An update on our
latest project car

By Jok Nicholson

ur race season ended about eight weeks ago and we have been busy getting the cars ready for next season, the trailer stored and getting a new furnace for the garage. There is a lot to be done and at first it seems like we have a lot of time to do it. All of a sudden it's January and we are supposed to go racing in about nine weeks at the Fist Full of Dollars race in Montgomery, AL the first week of March. The "Back-2-Basics" Vega has only six events on it so it doesn't need anything major, just some tweaking on little things we didn't get quite right the first time. (We even broke a wheelie bar! Who would have guessed that could happen?)

First, I wanted to tell you how we finished off the Burkster 383 small-block Chevy. Jeff Burk, the editor of DRO, built the engine and covered that in the last "Back-2-Basics" article. When we installed the engine there were still some things we had to do. We put the 750 Race Demon alcohol carb on as well as the Barry Grant mechanical bypass to control the fuel pressure based on throttle position. It has worked great and took about five minutes to get set. We had to set the lash on the Isky hydraulic cam. To be honest, I had not set valves on anything except a roller cam on a Mopar for about 15 years. The rocker arms and studs just look so different compared to the shaft system on the big block Mopars. Very simple to follow the instructions and we set the lash as close to zero as we could, then turned them 1/8 of a turn tighter and they have been untouched since. Jeff was right about using a hydraulic cam for ease of maintenance and it still turns 7000 RPM with ease.
This is the top view of the Burkster 383. Dart Iron Eagle heads, Dart aluminum intake, Dart valve covers, Race Demon 750 and BG mechanical bypass, MSD billet distributor and the always present (at least on my cars) K&N air filter.
This is a shot of the 2"x12" rear drum brakes on the Vega's Dana 60. They work, but that is about all I can say about them. I hope to upgrade the rear and the front brakes to aftermarket discs this winter. Watch for the tech article on safe braking. The four link ends, bolts, diagonal link and Competition Engineering shocks all looked great.

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