The resurrection of the Blue Flame


El Presidente
Staff member
Paid Member
After being down for over a year, the Blue Flame finally came out to play after months of surgery and recuperation. It had been a long road, and after a disappointing initial test and tune session a few weekends ago, we felt we had enough data under our belt to try to do some work on the tuning side to see if the car would respond favorably.

There was no better time and place than the Super Southern Heavy Shootout at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. So on the Thursday evening prior we loaded up the trailer and the Navigator and on Friday made the 10 hour drive from West Virginia down to Georgia.

It was a tiring drive and despite leaving early in the morning we didn't arrive until almost dark. We spent the evening hours in the parking lot polishing the car and programming the chip in preparation for the early morning opening.


The following morning, it was an early rise and shine to get in line for sunrise at the track gates. ;)


After unloading the car we proceeded to tech followed by a now obligatory trip to the fueling station for some 110 octane race fuel. :cool:Then it was time to prep the data logging equipment, check the air in the tires and wait for the staging lanes to open.

The first time run of the day was immediately gratifying as I could tell the car launched much harder than the previous time out. When we picked up the time slip I immediately noticed we had put down a 1.8 sixty foot time which was significantly better than a paltry 2.2 from before.


We returned to the pits to go over the datalog and analyze the time slip, taking notes of the intake air and engine coolant temperatures, max load, launch rpms and shift point rpms. We then decided to get a second time run without changing anything on the tune to be sure it was repeatable.

Once we progressed through the busy staging lanes, the drama of the day commenced. After another good launch, we were on our way and at just about the time for the 1-2 shift... the car just shut down! It was if you had turned it off with the key. Not knowing what was wrong, I immediately drove to the side of the track and drifted slowly to a stop as the track crew responded. I tried to crank the car but although it turned over just fine, there was no starting the engine. And so it was, I experienced my first 'tow' off the track back to he pits. :eek:

Visions of disaster danced through my head and I did not know what to expect but somehow felt comfort in remembering the words of the track official back on the track, "It's not leaking nothing...". Once parked, I released the hood and opened it up looking for something obvious.

It didn't take long to notice the 6 rib serpentine belt was now only about 2-1/2 ribs wide and a tell-tale signs of carnage of a belt disintegrating at 7500 rpms. Upon closer inspection it appeared the belt fragments had somehow slapped the wiring harness for the crank sensor and apparently had unplugged it! That would certainly explain why the car just shut off. A few minutes later we had the belt remains removed and I proceeded to contort myself to somehow plug the crank sensor harness back in. Then the turn of the key to test to see if it would fire up and run or... ???

Much to my relief it started instantly and all seemed well. Of course, I used to carry a spare belt for such occasions but somewhere over the years it had since left the tool bag so with the help of Mike and one of his family, we proceeded to find a parts store. It didn't take long and we had located a belt at O'Reillys. As luck would have it, we were back together before the end of lunch break and ready for the first round of eliminations. :)

We dialed in an obvious 12.90 and luckily didn't need to be spot on since the opponent red lit and I cruised through with a 12.818 at 106.76 mph. :p

While waiting to be called to the lanes for the next round, I looked over the data log and time slip and concluded to change the shift points for the next round. And of course we lowered the dial in to a 12.8. ;)

The 2nd round again was a red light win as I squeaked by on a 12.926 @ 105.44. Maybe I changed the shift points too soon or too much?

Regardless, we repeated everything for the 3rd round. I ended up with a 10 second Tesla in the opposing lane. :eek:

With an almost 2 second head start, I was careful at the tree, maybe just a bit too much. I remember looking for the white sedan 3 times. The first peek in the mirror showed him well back (as expected). The second peek in the mirror at about the 1/8th mile mark, I could not see him so I knew he was in my blind spot. By the 3rd time I looked for him, he was streaking past me right before crossing the 1/4 mile mark and my heart sank as I saw the win light in his lane. :(


We ran another couple runs in the test and tune lanes but never did beat the 12.713 @ 106.93 although we did come close with a 12.731 @ 106.87.

Our best RT of the day was a 0.031 and the worst a 0.188. The best sixty foot time was 1.859. All in all, a good day. Lots of data and a good response from the tuning changes. We have a lot more work to do to optimize the new setup but we made some moves in the right direction.