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Driving 133 mph On A County Road In Nebraska

Posted on 9/26/17 with No comments


Most of us have a few crazy ideas hidden in the back of our minds, of things we wish we could do or experience but know that in real life it is not possible. This seems to be true more so today then it did when I grew up in the 1970's. Growing up in a small town we drag raced on the edge of town. As long as we did not get to crazy and used a little common sense, all was good up to a point.

The bad thing about living in a small town was that local law enforcement knew who the drag racers were, and if you pissed them off, you got nailed for any small driving infraction they could come up with. It was to teach you a lesson...they called it an "attitude adjustment" which usually adjusted your checkbook.

While that seemed harsh then, I can't imagine growing up in todays world. Everything today is so by the book... the things we did growing up in my younger days would have us in jail today.

So as I am reflecting on this... a customer calls me and tells me he just got back from the Sand Hills Open Road Challenge in Arnold Nebraska. What the heck is that...I asked?

"Man you won't believe it! They block off 26 miles of local county roads and let cars run flat out as fast as they can, and they time them to see who has the fastest time. There are classes for different cars and all of the high dollar cars show up from the west and east coast! Corvettes, Vipers, GT 500 Mustangs, anything that goes seriously fast is there...."

This is the 26 mile course

"Then they do what is called a mile shootout. They block off three miles of straight highway and you have a mile to get up to speed, they measure your top speed in the next mile and you have a mile to slow down!"

"No way...not in 2016 would they let you do that! The lawyers and the insurance companies would have a field day with that one...I say!"

So he sends me to the website (just copy and paste in your search engine) and I find out everything he says is true and more. The race is held in and around Arnold Nebraska which has a population of 578 people.

With no motels around for 40 miles all of the local residents open up their homes and rent out sleeping rooms to the racers. The local church groups put on pot luck dinners as fund raisers and the racers more than make it worth their while. This is too good to be true!

Just as he explained...this happens NOT on a race track, this happens on regular county roads that the farmers and the locals use the other 51 weeks a year. These roads are normally full of farm machinery and stock trailers, not high dollar racing cars, most of which happen to be street legal.

The entrants of the race all seem to agree...what is the purpose of having a fast car if you cannot drive it fast. When they come here they can drive fast and be safe. All of the cars are inspected before they are allowed to run on either course. Entrants can sign up for the road course or the mile shootout or both. The number of entrants is limited (usually around 110 entrants total all classes) and there is a waiting list. That should come as no surprise!

This has been going on since 2002. Meanwhile...back to the 133 mph speed. In the early days of the race there was an unlimited class. One entrant took that literally and brought his 700 hp Nextel Monte Carlo to town. He installed a Go Pro camera on the roll bar which was state of the art technology in 2006. While the video is not as clear as it would be today you can see and hear everything that went on in the car as he sat a course record. You can watch the video on you tube here...(just copy and paste this link in the "you tube" search box)

Keep in mind as you are watching this... that the guy did his homework. He knew from his research exactly how fast he could take each corner. His wife served as his navigator and had the job of yelling out his corner speed and either right or left hand corner. How many wives would be willing to ride along and not scream at the top of her lungs when he got to 190 mph on the straights?

He covered 26 miles of twisty farm roads in less than 12 minutes. His average speed was 133 mph and his top speed was 192 mph. There is no longer an unlimited class so his record will stand for eternity. That is no doubt a relief to many.

After watching the video and looking over the website I decided I had to go and check this out for myself. Turns out everything I learned about is still true. You can go and watch the cars on the 26 mile course from a high vantage point, but you have to be there before the race starts (first car leaves at 8:00 am) and you can't leave until after the race, which usually gets over by 4:00 pm, so pack your lunch, literally) because you drive to the vantage point on the same county roads the race cars drive on.

I drove the 26 mile course on Friday night before the race and I have to say it was eye opening. It was rough in places... the radius of some of the corners were kind of sharp... and there were combines and tractors parked in the fields next to the road to remind me where I was. The corners marked 35 mph I drove at 45 and couldn't imagine taking them at 65 or 70 mph.

All in all... it was a unique experience, and I plan to go again. If you want to go, you must plan ahead and either take a motor home so you have a place to sleep (there is a small RV park close to town) or get on the list to rent sleeping rooms, which are typically reserved from a year to three years in advance.

The spirit of cooperation from all of the local citizens and local law enforcement is truly amazing. Everybody pitches in to help accommodate the racers and the racers have in turn donated back to the community.

