Racing Stories

NOTE: Most of these stories are compiled from parts of email messages I receive. If the author objects to this policy, I will re-edit or remove the text to satisfy you. The Bay Area Probe Owners Club recommends safe, legal driving.

Thanks to MF, CB, EW, RS, JW, DD

Drag Racing

i made a 5hr trip down to VA this weekend to participate in a NIRA/ToyoTires import event. For one of my teammates and I, it was worth the trip. Gene Liu ran a peronal best in his Active Autoworks' turbocharged BMW M3 (12.171), on street tires, full interior and NO nitrous. He's prolly one of, if not THE fastest M3 around. It was a lil different story for me. My nitrous system didnt pass tech since i had no blow down tube. I ususally pass w.o one at tracks near my house, but having the dump valve does make sense. So I ran sans nitrous all day.

Quick 8-Comp 6...six cylinder or rotary cars with no pwr adders. I qualified with a 15.311. I was elim'd however in the first round, due to overanxious feet. =) This was definitely NOT my event anyway...not by any means. I was totally outclassed by numerous 14sec cars onto what i do best...

Bracket Racing-ST1 Class (14.00-15.49) It only took three wins to get into the finals. ROUND 1--i dialed in at 15.400...wuz up against a 94ish Prelude with N2O dialed in at 14.500. I've seen this guy at all the events i'v gone to and i knew he was good. I did a litlte burnout and waited with a courtesy stage while the green lude did a long burnout on his mickey ets. We both cut a decent .651 to his .815 On the high end i saw in the mirror that he was really pushing me coming on strong. But i was still a car length in front of him and let off the gas right b4 the line. I beat his 14.584 with my 15.407...! that was a straight up good race..could've gone either way. Almost broke out.

ROUND 2 --Was up against another Honda..a civic hatchback this time...dun know what he had but he was dialed in at 14.750...which means there's something going on under the hood. This time I won with a 15.440 to his 14.859. But he really pushed me...we were door handle to door handle from 1/8 mile to the end. I edged him by .061...(what self centered Honda guys dont know is that PGTs have some kickin' high end hp too!)

ROUND 3 --Toyota MR2 turbo. ooooh boy! His dial in was a 14.100. mine was still the same 15.400. We BOTH cut a .556 RT and had identical 60ft times too! (2.176) But he must have missed a shift cuz he never really caught up to me...i let off and got a 15.525...beating his 14.601..WAY off his dial.

ROUND 4 --Mitusbishi Eclipse GSX this was scary to see in the finals...they can be soooo dead consistent. But the driver was a pretty cool guy and all, so we were both kinda relaxed about the whole thing. While waiting for the final round call, we headed over to the trophies to check em out....dang! the winner's trophy is like over 4ft tall! NEwayz..the this time i was kinda stoked bout being in the i let it all loose in the burnout box with my drag radials. I dropped that clutch @ 6K in the water and bounced the needle off the rev limiter a dozen times. Then I turned on my Catz MSC fogs and drove slowly through the smoke! hehehe...gave the crowd a lil show. i cut a good .569 light while he fell asleep and did a .926 He also later told me that he missed third. I tapped the brakes near the finish since he was wayyyy behind and beat him.

I got soooo lucky yesterday in VA. =) Winning this event was the coolest thing to ever happen to me! I won the winners purse plus some contingency money from the manufacturers...all totallin about $1K....!!!! Not to mention a kick azz trophy and maybe my name in "super street" in a few months...hehehe

I tried to spread our gospel too. During trophy presentation I asked for the mic and said "someone please do a turbo kit for the PROBE GT thank you" cuz i knew Extreme Motorsports and Impact Racing was out there as well as some other shops/teams. I'll call Extreme sometime and see if they'd be interested. They're the shop owned by Sean Glazer i think...the world fastest Eclipse. -JW

