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Funny thing about passion, to those not completely lost in our very particular obsession, we do come off a little off-kilter. Honestly, what sane person would even consider staying up for nearly 30 hours to attempt to put together an unproven car, simply for the sake of trying to make it to an event? Yeah, no one—except a gearhead.
Just the other week, we found ourselves in this situation, putting our gearhead enthusiasm to the test. For the past couple of years, a good buddy of mine has been building a car for quarter-mile duty and has been plagued with a number of problems; some of them combination-related, but mostly this thing called life.
After missing a number of races—make that a couple of seasons—the goal was to make it to this year’s Street Car Super Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Up until the final moments, everything was looking ready. The new 25.5 chassis had been certified, the coolant system and fuel lines were routed, and even the clutchless Jerico with the removable trans tunnel was looking good.
One major problem, though: The powerplant wasn’t ready. It wasn’t for a lack of effort; this thing had major issues and needed to be torn down, but we couldn’t see how we could get the parts in time. At that moment, it looked like the plans of making the race were done for, so everyone called it a night.
But the following morning, I got a call from the ringleader of this project, asking me if I had any spare parts lying around. Turns out, between the two of us, we had just enough pieces to assemble a high-compression 360ci small-block. With that sorted, he began machining a four-bolt-main 010 block, and 12 hours later we had a completely new mill ready to go.
So it was 11 p.m., and we still had a long way to go. There was the new motor plate to be made, and we still needed to figure out the exhaust system. We kept on task until 4 a.m., when everyone finally took a break to catch a little sleep. After all, we had to wait for the local speed shop to open up and gather the few remaining components.
“Last-minute thrash sessions can be brutal, but that’s where great memories are made.”
Several hours later, doughnuts in hand, everyone was back at it. Tired, but not yet beaten, we had the new combo fired up by 6 p.m. The only thing left to do was load up the trailer for the five-hour cruise to Sin City.
Was it worth it, and would we do it again? Hopefully not anytime too soon, but yes, we would absolutely do it again. Of course, I have to give big thanks to Rocco Acerrio and his brother, Tony, from A.R.E. Performance & Machine, and to Stevie Morrow from Stevie’s Garage. They made this happen. Here’s to good friends, good times, and good memories.
And if you’re wondering how our buddy made out, unfortunately, he didn’t get past the first round, but he did make it to the track and his car went from point A to point B—honestly, that’s all we wanted and we’re proud of that accomplishment. On the plus side, the car’s already made its maiden voyage down the tarmac and with the offseason here, he can start focusing on his 2012 program. Ever had a moment like this? If so, email me because I want to hear all about it!