

Yesterday I was getting ready for the BNI Speedweek event and today I am cleaning up from it.  It seemed to go by that fast.  It probably feels this way because for the first time in many years I was unprepared for the event before hand.  We spent several days of the event working on the truck, just getting it ready to start.  We had many "unsolved opportunities" along the way and Keith was documenting them on the website for our friends, family and fans.  I am writing this for you, although as much for me.  After 34 years of going to the salt flats, they can run together and I thought this is a good way to separate and document what happened.  Yes, I said 34 years.  My first trip to the salt was in 1975 while I was in high school.  I have been every year since, except for the rain outs, but I was prepared to go, so I count that also.  When I reflect on this year there were many achievements and disappointments along the way, what I call the good, bad and ugly.

The Ugly:

We can start with the ugly, because fortunately it is short.  The first one is Bob Sykes receiving a call before he left on his vacation to the salt, saying that his father was pretty ill and they had called for hospice.  Bob is my partner in crime for communications at the event.  He handles all the radio gear during the event, running from one "bad" radio to another.  Because we had a little notice and I had recruited John Romero for Microwave network setup, we slid John into Bob's slot for the radio gear during the week.  It was not a hard sell because John was supposed to work the Emergency Response Trailer (E Trailer) during the week.  After I told him the E trailer was a 7:00 am to 7:00 pm job and you could not sleep or drink while doing it, John agreed to be the radio man.  We taught him all we knew about radios on the drive up as Rick's CB kept squealing.  All he had to do was smack the microphone against the steering wheel and it would quit...  Unfortunately, Bob's father passed away just after 1:00 am on the first day of racing at Speedweek 2009.  He spent the rest of the week with his family.

The next ugly thing that happened was an accident involving Tom Bryant's Competition Coupe.  Tom is a past president of the SCTA and has been involved for many years racing with the association.  As a past president, I have spoken to both Tom and his sons during the events.  Tom has raced the coupe and put himself and his sons in the Bonneville 200 mph club with it.  His son Barry was driving the car this time and lost control and crashed at the end of the course.  Unfortunately, Barry succumbed to his injuries on the way in to the hospital.  The association performs an investigation into each accident that occurs during the event.  They are reviewed for what worked and what did not.  These types of accidents result in changes to our safety rules, making it safer for everyone.  Just look at the poster child for arm restraints, yours truly...  From the initial investigation, it appears that the "Swiss cheese" effect happened.  This is where several items failed or contributed to the injuries, i.e. all the holes lined up in the cheese and the accident or injuries occurred.  After the review is complete, recommendations will be made from the Technical Committee and voted on at the next rules meeting.  It is unfortunate that we learn and write our rules on the blood of the competitors, but we do not allow their deaths to be in vain.

The Bad:

Since I am a positive person there is not too much to say here.  The worst part here was not being ready for the event.  We ran into one problem after another getting ready.  The truck was supposed to start the year off with this combination (2.0L turbocharged), but the lack of the cylinder head and other problems caused it not to be worked on until after the July El Mirage meet.  We had less than 3 weeks to build a motor complete, clearance the chassis for the axles and all the other items on the list.  The bottom line is we could not have done it without the help of David Whitten working on his Fridays off and at the last hour, on Sunday before we left, Rick Yacoucci, Jim Stevens and John Romero showed up to help fabricate the intake and exhaust for the turbo and set up the Engine Computer. Without their help, we never would have put the truck into the trailer. The real bad here was the fact that we spent 4 days working on the truck instead of enjoying the event.  Speedweek is a happening where family and friends meet.  When I was President of the association and gave the speech at the beginning of the event, I always thanked everyone for coming to my XX family reunion.  This is because we see so many old faces, like Burly Burlie and Bob Shaw, and get to meet those new ones we have chatted with on the phone and internet like Bill Heath.  I thank you all for stopping by and spending some time with us, even though we were thrashing on the vehicles.

