Moneymaker November 2010

 

Moneymaker Pt. 4
This project and articles are about racing on a budget. This came about out of necessity more than anything else. If I wanted to race this season, I had to race on less than ever before, and attempt to win more. On that aspect I failed. With the car in its current state, its un-race able and I didn’t win enough to pay back the two guys who invested in this project with me before I failed. Gratefully both understood going into this project, odds of failing were great. They also both trusted me enough to still go forward with this crazy plan.   Payments have been made and as I write this fourth installment I have been able to repay a third of the amount for the car ($2,000.00). Keith has graciously offered to allow me to me to pay off the first investor (total of $2000.00 dollars owed to the mystery investor) and get the repairs done to the car BEFORE paying the rest I owe him, (I owe Keith $2500.00 at this time). I truly am very grateful I have friends that trust me at this level. I am even more grateful we kept the lines of communication open allowing all of us to stay friends through this project. My biggest fear of doing the Moneymaker project wasn’t failing, but losing friendships. I have seen how lack of communication has caused fights/arguments that have ended friendships over something that folks are passionate about, like my two friends and myself are about racing.   Thanks again to both of you for your patience, understanding, and trust.
 
Anytime I fail at something, I get pissed. Then I begin to look at WHY I failed. I write down the questions of what caused the failure. If you never ask why, you can’t learn from mistakes and that is a much bigger failure than losing a couple months of my now ended race season. There is tons of learning in failure, and I don’t want to waste the opportunity to learn. Though failing is never easy to accept, failing in this project has given me more positive than negative results. For example knowing what failed, why and how those issues will be fixed for the future is already taken care of. Instead of continuing with the engine that came with the project I am going to switch to my other engine I used with my Malibu. I have more confidence in this engine and with Crutchy (owner of Crutchybilt Performance) and Bud McNasby helping choose the combination for this car, I have a lot of confidence we can get the kind of performance we are looking for in a footbrake combination. 
 
The Moneymaker, shown here pre-wreck will be back to form in 2011.
 
Were my expectations too big? What choices did I make that contributed to the failure? What were inherited problems that came with the car? Lastly where do I go from here?
Lets start with me because over the years I have come to the realization I am often the problem. 
 
I truly don’t believe my expectations were too grand. I was able to race the car and be competitive with the ride after seven weekends of testing and changes. The car was “there” pretty quickly. I was able to adapt to the ride and felt confidence with each change. I don’t look back at moments in racing often (I find it a waste of time). BUT the weekend before the bracket finals going red with the bye to the final that guarantees me $2000.00 bucks has haunted me since it happened. The red had mitigating circumstances (brakes faded and I end up too deep when I stage). Identifying what I was feeling with the brakes (which seemed to start that day) sooner and finding a way to compensate for the lack of holding power would have helped. That one round leaves me owing a third of the funds instead of two thirds OR a win and I have the car paid for. 
Choices I made that contributed to the failure. I had to do more mechanical work on the car than I normally do. I have been fortunate in racing that I had friends with mechanical know how who often have made sure my stuff is sound, however the mechanical know how even from friends should be compensated. With this project I needed to do more with the budget restraints. I was happy with being able to do more than I use to be able to do, but know I have lapses I need to work on. Installing the steering column wrong is clearly one of the biggest mistakes I made. Missing the crack in the no. four cylinder while I was changing the head gaskets was another big mistake that cost me greatly. Both those incidents are a direct result of my lack of mechanical ability. Both could have had a worse outcome. Both are preventable with more due diligence on my part. 
This brings us to the problems that came with the car. The list of problems with the car as it was when I got it included: wrong valve springs installed without spring locators. Cam installed four degrees retarded.   The carburetor had a cross-threaded needle and seat in the rear bowl. Sand in the fuel system and no filter.
 
Now where to we go from here? First we pay off the first investor, repair the car, replace the engine with my 383, and pay Keith. The 355 that came with Barney will be repaired and used as a spare. Since I have been racing I haven’t had a spare engine and I am looking forward to knowing there will be one now. I have more faith in my parts because they have been part of a winning combination and when all is fresh I feel confident in the reliability. 
 
The wrecked fender and mangled bumper have already been remedied with the find of a nose off an early 80s Cutlass wagon down in Maryland. The car will be back together and redone with paint and lettering before I race again. Though there are cheaper ways I could get back to the track, I am going with what will give me the most value for the money spent.
 
Good fortune has shined on me on the job front and after being laid off for two years I have gotten back to work in my day job (chauffeur). If you think excessive braking is frowned upon by Uncle Rico (new nickname for NED director, Bob Lang) try explaining a practice dump to the executive in the back of the Town Car while driving in NYC.
 
The Budget. Without racing there were no expenses. When I began looking at the parts I was looking to sell off at salvage price I chose to take a step back and wait till I have the parts magnufluxed and measured (rods and two cranks.) Though I am selling the parts “as is” I don’t want to sell anyone stuff that is scrap because it just isn’t the right thing to do. Only way to make sure it is not scrap is to check all of it, which costs money (not a lot) but I would rather just start paying the guys I owe the money to first. Keith had called and asked about selling one of the rotating assemblies and if he has a buyer I told him to go for it. I still owe $4000.00 for the car. I owe $1500 to Gary Treager (mystery investor). I chose not to out him as being the other crazy person who was involved until now (he really didn’t care) but I didn’t want his other friends to call the nuthouse on him. I owe Keith (the original car owner) $2500. As I said before Keith has offered to wait a bit longer which I really am grateful for. Gary will be paid in full by December and the longest Keith will have to wait is middle of February. 
So now it’s down to thanking the folks who let me do this and supported me. Thanks first to Luke for allowing me a place to write this project that had an audience built in. I hope Luke enjoyed reading my debacles as much as I have enjoyed reading his over the years. Bud McNasby for being the teacher he always is and extending a huge help in the project. Bud is that phone call you make when you know its not right and you describe what the car is doing and within a few minutes after you describe the problems with the car he can tell you how to fix it. Crutchy for his support and help. Same phone call to Crutchy gets you the same results as Bud but with a whole lot more colorful description.   I would have not gotten nearly as close to having the car race able without Bud and Crutchy. Huge thanks to Michael Beard I am still floored that someone as respected as Michael contacted me and told me he liked what I was doing and lent a hand from that point.
 
Your fearless columnist, Chuck Morris (right) with Atco Dragway owner Joe Sway, Sr.
 
Most of all I must thank my wife. This poor girl lives with my craziness and truly is the most patient, tolerant loving person I know.
Thank you to anyone who has read this stuff. If I have been able to make you laugh, go back and check something you thought was right one more time, save yourself from making my mistakes I am glad. Good luck in your racing endeavors unless you’re in the other lane, than I want the luck in my lane because I truly NEED it.

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