Muldowney still along for 330-mph NHRA Top Fuel rides even after retirement Pomona, Calif., (Feb. 10, 2006) -- As the new NHRA season kicks off this weekend at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway...
Muldowney still along for 330-mph NHRA Top Fuel rides even after retirement
Pomona, Calif., (Feb. 10, 2006) -- As the new NHRA season kicks off this weekend at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 9-12, in Pomona, Calif., part of legendary drag racing personality and three-time NHRA World Champion Shirley Muldowney is still rocketing down quarter-mile race tracks across the United States in the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series by way of one of the most important, yet somewhat less than glamorous, parts on a 7,000 horsepower nitro-fueled Top Fuel dragster, just like the one Muldowney drove before her retirement from racing at the end of 2003.
Muldowney's husband Rahn Tobler serves as crew chief on the Mac Tools Top Fueler driven by Doug Kalitta. Before joining the Kalitta Motorsports team at the beginning of 2004, Tobler served as Muldowney's crew chief for 26 years and was instrumental in guiding her to numerous wins and record-setting performances. The barrel valve that sits atop the engine on the injector of the Mac Tools dragster is the very same part that rode with Muldowney on her "Last Pass" dragster throughout her retirement year of 2003.
What is a barrel valve? The barrel valve on a nitro-powered race car is the main metering device between the fuel pump and the engine. Its purpose is to ensure the engine receives fuel at the same time that the "butterflies" on the car's injector are opened. When this happens, the supercharger, or blower, is forcing an incredible amount of air into the engine. The barrel valve allows the correct fuel volume for the most efficient combustion and therefore the best amount of power to propel the race car to over 330 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.
"A barrel valve is kind of personal to a crew chief," Tobler said. "It's something that you want to be very consistent, and I maintain it personally. When I first joined Kalitta Motorsports, they were using one on Doug's car that was almost identical to the one I had been using on Shirley's car, but it was a newer generation model. It just didn't repeat like I wanted it to though, so I switched. I had to go back and dig through some of my old parts, but I eventually found it, and it's been on our Mac Tools car ever since."
Muldowney is still very involved in NHRA drag racing as the sponsor relations representative for Kalitta Motorsports' StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster driven by Dave Grubnic. She is happy to know that her legacy lives on both on and off of the race track.
"I feel like I'm right there on the line with him (Tobler) every time Doug pulls up to the line," Muldowney said. "Of course, with my new position on the StriVectin team and with Grubnic, I want that pink car to win, but my heart will always be with whatever car Rahn is running. To have him running our old barrel valve just makes it a little more special."
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by now legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta drives the Kalitta Air Funny Car. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship Top Fuel dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian Dave Grubnic drives the StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, while Hillary Will drives the Kalitta Motorsports-managed and Ken Black-owned Top Fuel dragster.
Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Hillary Will-driven dragster), Jon Oberhofer (StriVectin-SD dragster), Johnny West (Kalitta Air Funny Car) and Larry Meyer (Kalitta Air Funny Car co-crew chief).
Associate sponsors on all Kalitta Motorsports' race cars include Red Line Oil, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Zantrex-3 and Fischer Honda.