The Good:

Actually this one should be called the fantastic; after years of trying with his 1.5L turbocharged Rabbit motor in his Karmann-Ghia, Larry Monreal finally set a record.  Back in 2005 we took his car to the World Finals, all dialed in from the dyno making 350 hp, but unfortunately on the first run it threw a rod out the side of the block.  We spent the next three years working bugs out of the fuel system, etc trying to make it run again.  Fortunately, in 2008 John Romero helped us update the engine management to an AEM system and provided more dyno time.  We had high hopes last year as the car qualified on the first pass.  When we inspected it in impound we found it had burnt a piston.  Not wanting to make that mistake again I started the tuning out very slow and easy.  Larry was a little uneasy because I kept making him go to the line without the turbo hooked up, but in the end it paid off.  We worked through a couple of other issues and finally made a full pass with 15 lbs of boost.  This was good enough to qualify the car and put it into impound.  All of the data looked good and we gave them thumbs up for the morning.  The morning pass was not quite as good as the qualifying, but netted a 150 mph record.  Larry looked young and spry sitting on the fender of the Ghia in impound, it had been a long time since he had been there.  Before the week was out, he admitted to me that this would probably be his last Bonneville event and I was very happy to help make it a great one.  

Once again our moral character and fiber showed through.  There were many times during the thrash to put the engine and truck together for this event that we could have given up, but we are not quitters.  I am not sure where I got this drive and desire to do it right, but I think I can only thank my father for it in my upbringing.  We continued to work like failure was not in our vocabulary and in the end we succeeded.  Only someone that owns a race car can appreciate all the hours and work that goes into making it succeed.  Fortunately our wives understand our need and desire to express our inner strengths by creating something from our hands and succeeding with it.  For this we thank them and love them immensely.

The White Goose bar, what can we say here...  Everyone enjoys the bar during the evening after racing.  We had many visitors stop by including one of our sponsors, Nick Arias III from Atomic Speedware.  Nick, it was great to see you finally come by and enjoy a drink with us.  Nick is working on another generation of salt racer by bringing his son with him.  Allison Volk dropped in and gave us some misprinted 200 mph club shot glasses.  Thanks Allison, we put them to good use.  I am still trying to figure out how we went through 1.75 L of Jack Daniels each day; I did not even drink any.  Maybe they did not use the shot glasses?  Fortunately just about everyone brought a new bottle with them.

For the trip up to the salt we coined the phrase "The Reboot Tour".   Lee Kennedy, Rick Yacoucci, John Romero and I were towing trailers and Dan Warner with Jim Miller tagged along in Dan's truck.  Lee has a new F450 diesel Ford truck and like any racer could not let it be stock, so he added an aftermarket controller.  Once we got on the road, seemed like every 50 miles, (Ok Lee 75 miles) it would go into a regenerate mode for the diesel particulate filter.  This is way too often and wastes fuel.  Lee found that rebooting the computers by removing all power was the only way to stop it.  He did this in Barstow, Vegas, Ash Springs, Ely, rest stops, etc.  Hence the name "Reboot Tour".  Fortunately on the way home everything worked fine...

The race truck...  Even though we did not get to go as fast as we wanted to, I still count this as a positive.  We went from a motor that did not run, to one that is tuned and ready to run record speeds.  Unfortunately, the transmission broke before we could really see what she could do, but I am happy to have an alive and well tuned motor ready for another day.  Also, it was a positive when we turned up the boost and Keith got out of the truck with a big smile on his face.  He asked if we could tame the turbo down in the lower gears so it was easier to drive.  I told him that after we really turn the boost up, it will seem tame in the lower gears...   Hold on to the steering wheel, warp speed is on its way.

The myth busters...  How many people have told you that a gasoline engine will not run on diesel fuel?  Well in my sleepy haste one morning I unwittingly set out to dispel this myth.  The little Honda generator we use as much as we can because of its quiet and efficient running was in need of gasoline one morning.  John had used the regular goose can at the announcer tower and left another SCTA can.  Well in the dark (I will blame this mistake on anything I can) I mistook the diesel jug for the gas jug.  The generator required more choke than usual but it still ran.  It was not until a couple of hours later that I commented to John, that he must have gotten a bad batch of gas that he realized my mistake.  We pulled and cleaned the oiled plug from the generator, refill it with gasoline and she is still purring away.  Remember, don't try this at home and I do not recommend it... 

