Just exactly WHAT are we up to?

2012 Season

2012 Season Recap
by Mike Manghelli

First thing I have to do is apologize to everyone that is following us on the web; Pam reformatted our website giving it a fresh look last year, adding areas for pictures and news updates and I promised to faithfully keep everyone informed of our progress. Along the way we also created a Facebook page. Since Facebook is so quick and easy to update after a long day on the salt, it was updated daily, and the website took a back seat with the good intention of updating it upon our return home. Sometimes the pictures and speeds were posted on Facebook before we even made it to impound to verify our record! If you get a chance, find us on Facebook at White Goose Bar Racing and like us!
I think it is impossible to summarize the WGB 2012 season in one word, but I will try; fantastic, unbelievable, unreal, epic, larger-than-life,  blockbuster, enormous, amazing, mind-boggling, well you get the idea, just pick one. The WGB Team, Mike Manghelli, Keith Pedersen, Mike Waters, Greg Waters and John Romero, set out with a couple goals for the season. The first was to get John Romero in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club in the Roadster, and second was to get Keith Pedersen in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club in the VW Truck. As usual, the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go astray, but it is how we recovered that made the season unbelievable.
We started the year off with the Roadster setting a new record at El Mirage, 182 mph on the minimum of 175 mph, with John Romero behind the wheel. It showed great promise as the boost cut hit before the lights and it actually coasted through lights at that speed.  Unfortunately, the truck was not ready for the May meet.The swap to the larger, F class, 2.8L VR6 motor for 2012 did not go as planned as it was still missing parts. After the record, the Roadster required some minor updates and it was decided to wait until Speedweek to run it. In the meantime, the truck was completed, tested on the dyno, and ready for the June El Mirage meet. We ran close to the record at the meet and had issues that netted the truck’s slowest speed ever at 35 mph in July. The modification gremlins were really working overtime. At Speedweek, the Roadster continued to shine by wiping out the existing record of 205 mph in F/BGR with a 224 mph record and putting John Romero in the 200 mph club. The truck qualified on the existing 154 mph record with a 183 mph pass, but had issues the next morning and set the new record at only 174 mph. At that time it was decided to park the truck until a proper exorcism could be accomplished and the bad spirits banished to the outer regions of the race course. It turned out to be a good decision as the Roadster needed a new turbo center section to continue running and the truck was the perfect donor. Keith then crawled into the Roadster with truck parts and put another record in the books, this time the F/BGMR record of 218 mph fell with a 222 mph two-way average, and another entrant into the Bonneville 200 mph club. September El Mirage was rained out, so the team focused on World Finals with both the Roadster and the truck. This time I drove the roadster, qualifying at 231 mph on the 220 mph F/BFR. Unfortunately, the tune up tuned it down, but still got the record at 224 mph. Next, we put Greg Waters in the driver’s seat for an assault on the F/BFMR record of 219 mph. Greg made it look easy with two 230+ mph passes and a new record of 231.959 mph! This was the fastest record we set with the Roadster all year. In the meantime, Keith took the truck out for an easy tune up pass of 186 mph on our Speedweek record of 174 mph. Apparently the exorcism had failed because now the transmission decided to stay in 5th gear, so the truck was finished at World Finals. By the October El Mirage meet the proper Voodoo Doctor, Priest, and Chaplin had been contacted and the transmission was repaired. Keith wheeled the truck to a new record of 169 mph on the existing 162 mph. The truck was back at El Mirage in November where it ran 180 mph on Saturday with a tail wind.  Just to prove the wind was not needed, we finished the unbelievable year with a 182 mph record on a dead calm Sunday morning. Pick the words you want, but no one thought the year would be this fantastic!
Team mate Rick Yacoucci had a good year making top time of the year at El Mirage in the Costella, Yacoucci and Waters Streamliner.
There are many people that make our racing goals come true and it is only right that we thank them publically for all the hard work and assistance they provide. First we need to thank our spouses, Pam, Carol, Judy and Kris for allowing us to have Salt Fever and understand that it takes countless hours in the garage to satisfy it. Then there are those that work side by side with us with nothing more than a free drink at the White Goose Bar once a year: Tom Hanley is our crack machinist, mechanic, “you name it he does it” guy; Sean Romero is learning the ropes and developing Salt Fever himself (be careful, Mom, the fever is contagious); Dan Warner turns wrenches, runs parts and has valuable insight into making things work. Special thanks to Lee Kennedy, who supports the WGB team and loaned us his transmission for the Roadster. Finally, Gary Boyer machines and works the sheet metal parts - when he is not smashing off the end of his finger. At the races, the team gets additional help from Spark Plug Gary and Pierre, making sure the tune ups are good. Pete and Nick Belich are always there to give a hand when needed.   Brad, JR, Turbo Bob and the rest of the gang from Fresno make sure that we eat well. Thanks to everyone that buys a WGB T-shirt or a drink at the bar, it keeps our passion alive.
There are several manufacturers we would like to thank that help the WGB Team with parts, discounts and advice.  AEM for engine management including, the Series 2 and new Infinity ECUs, Wideband UEGO, AQ-1 Data Logger, Drive Shaft Dyno, IGBT Coils and assorted gauges and sensors. Bud Belich at B.E.E. Industrial Supply who always finds that special tap or cutter we need and has everything from batteries to shop towels.  ARP for the bolts that hold everything together and make things look sharp on the outside. Joe Hanson at DJ Safety, making sure we have the best safety equipment in the vehicle and on us. Collin Gyenes at Techtonics Tuning for building cylinder heads that give us peak performance.  Rick Head at Exile Turbo for making sure we have the correct turbos to make the horse power we need.  Mike at Eurowise for the VR6 to VW MK1 chassis adaptors that made the installation of the VR6 motor in the truck a breeze.
We are still working on our in-car camera expertise, but we have a few rides in the roadster on YouTube for your enjoyment:
El Mirage, May 2012

