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NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER 2017

 

Before I get to the theme of this month’s newsletter; I want to take a minute to remember Wayne Magers. Wayne died on Saturday, November 11th; and it was especially hard for all of us who knew him. For Karen and me, we last saw Wayne at our final race at Island Dragway; where we awarded his son Tommy, the 2017 championship trophy. It was a moment that we all will remember; and a reminder for all of us to appreciate each day that we are given. Wayne loved his son and he loved drag racing. His “Bowling Ball” Ford coupe was a favorite; and when he painted and re-named the car “The Destresser”; his goal was to give his son the equipment he needed to race for a championship; and Tommy fulfilled Wayne’s dream. We will miss Wayne; but we know that every time we see Tommy, we will see Wayne.

After our final race at Island, John Schreiner’s son Greg, who races with the NETO organization; decided to bring some members of both clubs together for a fun race that featured our guys against their guys. Drivers pulled out numbers from a bucket and each race featured a NETO car versus an ECG car. Our club was represented by Greg’s dad, John Schreiner; along with Gregg Grubel, Paul McCorkel, Carly Boyer, Bruce Deming, Jim Wheeler, Kevin Lynch, Ron & Rob Carson, Todd Rosenbury and the current point’s champion; Tommy-“The Kid”-Magers. The race took place at Island Dragway, on October 29th. This race brought together two different clubs and it provided a means where our members made some new friends with the NETO drivers. At the end of the first round of racing; we had 4 of our 10 drivers still in the hunt. Carly Boyer, Gregg Grubel, Bruce Deming and John Schreiner managed to defeat their NETO competitors; but, after the second round, only John Schreiner and his “Good Vibrations” Anglia remained from our side of the fence. However, since this Sunday was a Test & Tune day; there were other cars running on the track. Unfortunately, a late model Ford Mustang driver had some problems and he crashed his car against the pit-side guardrail. The driver was okay; but it took more than two hours to get the guardrail repaired. Once the repairs were complete, a funny car on a single pass also had issues; and he struck the guard rail in the exact spot where the Mustang made contact. The track made the right call in repairing the broken guard rail after the initial crash. After everything was cleaned up, it was getting close to the 7 PM track curfew hour and the track decided to close down the remainder of the competition. So, no winner was crowned for this race. All-in-all, it was a successful event; and maybe something that we can participate in on an annual basis. Many thanks, to Greg Schreiner for putting together a nice, season ending, event for both clubs. Because our racing season is over, I don’t have any races to comment on; and I’m back to giving all of you and inside look into one of our club racers. This month we’re going to take a look at Wayne Beach’s ’55 Chevy gasser.

If you head south out of Altoona, PA, on route 99; it won’t be long before you reach the small town of Roaring Springs. This is where Wayne and his family call home; and where his 55 Chevy lives. Wayne has been involved in some sort of drag racing from 1969 till 1980. In 1973 he a Camaro as a bracket car; and then the NHRA came out with the Super Modified class; and so Wayne built the Camaro to race in B/SM. He utilized a 331 CI small block Chevy that he shifted at 9200 RPM. After 2 years of running in the Super Modified class, he went to bracket racing. He then took about 20 or so years off to go bass fishing; and then he got back into the sport in 2002. He was running a Chevy Vega before he purchased his ’55. The car ran over 130 MPH; but Wayne never felt comfortable going that fast in that car.

Wayne bought his current 1955 model 150 Chevy as a roller in 2011. He found the car on Craigslist; and it was located in Alexandria, PA; which is only about 40 miles from where he lives. Once in the garage, Wayne leveled the car and he began work on the rear end of the chassis. His plans were to utilize an S&W ladder bar setup with a Chevy 12 bolt rear end. He searched the usual places where rear ends are up for sale and he found the exact unit he needed on eBay; but it was located in Knoxville, TN. This was a great find; as the rear had “C”-clip eliminator axles, a spool and a set of 4:56 gears. Once the rear portion of the car was complete; he put together the engine and transmission and he proceeded to marry these components to the ’55 chassis. By the end of October 2012, he made a few 1/8th mile passes at Beaver Springs to see if the car launched straight and there were no major problems with the rest of the car. At this time, he was still using the old original front suspension. After his successful initial outing with the car, it went back into the garage; and once again Wayne put the car on jack stands, leveled it and measured off the chassis in every way that was necessary to install a front clip utilizing a straight axle. The frame was lopped off just in front of the fire wall; and a front clip was fabbed up with a pair of 2x4 frame rails. This new portion of the chassis would support a vintage ’55 Chevy truck front axle and leaf springs. The remainder of the frame was boxed and gusseted where needed. Wayne tack welded everything together and when all the work was finished; he called on his friend Bill Kephart to finish weld the entire chassis. During the month of April in 2013, this ’55 was sent over to Dave Hoover’s body shop and Wayne went all out on the paint; spending all of $50.00 for some John Deere “Blitz Black” paint and a gallon of paint thinner. Now there’s a man after my own heart!! During the month of August in 2013, Wayne made the first passes with the new straight axle; and everything seemed to work out okay. By 2014, Wayne was running with our club on a limited basis; and over the 2014-2015 winter months, Wayne removed the old front end sheet metal and he installed a nice 1-piece fiberglass nose assembly. He also switched from a Powerglide transmission to an ATI Turbo 400 unit.