Some of you may wonder why I was driving the beautiful roadster of Wilson and Waters.  Greg Waters who normally drives the roadster was injured at work and had to do physical therapy during Speedweek.  His loss, my gain, sorry Greg.  Driving the roadster is always a joy since there is no other roadster that has held as many records or is as prepared at this one.  Unfortunately, the quick change (rear end gears) let go at the start of the first pass and it decided to revert to some old habits and kick the number 2 rod out of the pan the second.  Short lived as it was, I thank Mike and Dana for letting me drive their hot rod!

And Finally:

There were many more memories during Speedweek 2009, but I would probably bore you with them.    I would like to thank many people for making it special.  First I would like to thank Keith Pedersen for the time, labor and money to step the truck up.  Don't worry, it will go fast and that smile on your face will get bigger. Thanks to Gary Boyer, the team machinist, when I give him those cryptic sketches and say take .220" off this side, he always gets it right. To Jim Stevens and Rick Yacoucci, when they finished their ride, they spent hours fabricating and welding on ours.  It would not have made it in the trailer if it was not for you.  To John Romero, what can I say, for the Frito Lay computer display cover, for the countless parts, for the plethora of dumb questions and for the countless hours of tuning help you provided, thanks.  To Mike Waters, who purchased oil, filter, and other assorted items for the truck, even though I lost the bet, thanks, and why do I owe you a seafood buffet?  When it all comes down to it, Kerry Hart from Utah, who comes out every year because of his love for VW's, sets me straight on building VW's and helps us thrash on the truck all week, a large THANKS for being there year after year!  Thank you all for making Speedweek 2009 a great event.


August - Bonneville

Thursday - 13 August

We repaired the blown turbo gasket, worked on hooking up the oil pressure gauge in the cockpit and put the truck on the short course.  Keith had a hard time finding second and could not find fifth so he turned the truck off the course before the one-mile.  We determined that the bushing within the transmission shift linkage was missing.    Keith remarked that the engine really comes alive when the turbo kicks in and even found that fourth gear builds RMPs in a hurry (and spins the tires at 100+).  Kerry figured out the linkage problem and got us working again.  We put the truck in-line for the short course again, and Keith was off, this time finding all but fifth gear (i.e. it went into fifth gear, but nothing there).  We quickly determined that fifth gear was in operable and consequently, we are done for the week.  We know we will have a fast truck, when we get a transmission to stay together.


The #57 Larry's Old Volks Home, 1970 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia, made a fast return run of 146.389 mph and set a new record of 150.014 mph in the 1.5L / Blown Gas Altered Coupe  (H/BGALT) class.  The team did a great job!

#57 Larry's Old Volks Home, 1970 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia team after setting the 1.5L / Blown Gas Altered Coupe  (H/BGALT) class record at 150.014 mph

Wednesday - 12 August

The #2111 WGBR Truck made three passes today.  The first was a turn out due to a dead oxygen exhaust sensor.   The second was a pass with higher RPM shifts but without boost.  During this run the Tonneau cover came partially off.  The speed for this pass was 140.400 mph. The WGBR team then turned up the boost and did another pass.  We were seeing good boost, all the way until the turbo gasket left the truck leaving day light and no boost.  This run ended up with less speed, around 134 mph.  We determined that we need to replace the turbo gasket and make more boost in 5th gear, as this gear in the wide-ratio transmission is becoming a challenge to build acceleration. We are going to make changes and try again on Thursday.  Keith keeps asking for more boost and higher shift points, and the engine builders and tuners, Mike and John, are more practical and methodical, working little bits at a time.  However, Keith did get his first taste of true boost and it does spin the tires, even at 90+mph.


The #788 streamline made a return run at 254.520 mph setting  a new record in the Gas Streamliner / Flathead (GS/XF) class of 253.595 mph, bumping up the old record of 215 mph.  Rick and team are now done for the week.  Two world records are very impressive.


