(Darrell J. Stewart stapping into his race car / Photo Credit : Randy True & Mike Lewis)
ARVADA, CO : For the last four years, my dad and I have been travelling the country racing legend cars. In that time we have faced multiple challenges; including: learning new tracks, perfecting setups for our local tracks, and racing with the likes of Jason Irwin, Peyton Saxton, Kyle Clegg, Danny Medina, and many more of the talented legend drivers across the country. However, none of those compare to the curveball that INEX and U.S. Legend Cars International (USLCI) threw at us this season.
As I am sure most of you in the front range area know by now, we are running the brand new motor platform that was released earlier this season – the Yamaha FZ09. We were lucky enough to get one of the first few in the country thanks to Tim Brockhouse of Great North Legends and were able to bring it back home for everyone here to see. Being that we had one of the first few, a few bugs were to be expected and we have had a few. Chad Honeycutt with the engine department has been nothing but supportive when it came to working through these minor problems and perfecting this motor package for everyone who takes this step into the future of legend racing.
We are now 9 race nights in with this motor and we are finally starting to figure it out. Compared to the Yamaha 1200 or 1250, this thing is a different animal and requires you to not only adapt your setup to it, but driving style as well. Due to the lack of torque that the FZ09 has in comparison to the 1250s, it struggles a little bit on corner exit. However, it makes up for it down the straightway because it does not fall off like the 1250. One big hurdle with the new motor is finding the right rear end gear. Due to the 6 speed transmission and redline at ~11,300 as opposed to ~10,500, we have found ourselves running completely different gears than we typically would at every track we have been to so far. Overall, though, I believe that this new motor package is about as perfect as it can get as far as being competitive with the 1250. When we were up in Wisconsin, a 1250 won all 3 races, however the few of us that had the FZ09 were not too far behind. At a two day show in Gering, Nebraska, we were able to get the car down to the times that I had run in my old car last year on the tight ¼ mile. We missed quicktime Friday (which was set at a 14.83 by Nick Cooper) then proceeded to get quicktime Saturday at a 14.83. I also hopped in Wayne Barlock Jr’s sedan and ran a 14.84. I think that is about as close as you can get for being a competitive platform. The first time at the fast ⅜ mile, Colorado National Speedway (CNS), it ran 18.9’s in the main. After another rear end gear change and setup modifications, we got it down to the 18.7’s on our second race we ran at CNS; mirroring the times I was able to achieve in my dad’s 1250 a few weeks prior. We will see if we can get it faster this coming weekend.
Overall, I think this is a great choice for these cars in the long run. Although the upfront investment may be intimidating to some, the longevity of the FZ09 far surpasses that of the 1250. However, if you have a 1250 or 1200, my personal opinion is keep it and run it. They can run just as well as the new package and have proven that across the country. DO NOT think your 1250 is obsolete.
Again, thanks to Tim Brockhouse with Great North Legends and the engine department at USLCI for letting us guinea pig one of these motors. They have all worked with us closely to make it as competitive and reliable as possible. Feel free to ask questions if you see us at the track.
– Personal story written by Darrell J. Stewart / Wild Life Racing