DSE Finals at Toronto

DSE Finals at Toronto

Series Champions Crowned

The sixth and final event weekend of the DSE Sportsman racing series took place September 13-14 at Toronto Motorsports Park, and with NHRA National Dragster Wally trophies along with valuable points for those competing in the Points Series, the stakes could not have been any higher for competitors.

Saturday’s racing schedule was set to run points race number eleven for the Series as well as the NHRA National Dragster Challenge, however, unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy morning rain made the racing surface impossible to dry and be safe to race on.

With Saturday’s rainout, the National Dragster race shifted to Sunday for all categories including Super Gas. In the Super Gas class, Wayne Sipos lead the charge into Eliminations as the Number 1 Qualifier and worked his way into the final round where he met up with Super Gas newcomer Chris VanBaalen. Sipos ran closer to the 6.40 index in that final round, however, VanBaalen’s better reaction got him there first for the win.

Chris Van Baalen got his second NHRA Wally, this time in Super Gas.

Super Bike/Sled found a strong field of racers. The final round found two-time Super Bike/Sled Points Champion Pete Stewart going up against the talented Derek Dwyer on his Sled. Unfortunately, what looked like a fantastic final was cut short when Dwyer took a shot at the tree and came up with a red light, handing Stewart his second NHRA Wally of the 2014 Season.

Quick 16 saw a strong field of 18 vehicles attempt to qualify on Sunday. After two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of racing a classic door car versus dragster was set up where both drivers would be competing in their second final that day with Chris VanBaalen taking on K.C. Kovacs. The door car of VanBaalen took a head start over the dragster, but the final had been decided on the starting line where VanBaalen went red by only -.003, handing the win to Kovacs.

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at Hebron, Ohio

JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals at Hebron, Ohio

FRIDAY - MATTHEWS WINS MOSER SPORTSMAN SHOOTOUT

Rudy Matthews from Ohio City, Ohio, took home the trophy in the NHRA Moser Sportsman Shootout on Friday, Sept. 19, at the 10th annual JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals knocking out Fishers, Ind., racer Ed Dudley in the final round at National Trail Raceway. Matthews, driving his ’69 Camaro posted a winning lap of 7.424 seconds at 105.61 mph.

Matthews ran consistent throughout the day and took out Scotty Rienschield in round one with a favorable starting line advantage before beating Larry Rzepczynski in round two. He then met up with Todd Frantz in the semifinals using a .009 light to take the win. Matthews picked up $5,000 from Moser Engineering for the win along with the champions trophy.

Dudley raced to a runner-up finish by defeating Christopher Carrico, Jerry Albert and local JEGS Super Gas racer Troy Coughlin Jr. on his way to the final round.

With the final qualifying fields set going into Saturday’s eliminations, Bryan Keller, Macedonia, Ohio, grabbed the top spot in the Spitzer Race Cars Top Dragster category with a 6.035 second, 239.40 mph pass. Track conditions were ideal making way for the second fasted 32-car TD field in NHRA history. In the Brodix / Steve Schmidt Competition Engines Top Sportsman class it was Lester Johnson of Cynthiana, Ky., who raced to the top in his ’55 Bel Air with a 6.523 second, 213.67 mph pass.

Todd Frantz, Louisville, Ky., secured the No.1 spot in Comp Eliminator; Wes Leopold of Bethel Park, Pa., sits atop the Super Stock class, and Drew Skillman out of Bargersville, Ind., leads the Stock Eliminator pack.

In addition to the day’s events, the DRAW/RFC Super Shootout presented by Moser Engineering was contested for the Super categories. Scott Mackie, Milford, Mich., defeated Steve Eckard in the Super Comp final; Tom Stalba, Hammerton, N.J., took the Super Gas win over Steve Hoyt in the battle of the ’63 Corvettes; and Lancaster, Ohio native Dewey Boggs III won the Super Street title over Brain Webster of Newark, Ohio.

IHRA Summit Pro-Am Tour

IHRA Summit Pro-Am Tour

Divisional champions crowned

After seven months and more than two dozen stops across North America, the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL officially wrapped up its season last week at Darlington Dragway with more than 50 drivers claiming divisional championships.

