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Drag racer sees value in 300-mph joyride CHICAGO (May 31) -- When you drive a high-performance racecar at speeds in excess of 330 mph, you have to be absolutely sure that your machine is up to the task. Every single component and individual part...

Drag racer sees value in 300-mph joyride

CHICAGO (May 31) -- When you drive a high-performance racecar at speeds in excess of 330 mph, you have to be absolutely sure that your machine is up to the task. Every single component and individual part must be tested and checked numerous times to make sure the driver remains safe even when he's covering the quarter mile in less than 4.5 seconds.

When you build parts for these drivers - who will be flexing their incredible horsepower at the Second Annual Fram Nationals this Thursday through Sunday at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet -- you are allowed even less room for error. Every single unit you produce must be perfect.

"That's exactly why we have this car," said Top Fuel driver Tim Gibson, who will pilot the Bill Miller Engineering Dragster this weekend. "Talking about something you make and telling a driver how great it looks on the computer doesn't cut it in our book. When we make something, we test it right next to our customers and show them first-hand what it can do."

A certified aeronautical engineer, Gibson, along with his partner Bill Miller, builds and supplies magnesium superchargers, connecting rods, pistons and rear-axle housings to many Top Fuel and Funny Car teams on the National Hot Rod Association circuit. But nothing ever changes hands until the equipment passes through Gibson's rigorous approval process on the strip.

"We're the only manufacturer that does this these days," Gibson said. "To me, the only way to truly know what a driver is saying about how a certain part works is to have experienced it yourself. When drivers talk to me I usually know exactly what they're saying because I've been there many times myself. The car is actually an incredible research and development tool."

The formula certainly works. Miller-Gibson parts are in such demand that to purchase their components customers oftentimes have wait many months to have their order filled.

"A bonus for me is that this project gives me a chance to participate in a sport I love," Gibson said. "We're always testing. In fact we've got the next generation of blowers we'll be working on in Chicago. And if we can win some rounds and a race here or there, it will only help our business. Still, nothing ever detracts from the joyride one of these cars gives you every lap."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tim Gibson