Racing success found in many places DALLAS (April 16) -- A single weekend of professional drag racing is tantamount to an entire season of mainstream professional sports. In drag racing, there are four grueling rounds of qualifying where...
Racing success found in many places
DALLAS (April 16) -- A single weekend of professional drag racing is tantamount to an entire season of mainstream professional sports. In drag racing, there are four grueling rounds of qualifying where drivers fight for favored positions in which to start Race Day. There are ups and downs, frantic changes, sleepless nights and cool bouts of confidence. Some teams earn top spots and have the added advantage of lane choice. Others barely qualify and know they have a long road to the championship. In many ways, each race's qualifying session is the regular season portion of that particular event.
When the elimination rounds start, it's a playoff-type atmosphere. Emotions are raw and unbridled with winners advancing to the next round in jubilation and losers dejectedly packing their bags for another day. In the end, as in most sports, only one team emerges as a winner.
But while just one driver from each class experiences the Holy Grail-feeling of each event's Wally Parks Trophy, there are other victories being recorded behind the scenes that many times go unnoticed. The accomplishments of Top Fuel driver Tim Gibson, who pilots the Bill Miller Engineering Dragster, might not be engraved on a brass plate. Still, to Gibson and crew, they are every bit as important as the trophy-case hardware.
"We have to remember that we are a parts development car," said Gibson, who together with Miller supplies magnesium superchargers, connecting rods, pistons and rear-axle housings to several teams on the NHRA circuit. "Our payoff is in the performance of our parts under real race conditions. Do we want to win every race we enter? You bet. But that's not our primary goal. You really have to be an optimist to run one of these cars."
The BME group takes pride in their client's accomplishments. They feel a big connection to Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon's foray into the 4.4-second range in Houston because Dixon uses a Miller-Gibson supercharger. They beam whenever repeat customers Cory McClenathan, Doug Kalitta, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson, Bruce Sarver, Jim Epler, Conrad Kalitta and Randy Anderson do well. They are also humbled by the 50-person-deep list of future BME patrons that includes NHRA champions John Force and Joe Amato.
"It's been great for us," Gibson said. "Parts we developed and ran on this car in the past are now in such great demand that we literally can't produce them fast enough. And the design work will continue in Dallas. We have a new injector that is showing a lot of promise and we're anxious to get this car back on the track to see what can happen. Winning a race wouldn't bother me at all. It would certainly be a great sales tool for our equipment. No matter what, if someone who uses our parts does well then we feel like we've come away a winner."
Gibson, who competes whenever testing is required, next races April 22-25 at the Lone Star Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.