We Were Busy Toward the End of the Season

By Jok Nicholson

The end of the race season reached us last weekend and we got to end the season in an upbeat manner. Andy took the “Back-2-Basics” dragster to runner-up in Top at the last event of 2004. He has been struggling and I have to take the blame. I kept changing things on the car trying to get it better and we finally did. The problem was I was changing launch characteristics, rear tire sizes, we had engine problems I will discuss later and then we changed the entire fuel system trying to make it a more consistent car.

Here is a "classic" picture of a real "Back 2 Basics" car. No fancy weight boxes here. Just a big old chunk of 2" square bar stock cut and welded to fit under the nose. 60 pounds is what we needed.

I’ll start off where a lot of you guys that race usually do. You get the car out, in this case we got a used car out, had some early success and went rounds. Then it would not repeat and started running very inconsistent. The first thing we found was a broken valve spring and with some help at the track we got it changed. When we got back home we looked closer and found another broken spring and when we took it off it took very little pressure to get it compressed. OK, it was time to pull the heads and see what we had here. Everything went to Roeder Performance Machine in Waverly and he told me about everything that was either worn out, cracked or should be replaced. One of those things with a used car I guess. We had him freshen the heads and thanks to Isky Cams we got great service on the parts we needed.
If you are looking to improve your valve spring package, consider the Isky Tool Room valve springs, they are as good as they get

Isky Cams came through with a set of their Tool Room valve springs, set of titanium 10-degree retainers and a set of 3/8” pushrods. The valve springs all checked within 5 pounds and Roeder was impressed with the quality of everything. We also decided to go with a set of Isky roller rocker arms as two of ours had been beat up pretty bad when the valve springs broke.

Isky Cams roller rockers, the Tool Room Valve Springs, titanium retainers on our cast iron heads.

We decided to put a new set of ARP 7/16” studs in the heads as we had no idea how old the ones were that were in the heads. That took care of the heads and after a Roeder Performance valve job the heads were ready. During this time I took a look at the lifters and the camshaft. WOW! I was lucky we decided to take stuff apart. The cam was scored on a couple of lobes but the main problem was we found a lifter that was only a couple runs away from a catastrophic lifter failure. The wheel was completely scored and the bearings on the roller wheel were all broken and some were “missing”. Needless to say we got on the phone to Isky Cams and they set us up with their finest roller lifter, the Isky Red-Zone Roller Lifters, part #272-96-RH. Super nice quality and special alloys assure us of years of trouble-free racing.

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