Breathing New Life: Bill Robaey Preps Budget X275 Racer
Bill Robaey may not be a name you know right now, but that may change come race season 2012. Bill now owns an ex-Super Street Outlaw Mustang that he was just having fun with back in 2008, when a few minor upgrades ended up turning this car into a X275 contender.
In late December 2008, Bill was out working on the car installing the rear end back into the car when the hydraulic jack gave out. Even having jack stands under the front of the car and two under the rear didn’t help what happened next. The car made a move and, when it fell, it knocked the rear jack stands over and the car landed on his chest, trapping him. Since the front stayed up it left the car on an angle and he believes that is part of what saved him. The frame connector was pushing down on his chest so he couldn’t breathe. Shortly after that he went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing for six minutes.
A couple 0f police officer, firefighter, and EMT friends of Robaey’s were at the local fire department when the call came in, so they rushed to the house and lifted the car off of him. His father pulled him out, and at that point he was effectively dead. Paramedics tried reviving him for a couple of minutes but were having some problems until the ambulance arrived and they were finally able to restore his vitals. Bill spent eight days in the hospital, where he began making a full recovery. With all that, he didn’t break a single bone in his body and was unharmed aside from some slight short term memory loss.
This is where the car took a new direction. Once out and about and back to thinking about working on the car, Bill decided he wanted to go fast. The first stop for him to do that was to drop the car off at DMC Racing in Halifax, MA for a 25.5-cert cage. Scotty McCabe of DMC Racing got the task of cutting all the old bars out of the car so they could start fresh and build it the way Bill wanted it. After getting the car fitted with its new skeleton, it was back to garage for some more work. Just prior to the reconstruction, Bill picked up all new components from Team Z Motorsports for the suspension and fitted them to the car himself. He says he couldn’t be happier with the parts as they netted him his best 60-foot to date. And he’s quite confident they will be able to handle the newly added power he’ll be throwing at it.
Powering the ride is a 363 cubic inch small block fitted with a Scat crank and Wiseco pistons, put together by Ford Strokers out of Illinois. Acclaimed Super Stock racer Jeff Lawrence, of Lawrence Racing Engines, handled the work on the top end, tending to the Yates C3H heads and the Ford Motorsport W302 intake. Helping feed the power will be an intake elbow from Aaron at 6061.com, an Accufab 105mm throttle body, an F1-x ProCharger, and an air-to-water intercooler built by Donny of Dad’s Custom Intercooler tanks. Fuel delivery will be handled by an Aeromotive mechanical fuel pump. Backing all this up is JW Case Powerglide with internal components from Trans Specialties, while the convertor was built by Pat’s Performance Convertors. The rear end is an 8.8″ that was narrowed 4″ by Wild Rides Race Cars in Farmingdale, NJ. The guts are Moser 33-spline axles with a spool and a set of Ford Racing gears.
With power expected to be in the 1400-plus range and the car coming in around 3,300 pounds., Bill plans to put the car in the 4.80-4.90 range fairly quickly. The plan is to run the car at Cecil County Dragway’s Outlaw Streetcar Shootout in the X275-based class and the Maryland International Raceway for the Midnight Madness X275 class they host. Bill has called upon John Balinsky of OAB Racing to help out with the Big Stuff 3 and MSD’s Power Grid to get the combination dialed in.
Being a high school guidance counselor, Bill isn’t one of the big money racers looking to dominate the class. He just wants to go out and have some fun mixing it up with a class he feels particularly good about. He has many thanks going out to a lot of people who have helped him along the way. He has his girlfriend and parents backing him on his racing endeavor and helping crew on the car. From there he wants to say a big thank you to DMC Racing, Lawrence Racing Engines, Bill Walker of Q.C. Coatings, Champion Beadlock, Bill Meserve, Jr. of CT Hydrographics, Jeff Chandler of CRC Hydrographics, and Dennis MacPherson. Without these individuals and companies behind him, Robaey wouldn’t have gotten where he is.
Bill also says “I welcome anyone who is willing to help financially or even at the track. I work as counselor, so I don’t have the budget some of the bigger teams do, but I will do more with less.” A side hobby of Bills is photography, and he wants to send a thank you out to all his buddies out there working because now he gets to be in front of the lens for them and knows they will get him the shots he wants. A few of those he wanted to mention are John Fore III from Drag Illustrated, Seth Cohen of Gonedragracing.com, Mark from Godragracing.org, and myself (thanks a bunch for this side note, Bill!) Robaey continued, saying, “These guys are some of the best photographers out there and some of the nicest guys too.” Bill is doing what it takes to show that a small town, grass roots racer can go out and mix it up with the big boys and have fun doing it. And you can bet a lot of people will take notice of that once the race season dawns.