The #57 Ghia is in impound and will do a return run in the morning.  The went 153.640 mph against a current record of 139.800 mph in the 1.5L / Blown Gas Altered Coupe  (G/BGALT) class.

Tuesday - 11 August

After making some minor adjustments, we put the truck on the short course for our first 2009 Bonneville pass.  As we have not dialed in the air-fuel map yet, this run was a "tune-up" run where we limited the turbo boost, low RPMs, and easy shifts.  We went 124.350 mph in the first measured mile, 137. 610 mph in the 2-1/4 timing trap and 141.986 mph in the 3rd mile (second timed mile).  We are running on 158 mph record and as we are only 16 mph below the record on a easy tune-up run, we are very excited about the potential for a very fast run.  We pulled the truck back to the pits for more adjustments and will run it again on Wednesday morning.  Check out the in-truck video, click here.


The #788 streamliner on the Gas Streamliner / Flathead (GS/XF) made a very impressive qualifying pass at 253.410 mph on a 215.246 mph record and went to impound.  They will do their return run on Wednesday morning.  They have a good chance at smashing their old record (they currently hold the speed record for this class).

We also sent the #57 Ghia down the course, but it turned out with an fuel-map issue.  We will also run it again on Wednesday morning.
Monday - 10 August

The day started with great accomplishment as Rick Yacoucci in the #788 streamliner did his return run of 281.111 mph in the last mile with an exit speed of 286.964 mph.  When averaged with his qualifying speed, Rick's new record in the Fuel Streamliner / Flathead (FS/XF) class is 280.023 mph, increasing the previous record by 44 mph!  Rick and his team will be working on the Gas Streamliner / Flathead (GS/XF) on Tuesday.


The #788 Nebulous Theorem III team after setting the Gas Streamliner / Flathead (GS/XF) at 280.023 mph

Next down the course was the #369 Roadster with Mike Manghelli driving.  The roadster went further than Sunday, but at the 2 mile it punched the 2nd cylinder connecting rod through the oil pan.  This failure is terminal and the roadster is done for Speedweek.

This is the side of the #369 Roadster's oil pan, viewed from the bottom.  Notice that the #2 piston connecting rod has penetrated the side of the oil pan.  Not good, a terminal injury.


We then spent the rest of the morning and the afternoon working on the #2111 WGBR truck and the #57 Ghia.  The truck was started and we started working on setting up the air-fuel mappings.  We are planning to run the truck on Tuesday!

Mike and John working on the computer air-fuel map settings

Mike working on the Ghia.  Notice the fancy laptop screen cover (better then the shirt he was using with the truck)

Sunday - 9 August

The second day of racing started with the repair of the #369 Roadster.  The quick change gear set was replaced as the set that was in the roadster was totally destroyed (see picture below).   The roadster was put back in line late in the afternoon, but a fatal crash on the long course closed the course for the rest of the day.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bryant family. 


We will race the roadster on Monday morning.  The #2111 truck continued final modifications and we tried to start the engine for the first time.  We resolved some wiring problems, but were unable to diagnose the problem before the end of the day.  Great news for the WGBR team was that Rick Yacoucci in the #788 streamliner qualified for a record at 278.936 mph on a 236.337 in the Fuel Streamliner / Flathead (FS/XF) class.  We are wishing Rick our best as he does his return run on Monday morning.


The quick change gears from the #369 Roadster.  Notice that most of the teeth are missing.  These were replace and the roadster continued the event.

Saturday - 8 August

Racing started today.  We worked on finishing some of the unsolved opportunities on the #2111 WGBR Truck.  We created a intake for the turbo, finished the wiring, and worked on other minor adjustments.  We are hoping to race the truck on Sunday.  The #369 Roadster, driven by Mike Manghelli, broke the quick change gear set and cracked the housing (just before after the one mile part of the course).  The bright side is it is making a bunch of horsepower, but on Sunday we will have to repair the housing (and determine what else might need repair such as gears).  The #788 streamliner was tuned and in-line to run first thing in the morning.