All of the local business provide some sponsorship including the local bank, implement dealer, and gas station. The one I found most interesting was this doubt a first for a seed company!
The racers have provided money to build a community center so they have a place to have their dinner and awards banquet. All of the local fire departments are now equipped with state of the art fire trucks and rescue equipment, and the racers even paid for the training on how to use the equipment.

The kind of trucks and equipment you see in Custer County Nebraska is equal to what you see at a NASCAR track. In the last ten years the racers have invested over a million dollars in the community. Seems kind of strange in a county where the cows out number the people 10 to 1.

The entrants like to come to Arnold because it is the only place you can truly run flat out. One car owner commented that he had to drop his average speed on the course between Arnold and Dunning by 15 mph, because of the challenging right angle corners. He said he had never experienced a course like Arnold and he has raced on roads all over the United States.

One of the strangest things to witness... is the look on the face of the first time entrant as he drives by the local sheriff at 120 mph and the Sheriff just waves. Priceless!

So I have now learned that nothing is impossible... and there are plenty of good caring folks living in the sand hills of Nebraska willing to make outsiders feel welcome. More important, they are willing to work together as a community to make the impossible happen. Kind of restores your faith in humanity.

On the way home from this event I was thinking I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when it was proposed to the city fathers in Arnold Nebraska by a group of "out of towners," to hold a car race in their community, that would involve blocking off their local county roads so they could drive on them at warp speeds. I can't imagine.

And just so you know... the laws of physics still apply, even in the desolate sand hills of Nebraska.

This one rolled in a corner and landed upside down in the ditch.

Same car different view.

Car 357 experienced an end-over-end wreck during the Loup 2 Loup (Return trip back to Arnold) but both driver and navigator walked away with no reported injuries. Car...not so much!

Overall there are very few wrecks most years, mostly it is cars sliding off a corner and into a field. When you consider the speeds they are traveling and that the road surface conditions are just average, the drivers do an amazing job!


Evans Waterless Coolant - How It Works.

Posted on 9/10/17 with No comments


I have been putting Evans Coolant in Great Race cars since the early 1990's. Evans is a waterless coolant that has a boiling point of 370 degrees and freeze point of -80 degrees with zero pressure in the cooling system. No... that is not a typo...that is ZERO pressure in the cooling system.

If you have read my "Official Guide To Cooling Systems..." you know that once the coolant boils in the radiator, that is a sign that the coolant is saturated, and cannot absorb any more heat from the engine. If water is part of the engine coolant, the water will expand as it turns to steam which will force the coolant out of the radiator overflow. 

When that happens you loose coolant resulting in less coolant remaining in the cooling system to absorb the heat from the engine. With less coolant present to carry away the heat...the temperature of the coolant in the engine will continue to climb. That is when the physical damage can occur to the engine, Flathead Fords often developed cracks in the block when this occurred. 

The high boiling point of the Evans Coolant combined with the fact that it has minimal expansion even at the higher temperatures means that there is no coolant loss with the Evans Coolant. The Evans Coolant has the ability to absorb a much greater amount of heat from the engine as compared to a 50/50 antifreeze and water mixture.

One thing you will notice with the Evans Coolant installed is that the in dash temperature gauge will read slightly higher. That is because the Evans Coolant is actually drawing more heat out of the engine block. If you check the engine block using an infrared temperature will see that the engine block is physically cooler than it was with the antifreeze and water mixture. Remember...the temperature gauge in the dash is reading the temperature of the coolant itself, and not the temperature of the engine block.

You also need to remember that the antifreeze in a conventional antifreeze and water mixture does not directly benefit the engine cooling process. It is there to counteract the affects of water in the cooling system, to prevent rust and corrosion from forming that would eventually reduce or stop the flow of coolant thru the radiator. To explain it another way...

Antifreeze... is there to keep the inside of the cooling system clean and does nothing to directly benefit the removal of heat from the engine block. Water has that job. That is why when you add a coolant mixture greater than a 50/50 mix your antique vehicle. it overheats quicker. It is because there is less water present which is actually what draws the heat out of the engine.

One of the first Great Race applications to really test the Evans Coolant was the Fifth Avenue sponsored 1911 Velie the year the Great Race went up Pike's Peak in Colorado. I knew that was going to be a challenge for the Velie as well as for the rest of the cars entered in the race. So I went looking for a way to keep the Velie from overheating.

After about 6 months of searching I found the Evans Coolant. I had numerous long conversations with the engineers at Evans and with Jack Evans himself who invented the coolant. I explained about the Velie and about going up Pikes Peak and they kept assuring me the coolant would do the job. This would be a good test.