I got there what I thought was late, went into sportsman lines, saw Ross and Michel go to the Dial in. like no cars are around so time goes by quick, they race...I race. I decided why the hell not and go into the Dial in lines right behind Michel. I ended up next to a top fuel dragster, and the thought of that thing zooming by me at 200mph at the finish line scared the SH*T outta me. Luckily it let someone else pass. Anyways, since my personal best in the past was 17.525 I dialed in 17.5 under Ross's advice. 1st race I'm up against some Strip only camaro with huge slicks. It does this huge burnout and I embarasingly drive around the water box. I ran a 17.931 with my ussual horrible launch. I won though! So i'm happy cuz I won, and go back in line. Met other probes. The guy with the PGTA and hotshot intake was there and it WAS a hotshot which was confirmed by Ross and Michel. I forgot to take a photo though. Next up, i'm concentrating, I have a little confidence. I hit a .655 R/T with one of my best launches, end up hitting a 17.563 and I win. Next race I get a .592 R/T with 17.636 and I win again. By this point i'm getting pretty happy. it turns out after I passed the finish line i moved to the right to get off the track and the mustang I was racing was still at full throttle 100mph+. I pull into the lanes and he chews me out for 5 minutes. Sigh Somewhere around this point (bad memory) Ross hits 13's in his eclipse. He was very happy. At this point a strange thing happened and 80% of the people left thinking there wasnt going to be enough time to race again, so it meant that we raced one after another after another. Next run comes up and I'm happy. I've won all my races, my clutch is grabbing pretty hard, all is well. I hit a .561 R/T. What do I hit in my quarter mile you ask? A 17.500 EXACTLY. I WAS SOOOOO HAPPY! Needless to say I won. Next race I red light, i'm trying toohard to get a good R/T. I did pull off a 17.575 and WOULD have won if i didnt red light. Next race I get a 17.617 and I win. Next race, I red light again dammit, but I pull off a 17.637 and WOULD have won again if i hadnt blown the light. Last race of the night I get a .685 R/T and a 17.820 quarter mile. I won again. Ok, I just lost a time slip, but I remember I had a .508 R/T and a 17.5x time and I won. All in all, I raced 10 times, won 8, and redlighted 2 times. I also learned alot about my shifting points, and also learned I should shift into 4th. (thanks to DI) 8Feb99

OK, now an interesting story to make all the PGT owners out there smile:) Being the only PGT at the event (well, except for the tubbed, mountain motor funny cars) It's a little strange being in front of tens of thousands of 5.0 owners and getting ready to blast down the 1/4 mile. My first trial run was versus a Ford Taurus with some old dude behind the wheel. No one watched. My second run, however, was against a VERY trick looking 5.0 notchback, with big tires, a killer paint job and a huge wing out back. I had just finished my first run and the car was hot. He pulled up right behind me so I didn't think I was going to have to run with him. But the staging guy let me pick my lane of choice and the Mustang guy got the other lane. I thought I was dead. As we both pulled up to the burnout boxes, I daintily went around and he proceeded to do a crowd pleasing burnout. I chirped my tires a little to clean them off and we both staged. I could almost hear the collective laughter of 10,000 Ford fanatics (which I later found out to be quite accurate:). Little did they know...I armed the NOS system, staged, pulled a crappy reaction time 1.1 seconds, and blew by him in second gear. I was half a second ahead of him by half track and finished with the 14.166 to his 14.812@96.57. I pulled into the pits and was besieged with questions and onlookers who wanted to see the car that trounced the 5.0. One group told me they all laughed when my Probe pulled up to stage, that is of course, until I blew by the Mustang. They said everyone's jaw dropped. Kinda made my day:)

I have won all my money running on the bottle (5-speed too!), so the consistency is there, *as long as you don't have more than 5-6 races on one bottle* and everything else remains the same. After that, your bottle will be running low and you will start to experience surging...this will be havoc on your ET.

At this point I would say that you probably have to run on the juice. Without non-NOS time trials, you could only guess-timate what you will run at this track, under these conditions. If these guys/gals are anything like they are out here, they're going to be competitive as hell and will make you earn a win light. Guessing a dial won't help you.

