Just exactly WHAT are we up to?

2013 Season

El Mirage – November 2013, Another 200 MPH Club Hat for the WGB Team
By Mike Manghelli
November already, what happened to the race in September and October? After two years of drought in Southern California the monsoon rains came in September and October, each time a week and a half before the meet was scheduled Mother Nature dumped enough water on the lakebed that the meets had to be cancelled.  Fortunately Mother Nature was nice this time and there was no rains before the November meet.
In reality it was good for the team to have two meets cancelled. After Bonneville John was not feeling well, then started to feel better, then got real bad. He spent several weeks running around to doctors before he was finally diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. This was caused by a tumor on his pituitary gland.  They immediately took him into surgery and fortunately the surgery went fine and the tumor was benign. This was good news for everyone, especially for John. According to the doctor the worse he felt, the more successful the surgery was. According to John, the surgery was success because of how bad he felt. Unfortunately the recovery is going to be long, but he did the best therapy there is by making it out to the November meet to help with the car and be with the team. Even though he was still very weak, everyone was glad to see him.   
We started the November meet with two goals in mind. The first was to finish the year the way we started it, getting someone in the El Mirage 200 mph club. The second was to make a good pass with the WGB race truck. Hopes were high after getting John Romero in the El Mirage 200 mph club in May and after Speedweek where the roadster bumped our own record by 8 mph and the truck’s by 14 mph. In a perfect world both goals could be obtained.
We started the meet running the Roadster with it entered in F/BFR where the record is a 175 mph minimum. Keith Pedersen took the first pass in the Roadster where we netted 205 mph record. With a new maroon hat (200 mph club) for Keith, goal number one for the weekend was complete.
With the first goal for the weekend out of the way, our sights turned to the WGB truck. We set it up with a soft tune up to take an easy pass and make sure everything was still going well with the serpentine belt. The belt coming off had led to the motor’s demise in both May and July and I was still feeling a little leery, even after a good outing at Speedweek. When the swelling went down in Keith’s head from getting the maroon hat earlier in the day, we took the truck to the start line.  He kept the RPMs down going through the gears, but still managed a 170 mph pass. We returned to the pits for a data down load and a look at the belt. Unfortunately, the large safety ring that had been installed on the water pump pulley to help keep the belt in place showed signs of the belt trying to come off the pulleys again. With everything still working, we decided to take the motor home in one piece and not run it for the rest of the meet. While the run was pretty good, we did not make the second goal of the weekend, but still have a running motor to sort out over the winter.
With the day getting later we decided to quit racing and get ready for the El Mirage 200 mph Club BBQ that was being held at the SCTA Building. The WGB team is a major sponsor of the club’s BBQ by providing all the beverages for the event. It only seems fit since “bar” is in our name.  The team had a large showing and it was especially nice that two of our members, John and Keith, were new inductees into the club. Once again Mike was announcer for the club raffle and it was nice to have prizes from Pete via our sponsor Bee Industrial. It was the largest turnout for the BBQ that the club has had yet and everyone including the WGB team had a great time.
Sunday morning our sights turned back to the Roadster. After watching Keith almost loop it off the line when the turbo boost came on, we thought there might be more in it. With this in mind, Greg got in Sunday morning to take a ride. We were taking our chances with the course since it had quite a few passes on it and we knew that it would need to be fresh for maximum traction. We were about three cars from the front of the line when Brian Gillespie crashed the Hasport Honda which necessitated the course being moved. This was not good for Brian, but gave us a fresh course to run on. Greg was a little better off the line than Keith and bumped his record to 207 mph. This makes the roadster the fastest blown F motor in the class at El Mirage. The Roadster completed its goals for the event, new hat for Keith and a stout record for the rulebook.

The SCTA El Mirage November meet was a wonderful event! The team closed the year as it started with the roadster, setting a record over 200 mph and another entrant into the El Mirage 200 mph Club. The White Goose Bar provided all the beverages for the El Mirage 200 mph Club BBQ and had a great time doing it. The WGB truck made a good pass and the engine is still in one piece. Finally, what is more important than all the things we accomplished in November; our team mate John is on the mend with a great prognosis. November was a wonderful event…



