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JET HELICOPTER MAINTENANCE:

The 2010 season is fast approaching!

t's hard to believe it but we're looking at our fifth year of racing our big Plymouth wagon in NHRA Stock Eliminator competition. Since 2005 we've witnessed the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. It's been an expensive and occasionally heart breaking ride but we're coming back for more!

If you've been reading this column then you probably know that we are actually going to be running a two-car team this year, our second car being our nearly completed '66 Belvedere II. I told you about that last month.

A couple of weeks ago we dared to peek in our enclosed trailer to see how our flagship was doing. To our relief, everything was perfect except the front tires were flat. A little air and she fired right up. The battery was still hot! I drove it into the shop for a deep maintenance cycle. After I pulled in I had to let it idle until it got warm for the first time in months. I could barely walk after I shut it off and climbed out over the roll bar.  The raw power of a well-prepped 426 Max Wedge through open exhaust is simply indescribable.

The old front tires weren't exactly old--they were actually pretty new. When we sprayed them down with soapy water we found that they were leaking out of the side walls. I called Goodyear and they gave us a new set. Yay, Goodyear! This is the kind of stuff that we're looking for when we do maintenance. If you fix these types of problems in the shop you won't have to run around like a rookie at the track.

We try and make it look easy on race day. Sometimes we even succeed. I still can't believe how sexy these new Weld front wheels are. If you have to ask how much they cost then you can't afford them. On the scale they're a mere four pounds lighter than a pair of Torque Thrust D front runners, making them no bargain by any measure, but they are so damn sexy! Also, the first time I ran them on the car I scored a perfect light in qualifying, then won a heads up final for the big trophy! Maybe they were worth as much as a good running car!

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