Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Meet 2014

Yes we did name this race as something always happens that causes us to laugh and then we name the tour. Let us just say it was “spectacular”, more on that later. This report is about the March Meet 2014 in Bakersfield that the Hall Bros just competed in. Mark and Bryan both took their cars to compete in Nostalgia Eliminator which runs on a 7.60 index.

 This is Mark writing the report. For those that don’t know, I am the old man with the red 23T blown BBC altered and Bryan is my son and he has the black 32 Bantam with the blown 392 Hemi.

The March meet all started last year when we sent in our pre-registration to secure our reserved spaces. I had faxed them and then called many times and sent e-mails to confirm that they actually received our forms before the deadline. No responses. Then we get an e-mail confirmation that says we sent them after the deadline to get reserved spots. Wrong! So when I called the lady to tell her that we did send them in time she says“oh yeah, you guys are number 282 and 283 and the asphalt spaces end at 281”. Right…..good answer. Oh well, we can win from the dirt.

This was a four day race Thus, Fri, Sat and Sunday. We got there on Wednesday and it took what seemed like two hours for the guy to find us a spot. I wanted to ask the spotter what happened to our spaces 282 and 283 but he was a nice guy. We ended up almost at the ticket booth which actually worked out OK.

Thursday morning we got teched in and we were ready for the first qualifying round. It was me, Cliff Hall and Jim Novotny with the red car and it was just Bryan and Don Caldwell with the Bantam. Jim would need to do double duty with two cars since Bryan was short a crew member. Jeff Worms was working and could not make it. Bryan recruited Brian Reinaldo but he could not make it down until Fri morning.

So we headed to the lanes for the only qualifying run for Thursday. Bryan ran first and since I was so far back in line I was actually able to be on the line to see his run. Bryan’s car ran great and he posted a 7.619 on the 7.60 index which was # 1 at the time! I was toward the end of the 37 cars and since I was so far back in the lanes Bryan and Don were able to get back to the line to watch. I ran a 7.609 on the 7.60 index! This however was not good enough for #1 and I ended up #3 qualifier. Bryan ended up #6 for the day. This made for a very high spirited night as we went back to our dirt pit. We were really roughing it as we slept on the floor of our race trailer. That is the only way we can afford to make these events. If you take a motorhome they charge an extra 125.00 to camp besides the great fuel mileage with the MH. We also had to rough it when it came to our dinner as Cliff cooked Tri-tip and bake potatoes. The racers life is not easy!

 On Friday it would be the last qualifying pass. I went out first and my car drove toward the guardrail and I let off. Bryan’s car did not sound good and only went 7.80 something. When we got back to the pits after pulling the valve covers on Bryans car he had destroyed a couple of pushrods. So apart it came. We even pulled the heads to make sure one of the valves didn’t hit the piston. Bryan had left his spare pushrods at home so we needed a plan to get them here. We talked about Lisa and Kelly coming down but I found out through Kevin Aldridge that Chuck Adams was coming down to watch his son. They would be there Saturday morning. We also found a bunch of bad adjusters but found some new rocker arms at the swap that had adjusters. Problem solved, or so we thought. Brian Reinaldo and Don Caldwell got everything sorted out so it could go back together. The red car ran over something and was leaking fuel but nothing that JB weld couldn’t fix. Friday night we had a NE-1 pit party and special thanks go out to the Valencia’s for being a gracious host. It was a good feast and Cliff Hall made home made ice cream with the hand crank. It was a hit! Greg and Austin Means liked my apron that I was wearing. I can’t tell you what kind of apron it is but Austin wanted to take it to school and if he did CNN “to catch a predator” would have showed up.

 Saturday morning we got the pushrods kind of late and luckily Bryan’s friend Buddy had come down on his Harley and sped out to meet Chuck at the gas station so we could get the pushrods in time for the first round of eliminations. Now if you have been reading the previous race reports you will know that Bryan has not yet made one round of competition since he has owned the car. This thing is really making him earn it. The car is deadly consistent but it has just been mostly small stuff that has kept him out of eliminations.

We get the call and to the line we go with both cars ready. Bryan runs first and everyone is nervous and Bryan wants to get that monkey off his back. Bryan gets the green and runs 7.619 for the win and his first round win with the car. This is the start of something good. I am up next and I cut a .001 light but the car decides to speed up to a 7.55 on the 7.60 index so I wasted the almost perfect light. Now it is Bryans turn to carry the Hall Bros banner.

