Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mini Indy 2011

Well, every year my work puts on a charity event called the mini indy. It's always held in March and takes place in St. George, Utah. All the proceeds go to the United Way and it brings in some good money for them. Basically a bunch of grown ups get together and race 5 horsepower go carts around a track. They have to make 2 pit stops during each race and the cars are heavily monitored to make sure no one cheats. In the past there have been quite a few cars disqualified and kicked out for cheating. These people really take this SERIOUS. I go down and volunteer to be on the tech team. I would be the one that makes sure everything is the same on all the cars and that no one is cheating. This is a 3 day event. On the first day they have a big golf tournament, the 2nd day is test and tune for all the cars and a charity auction and banquet. The 3rd day is the big race with a BBQ cook off during the day. It's always a bunch of fun. The only problem is the last 2 years the weather has not cooperated. After lunch on race day is when the weather decides to kick up and really make things interesting. Here are some of the photos from the weeks events.

 This is the tech area. All the go carts get their oil changed, compression checked, tire pressures and RPM's set, and everything is checked like air cleaners, seat belts, brakes and other necessary items.
 This is one of the pit areas. This shows you how serious people are here. Look at that tent. All 37 teams had similar tents like this.
 Here is my buddy eating by Tony Stewart's car. This car drove around the pits all week. They had a Nascar simulator that you could race also.
 This is part of the pit stop competition. All the teams compete to have the fastest pit stop. In a pit stop they have to change drivers, and jack up the car and change a tire out. It is very competitive and we had to judge and time the competition. The jack is in front of the car with the lug nut remover to the side of it.
 Here is a few teams in the middle of their pit stop. They have to do these pit stops twice in the real race also.
A miniature blimp was here all week taking pictures and flying around.
Here are the go carts doing test and tune runs on practise day. We actually install a transponder on each car so they can check their times accurately and in case there is a photo finish on race day.
 This is the team from Enterprise rent a car. Yes he is actually wearing a sport coat. I think it's their CEO.
 At the banquet there is a competition for the best looking car and uniforms for the teams. Most teams dress up in some wild outfits trying to get the trophy. A lot of the paint jobs that show up each year cost more than my bug, truck and van put together. Here is one that has a viking theme.
This is the nose on the car. It is all hand painted and it looked even better in person.
 This shows some of the details involved with these cars. This one was also hand painted and clear coated. Can you believe these are only go carts. Most cars on the road don't have paint jobs that cost this much.
Here are some more cars at the banquet.
 It's race day now and they always start off with the national anthem being sung and a parachuter with a flag .

 The first heat of the day. They run 2 classes and then the winners of them compete in the final race of the day. Unfortunately, the rain, wind, and hail came right after lunch and everything got cancelled. They had run 4 heats though but the weather just got to bad.

 At this point we were changing out the rear axle of this car trying to get it ready for the next race. It crashed earlier and bent the axle. If you look closely you can see some people starting to hold the tents down so they don't blow away.
 Here we are all holding the tents down. It was going nuts at this point and we quickly got all the tents down before they got blown away. The race was cancelled now and everyone went to the old terminal building in the old St. George. airport. This is when we got a great idea.
 Why not take the skywest cars out for a spin on the track. Everyone else was huddled in trying to avoid the weather so we had the track all to ourselves.. I am racing this one and had to get some pictures.
 here is my buddy. There was 4 of us racing in the rain and we all agreed that this definitely made the week worth it. I had a ball. It was a little cold but way to much fun to stop.
These are the guys I was racing with. We just came in and were trying to thaw out.  It wasn't very long after that we called it a day and took our cars out to the end of the runway for a drag race. You just don't get to race on an actual airport runway very often. I also took ed through the race track a couple times. Even with the crappy weather, it was still a fun week. It turns out to be a lot of work but there is still time to mess around and have fun. Hopefully next year the weather will cooperate a little better.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

St. George Road Trip in the Bug!

725 miles, 18 gallons of gas, 1 quart of oil and 4 days of go cart racing was what happened this week. I decided a couple months ago that I was going to drive the bug down to St. George for my works Mini Indy charity race. I go every year and volunteer on the tech team. I will post more about the mini indy at another time. This posting is just about the trip down and back in the bug.

I had a buddy bum a ride down there and then his family was going to meet him in St. George a little while later. I didn't really want to drive I-15 all the way there and my buddy lives in Tooele so I decided to go out to Tooele and go the back way. We went through Vernon, Delta, Milford, Minersville, and we came out at Cedar City. I then hopped on to I-15 and went to St. George. I liked this route so much that I went home the same way.

It takes some planning to drive over 700 miles in a 42 year old bug. I packed the trunk with spare seals, gaskets, oil, coil, distributor, gas line, lots of electrical supplies, timing light, dwell meter, hydraulic jack, and lots and lots of tools. The way I looked at it, if I planned for every possible problem, then I wouldn't have any problems. There is logic to my thinking! It also added more weight which in turn lowered the bug even more and just made it look that much cooler.