After a memorable season of racing within the six divisions of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour, several big-name drivers and a few new faces have emerged as division champions completing the field for this year's Tournament of Champions.

Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. had five wins in 2014 and took home divisional titles in both Super Stock and Stock in Division 4.

The Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL, which determines the world championships in each of IHRA's seven touring classes, is made up of the top three drivers in each class within each division on the Summit Pro-Am Tour. All of the qualified drivers will travel to Memphis International Raceway in October to compete in the preeminent sportsman event to determine the world champion in each class.

All big car Summit Pro-Am Tour divisional champions receive $2,000 courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment.

Headlining the 2014 Summit Pro-Am Tour divisional champions is Donaldsonville, Louisiana's Jimmy Hidalgo Jr., the only driver to claim multiple divisional titles in 2014. Hidalgo, the defending IHRA World Champion in Super Stock, won the Super Stock and Stock divisional titles racing out of Division 4 en route to racking up the most points in the division.

Hidalgo also led the way in finals this season, visiting eight final rounds with five wins.

John Dustin had five wins and took home the D1 Hot Rod title.

John Dustin, from Rockville, Maryland, was the other big winner this season in Summit Pro-Am Tour action, racking up five wins and a divisional championship in Hot Rod. Racing out of Division 1, Dustin had the most points of any driver on the entire Pro-Am Tour this season with 538 points accumulated en route to winning the Hot Rod championship. Four of Dustin's five wins came in the Hot Rod class, with his other win coming in Quick Rod.

Dustin was also one of three drivers that came just shy of claiming multiple divisional titles. In addition to claiming the Division 1 Hot Rod title, Dustin came just 27 points shy of also earning a division title in Quick Rod. Darcy Clarke, racing out of Division 6, took the Stock divisional title and finished runner-up in Super Stock and Chris Dean, representing Division 9, took the Super Rod divisional title and finished third in Hot Rod.

Dead On – A lot of things going on and stuff that drives me nuts

A lot of things going on and stuff that drives me nuts

I have a lot of "stuff” on my plate right now and I am sure most of you feel the same way. Racing in the Midwest is coming to an end (I always hate it when a season is over). I am frustrated by the way our local track is handling events and customers. The sport I have enjoyed for four decades is in decline in most areas. Those of you who are fortunate enough to have promoters like Bill Bader, Royce Miller and others who have put together both local bracket programs and feature events that create excitement and growth for their tracks, are the lucky ones.

Let's start with my newest project car: Project 10-The Hard Way. It was originally planned to be a 10-second bracket car that I could run in Super Pro, Pro and 10.90 classes such as S/Street or Hot Rod. So as to not make this a long, drawn out story here is the short version: you can now call it "Project Accomplished." Yes, I went over the $10,000 but I did it with a couple of personal factors involved. If I had bought one of the several used engines I found I would have spent about $9,000 on the entire car. I decided I wanted to make this my ‘last race car" so I upgraded in a few areas.

Where a good used engine would have been about $2,000. Instead, I built a brand new 415" small block Chevy. The goal wasn't to get more power, it was to improve longevity and reduce maintenance. I wanted an engine that could go 700-1,000 runs with very little maintenance required outside of oil changes, oil analysis, and watching the valve train for any problems.

The rear end was always going to be a 9" Ford but, instead of a used iron center section, I found a used Strange aluminum center and 4.10:1 gear. I also decided it would be worth the extra money to put new axles and rear brakes on for both safety and durability. The Strange Engineering S/S Series products were a perfect answer.

I want to thank the companies that have helped make my last Project Car a reality: Competition Products, Dart Machinery, Comp Cams, Moroso, MSD, Quick Fuel, Strange, QA1, Weld Wheels, Schaeffer Oils, Holley, Hedman Husler Hedders, Performance Bodies, Collector Cable, AEM machine and dyno, and BTE. I also used the hell out of eBay and ThirdGen Forums to find the many small body parts I needed. Without them helping out Project 10-The Hard Way would still be a plan not a winning reality! Thanks, guys!