I can't tell you what to dial, so instead of giving you a lot of "what if" information, I'll just tell you what I do. Out of the fastest time trials that I have, I will dial the lowest ET out of the day, minus between .01 and .10. The variance comes with launching. If I launch weak and know I can launch harder, I'll dial in a little lower (-.10). If the track is loose, I'll dial in closer to my fastest run (-.01). For instance, if I ran 14.07 and 14.12 on a slippery track, I'd dial 14.06 knowing that although it's feasible to run it, I probably would just run close and not breakout. So IF I WERE you, with a 14.16 run, I would more than likely dial a 14.10-.12 assuming the other run was close to the 14.16 and the track is fairly sticky.

If you are the slower car and have to leave first, it is imperitive to cut a good light. It's imperative all the time, but especially if you are first. That will put more pressure on the other car to push it (maybe a red light). They don't "count" R/T against you perse, but it most certainly helps determine the winner. Even if you run your exact dial all day long, you can't go in with .7xx lights and expect to win...period. Look at R/T this way: I dial 14.00, you dial 14.00. I get a .600 R/T you get a .500 R/T. We both run 14.00 exactly...who gets to the line first? You do, by the .100 second head start at the line: you win even though we both ran our dials. Assuming that you dial a feasible number (I'd say within 1/10th), whoever has the better R/T will win. Sometimes you get put up against a freak that has consistent .501 lights and runs +.001 off his dial...there's not much to do, but pray they break something at the 1/8 mile :-)

Also, at this point I should mention the it's not always who gets to the line first that wins. Saying that would be taking the HUGE assumption that the car next to you picked a correct dial and left with a good light (although most will do both most of the time). It could be that the first car at the line is breaking out and the slower car is actually winning. The first car at the line does have more control over the race however. This is where sandbagging comes in. Although it's difficult to pull off without practice, it works and can be deadly. I've been victim to it a few times. I simply can't do it effectively to others myself. I have a difficult time judging how much I am breaking out and how much/when to tap the brakes. This is why I dial faster than my fastest run that day and I just don't worry about breaking out. No matter where I am in relation to the other car (usually used to judge your own place on the track) I keep the throttle down until I've crossed the line and that's that. I know what myself and my car run and don't generally look at my opponent to judge....they are the uncontrollable variable in my opinion. NOTE here: if you are a car length or more ahead of your opponent near the finish, I *would* hit the brakes! Either you are breaking out badly or they are running seriously under their dial. Slow down to meet them, but make certain that you cross the line first still. If you are breaking out, this may save you, if they are under their time, you crossing the line first should still put you at a closer margin to your dial and give you the win light.

OK, I am assuming that who you are staged with is a random chance (until the quarter finals where you will be paired by track officials). First, always, always, always try to be the FASTER car (sometimes hard with 600 Mustangs around) but scope out the lanes and try to find a stocker/mild modded car that's running high 14s/low 15s (just look at their dial). The first car to leave (slower car) always runs the risk of red lighting. If they red light, you are in without even leaving the line...even if you redlight or breakout. Take it as a free time trial run. I must warn you NOT to ever move your car after you are in the lanes though. After a run (or before even pulling in for your first run), hang back, wait for a slower car to get in the lane opposite of the one you want and then pull in next to him.

Another freebie is the By-Run. If there are an odd number of cars, someone will have to run alone, basically a free time trial. These are usually given by lottery but may just be given to the last car in line for the first elimination. this is a great resource.

I also must confess that I do my best at brackets when I don't really think about winning. If I go out and say that if I win, I win, I do much better than actively "trying my best". If I put winning the race as a goal, I go out more cautious and end up with worse R/Ts because I am hesitant to launch early fearing a red light. So I run my dials, but with worse R/Ts.


Before all you expereinced die hard drag racers start flaming about how that is cheating, just hear me out......

sandbagging= dialing in a time that is slower than what your car can do. if you have a car that consistantly hits 13.85, you can sandbag the competition by dialing in a 14.00. That requires the opponent to run an almost perfect race to beat you. Obviously this can backfire on you to, cuz you can break out of your dial in time.

