40th YENKO REUNION, NELSON LEDGES
JULY 22-24, 2006
Let's start by saying that for several years I had been looking for a good candidate to build a Corvair track car. Last fall, one was referred to me so I sold my 69 Corvair Monza convertible to finance it....well...a small part of it! I took delivery of a 65 Monza coupe that was someone's previous attempt at building at track car. It came from Arizona and was the first Corvair out of many I have had with no rust! What a treat!
As is my habit, I took it completely apart to assess what I had and form a plan of
attack .… mostly on my wallet! By the 7th of April the car was completely stripped
and in the paint shop.
We all know how this next part goes. Slooowly!
Actually, before this day the official announcement was made for the 40th Yenko Reunion to be held in Twinsburg, Ohio with a track day at the famed Nelson Ledges race track. Since I was building a Yenko Stinger clone and a tribute car I now had a target and a deadline.
Saturday the 17th of June the newly painted project car was back in my shop. I had 34 days on my "short time" calendar to get it to a point it would be able to run the track at Nelson Ledges. To do this I took both my vacation weeks so I would have one week solid to work on it. Also several of my fellow car buddies came by on two different occasions and spent long hours helping me. I would not have made the deadline without them. The max effort paid off as it came off the jack stands at ten PM Friday night and I stated if it runs it goes! It ran and we went.
Saturday morning we loaded the trailer and truck and struck out for Twinsburg. It rained all the way but the show and track day weather was beautiful!
I felt honored to be a part of this historic event and what better place to debut my Yenko Stinger clone and tribute car to the memory of Mark Donohue, Who is one of my all time favorite race car drivers and the Roger Penske owned 1967 Sunoco Camaro that, began the domination of the late sixties Trans Am races.
There were a lot of fine historic Yenkos at the show Sunday and the food at the dinner was great but the fun began on Monday at the track after the caravan of Yenko cars left town with a full police escort.
Keeping in mind that my car was totally new and untested, I was a bit worried at first. It passed the tech inspection the day before and all I knew for sure was the engine ran, the brakes had pedal, the steering wheel pointed the wheels in the direction turned and I had no reverse! Anything else was going to be a surprise.
The first thing you learn is that a really low slung car can be a problem to unload
without dragging some part of the exhaust or oil pan. he two straight pipes on mine
began taking soil samples before it was off trailer so we had to move to more level
ground. Once it was off the trailer I was anxious to get some practice/discovery
laps in. Also before I ran I had to remove
the two secondary carbs and use the block off plates as they were acting up and I had no time to tune them. It ran fine on the primaries when I broke in the cam for 20 minutes which was ALL the time I had on the engine.
I came to run and that's exactly what I did. I don't know how many laps I did but
I flogged it and my two timed runs were exactly the same so I was consistent at least
and out of the 30 cars that ran timed laps I placed 15th. Not bad for an untested
car with a mild engine running on two street carbs with initial timing at 16 degrees
and a set of old points fired with straight 12 volts from a dry cell racing battery
with one initial charge on it. Later that week we also
ran the Corvair Convention autocross with six runs total and no charging. Add to this mix an old fart driver (me) with only two previous track events, running on race tires for the first time, using a real racing seat with a five point harness and the ONLY instrumentation was a tach that was not accurate!
Oil pressure you say? Hell, it had plenty when I broke in the cam! Oh, I did put
five gallons of 110 octane race gas in the fuel cell. Someone asked if I was going
to bump up the timing to take advantage of it but I said no, I just like the smell
I have been extremely pleased with my car and my confidence has gotten a much needed boost. It has been a long winding road with many ups and downs but I am one happy camper!
Again I want to thank Mark Gillespie and all the others that made this event happen.
It has been truly a once in a lifetime experience for me.
ps. I did have an unfair advantage. My daughter and son-in-law brought my
two grand daughters down to watch Granddad go fast!