Is the 'Original Winter Series' alive or not?
I know that a lot of our readers have not been to the Winter Series, as it's known, in Florida during November. I heard about it back in about 1983 I think (too old to really think I might remember for sure!).
My first trip there was a plane flight to West Palm Beach to race my Dart at one of the early Moroso 5-Day events. The $5,000 guaranteed to win each day was unheard of in those days. About 400 cars were in the pits and, yes, it was PACKED with open trailers, vans, and pickups as tow vehicles. A friend, Terry Stumpf, towed my race car down there from Iowa for me as I had to work that winter in Arizona. They diligently watched and supported me as I had my ass handed to me for five days -- but what an adventure for a drag racer. In the mornings we left the motel and went to the beach or out for breakfast where we could eat on the patio in November...something very new to us Northern boys.
I made it to the Winter Series about 10 more times and watched it evolve into a three track series: Orlando, then a day off and then West Palm Beach (old Moroso Motorsports Park) and then a day or two off and tow back northward to Bradenton for the race over Thanksgiving. If memory serves me, the race ended Friday and that allowed us to get back to Iowa to go back to work after Thanksgiving.
The entry fees were $100 a day, with $5,000 to win each day and no buybacks at all. If you beat a "famous bracket racer" you knew he wasn't coming back and believe me, that is a pretty cool feeling when you are in the staging lanes and someone like John Laboose Sr. comes up and tells you that you did a good job of putting him on the trailer!
I got to watch my friends as they raced as well. Bruce Kaul, a longtime friend, won a few races in the Winter Series with his Blue GTX. Those are lifetime memories remembering how we helped as much as we could between rounds and making sure nobody "bothered him".
That is how I remember the Winter Series and it is etched in my mind every year when November comes around.
I raced at a few of the Winter Series events the last three or four years and have noticed several things that I think has evolved and not helped the Winter Series. It is evident something is changing the wrong way as there are now about 120 to 140 cars at the events. I would guess 30% of the entries are "team entries" and one trailer hauls two or more cars. Nothing wrong with having a lot of money but these "teams" and their ability to buyback, swap cars, and throw money at the races have driven the single-car race teams away, no doubt about it.
Resurrecting RED, part 1
The longest running tech series in online magazine history, Project 4-Link (2001-2015) returns for its final series of tech articles on ‘How to do things right’
Let me start by thanking all the great people and companies that have supported the longest running tech-series in history, "Project 4-Link". We started "Project 4-Link" as a pile of tubing in February of 2001 and built one of the first -- and still one of the best -- four-link dragsters I have ever owned. From tubing to Top Dragster to national event winner to local track points championships, it has been a journey that a lot of readers have made with us and some still want to make. Companies like: Dart Machinery, MSD, Comp Cams, Ohio Crankshaft, Moroso, Smith pushrods, Edelbrock, Milodon, Titan Oil Pumps, Billet Fabrication, Weld Wheels, Strange Engineering, Digital Delay, BTE, Quickfuel, Aeromotive, Optima, Roeder Performance and Machine, Indy Cylinder Heads (in the Mopar days), World Products, Ron's Fuel Injection, TCI, Alan Pope Transmissions, Kanselaar Car Care, Hoosier and some I probably have overlooked after 14 years. Without great companies and their products our sport would be struggling. Now you purchase parts online that a few years ago had to be custom-made and were very expensive.
The name "Resurrecting RED" is a natural because when I decided I liked red on my race car, I got a little carried away. Everything is red. The body, the wheels and a lot of other pieces. We even have plans to make it even more RED in the near future. The "Resurrecting RED" theme came about after we completely destroyed our 632" Chevy in 2014. We have had 540" Mopars, 572" all-aluminum Mopars, 620" all-aluminum Big Block Chevys and our last engine was a Dart Big-M with a 632" rotating assembly.
At that point we could usually run Top Dragster, but those days are gone as it is not unusual to see 32-car bumps of 6.50 in Top Dragster. Those ETs are out of budget range and I am looking forward to only focusing on bracket racing with the new engine project.
RED, for those of you that are new readers, is a pretty basic 235", 4-link mono-shock rear-engine dragster. The chassis builder was a highly skilled fabricator that was ahead of his times in my opinion. We had features on this car in 2001 that didn't start showing up in other dragsters for three or four years. Interior master disconnect, CO2 gauges in the dash, adjustable pedals, steering column (height and length, front-mounted radiator under the body and other things that made it a pleasure to drive and work on. Enough about the "Old Red," it's time to set a plan for "Resurrecting RED".
Civil Wars at Rockingham, NC
Jonathan Gibbs Claims 4.70 Outlaws Title
Monroe, North Carolina’s Kevin Carpenter used a narrow starting line advantage to upset Donnie Gibbs Jr. in the second round Saturday, providing Jonathan Gibbs with the opportunity he needed win the 19th annual Roush Yates Performance Products Fall Civil Wars at Rockingham Dragway and, with it, the 2015 4.70 Outlaws series Championship.
Gibbs Jr. held a narrow point lead coming in but it evaporated in that second round upset in which Carpenter used a .051 of a second starting line edge to make his 4.746 a winner over his Mooresville rival’s slightly quicker 4.727.
Jonathan Gibbs then got a virtual free pass to the winners’ circle when Super Chevy winner Jeremy Youker had mechanical problems in the final round.
Gibbs drove his 1963 Corvette through the eighth-mile course in 4.872 seconds at 130 miles per hour to claim victory in the featured event in a Civil Wars event shortened by rain on Sunday.
Robert L. Richardson of Asheboro and Jerry Cline of Mooresville won in the 6.0 and 7.0 Index classes, respectively, and Keenan Luther beat his brother Miles in a family affair showdown for the Pro Tree Jr. Dragster title that was settled at the starting line.
Sikes’ win in Open Comp, the only category to race at the full quarter-mile distance, was particularly noteworthy not just because the winning car was his wife Holly’s street driven Pontiac but because the vehicle that carried 70-year-old Tommy Hussey of Kinston to runner-up honor was a venerable 1964 Mercury Cyclone. The margin between the two at the finish was .029 of a second.
Some tips for running in both Box and No Box
PROJECT DOUBLE DUTY
[Ed. Note: Rob Livingston is one of the youngest and best bracket racers I have met. He has won two ET Finals in a row and three track titles in two years. He makes about 450 laps a year on his Nova. He finally agreed to share some information with our readers.]
At race tracks across the country that run Box and No Box classes, running both classes with the same vehicle is becoming very popular. It offers many advantages for the driver. You get twice the racing for the same tow, two chances to win, and more seat time. But running two classes puts different requirements on a racecar than the typical bracket car. When you run two classes, you can’t hold up the show or make your competitors wait for you. They will race without you, as they should. You need a car that can be hot lapped with minimal down time. You need a car that cools quickly, recharges quickly, and requires little to no maintenance at the track.
What you are looking at is stopping at your pit, throwing the charger on, running the water pump and fans for a few minutes, adding a splash of fuel and heading back to the staging lanes. Later in the rounds, you might not get that much time.
I am going to shed some light on what it takes to build such a vehicle. The best part is, you don’t HAVE to spend a fortune to have a car that you can compete with tube chassis No Box cars and $60,000 dragsters in Box class.