The Week Leading up to The 2007 DSM Shootout

Okay, so it’s been a week since the shootout, so it’s about time to get a new post up on the
site ;-) I’ve had an entire week to get some other non-car-related things, and so now I’m
ready to post all about the shootout. This one should be a long post ;-p

I’ve spent about the last six weeks working on the Talon, and the week before the shootout was about the most intense period of time in which I worked on the Talon in a very long time. Mark has been in Oregon since the beginning of June, so it would be a little hard to get help from him ;-) Thankfully, Rick has been around and willing to drive out here to Howell a few times each weekend over the last two or three weeks. Rick has helped me tear the car down, clean it up, and put it back together, so I need to thank him for that. Without his help, there’s no way the car would have been nearly as done as it was.

Two weeks before the shootout, the car was bare. And, I mean *bare* – no engine, no suspension in the car, no doors, no plumbing – nothing. So, Rick and I got to work putting things in the car. We started out getting a bunch of painting done on the car. Between putting new color on the cage, getting unpainted portions of the car completed, and getting the gas door cleaned up, we spent a lot of time getting that stuff squared away. That weekend, the car was still bare, but ready to put back together. Mostly. Oh, yeah, and I got the seat mounting done by the end of Sunday night.

I’m realizing more and more that as I type this out, the two weeks before the shootout is a little fuzzy. So much stuff has happened, that things may be a little out of order ;-p

Anyway, through that week, I spent time cleaning up the car, and doing a bunch of other things that I don’t remember. By the time Friday had come, the car was still missing it’s suspension, driveline, and everything else substantial. It was a good thing Rick was coming out to help ;-)

Saturday we started putting the car back together, in any sort of substantial measure of “putting together”, anyway. So, we started by getting the front and rear suspension in the car. Once that was done, I wanted to make some measurements in order to do a rough alignment on everything. Well, I should say I wasn’t expecting to have to align anything, but once together, there were some weird measurements, so we [i]needed[/i] to get the suspension more-square than it was. So, off to work, right?

Rick and I measured suspension points from the rear of the car to the front, to verify that the chassis itself was square. Thankfully, it was dead on. Sure, years ago when this stuff was being fabricated, it was measured, and was built as square as we could, but years later you forget about actual values and figures, and you end up not knowing that the car is, in fact, square. That was a nice relief. After that, we started measuring front suspension components. Measurements on the front control arms and suspension points did not line up. So, after about two hours of working on this stuff, Rick and I got the front suspension *square*. And I mean *square* – to within less than 1/32″ from rear suspension points.

After that, it was time to get the four link set up. We bolted the four link into the car, and set that up. It was uneventful, compared to the front end ;-) So yeah, the car now rolled. After that, it was time to put the plumbing back in the car. After the plumbing, the engine and transmission went into the car. Over the next few days, I would revamp the wiring harness, install the driveshaft, and did everything else that needed to be done – I can’t even list it all there was so much stuff put on the car. (it’s hazy ;-p)

In the end, Mark and I ended up spending about 5 more hours on the car than I originally inmagined. I took almost the entire night on Friday, the day before the shootout, to get the car ready to show (not even ready to race!) – We didn’t even get weatherstipping on most of the car, which would come back to bite us in the ass a little later, but we did get the car together, started, and then rolled it up onto the trailer. We strapped it down, loaded up the truck, and then drove down to Norwalk – we left at 11:30pm on Friday, arrived around 1:45am Saturday morning.