Force Crewman ready to react to any performance emergency. CLERMONT, Ind. Ã¢^Ã€^Ã“ While most of the work on John Force's Castrol GTXÂ® Ford Mustang takes place in the pits, where the crew has access to the most sophisticated equipment in drag...
Force Crewman ready to react to any performance emergency.
CLERMONT, Ind. â^À^Ó While most of the work on John Force's Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang takes place in the pits, where the crew has access to the most sophisticated equipment in drag racing, several last minute adjustments can be made even after the world's quickest Funny Car (4.731 seconds) has been towed to the staging lanes.
The most critical, of course, are those made by Crew Chief Austin Coil, who frequently "goes inside the box" to adjust the clutch timers just seconds before crewmembers fire the engine on the 7,000 horsepower, 325 mile-an-hour Ford.
Using information provided by Co-Crew Chief Bernie Fedderly, who watches what occurs on track throughout each qualifying session and each round of competition, Coil can make last-second adjustments to the clutch that compensate for various changes in the track surface or to changing weather conditions.
However, according to chief mechanic Dean "Guido" Antonelli, there are other problems that can be addressed even after the engine fires.
Antonelli, it turns out, is a human version of the Swiss Army Knife.
"In my right front pocket," he said, "I have a small screwdriver to adjust the barrel valve at the starting line and a 5/16 wrench to adjust the crank trigger timing. In my left front pocket, I have a 7/16th wrench for changing the main jet in the staging lanes and a small pair of vise grips for folding over and pinching off a broken fuel line so we don't have to shut off.
"In my left rear pocket," he continued, "I have a 9/16th wrench that fits a couple of the fuel lines and also is used in adjusting the steering if John wants to reposition the steering wheel in the staging lanes. In my right rear pocket, I have an adjustable crescent wrench that's modified to fit any fuel line on the car and also to pop out dzus buttons (which hold various components in place). Finally, in my front lower pocket, I have a rag for wiping down the tires after the burnout."
Typically, such tools are unnecessary. When problems do arise, though, Force is reassured by the fact that Antonelli has all the answers right in his pocket.