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My impressions of the 2005 Montana 500

By Tom Carnegie

The trip to Lewistown was uneventful. When we arrived several T's were there before us. Eventually 20 T's showed up, including us. Nineteen entered the trophy class, one, a speedster driven by Lee Burgess entered the touring class. The most exciting entry from my perspective was a Purple (that is purple with a capital P) car entered by Janet Cerovski! With Jillian in her Pink car (yes, that's pink with a capital P too) we had a true powderpuff division. The pre-run inspection was coordinated by Mark Hutchinson and went very smoothly. Dave Huson had a non-script cylinder head, but the directors voted to allow him to use it subject to the final decision to be made at teardown, if he were in the top three. Ron "Coilman" Patterson was there with his coil tester and generously donated his time to rebuilding coils of anyone who desired to have their coils rebuilt. Many drivers took advantage of this. We had the evening meeting where the next day's events were lined out. Most of us then joined for dinner down the road a piece.

Next morning we went to the edge of town and formed up. At one point we had a string of twelve non-black T's in a row. That's got to be close to a world's record. The first leg was a rather long (about 70 miles) leg to Raynesford. Raynesford ain't much. Basically a gas station. We waited and waited. Tony Cerovski showed up on a trailer. He had a sight gauge made of plastic tubing between his two petcocks on the oil pan. The tube came off and he lost all and I mean all of his oil. He put a rod right through the side of his block. Next in on a trailer was Dave Huson. He was having timer or coil problems, I believe. Finally Janet arrived, under power, with her purple car. It was not running well. The top five cars on this leg, in order, were:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. Steve Coniff
3. Tom Carnegie
4. Rick Carnegie
5. Mike Robison

The next leg was the big pull over King's Hill. King's is more than a hill. At 7400 feet it is one of the highest mountain passes around. Jillian had some trouble and put her car on the trailer. Dave Huson continued to have problems, but drove the whole leg. Dave Warhank's car began to knock on this leg. He decided to pack it in. Stan Howe was plagued with radiator problems throughout the day. No one else had any problems otherwise on this leg to my knowledge. The top five cars in order for this leg:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. Mike Robison
3. Tom Carnegie
4. Steve Coniff
5. Ron Miller

Leg three was from White Sulphur Springs to Harlowton. Jillian broke a timer flapper and Garrett Green had rod troubles. I believe that Garrett also lost a plastic tube sight gauge. The top five cars for this leg:

1. Steve Coniff
2. Dennis Dakan
3. Tom Carnegie
4. Mike Robison
5. Mark Hutchinson

The last leg of the day was Harlowton back to Lewistown. The top five cars:

1. Steve Coniff
2. Dennis Dakan
3. Mike Robison
4. Mark Hutchinson
5. Ron Miller

Next morning we formed up north of town for the first leg to Denton, about 40 miles. Mike Wendland and Dave Warhank decided to head for home, as Dave's car had lost a rod. I had coil problems, which continued throughout the rest of the run. Jillian broke another flapper and had her timer rod become disconnected. BJ Miller had mag troubles. Janet Cerovski kept plugging along. I felt bad for her having to drive so slowly in an ill-tuned car. I hope she isn't discouraged and will come back in a car that has been better prepared. Both she and Stan Howe had just recently gotten their cars and neither had time to get them into tip-top shape.
Top five cars for this leg:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. Mike Robison
3. Steve Coniff
4. Mark Hutchinson
5. Gary Ebbert

Leg two, day two, Denton to Fort Benton, about sixty miles. I had to stop for water this leg. Janet continued on, although slowly. The timers somehow missed her when she got into town, so Janet phoned in her time! Very resourceful, Janet.
Top five cars:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. BJ Miller
3. Steve Coniff
4. Rick Carnegie
5. Mike Robison

We formed up on edge of Fort Benton to flag out to Stanford, another leg of about sixty miles. Mike Robison was complaining that his car had been running poorly (he was clear down to being the fifth fastest car). We took out a spark plug and looked into his cylinder. The valve seat ring had popped completely out of its hole on the exhaust valve. I got a punch and hammer and pounded it back down into its hole. I knew it wouldn't stay as his block was cracked. Continued to be plagued by radiator troubles, Stan Howe packed it in on this leg. Top five cars:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. Steve Coniff
3. Ron Miller
4. Tom Carnegie
5. Mike Robison

Last leg of the day, Stanford to Lewistown. Everybody ran fine this leg. Top five cars:

1. Steve Coniff
2. Tom Carnegie
3. Mark Hutchinson
4. Dennis Dakan
5. Gary Ebbert

Last day we formed up at the Pamida east of town and began our mad dash to Winnett and back, about fifty miles each way. Gary Ebbert had a little trouble on this leg. Coils I think it was. The top five cars:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. Steve Coniff
3. Tom Carnegie
4. Mike Robison
5. Mark Hutchinson

On the way back from Winnett, we lost another T. Jim Heaton blew a head gasket just a few miles from the finish. Top five cars:

1. Dennis Dakan
2. Steve Coniff
3. Tom Carnegie
4. Mark Hutchinson
5. Mike Robison

After the times were compiled it was found that Dennis Dakan had the best overall time. Dennis and Steve Coniff were subsequently torn down. There was a good deal of discussion on the issue of "porting" of Dennis Dakan's motor. Dennis acknowledged that he had smoothed up his ports, but did not know that it was illegal. A vote was put to the drivers and Dennis's car was declared legal. Rick Carnegie then announced that there would likely be a clarification of this rule at the fall meeting.

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