OPTIMA NATIONALS BRING A "BUZZ" TO DRAG RACING Electric racers turned in respectable performances as they helped initiate a new look in drag racing, at Woodburn Oregon, August 30th In the Optima Battery sponsored "OPTIMA NATIONAL...
OPTIMA NATIONALS BRING A "BUZZ" TO DRAG RACING
Electric racers turned in respectable performances as they helped initiate a new look in drag racing, at Woodburn Oregon, August 30th In the Optima Battery sponsored "OPTIMA NATIONAL ELECTRIC DRAGS".
Specialized electric vehicles have made appearances in drag racing in the past, however this event is the first "all-electric" drags. Competitors ranged from a high voltage drag rail brought by Denis Berube of Phoenix, AZ down to a tiny 24 volt Electrathon distance racer Driven by Bill Paramore of Indianola WA. The meet also included competition among street-driven electric vehicles, and members of the Portland Viper Club participated with three Dodge Vipers to lend gas powered comparison times.
Top speed and time of the day was turned by Berube's 240 volt dragster, edging out Jon Brobst's race prepared Viper by .698 seconds with a trap speed of 105.86 and a time of 11.575 seconds.
Several experienced electric racers participated, though this was a new playground for most. These included Berube, who runs his rail regularly in NHRA events, and Bob Schneeveis of Palo Alto, CA, known for Can-Am look-alike electric road racers and fresh from Bonneville with a record setting Taurus. A second group of experienced E-racers included Don Crabtree of Burien, WA, Steve Cloud of Seattle, WA, Damon Crockett of Bellingham,WA, Rich Rudman of Kingston, WA, and Bill Paramore of Indianola, WA. Crabtree drove an electric motorcycle, Cloud and Paramore drove creations of Steve's brother Dave of White Center, WA and Crockett drove an electric street conversion Ford Fiesta prepared by Rudman. These competitors are best known for exploits in electric boat racing, where they hold numerous competition and water speed records.
Paramore has the honor of slowest winning time of the day with a 31 mph/32 second run in an electrathon. These little vehicles are low powered at 24v and intended to race for distance rather than speed. Paramore also won an electrathon race held on a separate track earlier in the day. The little car was at top speed at the eighth mark, and speculation is that gearing for performance should at least double speeds.
Steve Cloud won in 144 volt dragster with a time of 13.663, speed of 95.07 mph. He also provided the crowd with an unexpected thrill when his brakes failed at the end of a run and Steve made an unintended excursion across a potato field at 100 mph. No damage was done and the repaired car continued on to win its class, though the incident did bring a safety official to remark that he'd never seen a car go so far out into the field.
Don Crabtree, running a newly-built 120 volt motorcycle, came to race with a personal goal of 60 mph, and was totally surprised to turn a time of 17.976 seconds and speed of 86.73 mph to win. Crabtree turned a best speed for the day of 90.89 mph/16.79 seconds. Interval times through the quarter indicate that a simple gearing change should push this machine to speeds above 100 mph and times of 13 seconds or less.
Class Voltage Driver Time/Speed
Dragster 240 Dennis Berube-Phoenix, AZ 11.575/105.86 mph Dragster 144 Steve Cloud-Seattle, WA 13.663/95.07 Dodge Viper Gas Demo Jon Brobst-Portland, OR 12.273/116.15 Motorcycle 120 Don Crabtree-Burien, WA 17.976/86.73 Motorcycle 24 Mike Korpi-Forest Grove,OR 36.34/32.23 Tricycle 36 Bruce Meland-Bend, OR 36.38/30.67 Electrathon 24 Bill Paramore-Indianola, WA 31.196/32.5
Ford Taurus 336 Bob Schneeveis-Palo Alto, CA 17.551/80.89 mph Datsun 240 John Wayland-Portland, OR 19.194/62.96 Renault 192 Lou Tauber-Portland, OR 20.324/66.93 Ford Fiesta 132V Damon Crockett-Bellingham, WA 21.871/62.36 Chevy Sprint 72 Jim Howe-Salem, OR 25.110 52.59