Belle Rose: Al Weiss recap

Weiss sets national record in Belle Rose debut, BELLE ROSE, La. - Former Top Fuel crew chief Al Weiss performed the drag race equivalent of a leadoff homerun in debuting his new E/Econo Altered during this past weekend's NHRA Division 4 Lucas...

Weiss sets national record in Belle Rose debut,

BELLE ROSE, La. - Former Top Fuel crew chief Al Weiss performed the drag race equivalent of a leadoff homerun in debuting his new E/Econo Altered during this past weekend's NHRA Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La. Despite not winning the event, Weiss reset the national record in his category.

Weiss, from Wichita Falls, Texas, reset the E/EA national record with a 8.448 second elapsed time which was .642 under the class' index. In NHRA's Competition Eliminator category, competitors in different classifications are paired according to their class index, with the slower car receiving a handicap. The first one to the finish line wins in a 'no breakout' situation. However, a racer's index can be penalized for making runs more than .5 of a second under their index during eliminations.

"Even though we lost in the second round, it was still a good weekend for us," said Weiss. "We were just out playing with our new toy. To come out and run like that right off the bat really makes us feel good. With all the work that has went into that motor, I really knew it had it in it, though."

Weiss' car is a unique combination of a '34 Chevy Roadster with a straight 6 Chevy providing the power through an automatic transmission, which puts him in the E/EA category. The class is limited to an OEM production cast iron head, which Weiss points out is the key to his combination.

"Truth be told, there is probably a couple of years worth of work in that head," stated Weiss. "We've done so much welding, porting, polishing, and machining on it, its really a one of a kind piece. I can honestly tell you, it was so much work, if something happens to this head, I don't think I would do another one."

"The fact that you can only run the cast head is what really makes us running possible in this class," added Weiss. "In some of the other classes, you have to keep up with the trick of the week it seems like, and spend 100,000's of dollars on one motor; that's just too much for our budget."

This weekend was the competition debut for Weiss behind the wheel of his new car. Weiss is no stranger to the class, however. Weiss has raced in Comp Eliminator and done engine machine work for over 20 years. Some of Weiss' accomplishments include a runner-up finish at the U.S. Nationals and has set many records in D/EA and C/EA, where he was the first to run in the 8's. Weiss served for one year as crew chief to former Top Fuel World Champion and legend Eddie Hill. During that year, Weiss remained involved with Competition Eliminator, building motors for several teams, most notably Greg Hogue, who finished sixth in Division 4 in 2000.

"I like to take something that shouldn't run, and make it run," explained Weiss. "That's the challenge for me. Most people wouldn't look at a straight six and think that it would make a great race car motor. We were able to put this car together for me and a couple of my friends to go out and have fun. We all get together and chip in on the expenses, we are not 'well funded' by any stretch of the imagination."

"We are going to finish out the year by going to Noble and Dallas. Hopefully that will give us enough time together to give us a strong footing going into next year."

-awr-

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