Welcome to my history page! Here I will share how I go bit by the bug and then ultimately how Bad Bug Racing came to be.
When people ask me... "Why race a bug?" I usually answer... "Well my parents dropped me on my head when I was a baby!" Although they may have, actually it has more to do with the fact that it is more fun being the underdog and beating up on V-8's with a little four-banger! Also the following story tells how I got into bugs...
I believe I was about 11 years old when my dad bought me my first dune buggy. It was powered by a meager 36hp engine, but I had a lot of fun tearing up the 11 acres that we lived on with it. When ever I broke it my dad would help me to patch it back together!
In March of 1978 when I was 14 years old and in the 8th grade, I bought a 1970 Baja Bug for $225. It ran on three cylinders, leaked oil and jumped out of 4th gear, but it was mine! It came with a good used transaxle that we swapped out. The oil leak ended up being a loose oil cooler, but the dead cylinder was the result of bad heads. We ended up getting a good used 1600DP from a local wrecking yard and installed it. All of this, plus a little other work over a couple of years, got it ready to be my primary mode of transportation after I turned 16 and got my drivers license.
I don't recall all of the mods I made to that engine but as best as I can recall, I started out by using the Baja style of exhaust and 009 distributor that came with the car. Later on I "ported and polished" the stock 34mm carb. Soon after I got a set of 40mm Kadrons.
Being unaware of the never ending pursuit of power that I was about to embark upon, I built my first performance engine while still in high school, well at least with the help of my dad and Rocky Jennings. Rocky fully assembled the short block and had all of the rest of the components prepped for us to finish assembling. It ended up being a 1775cc with a stock counter weighted 69mm crankshaft and 8-dowelled lightened flywheel done up by Bergs. The pistons and cylinders were 90.5mm Cimas with total seal rings. The cam was an Engle 110, heads were welded stock castings with Manley 40 x 35.5 stainless steel valves and ported and polished by Rocky Jennings. Carburetion was a set of 44mm Berg specials (44mm Weber DCNF's). The engine was incredibly powerful compared to the meek 1600 that the car had before. (I also had Rocky go through the transaxle, weld 3rd and 4th and install a 4 spider gear super diff.) With this engine I turned mid 15's in the quarter and was one of the quicker daily driven street cars running around the small town of Walla Walla at the time, at least as far as I know.
After I graduated from high school I attended UTI in Phoenix, AZ where I took auto and diesel mechanics. While there I converted my Baja into a sedan using a front clip off of a 65 bug and a rear clip of about the same vintage as my car. After graduating and moving back to Walla Walla, I soon redid the look of the car to incorporate the widened fiberglass fenders and whale tail. Then later made the entire rear end reverse tilting and removable plus added the fully functional Ferrari Testarossa inspired air vents. I also got custom license plates that read "1BADBUG". Not everyone may like the looks, but I do and I still to this day get a lot of looks and complements on the car, almost daily!
During this transition of the car and up until now, the power train has been quite varied. I temporarily ran a stock 1600, went back to the 1775, built the engine up to 2213cc, had the heads upgraded to bigger valves and ports by Rocky, upgraded to 48 IDAs, increased port work again and upped cam size. Increased engine size to 2276cc and a few more mods, and ran a best of 13.24 in the quarter. With my quest for more power, my goal was to run 12's with no nitrous, no turbo and yet still be fully streetable and daily driven. Since my car is very heavy and I was getting tired of breaking parts, I ended up building my race car, more about it soon! After taking the engine out for my race car, I ran a stock engine, a 1915cc, a couple of different 1775's and then another stock engine for about six years. I am currently running a mild 2110cc engine with dual 40mm DCNF Webers that I built for low end torque.
Now for the race car, as I mentioned already, I wanted a fast street car, but finally realized that having a reasonable fast street car and a dedicated race car was more practical. Not having the money to build a race engine, I opted to "temporarily borrow" the engine from my street car. The only changes I made to the engine were to replace the FK-87 cam with a FK-89, bump the compression from 8.5 to 9.6 (That was as high as I felt comfortable without notching the pistons.) And to replace the stainless steel valves with titanium ones. I also removed the stock doghouse fan shroud and cooler and utilized an oil cooler block off and pair of electric fans in place. At the 1994 Seattle Bug-In, which was the debut of the race car, in a mustard colored primer and only finished enough to run it, I told Rocky that I was going to take an easy shake down pass. After all, I hadn't run the car yet, and didn't know how well it was going to perform or handle. The race car ran an 11.80 @ 110 mph first pass off of the trailer! When I got back to the pits, Rocky said something to the affect of "I knew you wouldn't take an easy pass!" I guess he knew my addiction to going fast better than I did! Unfortunately I grenaded the engine next pass, I guess even though I had revved the engine to 8,500 all the time before, shifting it at 9,500 rpms that day was too much for the poor thing! To finish out the season, I made a new race engine out of the remaining parts, plus the parts I had set aside for my new street engine. It ended up being a 1915cc engine that I ran 12.30's with.
The next season, with a paint job and the car named "BAD BUG II", I sported a new and improved 2276cc engine that lasted for several years with slight improvements each season ended up running a best of 10.94 @ 122mph. In 2001 I upgraded to a 2789cc engine and ran mid 10's, then put the nitrous on it the next year and ran 9.35 @ 145mph! I have now upgraded to fuel injection and a better nitrous system. I hope to be able to run high 9's with a mild tune and have the capability to dip deep into the 9's... if I really turn the wick up!
The next step will be to switch to turbo and I hope to have it completed during the 2016 season!
One thing for sure though, no matter where I go with the car, it definitely gets a lot of attention and is usually one of the crowd's favorites as it tears up the track and frequently takes down a V-8 car or two in the process!