If you sandbag, then you kinda control the race from the beginning. If he isnt catching up on you at the end, then kinda tap the brakes and that assures you that you probably wont break out and you can control who crosses the finish line first and how close the finish is.

Sandbagging also allows to you tailor your dial in time. If your car is running faster and faster, you can dial in quicker and quicker. also, if sandbagging is done correctly, you prevent yourself from being eliminated so you get more runs for the $$$.

the downside is its easy to break out of your dial in. it also prevents you from running a "true" time.

Day two, elimination rounds didn't go well for me:( First round I missed a shift (first to second! What the hell's up with that!) and ran a 15.0 at 98mph. Luckily, the Mustang I ran against broke out by two tenths. The humidity level dropped from 70% the previous day to 30% but the temps went up to 90 degrees. Not exactly good for fast runs. Or so I thought.

I dialed in at 14.16, thinking that the hotter temps but less humidity may allow me to run slightly faster. I finally convinced the wife to come and cheer me on so I couldn't take the passenger seat out like I normally do, and did for my dial in runs the day before. To compensate, I ran with a 1/4 tank instead of the 1/2 tank the day before. It's a damn heavy seat!

Anyway, round two pitted me against a 5.0 (What a suprise there) witha 13.80 dial in. I was fairly focused and launched well. The 5.0 caught up to me at the beginning of second, but couldn't pass me. We were neck and neck til his shift to fourth and he dropped back some, possibly missing a shift. I kept on pushing, not thinking that with the extra weight and heat that it would be possible to break out. But then I remembered the advice everyone had given me on the list and immediately lifted about 200 ft. from the finish line. I easily went through the traps first, and I prayed all the way to the print out booth that I didn't break out. Unfortunately, I had, blitzing my old record by running a 13.97@102.98. Mind you, it's 90 degrees out and we're at 1500 feet above sea level. Lost one, won one.

The crowd couldn't believe I was dragging a PGT. There were a couple of snickers. The 5.0 was of course loud and obnoxious, and even with the GReddy, she said my car was quiet (didn't get the test pipe in place due to frozen fittings:() compared to the 5.0. As I left the line and the crowd could see I was actually beating the Stang, she said EVERYONE stood up to see what kind of time I would run. As I passed through the traps (pardon my french here..) there was a collective DAMN! from the crowd. I did manage to see one teal 93-94PGT there, but I was the only PGT dragging. Overall I had a good time. I was a little upset that I had lifted instead of actually braking to slow down more, but hey, it was my first time out. I was able to raise the eyebrows of a few 5.0 owners (some even came to help me push my car while I was waiting to run) and generally everyone was very nice and even curious. It's an annual event, and next year it would be nice to see a group of PGT owners running down the 1/4 in a showing of group solidarity. Oh, BTW, the Mustang ran a 14.346@94.94mph. ESPN2 and Speedvision will have footage from the event. Doubt I'll be in the highlights, but who knows!

All I have to say is, NOS=Godliness:) I made my first runs with NOS Saturday evening, it was a balmy 65 with nearly 100% humidity, threatened rain all night, but it never came! I lost to two cars, a 90something SupraTT auto who ran a best of 13.7 with nothing more than an HKS filter under the hood. He ran a high 13.8 against me, with a better reaction time, and I was EXACTLY one car length behind him. My nose was on his bumper. The other was a beat up, crappy early 70's chevy truck running a tricked out small block with trick flow aluminum heads and who knows what else. He ran a 13.727@ 97.19.

Observations: Ok, several people wanted to know how the ACT clutch would hold up. I have the stage II clutch from them, and after six hard runs, no problems whatsoever. It gripped solid, banging third gear hard.

Traction was non-existent in first gear. I mean nothing. Yes the car goes foward, but as soon as the nitrous kicks in the tires spin all the way through first, and well into second. Gotta learn to feather it more! I thought about getting the bottle heater to keep pressure up, but a set of slicks seems to be a better investment. One order of Nitto Drag Slicks coming up! Torque steer isn't a problem at all, but a LSD would help with the Unorthodox supercharger kit.

