Photos by Bob Beucler and Stephanie Youngman/The Dragtime News
Even if you’re the most casual sportsman/bracket racer, you know Bob Beucler—if not by name, by his website Dragtimenews.com (http://www NULL.Dragtimenews NULL.com). This guy’s one serious bracket racer, who’s truly devoted to this style of drag racing. If his website doesn’t convince you, his race car, the Dragtime Dodge ’64 Polara, and his level of dedication surely will.
In 1995 Bob came upon the Polara and saw it as the perfect platform through which to put his bracket racing strategies into action. The previous owner used it as a dual-purpose streeter/race car; equipped with a tired 440, it was running in the low 13s.
The first step in his thoughtful, deliberate process was to install a fresh, warmed-over 440, which dropped the elapsed times into the mid 12s. Next came an electric fan and water pump, fiberglass Max Wedge-style hood and bumpers fore and aft.
By 1997, competing primarily at Long Island Motorsports Park, he was running consistently in the high 11s. Urged on by fellow competitors, in 1998 he joined the track’s E.T. Bracket program. Then running in the mid 11s with an SK Speed-built 440, he won his first of three consecutive Pro Eliminator track championships.
Having raced almost exclusively at Long Island Motorsports until 2000, Bob ventured further from his Long Island roots in 2001 and began running primarily in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It took some major logistical planning to maintain his three-day-per-week race schedule. Having no place to store his open-trailered racer, the day prior to a race he’d haul to the site, unhook the trailer and with the track owner’s blessing, leave it. He’d return for the race, often running in two classes, and then repeat the process for the next two races. If it was too far to drive home, he’d sleep in his tow vehicle.
Through the years the Dodge has continued to undergo well-planned modification. The interior was gutted, Lexan replaced the side glass and the rear wheel wells stretched to better accommodate the big Mickey Thompson slicks. In 2008 a new engine meticulously crafted by Paul Mastropolo, with input from Mopar specialist Dave Hughes of Hughes Engines, was installed. Bob’s a stickler for maintaining a cohesive relationship with all aspects of his racer, so as horsepower increased the 8 ¾ Mopar rearend and leaf springs gave way to a Dana 60 and ladder bars.
The newest modification has lead to a significant performance increase. Prior to last year, the Dodge had become a rock-steady 10.80-10.90 performer. The replacement of the Torqueflite’s 10-inch converter to an 8-inch ATI TreeMaster dramatically lowered ETs into the 10.50 range, with a best ET of 10.43 at 126.5 mph. This level of performance from a 3,450-pound foot brake, pump gas, almost 50-year-old car with barn door aerodynamics is nothing short of amazing.
The constant modernization has eluded one aspect of Bob’s racer, the transmission shifter. The Dodge’s “typewriter key,” push-button shifting mechanism has remained intact. He insists this relic works as well as any of the new whiz-bang floor-mounted units, plus it’s a great period-correct piece for his ancient bomber.
Bob’s methodical approach to bracket racing and race car preparation has proven to be very successful. He snagged the Wally at Englishtown’s NHRA King of the Track in 2006, footbraking the Dodge in Super Pro. Additionally, he’s represented E-Town, Island Dragway and Atco Raceway on several occasions at the NHRA Division 1 Bracket Finals, and has qualified for the bracket finals every year since 1998, including Englishtown’s Super Pro team.
Whether your taste in drag racing leans toward nitro or sportsman racing, I highly recommend you check out Bob’s website and the Dragtime Dodge, you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.
A Special Thank You to the supporters of the Dragtime News Dodge
ATI Performance Products
Hanna Motorsports/Al and Ellen Hanna
Hoffman Performance Products
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels
Numidia Dragway/Bob DiMino
Road Runners Performance
S&W Race Cars
And also to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ for location shots
Custom Fabrication: Eric Peterson
Body and Paint: Thrift-Way Auto Body
Lettering: Bill Radin (RIP)/BBB Custom Lettering
Engine: 440 Chrysler, .030 over
Cubic Inches: 446
Horsepower: 550 at the rear
Torque: A bunch
Built by: Paul Mastropolo
Crank: Stock Chrysler forged
Pistons: JE flat-top , Comp. 10:1
Fuel: Sunoco 93 unleaded
Oil pan: Moroso
Oil pump: Melling
Cam: Hughes Engines solid
Lifter: Hughes Engines
Valve Springs: Hughes Engines
Rockers: COMP Cams
Valve Covers: Mopar Performance
Gear drive: N/A
Cylinder Heads: Edelbrock
Carbs: Single 850
Headers: Hedman Hustler
Ignition System: Chrysler electronic
Ignition Wires: Jacobs
Trans Type: 1965 Torqueflite
Built By: Steve Gillan/STR Transmissions
Converter: ATI 8-inch TreeMaster
Valve body: Turbo Action
Shifter: Factory push button
Rearend Housing: Dana 60
Case and Gears: 4.56
Rear Suspension: ladder bar
Rear Shocks: QA1
Front Suspension: torsion bar
Front Shocks: Competition Engineering
Steering: Stock manual
Wheels Front/Rear: Weld Draglite
Wheel Front: 15 x 5
Wheel Rear: 15 x 10
Tires Front: Mickey Thompson Sportsman 26 x 7.50
Tires Rear: Mickey Thompson ET Drag 31 x 10.5W
Front Brakes: 10-inch drum
Rear Brakes: 11-inch drum
Gauges: Auto Meter
Best ET/MPH: 10.43 at 126.5
Weight With Driver: 3,450 pounds