Top Speed Challenge / Texas Mile

The next shot at a new record speed was on the shorter, one-mile event at the Texas Mile in Victoria, Texas. The 1.5-mile Mojave chassis and tuning settings were written down in the log books for safe keeping. Running a one-mile course was going to be a whole new setup combination. The shorter distance would require completely different rearend gears and all new tuning to the Holley EFI. RJ’s first run was for licensing to make sure he could handle Big Red on the runway. He was required to go between 200 and 215 mph. Big Red was up for the challenge, and easily hit the top end of the requirement. Nobody on the crew had any doubts RJ couldn’t pedal Big Red to hit the licensing speed if he was able to make a clean run. To shoot for higher speeds, the guys decided it was time for more boost. The Component Drive Systems gears had to be swapped, which required removing the airbox and supercharger. While a couple of guys worked on swapping the drive gears for the supercharger, the other heck out Big Red’s original factory rocker panels. The inner and outer wheelwells have been removed and were going to be 

 replaced with aftermarket wheel tubs, but the rockers have stayed intact. Before going to get media blasted, they’ll need to plug up those holes to keep the media and debris out of the rockers. The wheel openings in the quarter panels have been strengthened by welding a metal flange all the way around. This helps add rigidity to the quarter panel and removes sharp edges that might cut a tire. The guys know that they need to get the body panels aligned properly before removing them for the duration of the build. That way they know it will all go back together smoothly when they get all the parts back from the body shop. Big Red is a race car, but Dan and RJ care about how it looks, since Big Red is as much a brand as a race car. Welding the wheel tub flanges to the quarter panels created a distinct mark in the panel. Some hammer and dolly work was required to get it back in shape. More hammer and dolly work also was required to save the passenger-side fender.RJ was happy with the results. RJ’s driving skill and the crew’s efforts 

were rewarded with a new record: 151.7 mph in the quarter mile, 204.7 mph in the half mile, and 251.9 mph in the mile. That’s the fastest it’s gone in those three distances. Since it ran 253.6 mph in the 1.5-mile at Mojave, and many of the bugs have been worked out, the new record in the mile brought new questions. How fast can Big Red go the next time it runs the 1.5 mile? RJ and the team have covered a lot of ground in just six months: Pikes Peak in Road Race/Hill Climb mode to Top Speed mode, where they ran Mojave at the Runway Racing 1.5-mile event, and then the Texas Mile. Big Red earned new firsts and high speeds, as well as respect from new and old fans along the way.Big Red is a big operation. RJ doesn’t cut
corners on the support of Big Red. In 2015, Big Red’s accommodations went from a long fifthwheel trailer to a full-stacker trailer. It allows the crew to comfortably transport Big Red, gear, and tools, as well as a spare engine and transmission. The trailer also has allowed RJ to bring his 2014 Z/28 if he wants to run it at the event. Every time RJ goes for a run and brings Big Red pits, every crew member is busy checking all the components and systems to
confirm everything is in tip-top shape back into the . The crew looks over all the data on the laptop to see if any tuning adjustments, rearend gear swapping, or supercharger drive gear changes are necessary. Of course, they also get feedback from RJ to see how Big Red was acting during the run. Big Red was feeling good, but even with the traction control, there was still some tire slippage. The guys concluded that they would try to adjust the rear wing to add more downforce, but it was already at the highest setting. Instead of adding more holes on the fly, they added three-inch blocks under the spoiler to see if it helped. RJ ran another pass. The verdict was that the additional angle definitely increased traction during the run, and more tuning adjustment to the converter lockup was required. After tuning, Big Red was clocked at 247.9 mph in the 1.5 mile. It was clocked with a fastest half mile at 200.9 mph, and the fastest mile ever at 242.3 mph.