Speedweek 2012

World Finals 2012



El Mirage – July 2012 (Sometimes you’re the bat)
By Mike Manghelli

And sometimes you’re the ball…  A famous line from a song stuck in my mind after this weekend.  Saturday Tom and I got to the SCTA property a little after 10:00 in the morning to get the communications tower raised and charge radio batteries for the event.  There were not too many competitors when we set up camp, so the choice of spots was ours, funny, it is always in the same area.  We set up shade and headed for inspection, a short line and we were back in camp before we knew it. We finished setting up the computer in the announcing stand for printing time slips and communicated with the tower right away. The Rice brothers stopped by and helped get the files loaded that we needed in the timing computer and the system was up and running in no time. It all went so quick that we were back at camp and were able to enjoy and afternoon of relaxation before dinner.  Boz was cooking this meet and did a fantastic tri-tip roast style with potatoes and carrots… Mmm good! The cell phones kept giving us weather warnings of impending flash floods, but the lake stayed dry and the monsoon clouds passed well to the east. Later as the sun set the clouds joined and created a large front that produced East Coast lighting show throughout the night.  Mother Nature is unreal at times…  We were the bat that day!
Sunday morning rolled around and started well, time slip computer and printers up and running and communications working as designed. We warmed up the truck and were in line before the drivers’ meeting.  After the national anthem we were ready to race. Keith was in Alaska this month, so the old guy (me) was driving.  I knew there was a good pass in her and I needed to show the team that I still had it in me.  Tom and John did the chores that I normally do (I wrote the instructions on the side windows just in case) and we were ready to run. While I was running through the gears sitting in line before he run, I noticed that my arm restraint strap could loop over the parachute handle. I thought this would not be a problem because I was just messing around and it would not come close when actually running. I wanted to drive the truck off the line, but finding first gear seemed to be a problem, so after getting it rolling, I stuffed it into second and held on. It accelerated hard until the turbo came on, then it exploded!  It was climbing up in RPM until it hit 7500, then it missed like I hit the rev limiter. I shifted into third and remember that arm restraint, well it must have come across the chute leaver because as I shifted, the parachute came out. The engine never really responded after that, but I played with the gears and throttle settings to get data recorded so that we could determine what went on. In the most embarrassing run of my life, I went through the lights at 35 mph pulling the parachute behind me… So much for showing off my superior driving skills; I am starting to feel like the ball. 
We returned to the pits and tried to download the data from the ECU. Yes, I did say tried, we received a failure when opening the file. As it turns out there was nothing in the file, ever seen 0KB next to the file name?  So we reloaded the ECU and tested it, worked like a charm.  However, when we got to the start line, the truck would not start, not even a pop or bang. We returned to the pits and checked the ECU, no data, no program to run the motor… John spent the next two hours trying to load the ECU and have it hold the data. Good thing, he was able to repeat the ECU loosing data every time he loaded. We really were the ball this time and there was no joy in Mudville.
Mike Waters and Rick Yacoucci had freshened up the little E motor in the liner for this El Mirage meet and started with high hopes.  A pulled wire from a connector caused issues the first pass and the motor not responding on the top end. Second pass started out better and then the motor went sour.  Turns out the 2 of the pistons closed up the gap on the spark plugs… not a bad run for a 6 cylinder motor. His third pass netted 218 mph, but it was not enough to get a record.  The Mariani streamliner set it earlier in the day at 225 mph.
Hopefully the team is out of bad luck because the next stop is Bonneville for Speedweek. That is a long way from home to be the ball. Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug….  Splat…



