Biting my nails watching the last race in the Chase on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I have a few minutes to watch TV before I have to go back to church for evening services. They had a rain delay while I was at church celebrating one of our younger member’s 14th birthday with way too much chocolate cake.

Now I just got home to see Kyle Busch on stage as the Sprint Cup champion, his first and Toyota’s first. There are a bunch of people wearing shirts that say “ChaMps” with the “M” being a red M&M candy. That he was even in the chase was amazing after the races he missed due to that Xfinity series race crash in Daytona where he broke both legs (OK one leg and the foot on the other leg, that’s still both legs out of commission), and was out for the first 11 races of the season. I’m really happy for both Kyle and Toyota, but a bit sad for Martin Truex Jr. running with the Furniture Row team out of Denver CO, instead of the normal Charlotte NC area, and a single-car team against other teams running 3 or 4 cars.

As they are expounding upon on TV this makes two championships for Busch this weekend as he won the truck series owner’s championship on Friday night. And now the “hat dance” has been replaced with the “t-shirt tease” as team members shimmy in and out of sponsor t-shirts instead of just swapping out ball caps. It’s a little slower than the hat dance, but the pictures look a lot better for the sponsor as the logos on the shirts are much more readable than they would be on ball caps and there are no other sponsors’ logos competing for eyeballs in your publicity pictures.

On other fronts I’m still trying to get the Sprint-T built for as little money possible and still get close to or meet my performance goals. Of the available engines the one with the lowest rated power and cost is the 4.6 liter Ford out of the Crown Vic police car at a rated 250 HP, and also the 2nd heaviest at just under 630 pounds equipped. The smallest V8 weighs almost as much as the largest engine on the list, the 502 in3 Chevy big block, by less than 20 pounds. This will result in a car that weighs in at roughly 1750 pounds with enough fuel on board to make a day’s runs on a Goodguys or SCCA autocross. But the good thing is that motor can be replaced by the 5.0 liter Aluminator without changing the frame in any way, reducing the all-up weight to just over 1600 pounds and 430+ HP.

Going next up the cost chain is a crate Chevy small-block 350 at roughly 330 HP and 575 pounds equipped. The 350/350 engine/transmission combination will make the Sprint-T weigh in at 1700 pounds +/-. The streetable combinations that can be upgraded from this are almost unlimited, as there are dozens of head, cam, and intake combinations that will both reduce weight and increase power with a possible power output of 500 HP at 490 pounds equipped. This will result in a car weight of 1600 to 1650 pounds depending on the head, block, and intake combination. This is potentially the fastest car of the pack, but also potentially the most expensive as the aluminum blocks and stroker cranks are “not cheap”.

Moving higher on the cost chain comes the LS series GM crate engines, with the LS3 based engines coming in at 415 pounds delivered, or 465 equipped (and a slightly heavier transmission), and up to 525 HP with a warranty, as much as 600 HP without a warranty. This also is potentially the fastest combination of the bunch, with also the potential of getting the best highway gas mileage because of the sophisticated engine management system developed by GM factory engineers to beat tight CAFE standards while also meeting strict EPA emissions standards.

Still higher on the cost ladder is the GM big-block crate engine series, with more than 640 pounds equipped, and potential power outputs of more than 1000 HP that are less streetable as power increases because of the difficulty of preventing tires from breaking traction. With the iron block and heads and the transmission that can handle the power, we are looking at almost 1800 pounds of Sprint-T, meaning the lowest amount of overall grip of any of the potential engine/transmission combinations. Also these are the highest cost base engines (before power upgrades) of the list. So the only way I’m putting a big block in the car is if I get a screaming deal on the engine and transmission, like free or “I’ll pay you to take this away”. Since the chances of that happening are only slightly better than I had of surviving my wreck I don’t think there will be a big-block in the car.

And now I have run out of words to share. I mean sure I could type some more but I would just be running on at the fingers. So rather than do that, I’m just going to sign off and hit publish.

PSA, Opus

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