The Velie made it to the top of Pikes Peak without stopping, and most important of all did not overheat! There were more than a dozen cars who had to stop along the way due to overheating. Many of the entrants watched in amazement as the Velie chugged slowly to the top. How come "that thing which is nearly a hundred years old" isn't overheating like we are...they all wanted to know. The Evans Coolant worked as designed.

Since those early days I have installed the Evans Coolant in hundreds of different applications besides antique vehicles.  There is also a diesel engine version of the Evans Coolant for over the road trucks and diesel applications. I have used both versions with good success over the years.

For example...I converted an entire fleet of concrete trucks after I put the Evans Coolant in the owner's antique car. He saw and experienced first hand the difference between the Evans Coolant and a conventional water antifreeze mix.  He immediately called and wanted to know if the Evans Diesel Coolant would work in his fleet of Concrete delivery trucks like it did in his antique vehicle? It did the same for his concrete trucks resulting in increased protection from overheating when the trucks were sitting at a job site waiting to unload, and during the unloading process.

Engine cooling fans ran less on the concrete delivery trucks, and plugged radiators were no longer a major concern, resulting in less maintaince. The company used to wash out the truck radiators daily to prevent overheating. Now they do it weekly as a precaution. now you know how the Evans Coolant works. To install it you first need to get all of the water out of the cooling system. You can do that by draining the engine block and the radiator then using a hair dryer of heat gun to remove all of the water.

There is also Evans Prep Fluid that you can add to your cooling system to absorb the remaining water if you do not have a heat gun or hair dryer and /or want to save a little time. Pour in the Evans Prep Fluid and circulate it thru the cooling system and it will absorb the remaining water. You need to be down to less than three percent water before you add the Evans Coolant. Once the Evans Coolant is installed, it is a lifetime coolant it does not need to be replaced. The Evans Prep Fluid is reusable for more than one application.

The Evans Coolant works great and is very popular in Flathead Ford applications (that should come as no surprise) as well in most any antique vehicle, including tractors. I have quite a few tractor pullers using it, both antique and modern Hot Rod pullers, and they say less head gasket damage because of the reduced pressure in the cooling system. I have also installed it in antique Chris-Craft boats and about anything else you can imagine in twenty plus years.

In Review... here are the top ten things you need to know about Evans Waterless Coolant...

1 Evans NPG coolant is a waterless coolant, which means there is no water mixed in with the coolant.

2 Evans coolant boils at 370 degrees Fahrenheit and freezes at minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with zero pressure in the cooling system.

3 The water that makes up 50% of conventional coolant is also the source of rust, hard water deposits, and corrosion, all of which build up and will reduce the circulation of the coolant thru the cooling system, causing the engine to eventually overheat and the radiator to loose coolant. By contrast Evans NPG coolant is non-corrosive to the cooling system and because Evans NPG coolant contains no water all of the problems associated with water in the cooling system are eliminated.

4 After a fresh engine rebuild is an excellent time to add Evans NPG coolant to the engine and cooling system. You will have a lifetime of engine cooling protection and the inside of the cooling system will stay as clean as when the vehicle was new. It makes good sense to protect your investment and keep the cooling system working at top efficiency.

5 When doing an Evans NPG conversion you need to get all of the water out of the engine block and cooling system. Your goal is to have less than 3 percent water left in the cooling system.

6 Evans prep fluid is a hydroscopic fluid that attracts and absorbs water. Evans prep fluid will help to remove the water trapped in the engine block and cooling system. The Evans Prep fluid can be saved and used for more than one application.

7 Evans NPG coolant is more expensive initially than conventional water and antifreeze coolant mixture but will prove to be cheaper in the long run. You will have less cooling system maintaince and will not have to change coolant every four years.

8 You DO NOT have to change the radiator cap when converting to Evans NPG coolant. The pressure in a cooling system comes from the water in the coolant turning to steam. Because the Evans NPG coolant contains no water and has such a high boiling point, minimal pressure builds in the cooling system, even with a pressure cap on the radiator.

9 Evans NPG coolant works just as well in a non- pressurized cooling system as it does in a pressurized cooling system. You get the same freeze protection and boil over protection in both a pressurized and a non-pressurized cooling system. There is also an Evans Coolant for diesel engine applications.

10 Evans NPG coolant is a lifetime coolant, which means once it is installed there is no more maintaince to do. It is good for the life of the cooling system. It will provide the same protection throughout its lifetime. It will protect your cooling system from rust scale and corrosion damage while your vehicle is in storage the same as it does while you are driving it.

You can order the Evans NPG Plus Coolant and the Prep Fluid in the "parts section" of the website under "Cooling"



About Me

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Since 1987, Fifth Avenue owner, Randy Rundle, has been making antique, classic and special interest vehicles more reliable and fun to drive.