MASTERCAM AA/FD HOPE THE CHAOS THEORY IS WRONG by Cole Coonce, NR May 25, 1999, Los Angeles, CA--Nothing proves how fickle, unpredictable and provisional fate and fortune are quicker than drag racing a nitro-powered dragster. As an example, take...
MASTERCAM AA/FD HOPE THE CHAOS THEORY IS WRONG by Cole Coonce, NR
May 25, 1999, Los Angeles, CA--Nothing proves how fickle, unpredictable and provisional fate and fortune are quicker than drag racing a nitro-powered dragster. As an example, take the Pro Nitro '99 Points Series race in Tucson, AZ, on May 15th. One second you are like Mastercam AA/FD driver "Wild Bill" Alexander, qualified in the top half of the elimination ladder, strapped in and focused on the task before you, ready to showcase your own driving ability as well as your team's mechanical acumen. As you ease your cackling beast of racecar through the bleach box, from behind the supercharger you watch your team leader, Frank "Root Beer" Hedge first guide you into the groove of rubber on the track and then twirl his index finger as a sign to hop on the throttle and spin the wet 12" slicks. Life is good as the pitch of the motor changes from a percolating arpeggiation into an extended wail until *BANG* your weekend is over. Your competition, in this instance Larry "Soapy Sales" Huff and his blown-on-nitro '62 Corvette, advances to the next round of eliminations by coasting down the drag strip. You watch helplessly from behind the now-junked supercharger that is parked next to the guardrail and you wonder "What the *&^%#??" Your fortunes have capsized in a millisecond.
Modern physicists refer to this phenomenon as entropy and maintain that such quirks of fate can be charted and graphed in accordance to the laws of what they call "the Chaos Theory." But Mastercam AA/FD clutch manager Tom "Slick" Shelar says proof of Chaos as life's guiding factor was much more evident and apparent at Tucson than in any textbook on contemporary physics. "It didn't hydraulic, it just popped in the manifold," he said of the blower bang that was violent enough to turn the fuel nozzles into spaghetti. "All the valve train looks great and believe me we checked everything , including stems and seats and guides. There were no broken rings nor was there any debris in any of the cylinders."
So color the Mastercam team baffled, yet optimistic. After qualifying conservatively at Tucson with a 6.60 at 209 mph, Hedge knew there was much room for improvement: i.e., more weight in the clutch and a leaner fuel volume on the big end of the drag strip, both of which would contribute to not only a quicker elapsed time but also a stouter top end speed. The ill-fated first round match against Huff was the team's opportunity to prove that they have a handle on the clutch management and are heading in the right direction with the rest of the tuneup. As the team prepares for their next joust, the Goodguys 11th Hot Rod Nationals, June 11-13, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, IN, they will continue to make more horsepower. "We found out what was going on in the (clutch) can and we should be able to put those ponies to the track," Shelar confirms. "If we don't have any more gremlins jump up and bite us we will be there at the end of the day." In other words, they are hoping the Chaos Theory is wrong--or at least will make an example out of somebody else at Indy. . .
Next race: the Goodguys 11th Hot Rod Nationals, June 11, 12 ,13, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, IN. (Non-points race). Other west coast-based teams making the trek include: Champion Speed Shop/Juxtapoz, Gotelli Speed Shop and Tedford, Hester & McGee.
Mastercam AA/FD notes: Mastercam team member Walt Stevens and Bill Dunlap, driver of the Mike Fuller Motorsports AA/FD (and eventual winner of the Pro Nitro race) reenacted the famous race from the 1968 HRM meet at Riverside when both guys *pushed* their broken fuelers towards the win light in 110 degree heat (Dunlap won as Stevens passed out from heat prostration); this time they used Jr. Dragsters and only pushed 'em 60 feet. Dunlap won again--but at least Stevens didn't pass out this time. . .