Frank Hedge on Coaster Ride to Indy

MASTERCAM AA/FD ON A ROLLER COASTER RIDE TO INDY by Cole Coonce, NR June 10, 1999, Los Angeles, CA--While campaigning his dragster on the various Prostalgia Top Fuel circuits this season, Frank "Root Beer" Hedge, tuner and proprietor of the ...

MASTERCAM AA/FD ON A ROLLER COASTER RIDE TO INDY by Cole Coonce, NR

June 10, 1999, Los Angeles, CA--While campaigning his dragster on the various Prostalgia Top Fuel circuits this season, Frank "Root Beer" Hedge, tuner and proprietor of the Mastercam AA/Fuel Dragster, has gotten pretty used to riding roller coasters--at least in a metaphorical sense. And as he tows his powerful machine across America's Interstate Highways towards Indianapolis Raceway Park in preparation for competition at this weekend's Goodguys 11th Hot Rod Nationals, Hedge and his son, Ryan, have been patronizing every roller coast at any amusement park that crosses their path between Los Angeles and Indy. Hedge figures that no matter how hairy any given thrill ride may appear, it can't rival the dipsy doodles he has experienced this year while drag racing. . .

"Root Beer" started the year by strapping his team into a gonzo ride that has provided plenty of thrills and amusement for everybody involved... Indeed, at the season opener, the prestigious Goodguys March Meet, Hedge tuned up his driver, "Wild Bill" Alexander, to his career best 1/4 mile e.t. of 6.08 seconds (no mean feat since Alexander has been shoeing front-motored fuelers since the days of flag starts) as well as score a runner-up finish.

The team wasn't satisfied with those numbers, however, and sought even bigger thrills particularly in light of "Swingin' Sammy" Hale setting the world on fire in the Champion Speed Shop/Juxtapoz fueler with a precedent-setting 5.87, also at the March Meet. Hedge then implemented a bonzai tune up that focused on improvements in both the clutch can as well within the fuel system.

That's when the ride *really* bottomed out and roller coaster reached a series of wicked corkscrews. . .

These changes culminated in a couple of loop-de-loops that had the entire Mastercam team hanging on to the safety bar and tightening their sphincters. At the subsequent event, the Goodguys Nitro Nationals at Sears Point, the adjustments to the tune up provided entirely too much power to a frigid track surface that lacked bite. After finally calming down the car enough to record a semi-final loss in the show's B main, the team prepared the digger for the next event on their itinerary, the Pro Nitro Points Race in Tucson, AZ.

After qualifying conservatively at Tucson with a 6.60 at 209 mph, the Mastercam bunch began to get more aggressive, like they intended to do right after the March Meet: more weight in the clutch and a leaner fuel volume on the big end of the drag strip. Alas, they never got a chance to discover if these changes would take: While "Wild Bill" performed a burnout in preparation for his first round joust with Larry "Soapy Sales" Huff, a short in the magneto switch triggered a blower bang and wiped out Hedge's meticulously circuited fuel lines.

So: After all that, this topsy-turvy ride has led the Mastercam dragster back to the same tune up used at the March Meet. And while subjecting himself to a battery of high speeds on steep, sharply curved railways, you can be guaranteed that Hedge will be meditating on how to claim Top Fuel Eliminator this weekend at Indy... His advise to the competition as well as his own team? Hang on.

Mastercam Notes for Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals:

Friday, June 11: Gates open at 8:00am. Pro time trials: 3:00pm. Saturday, June 12th - Gates Open: 8:00am Top Fuel Qualifying: at 11:00am and 3:00pm Sunday, June 13th: Gates Open: 8:00am Eliminations: 10:00am.

Team entered into Top Fuel Eliminator:

1.Champion Speed Shop/Juxtapoz (So. San Fran, CA) 2.Gotelli Speed Shop (So. San Fran, CA) 3.Mastercam (Mars) 4.Tedford, Hester & McGee (Fresno, CA) 5.Alicia Stirling (Phoenix, AZ) 6.Claudie Meador (Hico, TX) 7. Cullen & Diehl (Ft. Worth, TX) 8."Nitro Neil" Bisciglia (Kenosha, WI) 9. Dale Suhr/Mark Hurst (Waterloo, IA) 10."Buffalo Bernie" Bartella (Buffalo, NY) 11.Daniel Staiserowski aka Staz 12.Dathan Arrant (Dresden, TN) 13.Beedy & Lutz (Chicago, IL)

Hedge & Alexander Mastercam AA/FD Website

http://www.nitronic.com/rootbeer

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