When Don Biglow gets belted into the Dauernheim-Biglow-Davis AA/Gas Lakester's streamlined cockpit at Bonneville this month, his mission will be clear: Run over 300 mph to trigger a $5,000 donation to Autism Speaks, average 315 mph on two successive runs (to set the AA/GL record), and get inducted into the exclusive 300-MPH Club.
Since 2006, Team 608 has raced at Bonneville and raised approximately $100,000 for charities: Susan G. Komen For The Cure (Breast Cancer), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) and Autism Speaks. In 2011, they are once again supporting Autism Speaks. To date, this year they have garnered an anonymous $10,000 donation and the Peter & Kate Kend family, Darien, CT, has offered a $5,000 donation if the Lakester goes over 300 mph during Speed Week.
Bob Dauernheim, owner and constructor of #608, has been building and racing dragsters since the 1960s when he and Team member and racer Tony Feil were members of the Chatham (NJ) Squires hot rod club. He's been hooked on land speed racing after running a belly tank Lakester, The Flying Pickle, on the Salt Flats in 1998.
"Team 608 is self-funded and self-sustaining and 100% of the money we raise goes to charities. It's our way of pursuing our passion for hot rods and racing, challenging the record books, and giving something back to society," said Dauernheim.
The #608 Lakester was redesigned this year after setting the AA/Fuel record (290.49 mph) at Bonneville in 2009. After locking in the record, it topped out at 297, hitting an aerodynamic wall. Bob Cuneo, Chassis Dynamics, Oxford, CT, was brought in to consult with artisan Rob Ida, who was fabricating the Lakester's new fiberglass upper body. Cuneo had designed and built the 'sleds used by the medal-winning USA Olympic Bobsled Team.
"I suggested to Ida and Dauernheim that the racecar body needed a longer, tapered tail, necessitating that the frame be lengthened and a completely new body fabricated," said Cuneo, an aerodynamics specialist.
Ida, a modern-day coachbuilder who creates show-stopping customs, hot rods and prototypes at Rob Ida Concepts, Morganville, NJ, took Cuneo's input when designing and handcrafting the Lakester's wind cheating upper body. Dauernheim fabricated #608's aluminum side panels and steel floor.
When the body was completed, Jeff Davis, and his painter and crew at Specialized Autocraft, Chatham, NJ, prepped it and applied waterborne DuPont Hot Hues paint: Cromax Pro Blue plus silver and black. Lettering and striping is by Dennis Smith, Davis' striper for almost 40 years.
Powering the 25-foot-long, 3,100-pound Lakester is a 582-inch, 1,150-horsepower big-block engine, built by the legendary Chevrolet engine builder and drag racer, Tony Feil. Retired for more than a decade, Feil has been inducted into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame and, while running Tony Feil Competition Engines, accumulated an impressive collection of national records.
The dry-sump-lubed 582-incher sports a Dart Big M cast-iron block, Brodix Big Duke aluminum heads, Callies forged crank, JE 15-to-1 pistons, Crower billet rods, Comp Cams roller, Jesel & Manley valve train, and is topped off with a pair of Holley 1,150-cfm Dominators. Redlined at 7,800 rpm, it thrives on a diet of 114-octane ERC race gas.
A ratchet-shifted Long four-speed and Quarter Master 7 1/4-inch triple-disc clutch covered with a Lakewood shield, transmit power to a Winters quick-change with a 3.08 ring & pinion (Bonneville final drive ratio is 2.19-to-1) and narrowed tubes fitted with Strange 31-spline axles.
Dauernheim fabricated 608's 194-inch-wheelbase space frame using 1 3/4-inch, .130-inch-wall mild steel tubing and fitted the 3/8-inch-wall mild steel tube front axle with 1937-'40 Ford spindles and bearings. Steering is VW and the front suspension has cantilevered, horizontally mounted Ohlins coil-over shocks.
At the rear, Dauernheim installed a four-bar suspension with 5/8-inch anti-roll bar and vertical Ohlins coil-overs. Brembo donated ventilated disc brakes that had been used on Dale Earnhardt Jr's Sprint Cup racecar. The Lakester rides on Goodyear 15-inch front, 18-inch rear Eagle LSR tires. A Stroud dual-chute system fits in canisters mounted in the tail section.
Michael Alan Ross is offering a fine art photo of #608 on the Salt Flats, valued at $750, for any donation over $250 to Autism Speaks. Michael can be contacted at, www.michaelalanross.com/
Checks for donations (fully tax deductible) should be made payable to AUTISM SPEAKS and mailed to Team 608, c/o Rob Gibby, 9 Timothy Lane, Bloomfield, CT 06002.
For more information about Autism, which affects 1 in 110 children, and the work that Autism Speaks does, please visit, www.autismspeaks.org/
#608 Dauernheim-Biglow-Davis AA/Gas Lakester Big-Block Engine Specifications
- Builder: Tony Feil, Whitehouse Station, NJ
- Displacement: 582 cubic inches
- Dyno Output: 1,150 horsepower
- Redline: 7,800 rpm
- Block: Dart Big M, cast iron
- Bore: 4.60-inch Stroke: 4.375-inch
- Pistons: JE 15-to-1, forged aluminum
- Crank: Callies, forged steel
- Rods: Crower 5.535-inch, billet steel
- Heads: Brodix Big Duke aluminum, CNC-ported
- Camshaft: Comp Cams Roller
- Valves: Manley titanium; titanium springs & retainers
- Valve Train: Jesel .904 Dog Bone rollers, 7/16-inch pushrods, aluminum Mohawk shafts, steel stands
- Induction: Holley dual 1,150-cfm Dominator carbs
- Exhaust: Dauernheim headers
- Lubrication: Dry sump, 11 quarts, Stef's custom pan & four-stage pump
- Ignition: MSD 7A
- Fuel Pump: Magna
- Fuel: 114-octane ERC race gas
- Owner-Constructor: Bob Dauernheim, Flemington, NJ
- Team Manager: Nick Morris, Somerset, NJ,
- Body Design & Fabrication: Rob Ida, Rob Ida Concepts, Morganville, NJ
- Driver: Don Biglow, Stuart, FL
- Engine Builder: Tony Feil, Whitehouse Station, NJ
- Aerodynamics & Suspension Advisor: Bob Cuneo, Chassis Dynamics, Oxford, CT
- Paint & Bodywork: Jeff Davis, Specialized Autocraft, Chatham, NJ
- Cockpit Canopy: Todd's Canopys, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Team Photographer: Michael Alan Ross, Michael Ross Fine Art
- Photography, Rowayton, CT
- Media Relations: Marty Schorr, PMPR, Inc., Sarasota, FL
Team 608 Supporting Members
- Terry Cook, Deco Rides, Long Valley, NJ
- Robin Dripps, Dripps & Gibby Racing, Batesville, VA
- Rob Gibby, Dripps & Gibby Racing, Bloomfield, CT
- Wayne Jesel, Jesel, Inc, Lakewood, NJ
- Dan Jesel, Jesel, Inc., Lakewood, NJ
- Hank Manley, Manley Performance Products, Lakewood, NJ
- A.B Shuman, author, COOL CARS, SQUARE ROLL BARS, Hillsdale, NJ
- Bill Wilson, Montrose Molders, South Plainfield, NJ