Second and Third gears are absolute beasts. I catch everything in these two gears. Fourth is fast too, but I think I can almost feel the car loosing fuel pressure.

Since I don't have a bottle heater, my runs were all made in the 700-800psi range, and all my runs were consistent. My last run was my best! I know that sinnow how much hp I'm loosing by running 200psi below optimum? 10hp? I guess a bottle heater would solve this.

I did buy a pressure guage, but one problem I had was I bought the 4AN mounting manifold and I need a 6AN to make it work with the remote bottle opener. If you get a cap for the NOS manifold, you can disconnect the bottle, hook up the pressure guage and stick the bottle on the hot intake manifold to get the pressure up. This is, and was a major pain as there weren't really long lines. I never got the bottle pressure up to 900psi. Guess a bottle heater would solve this. hey, I just said that.

Ok, now for the times! Just wanted to build up the suspense!

I made six passes. I will list them in order, my times are on the left, and when interesting, the competitors times are on the left Run 1 Raced a Monte Carlo which I beat bad, he ran a 17.635

I totally bogged on the launch, then did nothing but spin through first. Shifted at 6K in second, giving me a good drive in 3rd and 4th, hence the trap speed. I'm convinced the 2nd to 3rd shift is the most critical in terms of time.

Run 2 Versus a 1991 Mustang GT, not sure how stock or unstock it was, but the driver is a regular...his time's on the right

Launch was a little better, still too low, then lots of spin. Man the Mustang guy was REALLY embarrased. I really beat him bad, by 10 carlengths or so. You should have seen his face:)

Run 3 Versus a really fast sounding early 70's camaro with a killer purple paint job, and a baaad sounding engine and big tires. Thought I was toast!

Launch was good because the guy crushed me off the light. For as bad as this Camaro looked and sounded, something must have broke, but he was running at the end . I had him by the start of second. Think he looked kind of suprised (I have great peripheral vision:) and he may have missed a gear or not tried hard enough. Who know? Anyway, I spanked his ass and I did see him in line for the next round.

Run 4 Versus a 96 Supra TT Automatic, with an HKS hooked onto the intake tube. No other mods.

I left the line a little high, around 3.5K and spun the tires way too much in my hurry to beat the TT. I knew I'd have to have a killer run. Nerves! My 60' wasn't the best, but not the worst either. With the right pressure and slicks this guy would have been toast. Nice guy though, and the only other import out there. My trap speed has now dropped 2mph by this point. Not sure why. It may be shift points as I'm shifting higher in each gear. A 6K second to third shift may be ideal.

Run 5 Versus the beat up pickup running gears and a mean engine. My only other loss of the night

This was my worst run of the night. HORRID run altogether. I saw this guy leave the line and I panicked! My MPH has dropped again. Due to bottle pressure?

Run 6, final run before the wife sent the cops looking for me:) Versus a 1995 Z28! What I'd been waiting for all night long! Stock.

R/T.... .886... .820 (man, I've gotta work on this. Too nervous about wheel spin)
60'...... 2.215...2.197
330.... 6.020... 6.220
1/8.... 9.116 9.494 MPH....80.07... 75.50
1000.. 11.785.. 12.310 1/4..... 14.041... 14.699 MPH...... 99.34... 94.34

Final trap speed is exactly 5mph faster than a 285hp Z28, 6speed. I enjoyed this win more than all the others combined. Even if I had beaten the Supra, it wouldn't compare (I hate GM). It was also my fastest run of the night, and SLOWEST trap speed. Someone please explain this! I did shift much higher than before. Next trip out, we try the lower shifting route to see what happens.

In closing, it was a fun night, and very enlightening. The car ran great all night, never missed a shift, and really suprised me. I was expecting 13's, but I think I'm a little tuning and bottle pressure away from that. I'll check the plugs in the morning. I think my ignition advance is set waaay low too. I don't have a light, so I'll have to get that done ASAP. So with slicks and the correct pressure, I think I'm looking at 13.70, maybe lower. I was in no man's land. All the other cars were WAAAY faster than me or slower. Anything close to stock was beatable. I loved spanking the Mustangs and z28's!