El Mirage – July 2013 Deja Vu
By Mike Manghelli
After losing the serpentine belt and dry sump belt in May, causing a major rebuild of the motor, we felt pretty good when we left the June El Mirage meet with a running engine. Unfortunately, we only made one partial pass in June, so we really did not get a chance to make sure we had everything sorted out with the belts.
We started July with high expectations and hopes of getting some tuning in before we left for Speedweek. We kept the boost down since the motor was still fresh and the rings were seating, but it pulled off the line and down the course very well; this little VR6 motor wants to run. Just as Keith was nearing the end of the course and was looking at the clocks, the dash lit up like a Christmas tree, indicating disaster had struck. He immediately clutched the motor, pulled the parachute and before he could shut off the ignition switch, the motor seized. He still coasted through the lights at 177 mph with the parachute out. Since he was running on our own record of 182 mph, it was on a good run.
Inspection back in the pits revealed the serpentine belt shredded, taking the dry sump belt off and grabbing a wire harness and steel braided hose wrapping them around the end of the crankshaft. Once again we were done for the weekend and panic set in since there was 3 short weeks before we were to leave for Bonneville. This time the motor still turned over, so we were hopeful that not too much damage had been done. Once again we packed up the Goose by pushed the truck into the trailer. Since Speedweek was the next event for the team, we headed to the SCTA building just off the lake bed to load up the SCTA communications trailer with all the required equipment that we needed for the event.
Once teardown of the engine started, our hopes were dashed for less damage than the first time we lost the belts in May. We found the engine in exactly the same condition with all 6 rods welded to the crankshaft.  Since we had used up all the “spare” VR6 parts in the shop, we were off to FAST Auto Wrecking for a used short block and Nick Arias III helped us source another set of Puater rods. By this time there was two short weeks before we were leaving for Bonneville to set up for Speedweek. With lots of long nights and days on the weekend, the engine was assembled, installed and tested in time to load before we were leaving. There was only one issue that came up with the clutch during testing, it did not want to release properly and at this late time we decided that it could be pushed off the line at Speedweek, so it was no problem. Hind sight always is 20-20; stay tuned for more on the clutch once we get to Bonneville. Big thanks to Arias Pistons, FAST Auto Wrecking and Bee Industrial for all the parts, pieces and cleaning supplies to reassemble the motor. Next stop, Bonneville Nationals Speedweek in Utah.



Live to Die Another Day, El Mirage June 2013
By: Mike Manghelli
For those of you that read last month’s posting for the White Goose Bar, the results of our one and only run for the truck was extremely depressing. And yes, the movie themes keep coming; this time (for June) it is James Bond, Die Another Day.

Update to the status of the WGB truck after the May meet meltdown:  

  1. A bolt backed out of the idler pulley for the serpentine belt and threw it off.  Then it got caught in the dry sump belt and broke it.  The oil pressure was 65 psi, instantly it was 0.
  2. When all this happened – top of 4th gear and under full boost, the turbo and other engine components (needless to say) did not last long.

Final score, the turbo seized, 6 rod bearings spun, crank is bent, 6 rod big ends a horrendous blue/black burnt color and of course all bearings required replacement.
Thankfully the WGB team members all pitched in to fund the rebuild, Keith, Pierre, Tom and John. Also a BIG “Thank You” to the quick response for needed parts from our suppliers, Techtonics Tuning and Nick Arias III - Arias Pistons, and Rick Head - Exile Turbo. We were able to complete the rebuild in time for the June El Mirage meet. Also, we must thank Bee Industrial for all the rags, pigs and other items to clean up and suck up all the mess we made.  In reality it took long nights and weekends to do the deed, even missed the Bonneville 200 mph party, but the truck was in the Goose Friday afternoon before El Mirage.
We started the meet with a very conservative tune up and set of “engine protection” parameters loaded in the AEM Infinity ECU. So maybe I was a little too conservative or maybe engine shy (the long nights and weekend of cleaning bearing pieces out of everything could have something to do with it) while setting up the engine protection parameter. After a good start and what sounded like the start of a good run, Keith saw the BIG red light on the dash turn on while in 3rd gear. He did what he should do and not what his racing instincts wanted him to do; he shut down and turned off. We returned to the pits for a little forensics on the BIG red light and found the setting to turn on the oil pressure light was set higher than needed.  All the rest of the data looked great. A little tweaking and we were back in line for another pass.

Then along came a little El Mirage weather…

The weekend started out warm, OK – it was hot as hell with 108.3 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday according to the SCTA weather station at the timing tower. However, there was a little breeze by the evening and things actually cooled down nicely Saturday night for the standard WGB chicken BBQ, compliments of Spark Plug Gary. Sunday morning there was not a breath of air and the dust hung over the course after each vehicle ran. Fortunately, high clouds kept the temperatures on the cooler side. Before noon the wind started coming up with a head wind at the starting line, but a side wind at the tower. Unfortunately, it continued to rapidly increase and the meet was put on hold while the truck was waiting in line for a second pass. By 12:30 it was constant 20 mph gusting to 30 mph and the meet was called.