I left the body about 95% stock. No rear wheel tubs, no cutting parts out of it and factory glass with power windows are still intact. The biggest change I decided on for the body, later on into the "Project 10" was to upgrade the suspension from the stock control arms/struts and springs to the QA1 front strut coil-over bolt-in kit and their tubular lower control arms. Again, it was basically for safety, stability and reliability at 125 mph. I also tossed out the rear coil springs and used a QA1 rear coil-over kit that bolted in to the stock shock mounts. Primary reason for the change was to get adjustability to the rear shocks and be able to change rear spring rates for under $100.

ETdragracing.com focuses on the high-dollar races with results, schedules, tech, racing tips, driver profiles and much more, all with the high editorial standards and professional look from the same people who have been bringing you DragRacingOnline.com since 1999.

 

We publish 4 quarterly issues (January, April, July and October), with results updated weekly or as special Big Buck Events take place.

 

Dialed In: News, Notes & Rumors get updated almost every day.

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Project 10 The Hard Way – Phase 4: Getting the interior ‘stuff’ done

Phase 4: Getting the interior ‘stuff’ done

On any project car or even if you are just updating your street car for test & tune action at the local drag strip you have to eventually break the project down into sections to keep from getting lost on what the next goal was. I did this project car like this:

1. Make a list of what you want to do. (I know it takes a lot of paper and scratching out things!)

2. Chassis/brakes: I start with the dirty stuff so it gets easier. Roll bar, brakes, steering linkage, suspension pieces and getting an "affordable package" so you can finish it, not just dream about it.

3. Interior/wiring: getting the wiring finished up so you won't be having "issues" when you get to the track. Any wiring you do you should use the best components and shrink sleeve as much as you can if you add connectors. If you are adding an electric fan, use the relay. Make sure battery is securely mounted. You may not need to do a total rewire like I did, but I had zero wire in this car when I got it. Just plan ahead, take your time and if you do it right the first time, you will not regret it.

4. Engine/Transmission: No doubt the most expensive IF you are going to change the engine/trans combination. If your car runs good now. Use a premium engine oil (I like Schaeffers Oil), good K&N or WIX oil filter and go have fun. Our Project called for a strong, reliable engine and transmission combination and I think we have ended up with "exactly" what I was shooting for.

5. Tires and wheels: Nothing wrong with going to the track the first few times with your street tires to get a feel for drag racing but when it is time to get some "sticky and maybe wider tires" on your car, again; take your time and get the ones you want the firs t time. i called Weld Wheels and told their Tech guy what I was doing. He gave me the part numbers for the front and rear wheels. The front wheels were easy except I didn't realize the '84 Firebird had metric wheel studs *(How would I know, I was born in the 1950s!). He handled that issue. Then on the rear wheels I told him I had as tock width rear-end but I wanted to get the widest wheel that would fit. He knew I needed a 15"x10" wide rear wheel with 6.5" back-spacing. He also said I would have to "trim" the rear axle snubber-bracket off and possible do a little "hammering and cutting" on the inner wheel well if I was going to run a 29" to 30" tall slick. He was right. The wheels fit perfect but it took a few hours of trimming inside the rear wheel well to get everything to clear.

6. Fuel system: If you run a stock engine or slightly modified a stock fuel tank is fine. In our case we did not even have a stock tank when I bought the car so we installed a small fuel cell, QuickFuel fuel pump and new Moroso aluminum fuel line. Each car will need some planning to make sure you do not waste money on parts you don't need.

7. Exterior: I have never been one for spending much time or money on the exterior. I shoot for something decent and something I can hit with an annual wax job and go racing. Again, I know the "look" is very important to a lot of car guys, I sure respect them for the work that takes. I just want to race and spending a few thousand dollars on paint and body work would have delayed my racing too long for me.

That is a short "idea" on how I approached the "Project 10- The Hard Way" Firebird. I have went "over budget" in a few places and stayed under budget on a few other items. Bottom line is; I am about three weeks from hitting the track with "Project 10". I can't wait and YES... I expect there to be a "few bugs to work out" when I get there. This is a 100% complete build of a race-only car. I have done this several times so I hope "new car bugs" are minimal. As long as you check and re-check the work you do the first weekend should go as "smooth as possible".