 Back in the pits we pull the valve covers and find a couple of pushrods that have slight damage so Bryan fixes them and we adjust the valves a little tighter and Bryan says he will keep the burnout RPM down. Hopefully this will help from beating up the cups.

Saturday evening we get the call for the second round of eliminations and the bantam is ready. Bryan cuts a good light (.038) and gets a huge holeshot. He runs a 7.64 and his opponent runs a 7.44 and Bryan beats him to the finish line! He gets past the second round! This is the first time that I got to ride down in the tow truck in front of the huge crowd. We were honking the horn and the crowd was yelling back. They really like the Bantam as it is the way a nostalgia car should look. It’s like being in the 60s again! This will make for a real good Saturday night as we rough it with barbecue spare ribs and Lisa’s macaroni salad!

Sunday we are ready to go. The pushrods were checked and they look good. Bryan is now in the third round and there are only 10 cars left. Bryan runs a 7.62 and he thinks that he reached the finish line first but it was real close and the other guy gets the win. Bryan wanted this one back as the reaction time was unlike any light of previous rounds.

So all in all it was another spectacular event. Oh yeah, so we named this race the spectacular tour. And here is the back story. All four days we kept hearing the announcers talking and when they said anything they would call out the other announcers name like “how about that Donnie Couch? or what do you think about that Mike English?” So we started doing that in our pit. How about that Bryan Hall? what do you think about that Cliff Hall? That was real spectacular Jim Novotny! Real good run Don Caldwell! So while we were sitting there listening to the announcer’s one of them put every adjective he could into his description and he said the word spectacular several times. So Jim said “man that guy got every word in including spectacular” and we all laughed. That is when we decided to name it the spectacular tour. Funny how we amuse ourselves!

These are some of the best of times for me racing. I had many good times growing up racing with my dad and going to races with my family and this ranks right up there. I couldn’t have made it to this point without the help of friends and family. Thanks to our wives, Lisa, Kelley, Jennifer, Connie and Diane for understanding our need for speed. Thanks to my brother Cliff for always being there. Thanks Jim Novotny, Don Caldwell and Brian Reinaldo. It is fun racing with you all. Bryan wants to send out a special thanks to Winslow Headrick for helping him with the gas bill. Believe me it helps! I want to thank Les Stripe for helping me the past 40 years when it comes to many things including racing. I finally got his name on the side of my car. I have been wanting to do that forever but just never got around to it. Racers are that way. Finally there is a Les Stripe, #LES on the side of the car that could be seen on the bangshift live feed. The #Les has a special insider meaning between Les and Lisa.

Next race is the Fremont Nostalgia Reunion which is actually in Sacramento. The race is on April 5 & 6. Come on out and watch the Hall Bros altereds if you get a chance!     


Saturday, October 26, 2013

California Hot Rod Reunion - Hall Bros.Race Report

The dirty chute packer’s tour!

Yes I know that is a weird way to start the race report but it will make sense before we get to the end of this long race report.

This report is about the NHRA Heritage Series, Hot Rod Reunion 2013, at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield that the Hall Bros. Race Team just competed in. 

Mark and Bryan both took their cars to compete in Nostalgia Eliminator which runs on a 7.60 index.

This is Mark writing the report. 

For those that don’t know, I am the old man with the red 23T blown BBC altered and Bryan is my son and he has the black 32 Bantam with the blown 392 Hemi.

The dirty chute packer’s tour started a few weeks before the race when I went out to test my car to run the 7.0 Pro class.

Bryan’s car was running good and he has run real close to the 7.60 number so he was ready to go. Bryan just bought an enclosed trailer and he was getting that ready for the trip.

I went out to test and tune two weeks before the Bakersfield race and pumped up the horsepower to get ready for the 7.0 Pro category.

 The track looked good and when I left the line the car hooked hard but didn’t go very far.

It blew up the planetary gears in the transmission. It was a mess!

We pulled the trans out at the track so I could leave the car in the trailer.

I was bummed but I was glad I tested.
Imagine that happening at the track on the first run especially with no spare transmission!

I tore the trans down the same day and found that the pinion gears in the planetary were blown to bits. 

Now I had to make a decision.

I had saved enough money to go to the race but was not expecting a blown up transmission!

I figured that in order to step up to go 7.0 I would need some stronger straight cut pinion gears.

So my decision was easy...put some stock pinion gears back in which work good for 7.60 class or not race.

Bryan says that the 7.0 Pro class is the devil!

So...I cast out the devil and decided to race the 7.60 class.

