Odds and Ends…

I got my car fully serviced and ready for Drag Week. Engine, transmission & rear differential.

Dropped off an LT1 intake manifold to Reher-Morrison Racing Engines for Darin Morgan to work his magic on. This will be a nice complement to the heads that I got.

Should be ready while I’m at Drag Week.

Packing for Drag Week. Basically a bag of tools, with bailing wire, duct tape & WD40. Mini air compressor & tire maintenance accessories. Helmet & fire jacket. Clothes. And Technology items. If I get around to it. I’ll post pictures of everything.

Woohoo! New Tires!

I got my new tires installed and road force balanced for Hot Rod Drag Week. For reference, the front tire size is 245/40R18 and the rear is 285/35R19. Can’t say enough good things about my local Discount Tire shop for the install.

Before I get into the new tires, I want to briefly mention the old tires that came off.ย The old tires are the factory original Michelin Pilot Super Sports ZP (Zero Pressure aka runflats). The rear tires were near the wear bars, but the front tires were at the wear bar. I’m right at 10,000 miles and although I have several burn outs on the rears, I’ve never road course tracked my car. Pretty surprising wear for the front tires. Especially with others reporting 20,000+ miles on their original tires.

On to the new. As previously mentioned, I went with the Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S Drag Radials for the rear.
The tires fit well and seem to be a little bit wider than the old Michelin PSS’s despite being the same listed size.

The fronts are the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.
Despite the nomenclature, these are not 4 season tires, they are max performance summer tires. Word is these tires will replace the Michelin PSS on the new Corvettes, but the current model is not a Zero Pressure, so not sure when/if that will happen.
Speaking of, obviously the drag radials are not runflats. When running these tires, it’s important that the fronts are also replaced with non-runflat tires. People that have mixed these types have reported very squirrelly behavior on the top end at speed, likely due to the substantially difference in sidewall stiffness.

Driving impression: Just wow! The car rides much quieter and smoother. There is a definite seat of the pants inprovement in the feel of the car with the less stiff sidewalls. The softer sidewalls on the drag radials also contribute to a more “cushy” feel. The car does seems to float a bit at highway speeds; kinda like a Caddy, hahaha. I am surprised there is such a difference with such short sidewalls. But that said, it’s a relative difference. I’m sure I’ll little notice this as time goes on. After all, I had a year and a half and 10,000 miles on the old tires.

So one more action item checked off in preparation for Drag Week. ๐Ÿ™‚

Drag Week Preps – Tires

In honor of my beautiful bride blowing out a tire today, I thought I would discuss my tire prep for Hot Rod Drag Week. But this may not be what your thinking when I say tire prep.

Tires are going to be my weakest link. 99% of the Drag Week racers will be trailering their cars to the start/stop location at Cordova International Raceway. I’ll be driving the roughly 850 miles there in my car. And with no trailer, I won’t have any backup tires.

So the concern starts with the requirement to run drag radials. At my power level, the factory Michelin Pilot Super Sports actually hook pretty good. Being Zero Pressure (ZP) tires, I would have no concerns if I ran over something during the trip. Plus I’m sure I could source replacements locally if need be.

But the organizers have mandated drag radials. ๐Ÿ˜ก
Thankfully, I have some experience with this. I had a 2014 Silverado I raced and drove daily for two years with drag radials and no spare. So I’ll be carting the following with me to account for any tire problems.

I’ll also be packing the following for any needed tire repairs.

The drag radial I’ll be using is the Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S Radial Tire P285/35R19 (Jegs). So glad they just recently came out with this size, which is a perfect fitment for my car. Saved me from having to futz around with new wheels or odd sized tires.

So if I damage one of these during the trip or event, I’ll be screwed because I doubt there’s anyone local in that area that I can source from. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

Garmin Virb XE Auto Racing Bundle

I finally pulled the trigger on a better camera setup, the Garmin Virb XE Auto Racing Bundle.

Charged the battery, read the instructions, ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and got everything configured for a test drive. I drove to the Post Office and back. It’s about a 10 minute drive round trip. On the way to the PO, the first half of the video, I had it set to the wide angle view. In the PO parking lot I changed the view to what I call “normal” but Garmin labels as Zoom. I did not turn on the auto-stabilization. I need to do that for a test, but as you can see the video quality is much better than the iPhone 6+.

Test Drive Video

The file uploaded to youtube is 480p resolution; file size is 665MB. The 1080p resolution file was over 2GB. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

With the remote it’s a much simpler setup to turn on/off. Now I need to find a data overlay that I like.
I can’t wait for my next opportunity to put it to use.

Followup (7/10/2017): Here’s a viddy with auto stabilization turned on. Looks good to me so I’ll leave it on.
Test Video w/auto stabilization

Corn Juice (E85)

Interesting outing on Saturday.

Obviously, my car has been sitting for the past 2 weeks due to my injury. I did start it up a week ago and let it warm up. I also put the car from P-R-N-D and back a few times.

Fast forward to this past Saturday (7/1/2017). I wanted to get out and I knew I was getting low on fuel and needed to fill up. Took the car out and go cruise it up and down the road for about 15 minutes. I used the paddle shifters in manual mainly because it’s cool ๐Ÿ˜Ž but also to keep the AFM (Active Fuel Management aka Displacement On Demand) from kicking in, so I could run the tank down as far as possible. At the time, I was running a mix of E85 & Premium that gave a reading of 45% ethanol.

I pull in to the Country Store (Valero) gas station to fuel up at the E85 pump. Top off with 16.5 gallons total and while pumping, I noted that the pump had a sticker that read minimum 70% ethanol content. I’m guessing the pump was at the minimum because that 16.5 gallons plus the 2 remaining gallons of E45 yielded a 65% ethanol content. Ugh and disappointing.

I’ll try the nearby RaceTrac to see if it’s any better; otherwise I guess I’ll be going back to Kroger for my corn juice as they seem to consistently read about 80%. I really need to get at or above 75% to do one last log for my tuner before Drag Week; which is just a couple of months away.

Followup (7/9/2017): I bought a Holley Ethanol Content Tester to test the different pumps/stations and drove around this morning testing the various pumps. The Valero & Racetrac pumps were consistently 70% and Kroger was right at 85%. I know where I’m getting my corn juice from now on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not sure why the other vendors are shorting the ethanol % because (based on govt subsidies) it’s cheaper having more ethanol.

Also, I used this No-Spill 1.25 gal Gas Can. It’s got a pretty cool push button spout.


On a side note, when I went to leave, my car triggered a CEL and it wouldn’t move. Luckily, I had a code reader because I was monitoring my ethanol % so I was able to read and reset the codes. One was a P0700 which would explain why the car wouldn’t move. The other was a U0073 which I still haven’t figured out. Once I reset the codes, I drove around for another 30 minutes without an issue. I’ll just keep an eye on it for now.

Also, I was only able to reset because I was carrying my Android tablet with TorquePro on it. Reminder to install an iPhone app that works with my OBDLink MX Bluetooth OBDII reader just so I can read and reset codes. Well apparently that’s not possible. Probably worthy of a separate post.


Well, I had an accident today. Stumbled coming down a flight of stairs and blew out my ankle. And let me tell you, 225 lbs falling down steps out of control makes a lot of racket. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
At least nothing appears to be broken. But I’m in a fracture boot with crutches for at least the next 2 weeks. Back, neck & shoulder aches. Crown Royal will ease the pain. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ironic as how I recently mentioned about circumstances changing plans. Looks like my helmet will be sitting in the closet for a while. But gotta get healed up for Drag Week.

I’ll find something to post about in the interim. ๐Ÿ˜†