Friday - 7 August

This is the first time in 34 years that Mike Manghelli can remember wearing a sweat shirt in Wendover during Speedweek. We got up this morning to a chilly 57 degrees with additional wind chill factor, it was cold! Fortunately, it warmed up a little and really turned out to be a nice day. We continued with setup of the microwave network and had a problem with the radio used for the long course time slip stand. It received well from the timing trailer AP, but did not transmit back very well. We removed and replaced it with one of the spare units that had a high power radio installed. We turned down the radio and it still had the best connection of all the units. Note to self, purchase more XR2 radios. During our set up, the inspectors came buy and inspected the race truck. Unfortunately, the Rice’s Timing computer did not print time slips until the driver was rebuilt the network redone on it. This was late in the day and we were ready to call it quits and head for the seafood buffet. Keith and Pam got into town about 5:00 pm after leaving at 6:30 in the morning. Bob Shaw left at 2:15 am from Oxnard and was on the salt about 6:00 pm.

Thursday - 6 August

Thursday morning brought much promise and work. We started by setting up the pit area, putting the tarps down on the ground, putting up the shade and cleaning out the trailer. After the pits were set up we started working on the microwave radios we use for the network on the salt. We were able to find all the poles, radios, and equipment from last year and completed the tower setup just before lunch. As we were gong back to the pits we noticed the salt rising in the south. This is an indication of weather coming in and means you need to button down the hatches. By the time we got to the pit the wind was starting to come up and the tarps were picking up. We made some minor changes and things were stable. After lunch at the Red Flame we put up the short course time slip stand, announcer stand and long course time slips. Unfortunately, the wind prevented us from completing the jobs. We went back to the pits for a cocktail and Dan Warner jinxed us by commenting on how our shade was staying up and everyone else had to take theirs down. The wind changed direction and started a 50 mile an hour gusting that tore the tarps up from the corners. The next thing to fail was some of the connections on the shade poles. We finally were able to take all the shade tarps down and reassembled all the pole connections that failed during the process. After this we had salt in every orifice that was available to the wind. We stopped at the Mexican restaurant for dinner. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better weather.

Wednesday - 5 August

We left Wednesday morning at 5:00 am and arrived in Wendover 12 hours later. We dropped the trailers off on the salt and had dinner at the Mexican restaurant in the truck stop near the salt. After dinner we went to the hotel for a welcome night of rest.

Late July - Early August - Pre Bonneville

We have been working every spare minute and some that were not, getting the truck ready for Bonneville.  On Friday night, 31 July, we put the new engine into the truck and we working on attaching the oil lines when we discovered a disturbing find, a cracked transmission bell housing; undiscovered damage from the July El Mirage mechanical failure (see picture below).   We quickly determined that the transmission would have to be replace.  After a short discussion of what should be done next, we decided to replace it immediately.  We were unable to find an exact transmission available on Saturday morning from the shop where we knew one was located, so we put in our wide ratio transmission used for the diesel engine.  So Saturday morning, we did a transmission and axle swap (uses different axles) and because of our continuous stream of challenges in getting the new blown engine ready for Bonneville, we placed our shop dog on guard duty.  Even though it took only 45 minutes to remove the damage transmission, our guard dog fell asleep on the job (see picture below).  By noon, we were making forward progress again.  We worked late into the night on Saturday and continued Sunday with the help of Jimmy Stevens, Rick Yacoucci, and John Romero (THANK YOU GUYS!).  We would have had the engine started but we discovered that the oil pump was pumping the oil backwards and needed to be changed.  We took the pump apart, but found that we needed another piece so the start of the engine is delayed.  On Monday, Mike visited our pump shop and got it all going the correct direction.  We have several "unsolved opportunities" yet to be resolved, but see you all at Bonneville.