The Stop Light Derby

i had just paid my toll at the Bay Bridge when i heard the car in the lane next to me spooling up. i'm always ready for this sort of thing so i take off. i catch just a glimpse of a purple fender out of the side of my eye, maybe a corolla or honda i think. first goes quick and i grab second, we are dead even, take it up to 5K RPM and i'm thinking, why haven't i blown this guy away yet? shift into third and i still see his fender right there! finally too much traffic and speed and i can take a better look- oh, it's one of those 190 HP maximas.

i was waiting at a light when a late 80's camaro pulls up next to me. this is a spot where the two lanes merge into one after a few hundred yards. he was creeping up so i knew he wanted to pull ahead. but from past experience i knew the V8 camaros can spank me bad, so i paid no attention and instead pretended to re-alphabetize my CD collection. when the opposite light turned yellow i revved up to 4K and got a good (and noisy) launch. i checked my mirror and he was caught two cars lengths back but wasn't giving up. partway through 2nd he started to gain on me but it was too late, the lane closed down and he pulled in behind me. i could see him back there whooping and jumping around- he was smiling ear to ear, and then he took off in a cloud of power oversteer down a side street.

Turbo Probe

I pulled up to a light and I must have attracted some attention because a Mustang GT pulled up to me and revved his engine. The light turned green and off we went. Pretty close until the turbo began to wind up. Tires began to loose grip and it was at this point that I lost sight of the Mustang. He was a good 10-12 car lengths behind me and I was still pulling away.

SC Probes

Coming home from work today, a rather nice late model Cobra was side by side... He was all jerking forward in his ride, i was comtemplating. We arrive at the toll booths. He gets there first puts in his change, and looks over, reving. I put in my $$$ and looked over. He reved it and let the clutch out squeeling the rear tires, I bring the revs quickly to about 2.5K rpm and let the clutch out fast, and almost floored it. (traction limited me!) quick shift into 2nd gear my nose was at his door, and I was GAINING on him! Shift into 3rd, we're about head to head and we look over at each over, and we decided to slow it down... Crusing hes asking my what I have in my car: "Hey man, what ya got in your "Probe"" in a bad way, sensing this I replied (as I downshift into 3rd) "Boooooossssttt!" and took off throught the traffic. He did the same, but my exit was up and let the fool carry on his show of testosterone. Needless to say I was very surprised at the outcome! A 13.8s Cobra, being chased by my PGT and not really gaining... Wow. Guess that new clutch and flywheel made a difference! Only difference I've felt is the traction limitation is you're careful! Need some good tires now! -WI

umm hi everyone....i jusgot a lil story to tell bout the supacharger in our car....b4 i said it wuz buttas...but now its like sex?? anyways me an w(+his gurl) were in da car drivin know jus testin a lil, an then all of a sudden we see a nissan300zx twin had exhaust, but thats all i could see.....anyways back to the story....i'm driving...jus chilllin cant get anymore tickets....but i couldnt resist...i got wayne sayin drop to third.....tease hes looking my *reluctant* butt drops down from 5th to third, and the tach is at 4g's, an i do the usual..speed up.....slow then the guy winds down his window an is like i'm like...aight koo...! then all of a sudden he took me by jus bounced...gave me the hazard i'm like i catch up to we are side by side....then he drops it...i drop it.,...he got the jump...cuz he droped it first...but as soon as i do it...i start to pull up, then we're even all tha way into the redline of third, tso i shift into 4th, and i start blowin by him.....i wuz like =0. anyways at the end, we asked him what he had...he said TWIN TURBO,,,,,so i wuz like aight koo..peae out cub scout=P so the there is none...i'm jus real umm excited cuz i beat a TWIN TURBO.....aight i'm out..guess ws gonna say a lil sumtin sumtin....bai bai....o ....that supacharger is betta then sex.....(guess i should get out more huh)