My planetary housing was beat up but not ruined so I scavenged some stock gears out of another planetary and I was back in business.

Every little piece had to come apart in the trans including cutting the converter open to make sure there was no debris.

I finished the trans on Wednesday morning and me and Cliff had it in, running and in the trailer by 2:00 pm ready to go.

Cliff said we were done too soon and he did not know what to do with his hands!  (Think “Taledaga Nights” here...)

I had to get to the track on Thursday because my chassis needed certification and Bryan was going to come down on Friday for first rounds of qualifying.

This was a three day race Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Bryan couldn’t hold out until Friday so he started out at about noon on Thursday and made it in enough time to get there Thursday night.

Both cars were tech’d and ready to go.

Friday we headed to the lanes for first of 2 qualifying runs for the day.

On the first pass my car ran good and I could tell it was going pretty quick so I lifted and ran 7.66 at only 147 on the 7.60 index.

Bryan ran 7.59 which was so very close to the index.

I qualified 12th out of 33 cars.

On the second qualifying pass me and Bryan were paired up.

Video streaming by Ustream

We both left the line straight and true.

Bryan cut a .005 light and I cut a .028 light.

Bryan ran a 7.50 @181and I ran a 7.53 @176 so he beat me to the finish line.

We both had some slowing down to do for the index!

Saturday morning was the 3rd qualifying pass and we both backed our cars down.

I backed off my timing to 26 degrees from 30 degrees and richened it up and Bryan backed off his blower overdrive.

I spun the tires and Bryan ran a nice 7.68 to qualify 18th in the field.

The fourth and last qualifying run on Saturday was cancelled because they started running late with the program.

So we were both qualified and we ended up on the same side of the ladder and would meet in the semi’s if we both made rounds.

Bryan left his car alone but because I was not able to make the last run I got skittish and leaned my car back to where I had it.

I did however leave the timing at 26 degrees.

Saturday morning we were called to the lanes and we each found our opponent and headed up. 

Bryan pulled up before me and as we were pulling to the lanes the Densham group decided to back out there big rig and hold up the mix.

They couldn’t pull out at 7am when nobody was pulling in the lanes? Rude!!!!

As I was stuck waiting...I heard Bryans' name and he was already racing!

Then we heard the announcer say someone was shutoff because they were leaking.

I was hoping it wasn’t Bryan but it ended being him.

The front of the oil pan had leaked two drops on the ground.

The starter shut him down.

Wow! I have seen cars leave the line with a big puddle behind and not get shutoff!

Anyway, lesson learned.

My opponent left the starting line before the lights even came down and I got the win with a 7.71 to his foul start.

The good part about having two cars is we increase our chances of making some rounds.

Bryan’s car is on the verge of being a spectacular 7.60 car but is just testing him to see how bad he wants it. These cars will do that to you!

I was glad to have won that first round so as to try and salvage the day.

I know how disappointing it can be to make all those runs and then not be able to compete.

In the second round of eliminations I bumped the timing to 29 degrees.
I ran a 7.57 but luckily my opponent ran a 7.56 so first or worst I got the win.

The day was looking up.

 For the third round I backed the timing off to 28 degrees and told Cliff 7.61 is what it would run.

The car left the starting line nice and straight and I ran….7.61!

That was win number 3 for the day.

When the crew got to the finish line Jeff said….it is quiet down here, you are missing all the celebrating on the starting line!

I had made it to the semis which means there were only 4 cars left.

I was feeling pretty good about my chances to win the entire deal.

So before we get to the semi final round let me tell you why we named the race the “Dirty Chute Packer Tour”... since we didn’t get to the races until Thursday the pits on the asphalt were already full by Wednesday and we had to pit down at the end in the dirt.

We also slept in our trailer for 3 nights which was real fun!

So between one of the rounds I was folding my parachute and it had a bunch of dirt on it.

As I was dusting it off I said something like “I have a bunch of dirt on my chute and I don’t want to pack it dirty”.

I can't remember who it was but either me, Bryan, Cliff, Jim, Jeff or Don said “you don’t want to be a dirty chute packer!”… and it was on!

With 6 guys you know what happened next...every other statement was about the dirty chute packer and I thought I was going to bust a gut!

I didn’t think I was going to be able to actually finish packing the chute because I was laughing so hard!

I know this may sound a little crude but we couldn’t help ourselves.

Then you throw a Greg Means in on the deal and we were cutting up almost the entire time!

This was a fun event...I am laughing right now as I write this!

Yes….We shall call it...the "Dirty Chute Packer Tour"!