El Mirage – June 2012 (The Truck Runs)
By Mike Manghelli
After our success with the roadster during the May El Mirage we were looking forward to running the truck in June. We prepared by running the truck on AEM’s dyno the weekend before the meet.  Unfortunately, after almost wearing it out in the dyno, we still did not finish mapping out the new ECU.  The new AEM Infinity ECU
shows great promise with its many channels for data input and uses for tuning, but it took us longer to learn all the ins and outs than anticipated.  Ultimately, we made almost 300 hp with little boost and the motor looking rich but measuring lean.  After the dyno and before El Mirage we disassembled the exhaust and found the air leak that was throwing the O2 sensors off and making it read lean even though we were still real rich. We lined up Sunday morning using the number (369) from the roadster to ensure we got good line up position (#9) and made an easy pass.  With the rev limiter set at 8,000 rpm and a maximum of 14 lbs of boost in high gear the truck went 159 mph, not bad on a 162 mph record. The data looked good from the ECU with lots of room for tuning. Unfortunately, the wind came up and was blowing across the course. The last time the truck was run with a cross wind it was almost disastrous. The wind pulled the back end of the truck sideways when the chute came out and it took some quick work with the steering wheel from Keith to keep it from rolling. Given the weather issue the team decided to wait for another day to see how the tuning worked.  With these results everyone was happy to call it a day.

Also, this gave the team top time of the meet for June!
Rick Yacoucci switched classes to E/GS in the Costella-Yacoucci-Waters streamliner. Rick ran a 223 mph on a 215 mph record using Mike Waters 258 ci Chevy.



El Mirage – May 2012 (The Beginning)

The May El Mirage meet came way too fast this year. We were still working on the truck when the event showed up.  The quick over the winter motor swap turned out to be more than we had anticipated.  We are still planning on a trip to the dyno before the June meet and have July at El Mirage to finish the tuning effort before Speedweek.  We will be running in the 2.0L to 3.0L (F) class with the new 2.8L VR6 motor.  On paper it should make a couple hundred more horsepower than the 2.0L motor we have been running. We are looking forward to running this motor as the records at El Mirage and Bonneville both are lower than we have run with our 2.0L motor.  Our goal for this year is to meet the Bonneville 200 mph club minimum for the F/BMMP class at 205 mph. Two passes over this speed will get Keith into the 200 mph club, in a VW.  If we can accomplish this, it will culminate a multi-year effort with the truck of slowly increasing speeds until the goal of getting Keith into 200 mph club is reached. Fortunately our winter chores on the roadster were complete and it was ready to run the May meet. Saturday morning, during warm up in the pits, the new transmission we installed over the winter was not shifting correctly.  As it turned out, it needed more oil than we had initially put in it, so a few anxious moments ere averted with a little more ATF. 

Getting in line for the first pass of the year with the car must have been pretty funny to bystanders.  The team was like a swarm of bees over the car getting things ready.  Eventually we found our groove and were working like a well-oiled machine.  We tested the transmission on the first pass by driving the car off the line, just like going to the market.  It worked well and netted a 168 mph on the 175 open minimum we were running against.  Looking the data over after the run we found the boost was limited at 10 lbs, which means the controller was not working at all. While trouble shooting the controller we found a connector with a bent pin, so it was not making contact and caused the controller not to operate.  A quick fix with the connector, tested and it was ready for a second pass.  The next pass John drove the roadster off the line again and the boost came up like it should allowing a 178 mph run which is over the record.  After a quick run through impound to see Dan Warner, we were back in the pit for some data download.  A review of the data showed the car was now over boosting and John had to come in and out of the throttle to make it run.  A review of the controller software showed the map was not correct because of changes made last year while chasing another issue.  At this point it was too late in the day to run again, so preparations were made for dinner with the team. As usual there was lots of great food and stories flowing in the WGB pit during the evening.

Sunday morning the car was prepared and pushed over to the start line. Looks like most folks had passed on the third round so we moved up quickly to make our pass.  This time, we decided to give the car a push with the truck, hoping the boost would come up quicker and allow faster acceleration.  The plan worked as John went through the lights at 182 mph. After a quick stop in impound to get the car checked and the record certified we were back in the pits to download the data.  All the systems appeared to work well on the car until high gear right before the lights. At that point the car over boosted again and quit running.  The data showed 191 mph before it shut down and coasted through at 182.  We were very happy with the results and decided to make a short list of things to fix and prepare the car for Bonneville.  This will give the team time to concentrate on the VW truck for the June meet. Though everything did not go as planned, it is the recovery that counts and the team recovered well for an excellent weekend.

There were a couple of new additions to the roadster that are worth mentioning, GoPro Cameras.  We mounted one on the front axle of the roadster and then on the last pass on the roll bar above the driver.  That video turned out the best and John took it home and overlaid data from the ECU on it.  It turned out great and was on YouTube Tuesday after the event. Search for, 191 MPH Roadster, SCTA El Mirage May 2012 or click this link: