Topeka: David Wells wrap-up

Wells has rough outing in Topeka TOPEKA, Kan. - Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan., has not been Federal Mogul Dragster driver David Wells' favorite track this year. After not qualifying for the Division 5 opener there last month, Wells had an ...

Wells has rough outing in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. - Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan., has not been Federal Mogul Dragster driver David Wells' favorite track this year. After not qualifying for the Division 5 opener there last month, Wells had an expensive outing during this past weekend's Advance Auto Parts Nationals there, where he killed two motors on his way to a quarterfinal finish.

Wells, who helps run the family Blue Bunny Ice Cream plant in LeMars, Iowa, qualified his Blue Bunny Ice Cream/ "Plain Vanilla", Tom Conway tuned Blown Alcohol Dragster seventh with an elapsed time of 5.566 seconds at 257.53 mph. In his second qualifying session, he damaged a motor due to rod failure, then dropped a valve in defeating Jeff Hamelink with a 5.787 at only 231.52 mph in the first round. With two motors hurt, that left the team with only enough parts to put one more motor together with a set of cylinder heads that weren't as good as his usual heads. Wells took the holeshot on his quarterfinal opponent, Bruce Bowler, but missed the tune-up for the new heads and slowed to a 5.656 at 253.47 mph to Bowler's 5.552 at 262.74 mph.

"During the second pass of the weekend, shortly after punching second gear, it broke two rods and stuck them out the side of the block," described Wells. "We put a new short block in, and the next run ran a 5.56, and everything went ok on that pass. Then the first round was about the same deal as the second pass. It went out there and in second gear and broke the head of an intake valve off, and did a bunch of damage. I had to stay in the throttle to get to the finish line first, but it really hurt the motor."

"After that run, we had to go back and do a lot of work," continued Wells. "We basically had to make one motor out of two. We had to pull a sleeve out of the first motor because it hurt a sleeve in the second one. We put another set of heads on it, and got it ready to go, and that worked pretty well, but it just fell off on the top end because the flow on the heads was different. Bruce caught me about 1100 ft, and that was it."

Even though Wells next race, the Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago, is next weekend, Wells feels confident he will have the car ready and enough parts to be competitive for the race. Wells won the Division 3 opener there last month.

"We have the motors back together, and I have another set of heads coming," said Wells. "I think we have to switch the heads back and forth and see which ones flow the best. We'll just have to see what happens, and do the best we can."

"We have the same setup on the car that we won Joliet [Chicago] with on the car, just that we won't have our best two sets of heads on when we go up there next week."

Television coverage featuring Federal Mogul Dragster will air on ESPN2, Monday, June 4, 6 - 7 p.m. (EST). Check local listings for exact play dates in your area.

-PVR-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers David Wells