Crew chief Venables gaining confidence with GEICO dragster
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5) -- After years of turning wrenches on Funny Cars, Dickie Venables has gone back to his roots as the head man tuning the GEICO Top Fuel dragster at Morgan Lucas Racing.
Venables, who spent his informative years at the racetrack working on rails, just put the finishing touches on a week-long test at Palm Beach International Raceway, and he busily filled his notebooks with run data to use once the season arrives.
"Every run we made down the track is valuable information," said Venables, a two-time NHRA champion. "I've been away from the dragsters for so many years. I had to get re-acclimated with what a dragster can take as far as horsepower and clutch application."
He said he also made sure he knows the capability of every part in his arsenal.
"We came down here with several things we wanted to test," Venables said. "And everything we've done has produced good information. Everybody seems to be pleased with the results. The car is running well and not hurting itself.
"We're testing clutch discs and I've been experimenting with the different superchargers. That way I know what a particular supercharger is going to do when I take it out of the cabinet."
With the car making consistent runs in the 3.80-second range, Venables said he was able to break each run down into different sections to shave a fraction of a second off here and there.
"Last year I really didn't have much opportunity to play with the car and tune on it," Venables said of his two races with the GEICO team at the end of the season. "At a test session there's not that pressure. You can take you time and make your decisions. Last year, I was making decisions trying to improve by tenths of a second, here I'm trying to improve by a hundredths."
It's been the kind of test that's got driver Morgan Lucas excited to roll the GEICO dragster to the line as soon as possible.
"Everything went just fine," Lucas said. "This was the smoothest test I've ever been a part of. I feel confident about what the GEICO car is going to do when we get to Pomona."
The NHRA Full Throttle Series season gets underway Feb. 24-27 at the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
-source: morgan lucas racing