Optima Batteries Ultimate Streetcar Invitational - Vindication

We Head To The Desert To Find Out If Pro-Touring Cars Really Can Run Hard

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Tales Of The Black Box

During our fun at the track we were data logging the Camaro with our Racepak G2X GPS data acquisition system. We found out several interesting things. First, our Camaro was much better at left hand turns compared to rights. In left turns we were pulling over 1.2g while our right-handers were netting just over 1g.

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This was due in large part to the corner weighting issue we didn’t have time to resolve. Secondly, we could also see that we were running out of gear in several spots on the track. Because shifting to fourth takes time we were slowing 100-feet before we really should have been, costing us time. Since the event, we’ve raised the rev limiter from 6,600 rpm to 7,000 rpm.

This should let us stay in it just a bit longer. During the winter we will be doing some calculations to see if we should stay with the 3.90 gears or go down to some 3.70s. On the big straight we were hitting between 112 and 114 mph, but the Racepak data shows we were near 100 mph in many of the sweeps, especially those to the left.

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After Action Report

The main problem with making so many changes to the car in the short two months we had was that some things just didn’t get done. One was the alignment, which we wanted to make a bit more aggressive, but instead it ended up at the same -.80 camber and toe of .02-inch, which is way on the sedate side. Messing with these setting would have certainly helped the Camaro get around the track a bit faster.

The other must-do item that didn’t happen was having the new 402 LS2 dyno tuned. The install was finished on Friday and we had to be in Vegas on Sunday, so that left Saturday to get it done. Unfortunately, due to noise rules, Scott Brown of VanGordon and Brown in Upland, CA isn’t allowed to dyno tune on the weekends. So, we did basic tune and drove the Camaro from SoCal to Vegas. It wasn’t right and the car surged the whole 300 miles but it made it there.

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After the event we drove the car back to Vegas and because I didn’t feel like surging all the way back home we had Intercity Lines bring it back to our shop. To get the problem fixed we drove it over to Westech Performance and strapped it to their dyno for a baseline run. The first pull was a decent, but certainly lackluster, 389 rear-wheel hp and 393 lb.-ft. or torque. Eventually Ernie Mena found the problem.

The spark plug on the number five cylinder was all busted up. It must have happened when we lifted the engine to fix the oil pan. A new plug netted us a gain of 94 hp and 79 lb.-ft. of torque! That extra torque would’ve certainly been welcomed at the event. With that sorted out we’ve already begun working on a plan for next year. We’re pretty sure that the competition is going to get tougher.

Ray Young of Mead, Washington brought out his sweet ’69 Camaro just for the race. This ride was stunning and is a consistent show winner wherever it goes, even ending up in the top five for Street Machine of the Year at Goodguys. So it was even cooler that he was willing to trash it on the track. Unfortunately, a blown radiator took him out of the competition early on, but it was still cool to see it being used.

Kyle Tucker of Detroit Speed is good at a lot of things, but near the top of that list is wheeling a car though an autocross course. His ’70 Camaro is the companies test car and besides being fitted out with every turn-hard part in their arsenal, it’s also packing a 615hp L92-headed LS engine. His best time of 29.50 was enough to beat our ’68 by a razor thin 200ths of a second. Congrats on the win Kyle!

The only changes we made in preparation for the autocross was to drop six-pounds of air out of the tires. With that done, Mary Pozzi flung the Prowler Orange Camaro though the cones. She was the poster child for consistency with a 29.9, 29.5, and a 29.5 as her times. Mary relayed, “I ran my first run mostly in second gear, but applying the go-pedal didn't reward me with that ‘shot out of a cannon’ feel I had felt before. Without the torque, I lost the ability to use throttle to position and move Penny around, so I ended up running the next two laps in first gear. Penny handled and braked well yet I felt the car wasn't 100-percent.” Luckily for us the driver was 110-percent.

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