Weather has effected my TV watching on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Well I was going to be watching the Spring Bristol Sprint Cup race right now, but they are swimming around the half-mile oval where the cars should be running. But no problems, this lets me take in the delayed USCC race from Long Beach while switching back and forth with the IndyCar live broadcast from the same venue. I like the LB course as a spectator with combination of fast “straights” and very slow corners that require lots of braking giving lots of chances for passing. This makes for exciting race watching, sometimes fun for the drivers if you have good brakes and lots of grip, or a kind of living purgatory if any of those are marginal. Oh and the reason I put “straights” in quotes is because most of the fast straights have slight curves or kinks in them, especially Shoreline Drive. That kink in Shoreline Drive would be a numbered turn on any other course, but on LB it’s just another part of the “straight”.

I have been still working on the Sprint T. I am working on a complete revamp of the bottom of the car to improve aero, rigidity, and ground clearance. The “problem” I was running into in the first run-through of the frame was the firewall is 22″ (55.88 cm) or 23.5″ from the bottom of the frame rail for the first iteration. This leads to problems with the engines I’m looking at using fitting under the hood. The 5.0 Coyote Ford is 28.89″ tall, the 383 Chevy is 25.4″ without the air cleaner, the 302 Ford pushrod is 27.5″ tall, the LS3 is 28.25″ or 25.25″ with the dry sump, and the Hemi Crate engine is 34″. None of those will fit under the hood without dropping the bottom of the engine below the bottom of the frame. So, the bottom of the frame to the top of the firewall has to be about 30″ to get the engine enclosed by the hood, which means the frame has to be 8″ from the bottom to the mounting flange for the body. This translates to a fabricated tub to hold the body up or a full length light sheetmetal tub instead of the 1.5″ square tube lower frame rail. This will help on the interior space considerably, changing the driving position from “go-kart” to a little more chair like. The challenge will be keeping the weight down without compromising safety or rigidity. I’m thinking really light gauge sheetmetal with 0.125″ doublers where the roll cage hoops and the front and rear frame clips tie in. Or maybe extending the tub to completely replace the front clip. I’ll have to calculate if there is a weight benefit either way. There is a tiny benefit in rigidity by making the tub full length, but not enough to make a difference on the track. Going from a 1.5″ to an 8″ frame rail would normally cause a huge change in stiffness, but because I’m using the roll cage as a vertical member with the fore and aft braces as the upper frame rail that change is swallowed up by that huge increase in stiffness of making the upper frame rail on the outside of the roll cage.

After re-reading the previous paragraph I decided I needed to do a quick mockup of the seating with the 8″ body raise, and it drastically reduces the distance from the seat back to the pedals. That means no “go-kart” driving position, and someplace to put my feet comfortably for long trips. It also means there is room to put the battery under the passenger seat without any problem. This changes the relationship of the body to the wheels to almost identical to the Speedway series of kits, but with a much stiffer frame and more interior space because the floor is the same height as the bottom of the frame while the seat is in the same place relative to the top of the body. Of course if you put some skid plates under the frame you could mount the battery under the passenger seat on the Speedway kits too. It would just require a lot more work to protect the battery from getting hit. This way protects the battery and gives me more legroom all in the same operation and hopefully without weight penalty.

And to wrap this up, they finished the Bristol race, and Matt Kenseth won at 2130 with a 1100 scheduled start, the jet dryers did more laps than the race cars. Congratulations to the Dollar General team on winning the Bristol 511 (lots of caution laps after the last wreck) from the pole. If you want to know the rest of the finishers I suggest looking up the results on one of the sports web sites.

PSA, Opus

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