Pro Fuel class eyeing record season in 2010
As anticipation builds towards the debut of the brand new Nitro Jam season, so does the anticipation felt among many of the competitors preparing to make their Nitro Jam debut in one of two new IHRA classes.
Among the new classes set for 2010 are Pro Fuel, a spinoff of Top Fuel with more nitro in the tank, and Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, a form of outlaw pre-1980s bodied Funny Cars, and fans and drivers alike are both looking forward to what promises to be an exciting and record breaking year for both classes.
One class in particular, the newly formed Pro Fuel class, is already eying what it can accomplish in its first year on the tour.
"People don't realize how historic this really is. To be called a professional class for the first time and to be given a venue where we can run these cars wide open the way they were intended is a big deal," said Bob Ottow, innovator of Pro Fuel class. "There is no limit to what we can accomplish this year and I can't wait to be there when we record numbers no one thought possible with these cars."
Ottow, who helped form the class over the past year, says he thinks the sky is the limit for these machines and can't wait to see them in action on the big stage. From his shop in Auburn, California Ottow has helped build and tune many race winning and championship contending A/Fuel machines over the years and his experience in the industry should help push the class to new heights in 2010 with new rules and the brand new format.
"I have been around this sport for a long time and have won a lot of races and helped set a lot of records in the A/Fuel class. I have spent years developing equipment for the A/Fuel cars. Now, with the new rules, we can take these things to a whole new level of performance," said Ottow.
Among the new rules set for Pro Fuel in 2010 is the use of a clutch management system and 100 percent nitro in the tank. That means more power, more speed and more header flames than ever before.
Just a few weeks ago Pro Fuel driver Bill Evans pushed his car to a very quick 5.241 elapsed time at 272.78 miles per hour at an exhibition race at Palm Beach International Raceway.
With even more tuning and the right conditions Ottow sees no reason why the new Pro Fuel class can't achieve a level of performance once thought attainable only by the kings of the sport -- Top Fuel.
"I have been doing this for some 25 years and I know where we need to go to produce the first four second run," said Ottow. "I have no doubt we will do it this year with the right conditions. We have some pretty good cars lined up for next year, a few of which are among the best in A/Fuel racing today and that should make for one heck of a show."
And a few of those drivers have already shown what they can do on the quarter-mile.
Pro Fuel made its 2009 IHRA debut as an exhibition class at the River Cree Resort and Casino Rocky Mountain Nationals at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta back in July.
With ace Don St. Arnaud at the helm his dragster ran in conjunction with the Top Fuel rounds and put down a weekend best 5.310/260.86 in his second pass of the weekend. With the groundwork set, Arnaud went back to work at a few more Nitro Jam events in 2009 including stops at Maryland International Raceway and Rockingham Dragway.
"We basically set the seed at Edmonton. From there I worked with Aaron (Polburn) and the rest of the IHRA gang and we worked to put this class together," said Ottow. "We have already seen these cars push the limits and that should lead to some records when it is all said and done.
"To me four seconds is the holy grail of injected nitro. To be able to do it without a blower is a big accomplishment and I think we can get it done next year."
Another advantage to the class is the longevity of the dragsters. While other classes require regular maintenance, Pro Fuel machines have an incredible track record when it comes to wear and tear.
And most importantly, Pro Fuel creates the same level of excitement as its big brother in Top Fuel.
"When you run these cars you get a show and that is what this sport is all about. We get good header flames, plenty of noise and before long we will be pushing the 300 mile per hour barrier," said Ottow. "When these cars go down Broadway they do it at a much lower RPM than a Top Fuel car and if you are in the stands you can actually feel the cylinder firing percussions in your chest and that is an amazing thing."
Pro Fuel will compete under the brand new Nitro Jam format which will see all eight cars make two passes each night with the quickest winning cars from round one squaring off at the end of the night to determine that night's champion.
With a more streamlined show and more nitro than ever before, Ottow believes that the new format truly is the future of the sport and he looks forward to having his dragsters be a part of that future.
"Aaron has changed the way drag racing will be. At first I didn't understand it, but the more I thought on it I think it may just be the future of drag racing," said Ottow. "If we can get everything going in the right direction there is no limit to what we can accomplish with this class and other classes.
"The fans come for a total nitro show and that is what the IHRA is going to give them."
With the field nearly set for the eight car field, the door is quickly closing on a chance to be a part of the new Pro Fuel class. Anyone interested in participating during the 2010 Nitro Jam season can contact Bob Ottow at firstname.lastname@example.org.