So after a weekend of good camaraderie, the truck is alive and will live to see another race and hopefully to die at a much later date, (after all it is a race motor and we do push the limit).  After the sacrifice to the “God of Speed”, (a VR6 crankshaft, rods, and turbo) we are hoping for some uneventful racing in July. Stay tuned, as there is always more to come. The truck will run at the El Mirage meet in July, the roadster will run at Speed Week with our guest driver. Also, it looks like Brad’s liner is getting close to completion and Rick promises the Costella, Yacoucci, Waters liner back in the fray soon.



The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful, El Mirage May 2013
by Mike Manghelli

After a weekend of racing at El Mirage ( Event Map), I am sure that many of you do as I and reflect on the events of the weekend. I do this on the drive home, which gives me about a half hour to think. The short drive home is one positive thing for living in the desert. Most of the time a thought or theme comes to mind, after the May event it was Clint Eastwood and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.  However, there was no ugly, but there was beautiful and I will explain later.

The White Goose Bar team was met with a life changing event during the off season with the passing of Mike Waters in late March. Mike was a corner stone for the team, he was the owner of the Roadster and being retired he was the parts chaser, engine builder, offered fatherly advice when it was needed and was on the board of directors for the SCTA and BNI. Fortunately, Mike had made his wishes known when it came to racing and the Roadster; it will be available for the team to campaign as long as it wishes. To accommodate this, Greg Waters moved to the position of car owner and the Waters, Manghelli, Romero Roadster will continue. With Mike’s wishes in mind, everyone pulled together to ensure our goals for the year would be met. Last year the team reached its goals by setting four records at Bonneville and one at El Mirage and while getting John Romero and Keith Pedersen into the Bonneville 200 mph club. The truck was able to set records at both Bonneville and El Mirage, but missed its goal of 200 mph. The path forward was clear for 2013, get John and Keith into the El Mirage 200 mph club and get the truck to 200 mph.

The good for the May El Mirage event was the performance of the Roadster. Over the winter the team had made engine changes to make it more reliable at higher power settings. It appeared we are on the correct path, running on our old 182 mph record, John’s first pass of the year netted a 201.671 mph speed and with that entrance into the El Mirage 200 mph club! The first goal of the year was taken care of with one single pass; we made it look easy, but there were days and hours of preparation to make it happen. A review of the data at the end revealed some minor changes will be required, but the engine is healthy and will be ready for Bonneville.

Click to enlarge

Now the ugly for the May meet. The truck had been prepared over the winter by tearing it down for a complete checkout and everything looked great. The only changes were an update to the new AEM Infinity ECU software and a damper from our new partial sponsor Fluidampr, which allowed for a more robust dry sump drive for the Avaiad pump. The truck had been finished early enough so that it could be displayed at the Bug-In in Fontana and a local car show. Unfortunately, during the first pass at El Mirage, a $2.35 bolt backed out of the idler pulley for the serpentine belt, causing the belt to fly off. That in its self was not that bad; however it got caught in the dry sump belt and broke it. This all happened at about 7500 rpm and 166 mph while Keith was getting ready to shift, plenty of oil pressure to none. At that rpm under boost, it does not take long for ugly things to happen. The first indication there was a problem was when the turbo seized up, Keith immediately shut the engine off and pulled the parachute. He still coasted through the timing lights at 158 mph. Unfortunately the engine seized along with the turbo. The engine will have to be torn down to assess the damage and the degree of it will determine whether or not the truck will race in June.

Click to enlarge

After six months of work on his new combination, a turbo charged small block, Rick did not finish the 788 streamliner in time for the May El Mirage meet. It was a disappointment to put in thousands of hours of labor and not be able to finish in time, but the combination look potent and Rick should make some great passes when it is complete.

The beautiful for May El Mirage was Brad Bosworth’s new streamliner. Brad has been working on his car for a couple years and during construction his team has been honing their skills by helping Rick with the 788 liner. Brad and his team is an asset to the WGB pit, lending a hand when and where ever needed. The car was finished except for the wiring and Brad wanted to run it by inspection to ensure there were no problems when he made it to Bonneville. The car passed with flying colors, giving credit to Brad’s craftsmanship and attention to detail. Brad is a welding inspector and it shows with the quality of welding on the car. Each part of the car is immaculate fabricated and finished. Everyone should stop by the pits and view this work of art! This truly was the beautiful for May El Mirage.