The bug performed flawlessly. I couldn't of been happier. It ran down the road straight as an arrow, the engine purred like a kitten, It started without any problems and hauled lots of people all over St. George. I don't know why the one person with the oldest and by far the smallest car always ends up driving with the most people in it. It must be because it was the coolest car down there. Ha Ha. The only thing that was hard on the bug was the cattle guards all along the way. The ones I slowed down for, were smooth, and of course the ones that I didn't slow down for, well, lets just say that the dukes of hazzard have nothing on us. Here are some of the photos from this week.

 Here is the front trunk. It has all the parts and oil and stuff.
 Here is looking in the back window. I have a jack and tools.
 And here is a view from the side window. You can see the service manual in the window. (Just in case).
 We are in St. George here. It was nice and sunny the first couple of days we were there.
 All loaded up and making runs from the Dixie Center up to the old St. George Airport. We had to load and unload 37 go carts so they were ready for race day.
 Here are a couple buddies ready to make sure no one cheats on race day.
 This picture is going down in history. This is the end of the runway at the old St. George airport. If you look closely you can see the numbers of the runway. They are x'd out for safety reasons. You can see it is raining pretty good and very windy. The race was canceled at this point so I decided to take the bug out for a spin down the runway. I actually am racing my buddy in his Chevy Aveo. I thought I might stand a chance beating an Aveo.

Here we are lined up ready to race. It was so windy you can see my buddy almost taking off for flight.
 Well, as you can see, I am losing to the aveo. Sorry to say, it didn't get much better. He pulled away from me the whole time. I guess that's what happens when the guy your racing has 40 horses on you. I personally think that it was just too much wind and the aveo had the aerodynamic advantage on the bug.
 Well, It's Saturday and I am headed home. Just Ed and me this time. I did bring lots of music and talk tapes on my MP3 player. I hit all kinds of weather. Cedar City brought snow, I also hit wind, rain and some spots of sun.
 Couldn't resist a picture here. I almost got high centered getting back on the road after this picture.
 Here is another shot. I checked the road on this one so I didn't drag bottom getting out.
 Trains are so cool. There are lots of them around Milford.
 Here is the local Lions Club Lodge? I guess. It is an old train car. Very Cool! If I could get one of those home for an office in my yard I probably would.
 After a few hours of driving you get bored so I looked for some cool pictures to take. I took this on as I was driving about 70 MPH. The bug is so low you don't have to reach out the window very far to get close to the ground.

 If you blow up this picture and look way out you can see a bunch of windmill power generators. There are probably 50 or more of them in this area. They are huge up close and most were spinning pretty fast.
 Couldn't resist a picture of the VW emblem and the road going by.
 This picture shows the long road ahead and the long road already traveled in the mirror.
 This is Old Fort Deseret. At least what remains of it. It was built from mud and straw and was 10 feet tall. It protected the settlers from hostile Indians at the time. This was definitely a fun trip and one I would love to take again. Maybe next year. We will see.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Finished the back seat.

Well, I got some time this morning to play in the garage and finish up the back seat. It turned out pretty good I think. It all fit together well and I was able to get it all installed in the car. Here are some pics.
Here is the original back of the back seat. It's in great shape but doesn't match the front seats I bought. I removed this to start with this morning.

I then installed the new back of the back seat that I recovered a couple days ago.  It is only 2 bolts and it comes out and bolts back in. Very Easy.

Here is the seat that I bought to use. I removed this old cover and found some framework that needed to be tweaked straight and fastened correctly. You can see the bow in the whole seat. It took awhile to get that out and straightened.                                                                                                                                       
Here I have the fabric on the frame after I tweaked everything straight. I have some hog ring pliers here. They work great for installing the fabric. They use a hog ring that clamps together to hold the fabric.
Here I am using it on the fabric. I am actually fastening it on the frame through a hole.

Here is the finished product. You can see everything is nice and straight and it all fit really well. This bottom of the back seat was actually a lot easier to put together then the back of the bottom seat was.

And here it is all installed in the car. It looks awesome and I sat on it and it's pretty comfy also.

One more picture from the back window. The only thing I am hoping for is a few of the wrinkles in the back of the bottom seat to work themselves out. Hopefully they will but if not it doesn't look too horrible for a first time amateur job. Now the next thing for the interior is carpet. It may be awhile, I'm outta money!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Recovering the back seat.

I bought a set of front seats for the bug a couple months ago. I got a complete set of front seats and the upholstery for the rear seat. I installed the front seats awhile ago and I finally get around to doing something with the rear. The rear seat in the bug is in great condition. It was redone before I bought it and it is perfect. I wish I knew where the previous owners got the fabric. If I knew that, I would of just redone the front seats to match and been happy. Anyways I bought a backseat from a guy and that is the one I am going to redo and I will save the good rear one for something else. Maybe someday I will find out where to get some fabric that matches and I will redo the front seats. Here are the front seats that I installed.
Here is the upper part of the back seat that I bought. It is a little rough but the framework is in good shape. 
 Here I am removing the old cover.
 The old foam is a little bare but the new cloth has foam installed on it.
 Here is the back side of the new upholstery. Now I just need to put it on and stretch it tight and tack it in place.
 It actually wasn't that hard to do. Here it is. I still need to stretch it a little and maybe add some more hog rings but I think it turned out OK. Now I just have to do the bottom half of the seat and install it into the bug. It should look pretty good. The upholstery isn't the best quality but it looks good and will work great for what I need to do with it. I will post some final pictures when it's installed.