On his very first run of the 2015 racing season, the driveshaft split in half and it destroyed the floor of the car and it also broke off the bell housing of the trans. During the remainder of the year, Wayne continued to have one problem after another; breaking another driveshaft; with subsequent floor and transmission damage; along with other problems. Wayne finally switched to a larger (4”) driveshaft and now his problems have been eliminated. Over this winter, Wayne will be adding a set of fiberglass doors and he’ll be removing the current Powerglide transmission and installing a new Turbo 400 unit. As all of you already know, Wayne was in the hunt to win the points championship this year; and although he finished 4th in the standings; he was only 38 points away from the champ Tommy Magers; and he attended every one of our races; except for Englishtown. Now let’s take a closer look at what makes Wayne’s ’55 tick!

 

 

ENGINE

The power for this gasser comes from a 406 CI small block Chevy engine. Wayne is using a GM 2-bolt block and a Howard forged crankshaft. Howard also supplied the 6 inch “I” beam connecting rods. The job of holding the entire rotating assembly in its place belongs to a Jeg’s stud girdle and the engines life blood is pushed through the engine via a Melling oil pump. Covering the lower end is a Moroso 7 quart aluminum oil pan. The small ends of the connecting rods are connected to a set of Mahle forged aluminum pistons that compress the incoming Sunoco 112 mixture at a rate of 14.5:1. Jeg’s also produced the aluminum cylinder heads that house Manley 2.10” intake and 1.60” exhaust valves; and a set of ARP studs hold those heads firmly against the block. The task of controlling the valve movement belongs to a Chet Herbert camshaft and 16 Lunati solid roller lifters. As the cam rotates, the intake and exhaust valves are moved by a set of Comp Cams push rods and forged Harland Sharpe rocker arms. The intake valves open to a height of.615” @ 305 degrees of duration; and the exhaust valves achieve .620” of lift @ 310 degrees of cam rotation. The cam is connected to the crank via a Cloyes double roller timing chain. Covering the upper valve train assembly are a pair of Edelbrock, “Old Style” finned aluminum valve covers. Sitting on top of the aluminum heads is a Weiand aluminum tunnel ram intake that utilizes a pair of Holley 450 CFM carbs. Moving the fuel from the Speedway aluminum front mounted tank to the carbs is handled by a Holley fuel pump. Firing the compressed mixture belongs to a complete MDS ignition system and cooling the 406 is taken care of via a Griffin aluminum radiator and a Mezerie 35 GPM electric water pump. After combustion occurs, a set of Hooker fender-well headers with 1 ¾” primary tubes removes the spent exhaust gasses. Wayne’s engine develops around 500 HP and his shift light glows at 7000 RPM. He also wisely utilizes and engine diaper just in case serious engine problems develop.

DRIVELINE

Attached to the business end of the crankshaft is a steel TCI flex plate; and it spins an ATI 10” torque converter with a 4800 RPM stall speed. All of the engine power passes through a TCI Powerglide 2 speed automatic that uses a reverse valve body and a transmission brake.

Wayne shifts the glide with a Hurst unit and the power is moved to the rear end via a 4” driveshaft that was made by Patterson Driveshaft of Philipsburg, PA. A GM 12 bolt rear end unit contains a Richmond 4:88 gear set that is mounted on a Strange spool. Wayne is moving to a 5:13 rear axle ratio over the winter months. Moser Engineering produced the 30 spline forged axles which hold a set of Rocket Aluminum 15x10 wheels that spin Mickey Thompson 29.5x10.5x15 slicks. The rear suspension consists of S&W ladder bars and QA1 coil over shocks. Helping stop the 2900 lb. car are GM disc brakes up front and standard GM drum brakes out back. Wayne does use a Hurst line lock unit at the starting line. The front suspension consists of a straight axle and leaf springs from a ’55 Chevy truck. Steering is via a Chevy Tracker steering box. Front shocks are Competition Engineering tube type units. Supporting the front end of the car are Rocket 4.5x15 aluminum wheels and Moroso 28x4.5x15 tires. Monitoring all engine functions are a set of old style Stewart Warner gauges and Wayne keeps track of the engine RPM’s via an Autometer tach. Wayne’s office consists of a Summit poly racing seat and an 8-point roll cage. The engine machine work was done by RGC CNC Blocks in Warrior Marks, PA. All engine assembly work and chassis fabrication was done by Wayne himself. To date, this ’55 has had a best run of 10.76 seconds at 120.88 mph. Wayne wanted me to mention his right hand man; who keeps him honest and awake on all of the long trips that they take. Ted Appleman has assisted Wayne for many a moon during his racing endeavors; and I can tell you that once we get older, it’s always nice to have someone to support you when you go drag racing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EAST COAST GASSERS-DRAG RACING LIKE IT USED TO BE!

 

 

 

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