Irvine, CA, July 2, 2001-- In a drag racing first (and in an act of inspired lunacy), "Techno Tim" Gibson will pilot both front-engine and rear-engine fuel dragsters during the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals at Pomona, July 5-7, 2001.
Irvine, CA, July 2, 2001-- In a drag racing first (and in an act of inspired lunacy), "Techno Tim" Gibson will pilot both front-engine and rear-engine fuel dragsters during the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals at Pomona, July 5-7, 2001. Gibson will guide the Bill Miller Engineering entry in Top Fuel, as well as stab and steer the Mastercam Spl. in an invitational front-motored Top Fueler eliminator.
(To the uninitiated, the front-motored Top Fuelers--also referred to as AA/Fuel Dragsters--are reminiscent of the way these beastly machines looked and performed in the 60s and early 70s...)
"Techno Tim," who, between driving jobs, carries a slide rule and a Zip Disk of cadcam software while employed by John Force Racing as that team's aerodynamicist, is using this event to single-handedly bridge the sport's history while showcasing the different driving styles particular to each discipline. "I've always felt that driving the two very different types of fuelers, and the road racing too, helps gain a great mix of driving experience," said Gibson.
Gibson has stated that driving BME's modern Top Fuel car is a "sensual" experience whose handling requires a precise feel at a peak lateral force of 5g's. "You have visibility to study the groove. (It is) Very precise, technical, (and) violent."
While campaigning the Mastercam AA/Fueler at a variety of nostalgia meets, Gibson has spent a good portion of the season enveloped in fire at 240 mph and wiping oil off of his goggles, which is part of what makes driving a front-engined dragster so insane. But even when thing go right with the AA/Fueler, vision is still finite. "Tire smoke (on the burnout) obscures any other open vision," he said. "(With the engine in the front) You get glimpses of the front wheels and you just have faith that somewhere in front of the engine those links are steering the front wheels. And nitro fumes--we're talking about breathing liquid nitro."
Gibson feels he isn't even close to overdosing on his minimum daily requirement of nitromethane by taking on two fuel dragsters in two different classes. "I knew the possibility existed back at last fall's California Hot Rod Reunion," Gibson said, "We first heard that the NHRA would run select vintage cars at the Pomona race based on qualifying at the California Hot Rod Reunion (last October). When we qualified 5th, I thought we might be invited. But I didn't really know I would be able to drive both cars until Bill Miller and NHRA said it was OK the week before last."
Gibson has been in the seat of the Bill Miller Engineering Top Fuel dragster since 1997 and began driving the Mastercam Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster in 2000.
No one has ever attempted to take on the challenge of driving more than one Top Fueler at a single race. Only a handful of drivers have ever attempted to drive more than one car in any class, and few during the intense competition of a National event...
Putting the magnitude of this occasion in perspective, an excited Gibson stated, "This is an opportunity that comes along once in a lifetime. And to race both dragsters at Pomona, my home track, at the NHRA 50th Anniversary race is just fantastic."
Pomona Schedule: Thursday, July 5 - Top Fuel qualifying rounds at 2:45 and 6:00 p.m. Nostalgia qualifying session at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying continues on Friday, July 6 with Top Fuel qualifying at 4:45 and 8:00 p.m. and Nostalgia at 4:15 and 7:30 p.m. Final eliminations for all professional classes are scheduled for Saturday, July 7 at 4:00 p.m.
Television: ESPN2 will televise three hours of eliminations at 10:00 p.m. (ET) on July 7 and two hours of elimination coverage at 6:00 p.m. on July 8. ESPN2 will also televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on July 6 and another hour of qualifying highlights at midnight (ET) on July 6.
Gibson's career highlights include:
Driver of the Bill Miller Engineering Top Fuel Dragster on the NHRA tour. Driver of the Mastercam vintage Top Fuel Dragster for vintage races. Drives in Skip Barber Formula car road racing events. Currently employed by John Force Racing as team aerodynamicist. Designed current John Force Mustang Funny Car. In conjunction with Bill Miller, designs, manufactures, and supplies numerous teams with superchargers and fuel injection systems. Designed 1999 and 2000 Pontiac Trans Am for Joe Gibbs General Motors team. Designed 1998 Camaro for Don Prudhomme. Gibson was an engineer ('92 - '97) for Dan Gurney's All American Racers, including the back-to-back championship winning IMSA GTP Toyota. Graduate of UCLA in 1990 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Former president of AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) at UCLA in 1989 and 1990. Designed and built airplane that won UCLA Engineer's Week AIAA Glider competition in 1989 and 1990. Served US Navy and US Naval Reserve.
-Pam Utterback and Cole Coonce