HOUSTON (April 1) â€“ Modern day aeronautical engineers usually test their various theories via high-tech computer systems. Itâ€™s usually more cost effective and itâ€™s nearly always safer. Top Fuel drag racer Tim Gibson, a certified ...
HOUSTON (April 1) – Modern day aeronautical engineers usually test their various theories via high-tech computer systems. It’s usually more cost effective and it’s nearly always safer.
Top Fuel drag racer Tim Gibson, a certified aeronautical engineer and former president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, sees things a little differently. His preferred proving ground is the quarter-mile track of the nearest drag strip where he regularly drives his Bill Miller Engineering Top Fuel Dragster to speeds in excess of 300 mph in a never-ending quest for new data and an occasional trip to the Winner’s Circle.
Gibson’s next ‘test session’ will take place April 8-11 at the 12th Annual O’Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, when he’ll match-up against the best drivers of the National Hot Rod Association.
“The drivers in the NHRA are always looking for an edge,” Gibson said. “Most races are won or lost by fractions of a second. If we can provide them with something that produces 10 more horsepower or a sliver of improved aerodynamics, it can go a long way to helping them reach their goals. We’ve found that the best way to test our ideas is by implementing them on our own car, running it at a race and seeing what happens. Plus, I love the sport of drag racing so we get to have a little fun along the way.”
Gibson-Miller Engineering currently provides magnesium superchargers, connecting rods, pistons and rear-axle housings to several competitors on the NHRA circuit. Gibson also has been working closely with Wes Cerny, the crew chief of Cruz Pedregon’s Interstate Batteries Funny Car, in making Pedregon’s Pontiac Firebird body more aerodynamic. In Houston, the BME crew plans on testing a new injector on their dragster.
“We’re working on making this car competitive,” said Gibson. “We’ve recently switched to Chrysler engines and a five-disc clutch system and we’re trying to get up to speed with the rest of the field. Houston should be a great place to gather data because it’s such a smooth, consistent track that can really hold the horsepower these cars produce. I’m excited about racing there.”
Gibson’s is also quick to note his racing ambitions, which go beyond the ‘test pilot’ role. “I’d love to qualify in the top half of the field and win some rounds at every event we enter. And there is nothing stopping us from winning a race every once in awhile. That would really help us prove our theories to the rest of the world and it would be a nice bonus for the entire crew.”