The cracked Transmission Bell Housing

One fast truck, minus the Oil Pump


Sonny, the Transmission Guard Dog, asleep on the job

July 2009 - El Mirage

From the June meet we continued making several changes to the WGBR truck including: additional lowering of the front end, loading updated engine fuel management settings, and adding an electronic parachute release mechanism.  We continued our season with the 2.0L / Production Mid-Mini Pickup (G/PMP) setup and our driver for this meet was Keith Pedersen.  The WGBR Truck suffered mechanical failure on our first pass, likely when shifting into fourth gear and Keith coasted through the lights with a slow speed of 89.526 mph. During the post mortem autopsy it was discovered that the stock bolts holding the clutch pressure plate to the crank, sheered (too much horsepower).  No more stock bolts for our setup!  The bolts fell to the bottom of the bell housing and damaged the fly wheel.  The crank suffered damage too (see pictures below).  Additionally, the abrupt stop in the engine caused the timing belt to be destroyed.  We believe that the rest of the engine is OK, but will not have a definitive answer until we take it apart.  As we are concentrating in our prep for Bonneville and we were already planning an engine change, this engine is on an engine stand, covered until later this year.  Our engine focus is on the 2.0L turbocharged engine.


The damaged clutch pressure plate.  Notice that some of the holes are no longer round and that the shim is melted and mostly missing.

The damaged crank.  Several of the bolts can be seen sheered and there is extensive surface damage too.

June 2009 - El Mirage

From the May meet we made several changes to the WGBR truck including: adding a parachute, beefing up the front suspension, adding window retainers, and changing the front suspension.  We continued our season with the 2.0L / Production Mid-Mini Pickup (G/PMP) setup and our driver for this meet was Keith Pedersen.  His first run showed some rustiness as he missed third gear.  The run was fast - 121.222 mph, but not enough to bump up the record - 123.007 mph.  There were some bugs in our cockpit setup that we discovered: 1) need to move the parachute release so we can easily hit second gear and 2) need to adjust the parachute release mechanism so it is easier to deploy the chute.  Check out our on-board video on the 2111 Video page.  The first run was a 8200 rmp pass in 4th gear (have five gears but seemed to run out of course for the last gear).  For the second pass, we changed tires to run all four of our new Goodyear racing tires (taller than the ones that we have been using).  The pass was good, a 7200rmp pass in 4th gear (planned final gear this time) and our speed was 121.470 mph.  However, we continued to be just 2 mph under the record.  A bracket racing weekend.  This is the frustration of landspeed racing (and the challenge that makes it so fun).

May 2009 - El Mirage

Our first run of the 2009 season was less then what we expected, a 121mph pass on a 123mph record.  As we started to examine what happened (and what did not happen correctly), we started feeling like rookie racers rather than seasoned record holders.  We discovered that the truck emergency break was slightly on, that we forgot to unload the spare tires from the bed of the race truck, and that we turned the electric radiator fan on when it was definitely not needed (our run was at 7:49am and the air temperature was around 65).  All three of these mistakes consumed horsepower (and speed), enough to keep use from bettering our current record.  Good thing we think we will get another chance this weekend. :)

Pre-season 2009

The WBGR Team is making major changes to the WGBR truck for this season as we are going to go much faster in the 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Pickup (G / BMMP) class.  Please see our 2009 Racing Plan page.

The WBGR Truck modification progress is going slowly. Things are taking longer than we thought (of course) and some of the parts we need for the new engine (like the head) are not going to make it in time for the first two meets at El Mirage. Consequently, we are going to running a different engine than we planned and will not get all of the modifications on our list accomplished prior to the first two meets.

We are going to run the 2.0L / Production Mid-Mini Pickup (G/PMP) class for the first meet.  We think we have made changes that will allow us to bump up the record from last year and we are out of time to get the modified engine ready.

We are thinking that we will run in the 2.0L / Modified Mid-Mini Pickup (G/MMP) class for the second meet and then switch to the 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Pickup (G/BMMP) class for the third meet in July. We will use our production engine that we were racing with in the first meet, with some modifications. At El Mirage we are running on a open minimum record of 120.000mph. As we were faster than that in the production class, we are hopeful that we will be competitive in this class too.