Patience is a virtue the Gotta Have Builds team doesn’t possess, so they didn’t wait very long to get back out there. Cecil County Dragway in Northeast Maryland has always been their home track, and a Saturday test and tune on May 12 was calling their name. Bill Tumas and the team loaded up supplies in the support vehicle, and headed to Maryland with two CJ Pony Parts customers, who brought a modified 2011 GT and a 2011 GT500. They got to the track around 8:30 am and the lanes were pretty empty, so they installed drag radials on both 2011 cars, prepped Gotta Have It Race and headed to the lanes for tech inspection. After passing tech inspection with no problems, they headed out to the lanes.
Cecil Country Dragway just redid the first 1/8th mile with all new concrete, so this was Bill's first time racing on the new surface. Not knowing how much bite the track had that early in the morning, the initial plan was for a conservative first pass, but seeing that he had lined up with the customer's GT500, that plan went out the window and the race was on.
"I did a nice, healthy second gear burnout to put some heat in the drag radials. A line lock has not been installed on the car yet, so I had to do an old school burnout by holding the brakes. I had 24 psi in the rear tires and revved the car to 5000 rpms, same as I did for the 12.08 pass the week before. Unfortunately, the surface wasn’t quite ready for that kind of launch, so Gotta Have it Race blew the tires off pretty badly on launch. The launch has always been tricky with a heavy car, bone stock suspension, and drag radials. You can’t simply dump the clutch; you need to ride it out of the hole a little bit, which puts a lot of heat in the clutch, but has given me a best 60 foot of 1.68 in the past."
With all of the spin, the 60 foot time was 1.93, but the ET was a promising 12.17 @ 116.32mph. The MPH surprised Bill a lot, as he has always felt that the MPH timers at Cecil were a little on the high side, but the ET doesn’t lie. Bill ran right with the GT500, which was a huge surprise for everyone!
Bill pulled around for a second pass with 22 psi in tires and using the same launch. Gotta Have It Race still spun, but not as badly as the first pass, allowing Bill to have another 12.19 @ 115.51. The car felt clean on that pass, but he felt he could have hit the 2-3 shift a little cleaner and gotten the 11 sec pass the whole team wanted so badly.
After letting the car cool for 15-20 minutes, Bill decided to take it up and try it again. He used the same second gear burnout, except lowered the tire pressure to 20 psi.
"I staged and let the clutch go at 5000 rpm, like usual, and the car just wouldn’t accelerate in 1st gear. It felt real lazy, and the 60 foot time showed something was wrong"
He pulled around and looked under the hood and noticed some fluid on the clutch reservoir. After cleaning it off, Bill went up and tried again, but encountered the same exact issue. The team thought that the combination of the burnout and the launch might be putting too much heat in the factory hydraulic clutch setup. To test this theory, they cleaned up the reservoir again and let the car and driver cool down for over an hour.
After that, Bill pulled the car back up in the lanes and, since it still wasn’t busy, he was able to pull right up and make a pass. The weather was getting hotter, but the car was nice and cool at this point.
"I left 20 psi in the tires and did my usual 2nd gear burnout, but decided to try 4500 rpm this time and see what happened. The car left the line MUCH better this pass, with no hesitation at all. The 60 foot was 1.74, which is off its best, but still pretty good for our setup. I hit all my shifts cleanly and felt like this might be the 11 second pass we were all was looking for"
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, as he barely missed the goal with a 12.05 @ 115 mph. Had he been able to get back in the 1.6s with the 60 foot, Gotta Have It Race would have gone into 11’s no problem.
The CJ's team had to leave early so Bill tried to make his next pass immediately, but the clutch issue returned so they called it a day and drove home with a new best. The CJ's Team has a line lock nearing delivery, and found out a few things on the dyno that was ran two days after their day at Cecil County Dragway that will be addressed with a tune in the near future.