Now for the latest "UPDATES" we have completed.

INTERIOR / WIRING: In keeping with my "budget concept" on this car I did all the wiring myself using supplies you can easily find locally. I also needed a dash as the only thing on the dash when I got the car was the top pad. I made a few cardboard templates and then has a local sheet metal shop cut me a piece of aluminum. I got lucky as after just trimming it a couple times it fit good enough I could attach it. Is it perfect? Nope and I don't care. It is functional and I built it.

I did get a Moroso switch panel with the lighted switches but you will need to have the wires and connectors. I probably drew up four or five "plans" on where I wanted the wires to go, where to mount the ignition, etc before I got it to look like I wanted (on paper). Then the time consuming job started of running the wires, battery cables, master shut-off, tail-light wires, etc. When you start getting supplies I suggest you try to get about 8 colors of wires to keep things traceable and I suggest 16 gauge for most accessory wires and I used 2 gauge battery cables. Solder as many ends as you can and use shrink sleeve or use connectors with built-in shrink sleeve (I love those). Be prepared to get a little frustrated when something doesn't go exactly right, it happens. Step back, take a break and get back in there. It will only get done if "you do it". I ended up pretty happy with my wiring job. It looks cluttered and that is OK. I would rather have my wires where I can get to them than have them all hidden and a bitch to get to if you need to fix something. Pretty wiring won't win races but functional and reliable will.

Tom’s Tech Tips – Vacuum Pumps

Tom's Tech Tips - Vacuum pumps

The story here is simple. I always wondered if a vacuum pump was really worth the money. I decided on a GZ Vacuum Pump Kit. Theirs seemed the easiest to install and came with everything I needed. Simple instructions, no machining required and I used my existing valve cover breathers I had used for several years with my Pan-Evac to the header system. To say I was impressed is an understatement, I improved the ET of my big-block Mopar by over a tenth of second for about the same price as a used carburetor. Excellent value for the horsepower it produced.

GZ Vacuum Pump Kit laid out as it arrived.

We ordered the bracket for a front motor plate. This is the bracket mounted on the front motor plate for our Mopar engine. Similar mounting methods are easy to duplicate on any style of front motor plate.

Bruce Thrift’s Prime Position

(Amy Rowe/Raceworks)

Bruce Thrift’s Prime Position

Bruce Thrift Puts Himself in Prime Position to Be First Ever PDRA TS Champion

 A good ol’ boy from South Georgia, Bruce Thrift is also one of the toughest competitors Top Sportsman has ever seen. Despite a slow start to the 2014 PDRA season, he has worked his way to the number two spot in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman points and is sitting pretty for a run at being crowned the first ever PDRA Top Sportsman Champion.

Thrift made gains in closing the gap between him and points leader Dan Ferguson when he won the PDRA US Drags in late July. According to Thrift, however, he shouldn’t have won the event. Friday night after qualifying, Thrift shaved a small piece sticking off his reactor button, not thinking about where the shaving might end up.

“I was .001 and .003 Friday night,” relayed Thrift in his recognizable southern drawl. “Then went back out there Saturday and I could not hit the tree. I was consistent, but consistently slow. After I had been .001, I can’t take 40 numbers out of the box. I finally started dumping numbers in the finals. I said, ‘Lord you got me this far, what we going to do.’ Butcher went red. We’ve run probably eight or nine times after the last few years and every time we’ve run, me or him one has been triple zero up until now. Every time it’s four or five thousandths at the finish line. Me and Glen we’ve had some good runs over the years. He’s a very tough competitor. All of them are. You’ve got an elite bunch out there. You can’t take nothing for granted. It was my day though. Honestly, I didn’t drive good enough to win. I drove better than my opponent every round, but I didn’t really drive good enough to win. The guy that messes up the least is the one that wins. When it’s your day you can’t mess it up.”