Now...Back to the semi final round...I left my tune-up alone and with my 7.61 previous run I figured I would get lane choice but my opponent had run 7.60 on the 7.60 index in the previous round.

As I staged I brought the rpm up too high and I red lighted.

It was a too quick -.018 red light.

The bad part was my opponent ran too quick 7.58 on his run which would have given me the win. (First or worst). 

All in all it was a great fun event and one that I will remember!

Both cars are in one piece and running good.

It was real cool having with their live feed covering the event.

My wife Lisa was really talking up the Hall Bros. on the chat and social media...while talking on the phone and cheering with Bryan’s wife Kelley and our friend Les Stripe.

Bryan and I were both waving to the camera after each burnout to everyone watching.

Our two year old Granddaughter Claire watched one of the runs and when Bryan waved she said “Hi Daddy!”
(By the way...she calls me Poppy!)

We wish there was another race soon but we will have to wait until the March meet in Bakersfield next year, though Cliff will be racing on New Year's Day, so that will be cool along with our Hall Bros. mini-dragster "Cackle-Fest" that we are planning then also!

Thanks for catching up with the Hall Bros. Racing Team...If you'd like to see some more photos from this race, check out our facebook page where there are several of the "Pro" photos posted.

Until next time,



Saturday, July 28, 2012

"The Statement"

The statement “If it was easy everyone would be doing it” is the best way to describe racing. Yes, many can talk about how fast they are, or “I would have done it that way”, but until you put your own program together and actually go out to the track you will never know how really difficult it is. I have nothing but respect for those that race and are able to do it with some consistency and win. It is not easy.

 So why do we do it? Maybe the challenge to do something that most can’t? The thrill and excitement of driving fast?  The fulfillment of bottling up 1500 hp, strapping yourself in and lighting the fuse?  Or is it just the fact that you can get your friends and family together when the words are spoken, let’s go racing! I think it is all of the above but mostly the latter. 

 Sometimes things don’t go your way and a little part breaks to ruin your racing weekend. Do we get discouraged, yes.  But do we quit, no. Not if you really want it. You keep spending money, staying up until all hours of the night and dreaming of that perfect weekend when everything comes together and you win a race.

 Some go their entire lifetime and not win a race. I have won a few races in my life, some that I can barely remember yet I still continue. I continue because I like the people, I like the competition and l like the fact that family and friends come together at the races.  Some of my most memorable races were ones I lost by an inch yet I can barely remember the wins if not for a distant picture or two.  

 Recently someone told me,” I remember when you won the first nostalgia drags at Sacramento” and if not for his remembrance I probably would have completely forgotten. Why is that? I guess racing is much more than just about winning , it is a dream.  Anyway, thank goodness for computers as we can now document our musings, keep thousands of pictures and share the excitement of that big win and the story line behind it.

Let’s go racing!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bryan's Altered Race Car Thrash

Bryan got a bee in his bonnet (lol) and decided he wanted to make the Nostalgia Reunion Race at Sacramento Raceway this weekend!

So, we Hall Bros., in typical fashion, went into overdrive and did a Race Car Thrash! 
(That's the way us "poor boys" do it!)

We started on Monday night with Bryan bringing over his heads to dad's garage:

 The heads needed an overhaul and a new set of valves. In addition new springs and titanium retainers were installed.

On Tuesday night, the thrash continued as the engine was put back together at Bryan's Garage:

Sweet Baby Claire was helping her Poppy make some decisions about the pushrods!

Uncle Cliff came over to help also.

And it was a good thing that he did...cuz it was looking like Claire Bear was not about to let go of her Daddy so that he could help out! LOL!

While the guys were hard at work...the little one's were distracted by a visitor to Rio Linda....

Yes! That's right...JB stopped by for a visit! ( least the cardboard version of him stopped by!) The girls were busy entertaining him in the boat and didn't seem to be interested in the race car drama going on right next to them.

It's always good to have Dad around for advice and guidance!

Close inspection of the pushrods, to be sure they will hold up to the extreme pressure a blown engine can exert during one pass on the track!

The blower and injector.

When it was all put back together, and we tried to run-up, we experienced a minor problem with the batteries...

Soon, it was fixed and we had a successful 11:00 pm no less!

Check out the video here:

Happy Faces all around here! 
With a few minor things to check-off the list, this baby is ready to run Friday at the Nostalgia Reunion!

Only one thing missing from this equation that could have made it any better...

Miss you everyday Dad...we know you'd be proud and we know you'll be there cheering Bryan on this weekend!