It’s amazing how much you can see in just 1⁄60th of a second. On track, watching the Dirty Bird make test hits at Bradenton Motorsports Park, the initial launch looked great, although we could tell something was going on with the stock, worn rear suspension. Our 60-foot times looked decent (1.684-seconds) for a car with this little horsepower and torque, but Greg thought we might be having a moment of wheel spin followed by the car stepping out of the groove to the right. Try as I might, it was hard to see it go down in real time.
Luckily, like any serious racer looking to improve elapsed time, we remembered to bring the video camera and tripod along on our last trip (http://bit.ly/oJDawA) and watching each run frame by frame really helped clue us in to exactly what was happening on the launch. As Greg lit the second beam, he would activate the trans-brake, set the car, and wait for green; .031-seconds later, the Dirty Bird began moving, squatting hard over the passenger-side rear tire, which spun in place exactly one time before the Firebird had a chance to move forward. During this initial movement, the driver-side rear tire actually spun and hopped once, although it eventually dug in and settled down. Up front, nothing. We’re talking no weight transfer, no movement, practically dead still as the aftermarket lowering springs and stock shocks did nothing to help move weight towards the rear tires. One second into the run, the Dirty Bird’s suspension was planted, although the twist of the car combined with the slight tire spin had begun to move it out of the groove. By the 60-foot beam, Greg was a full tire width out of the groove (to the right), but luckily the Firebird didn’t start to spin. A little over 12-seconds later the run was over and we were back to the drawing board.
What the Dirty Bird exhibited is typical of many F-bodies running improperly setup suspensions. Luckily, fixing these issues on a mild engine setup is simple, affordable, and easy to do, assuming you know which parts to order. For this round, we teamed up with Summit Racing and ordered everything we needed to hopefully drop our sixty-foot times and get the car hooked up and gone for less than 600 bucks and we had everything in our hands just a couple of days later. Eibach Drag-Launch springs with a right rear air bag (PN EIB-9307-140) to help us transfer weight and level out the rear suspension on the hit, Edelbrock weld-on subframe connectors (PN EDL-5290) to keep the chassis stiff, Edelbrock lower control arm relocation brackets (PN EDL-5275) to improve forward bite and eliminate unnecessary squat, and a set of Energy Suspension lower control arm bushings (PN ENS-3-3136G) to minimize deflection and transfer power to the ground. As usual, we employed car owner and master mechanic Greg Lovell of AntiVenom in Seffner, Florida, to do the work and hit up the track to see how much our track times improved. Follow along to see how it all goes together!