I sometimes feel like bracket and sportsman racers are drag racing’s forgotten children. It bothers me that the stands at a national event clear out when the dial-in or index classes come to the line. That’s why I’m so excited to be presenting a column to the readers of Drag Racer written from the perspective of someone who’s logged thousands of bracket passes down the quarter-mile. Perhaps you own a drag car of your own, but have only done heads-up drag racing; or maybe you’re a fan of the sport, but have never been down the track yourself. If my column helps bring some understanding as to why racers like me became involved with and dedicated to bracket-style racing, maybe you’ll take your own car to the local track and get involved in bracket racing, too.
Archive for February, 2011
In This Era of “Buy and Race” the Faint Light of Creative Engineering Still Flickers in Competition EliminatorMonday, February 21st, 2011
Michigander Steve Ambrose and his guys have certainly left their mark on Competition Eliminator, winning nine NHRA National Events including Indy and capturing three division championships. They’re currently marching toward their fourth. (Hope we didn’t jinx you, Steve!) The J/AA six-cylinder Ford-powered ‘23 T roadster, which has chalked up these wins, is powered by cubic ingenuity not cubic dollars.
Faithfull readers, this edition I have a special event to share with you. Very recently the famous Peterson Automotive Museum hosted a unique affair paying tribute to my old friend, business partner and teammate, “The Snake,” called An Evening with Don Prudhomme. It was held in conjunction with the opening of a major new exhibit commemorating 60 years of NHRA racing. Your old Goo$e was one of the honored guests. Besides all of the cars on display for the NHRA exhibit, there were half a dozen others, including the Greer Black and Prudhomme dragster that owner Bruce Meyer brought.
The most revealing sign of a pushrod’s capability is its resistance to undue deflection—its column stiffness. Until 1993, meaningful research into valve train testing had not been possible. It was only when the Spintron emerged, a revolutionary electrically powered valve train test machine, that profound inadequacies in pushrod design were first revealed. (more…)
Pro Stock Mountain Motors have cubic inch displacements of 820 to 825. Their capacities began much smaller, deriving from original equipment big-block engines of the ‘60s. But gradually the dimensions between their pan rails grew, allowing longer throw cranks to appear with connecting rods measuring 7.750 inches center to center and 5-inch bore centers with 4.770-inch-diameter pistons, all functioning within a deck height of 12 inches. Today’s Pro Stock engines operate on compression ratios of around 18:1, run on VP Race Fuel grade Q16, and generate in the region of 1,900 hp. Depending on weather conditions, they run quarter-mile elapsed times in 6.25 seconds at speeds close to 225 mph. (more…)
Could this be the ultimate NMCA Stage-1 street-legal nitrous car? Grandville, Michigan’s Ted Pelech of Pelech Brothers Racing holds the distinction of having been the two-time National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) Elapsed Time and Mile per Hour Record Holder at 7.22-191 mph with this 465-ci Applied Nitrous Technology-nitrous assisted, Jeff Prock-tuned street legal ‘90 Camaro. (more…)
It’s no secret that respect and respectability don’t come easy in the cut-throat world of outlaw doorslammer racing. Past results and credentials don’t really mean all that much, a point driven home to “Texas Bounty Hunter” Gaylen Smith when he ventured into the American Drag Racing League’s (ADRL’s) premier Pro Extreme class.
As I write this, two days following the conclusion of NHRA’s Lucas Oil Nationals, somewhere outside of Chicago there’s one really happy guy—actually a bunch of really happy people: Bob Bode, his wife (and “bug”) Alice, son Bobby and crew. After 10 years of competing, they’ve just won their first NHRA National Event. Bob Bode notes wistfully, “There’s just no way to put into words what this feels like…what this means to my family, crew and me.” (more…)
Over the years, the hot rod industry has spawned numerous innovators, icons, entrepreneurs and heroes, but perhaps none more prolific than the late Mickey Thompson. Murdered, along with his wife Trudi in their Bradbury, California, driveway in the spring of 1988, Mickey was larger than life and his life is the subject of a stunning exhibit, Mickey Thompson: First American to 400 MPH presented by Banks Power at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at Fairplex Pomona. (more…)