STEALING THE 500: The Story of Carroll Shelby’s 1968 Turbine-Powered Indycars, Part 2 of 2

September 7, 2016
Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance
 
 
(Read Part 1 by clicking here) Ken Wallis was running out of time. Both of Carrol Shelby's turbine-powered cars were now at Indianapolis but they were nowhere near race-ready condition. His drivers, McLaren and Hulme, had only a six-day window before they returned to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.
 
In a desperate bid to make the cars competitive, Wallis used a liberal interpretation of USAC's rules to design a new annulus (the engine opening that fed air to the turbine). When measured by technical inspectors, the annulus was under the legal 16-inch limit. But at full throttle on the race track, a variable valve system opened to permit greater air flow into the turbine. At best, this was a careful translation of the rules. If they were caught there was no guarantee that USAC wouldn't immediately disqualify the Shelby/Wallis Turbines. Such a move would be an unmitigated disaster not only for the team principals, but also for Goodyear, their drivers and their sponsors.

What’s Going On? The EPA’s Plan to Annex Auto Racing

June 28, 2016
Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance
 
 
Even as Americans grill hot dogs, gawk at fireworks and celebrate freedoms we don't have, the Environmental Protection Agency recently planned to hit the motorsports community with a devastating blow. Although the agency now appears to be backing off the original plan, there is still no clear legislation to prevent it from reappearing.

The EPA's Clean Air Act, which has afflicted decent people since 1970, is an ever-growing but never totally understood mass of vagueness that the EPA calls upon any time it craves yet another vast expansion of its already criminally overreaching power.

RACING SAFETY: F1 Believes It Can Defy the Law of Unintended Consequences

May 11, 2016
 
The safety cult storm troopers continue their assault on auto racing and this time, even Formula One cannot escape their regulatory clutches.
 
In reference to the current effort to mandate either the Halo or Aeroscreen head protection safety gadgets for the 2017 racing season, F1 race director Charlie Whiting said, “If we eventually need to add a couple of seconds to the time required to get out (of the race car), I think that would be a small price to pay.”

GHOST TRACKS: Finding Indiana’s Portland Speedway

March 29, 2016
The Stephen Cox Blog is Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance
 
 
PHOTOS BELOW (hover mouse over each picture for captions)
 
Many years ago near the small town of Portland, Indiana, there was a popular go kart track that drew competitors from around the Midwest. For a short time I was among them.
 
Today the track is a cow pasture, covered in fertilizer and new farm construction, largely forgotten by the world. The remaining asphalt is broken and sinking back into the earth. No track signage remains. Track records are lost and Internet searches turn up nothing.