in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of May 3, 1998
What a weekend! The NHRA Castrol Lone Star Nationals at Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex, the IHRA Snap-On Tools Southern Nationals at Darlington, South Carolina, and the debut of night racing at Mission Raceway Park's NHRA Division 6 Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series points meet.
On the local front, a record crowd invaded Mission Raceway Park, including what must have been nearly 10,000 spectators Saturday for the night qualifying sessions of the Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars. Technical problems, including somewhat spotty portable lighting and numerous oil-downs failed to dampen the spectacle for the many first-time spectators. And for a pleasant change the weather held up for all three days, with temperatures in the 70's (F) and not even a hint of rain. For the hard-core enthusiasts the weak 8-car field of alcohol dragsters was a downer, and for myself, pure frustration at seeing a 6.91 bubble, and my new car still not finished. Aaarrgghhh!!!
My highlight of the weekend was meeting Pete Kaiser (Jr. and Sr.) and Al Edgecombe from Pleasant Hill, California and seeing their B-1 powered dragster turning some very impressive numbers, despite a host of minor problems. A first session 5.86 - 233.76, was punctuated with a big finish-line backfire, due to three very hot cylinders. In the second session, after richening the motor, only saw the car reach half-track before an even more severe backfire. This one was eventually traced to a plugged nozzle in one cylinder. Total damage on the two runs was a set of bearings, one piston, one valve, four burst panels and the blower bag which was badly torched after the second incident.
Despite this, the outlook for Sunday was good, as the car was fired up and declared ready to go at 10 pm. Saturday. A first round matchup with local Mission racer Bob Haffner on Sunday had Peter Kaiser (Jr.) holding lane choice and a nearly two-tenths of a second performance advantage. Alas, after putting a nearly half-second holeshot on his opponent, young Peter found himself helpless at the top of low gear, when an empty air bottle prevented him from shifting the transmission. A lucky break for Haffner, who combined his late start with an engine-destroying run to sneak by a coasting Edgecome/Kaiser dragster.
The knowledge that myself and crew-chief Tom Mohan gained over the three days of observing the Edgecome team will prove invaluable in setting up and selecting some of the parts to complete the new Northern Thunder Top Alcohol Dragster. And knowing that these guys have run as quick as 5.76 - 241 already, without many of the "state of the art" pieces in my shop gives Tom and I great confidence that we have made the right choice in the B-1 engine combination. We can hardly wait to get it finished and get out there racing after seeing in-person what the engine design is capable of. Al Edgecombe has promised to keep sharing his run data with us and give us any assistance and advice as we set-up and sort out our new car. And maybe someday we can erase the motto on his business card ... "Home of the World's Fastest B-1" ... Stay tuned!
More bad news to finish out the weekend arrived in the form of a pretty much shut down Horsepower Heaven website, after a "falling-out" between webmaster Larry Pfister and the "authorities" at Mission Raceway. Stay tuned for more developments on that story, as there's bound to be some major fireworks before it's over. And stay tuned to Northern Thunder's website for all the news that the other guys don't provide on the World of Drag Racing.