Guess who's suiting up for root beer? by Cole Coonce 3/08/00, Los Angeles, CA--Guess who's suiting up in "Root Beer" Hedge's Mastercam AA/Fuel Dragster this weekend at the Goodguys 41st March Meet in Bakersfield? If you've been in a Buddhist...
Guess who's suiting up for root beer? by Cole Coonce
3/08/00, Los Angeles, CA--Guess who's suiting up in "Root Beer" Hedge's Mastercam AA/Fuel Dragster this weekend at the Goodguys 41st March Meet in Bakersfield?
If you've been in a Buddhist Monastery for the last six months, you may not have heard that Hedge and his former shoe, "Wild Bill" Alexander are splitsville, with Alexander now driving for John Eirich in his "Ground Zero" fueler (replacing Denver Schutz, who is now with the Jim Cullen entry out of Texas and who is replacing Jeff "Surfer" Diehl who is....sheesh, charting the breakups in this scene is more work than annotating the matrimonial paths of Zza Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor....).
With "Wild Bill" having moved on, Hedge was faced with a dilemma. How do you replace a legendary first wave AA/FD driver, a guy who has been slugging it out in slingshot fuelers since 1961? Hedge's response was blunt: You don't. This is typical Root Beer-logic and emblematic of how Hedge's mind works like a baseball pitcher: Show 'em your fastball, show 'em your fastball and then throw 'em a curve.
And his choice for a new driver was an "outside" decision, indeed: Hedge scouted the Big Leagues and offered the ride to "Techno Tim" Gibson, who is driver of the BME Top Fuel car in NHRA competition, as well as aerodynamicist for John Force Racing, in addition to being an all-around nitromaniac who has made no secret about his fascination with front engined fuel cars.
Hedge's decison was based on the following: after grabbing a seat in the grandstands at last month's NHRA Winternationals, he observed Gibson--who was unqualified and was on a last ditch attempt to "get in the show"--smoothly and successfully "pedal" the 6000+ hp BME digger's throttle and thereby subvert performance-killing tire spin en route to recording an elapsed time of 4.83 seconds at a speed of 291.13 MPH, numbers good enough to get the car qualified for Sunday's eliminations.
That display was all the empirical confirmation Hedge needed to know that Gibson was his guy...
Initial reports from a test session at Bakersfield last weekend proffer that Gibson was pleasantly taken aback out how l-o-u-d and "in your face" the cackle is out of the 2000+ hp front engine dragster as compared to Gibson's other mount, which makes three times the horsepower and has more fuel volume, spark and air compression, but which has all of those thermodynamic elements aft of the driver's pretty parts.
(For the record and to preclude any possible confusion, Gibson is still under the employ of both Bill Miller Engineering as its driver, as well as John Force Racing as an aeronautical engineer.)
Although Hedge made clear his appreciation of Gibson's cockpit acumen, another aspect to the hiring may or may not involve Gibson's background in Aeronautic Engineering. But let the record reflect that this writer has seen Gibson and Hedge collaborate on drawings on coffee shop napkins of what a front engine fueler should look like in this day and age. You do the math...