Dead On – Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

I guess the last forty years of being at drag strips, owning and managing drag strips and seemingly everyday having thoughts about drag racing got me "looking into the future a bit".

Before I ask you "where do we go from here" we probably should figure out where "HERE" is, right?

To me, we are an aging sport, by that I mean the average age of the serious weekend bracket racer and especially the NHRA/IHRA Sportsman racers is probably approaching mid to late-fifties if not 60+ years-old. There is a large gap in ages then we start to see JR Dragster racers who have been entering the bracket races the past 10 years or so. I am guessing that a lot of these young racers are funded by Mom and Dad. For good reasons, it is a very expensive sport if you take it serious and get good equipment. If you are a young adult, starting a family or paying off college loans there isn't a spare $50K laying around very often. Maybe bracket racing has turned into a Country Club sport..only the wealthy can compete at the upper levels (that would mark a sad day in my opinion)

So, does "HERE" mean we are an aging sport that has just sat around and watched it shrink right in front of our eyes? To that I say YES! As participants we have not asked for changes, different programs, etc. We just go to the track, pay the ever-increasing entry fees and race for payouts that have been stagnant for about 10 years. That is NOT GROWTH.. that is the "same old stuff, ground up and once in a while spewed out in a different format (Quick 16, S/Gas, etc, etc.)

As you can tell I am about over the status quo on bracket racing and Sportsman racing. I am seeing mid-six-second dragsters running over 200 mph at local bracket tracks with very minimal safety crews in place, for a $1000.00 to win. I know it isn't the money..well it is when you run out of it and no longer show up every week.

Where do we go from here? I wish I knew the answer but I don't. Something has to change IF the sport and the local dragstrips are going to survive.

Personally, I built a new drag car for where I think the sport is already headed, Project 10-The Hard Way. Cheaper cars, less maintenance expenses, double-entry capable and simple to keep competitive week in and week out. I have a fast dragster too, it killed the 632 and I don't care if it ever runs in local brackets again with a $20,000+ engine. I just don't see that being what will sustain the sport and get young people involved.

I see street cars racing in "Index Classes"; 18.90, 17.90, 16.90 etc. Instant Green starts (no red-lights to deal with), just racing and doing it in an affordable manner.

So what are YOUR THOUGHTS? I know I have been wrong before (many, many times). Let's hear from you, the racers or maybe you just like watching drag racing..... WHAT do you want to see in the future of drag racing?

Let me know at editor@ETDragRacing.com.

ETdragracing.com focuses on the high-dollar races with results, schedules, tech, racing tips, driver profiles and much more, all with the high editorial standards and professional look from the same people who have been bringing you DragRacingOnline.com since 1999.

 

We publish 4 quarterly issues (January, April, July and October), with results updated weekly or as special Big Buck Events take place.

 

Dialed In: News, Notes & Rumors get updated almost every day.

EDITORIAL

Editor Jok Nicholson
Publisher, CEO Jeff Burk
Managing Editor Cliff Tunnell
COO Kay Burk
Contributing Writers Jim Baker, Steven Bunker, Dale Wilson

PHOTOGRAPHY

Senior Photographer
Ron Lewis
Contributing Photographers Donna Bistran, Steven Bunker, Adam Cranmer, James Drew, Todd Dziadosz, Don Eckert, Steve Embling, Debbie Gastelu, Chris Graves, Steve Gruenwald, Zak Hawthorne, Rose Hughes, Bret Kepner, Jon LeMoine, Tim Marshall, Richard Muir, Joe McHugh, Dennis Mothershed, Mark Rebilas, Ivan Sansom, Paul Schmitz, Jon Van Daal
Videographer
Les Mayhew

PRODUCTION

Creative Director/ Webmaster Matt Schramel

ADVERTISING

Sales Jeff Burk (636-221-2532)

FINANCIAL

Chief Financial Officer, Accounts Manager Casey Araiza
   
Submit Dialed In Note
 
Letter to the Editor
(for publication)
New product press releases
 
Racing Net Source LLC
114 E. Elm St. , Ste. 8
O'Fallon, MO 63366-2642
636.272.6301 / fax 636.272.0412