2009 SC Shootout

This isn't so much a work update, but rather a chance to share what I did with all the work I have put into the car. This past weekend, I took the Cougar to the SC Shootout, which is the national event for 1989-1997 Thunderbirds and Cougars. This year the event was held in Portland, Indiana with racing at Muncie Speedway.

I am very pleased with how the car performed this weekend, other than a small set back on the drive out. A few miles into Illinois, I heard a really bad noise, saw lots of smoke in the rearview mirror, and the car died. I thought at first I had broke the crank or the motor had let loose. I pulled over and took a look under the hood and found the main serpentine belt was burnt up and tore in half. I started checking pulleys and found the AC compressor clutch had nearly seized up. It must have been slipping the belt for quite some time as I noticed it felt a little odd starting in Columbia, MO. I started the car, had good oil pressure, so I limped it off of the interstate. Thankfully there was an exit right up the road with a car wash near by (It was dumping rain at the time). I was able to install the spare belt and be on my way in an hour. To change the belt, you have to unhook the lower coolant hose and remove the IC fan, so it took a little longer than a normal belt change would.

October 1-5, 2009

1989 Mercury Cougar XR7

Other than that problem, the car ran and drove great the whole weekend. I put about 1300 miles on it, and made 6 passes at the drag strip. I ended up running a new best ET, 60' time, and MPH for the car. The track prep was excellent, and the air kept getting better as they day went on. I ended up running a 13.205 @ 102.29 mph on a qualifying pass. I backed it up with a couple of 13.3x passes. I was racing in a heads up 13.30-13.80 index class, so I had to take it easy on the launch to slow the car down during competition. I'm sure I could have kept running 13.2 passes otherwise. I ended up finishing 2nd in my class, loosing a close one in the finals. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

Here is a video of my best run of the day:  13.205 Qualifying Pass

The Cougar has been sitting in storage in my parents garage since late October.  I have been collecting a few parts to fix the AC clutch damage from last fall, contemplating the future of the car.  Once the weather gets decent in Nebraska, I hope to get a few more things taken care of.  Here is my current “to do” list.

January 31, 2010

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Buff Roof & Trunk
Change Trunk Lock
Touch up E-Brake Handle
Fix Trunk Leak
Grease Bump Stops
Rattle Noise in Front LH of Car

Drivers Window Bushings
Replace March Alt Pulley
Replace Main Drive Belt
Replace AC Compressor
Install Grand Am Air Dam
Find good black hood