22nd Apr2014

Catching up with the RBZ

by Michael Chandler

RBZ burnout Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 1)

When last we saw Clint Stoneham’s RB26DET powered 260Z, it was little more than an old Datsun shell wrapped around a new Datsun body.  But now things have changed.  It’s been tuned, had a cage built and certified, and it finally made a few passes.  After weeks of talking about it, I met up with Clint, Jason Kemp, and Melvin North.  What followed were four passes interrupted by some hunting.

By the time I got there (thanks for cutting me off twice Prius!) they already had the car unloaded and were getting her ready to make the first pass of the day.  After waiting in the staging lanes Clint pulled the orange sled into the burnout box and lit up the slicks.  And then he made his pass which, if I’m honest,  wasn’t exactly stellar.  I’ll spare you the time (i.e. I forgot to write it down), but it was slower than what the car was capable of.  While Clint was making the maiden pass, the rest of us heard something.  We met back in the pits, and the guys got to work.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 10)Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 10)

Out came the laptop, and the theories of what sounded like an ignition problem.  The data logs didn’t show anything, but we all heard it breaking up.  Thinking the spark plugs were amiss, Jason and Clint pulled them and Jason re-gapped them.  Fun Fact: the engine of a car gets hot while making a 1/4 mile pass, and it stays that way for a minute.  Guess who relearned that lesson?  No, not me.  I had my hands full of camera.  With the plugs re-installed and the coil packs back on, we piled onto the side by side and followed Clint to the staging lanes.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 10)

Things were better, 10.87 compared to something much slower.  But the ignition was still breaking up.  Jason, who has a 900+whp 2JZ swapped Mk 3 Supra (!), posited that it might be weak coils.  The RB26 and 2JZ are made for a similar purpose, maybe they had similar problems.  Logs still showed nothing, plugs looked great, so it was back in the side by side for another pass.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 10)

Clint lined up, burned out, and proceeded to go 10.50.  Still improving, and still breaking up.  Back in the pits I learned that the best time he could post was a 10.00, and the fastest he could go was 135mph.  Anything beyond that would require more safety equipment in the car.  So with that in the air, the guys again started taking the coil packs off the engine and pulling spark plugs.  The original plan was to swap in a set of HKS spark plugs, but Jason noticed something on the cylinder 3 coil pack.  There was carbon tracking, which meant electricity was arcing in the pack itself.  It wasn’t dead, but it was hurting.  Thinking a decrease in cylinder pressure would help, they switched places between the bad #3 pack and the known good #1 pack.  With the car buttoned up, we made our way back to the line.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 10) Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 10)

Before we left, Jason did some slight tweaking.  The boost was turned up ever so much and “a touch of fuel” was pulled out.  “This will exacerbate the problem” said Jason, knowing that some of us only heard that the boost was going up to around 24 or 25psi.  The 4th pass yielded a 10.33, which all things considered is not bad.  Plans were made for another pass and I would have stayed to watch him make a 10.2 pass, but a supercharged Charger SRT8 decided it wanted to break after doing a burnout… then repeat the the burnout/breakdown cycle again after a few cars were waved ahead of him.  Unfortunately I had a prior engagement and had to leave, BUT FEAR NOT! There is another chance for us all to see this thing go for the gusto!  This Friday night, or April 25th if you’re reading this after the event, is the first Midnight Drags at RMR and Clint will be making some passes in the brisk evening air.  I encourage you all to come out and watch.

Clint wasn’t the only fellow running at the Test N Tune.  I snapped some photos of those characters, and included them and all of the RBZ photos in a gallery below!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
20th Sep2013

Drift Utah 6

by Michael Chandler

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

The sun rose over a chilly Miller Motorsports Park.  The rain had stopped, but the already slick surface of the west paddock was puddle ridden.  The drivers arrived and unloaded their cars, and prepared them for a full day of drifting.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-13 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-15

Nick and Brandon gathered the drivers for a meeting and a rundown of the course.  Some showers had returned, which made it feel even colder than it did earlier.  After fielding few questions and introducing the DJ (Joey Harrington, aka G-Type, aka The Hair, aka Trueno the Panda), the drivers went out for a parade lap.  And then the fun began

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-16 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-18

The guys took the first few cuts somewhat conservatively.  I say somewhat, because the slick track was a bit of a trick to get used to with the water.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-28 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-23

The cones at the entry of the first big right hander took a beating from a few of the drivers, but then OP went on course…

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-19 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-20 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-21 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-22

DERP!  By the way, the E36 M3 is apparently built like a tank.  His car showed no signs of damage, and he gave ride alongs the rest of the day.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-27 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-31

Turbo and N/A S chassis were taking cuts, mustaches not required.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-40 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-45 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-63 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-69

Your favorite Pro/Am drivers and the resident Formula D driver were out giving ride alongs, and showing off some tandem skills.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-50

Then this showed up.  Things were getting wild, crazy even.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-75 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-78

Thankfully a contest broke out, which calmed things down.  David Curtis took the win, and whatever prize came with the respect and adulation.  All was calm.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-76

Well, at least it wasn’t weird.

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-80 Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-81

What the hell?

The last and final event of the Drift Utah season is tomorrow, September 21, in the Midway at Miller Motorsports Park.  $6 to watch, $5 for a single ride along, $20 for an all day Ride Alone Pass, $90 to come take some solo cuts, $140 to dance with a partner.  Register here, and make sure to come spectate by 4pm.  Thats when the contest starts!

And as always:

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.