Drag Racing in Valdosta April 7-9, 2017 (Part One)


Greetings to all,

As the season unfolds in 2017 we are busy in a number of different directions.

On the drag racing front, we have incorporated a three-dimensional tuning thought process that allowed the Top Fueler of Sam Wills to smoke the tire on the first pass and get down the track four out of the next five times. The one aborted pass was due to it being a broken opponent run and Sam not getting as aggressive with the throttle, short-stroking it and thereby not activating the timing and control systems.

Personally, I was on tenterhooks as I had gone to OKC to work for Sam in February and spent the time building cylinder heads and making parts.  It was a huge relief to see the heads going a 6.13, 6.11 @ 225mph and 6.02 @ 233 mph.

Mitch Brown and Dennis Bradley’s Top Fueler was another object of our affections with Nick and Fred from the shop coming down to crew that bike.

The storms that ravaged Georgia caused delays and cancellations of flights and Mitch was lucky to make it to the races at all.  With the delays, we lost precious sorting-out time on the various management systems on that bike.  It was a bit of a challenge incorporating the changes and tuning remapping, especially as I was not familiar with the multi stage controls of the ignition, clutch and fuel systems. Our shop bikes are programmed using different parameters.


The test run Sam made on Friday was a step in the right direction as it at least went 150 feet before boiling the rear tire.  This showed the change in tuning theory I mentioned earlier showed promise.  Mitch was just arriving at Orlando and getting in his rental car for the four hour drive up.

Getting ready for the first qualifying pass (Q1) Friday evening, we decided to make some more changes in the direction the test showed were the most promising.  Taking ignition timing out, changing tire pressure and clutch primary weight were the main adjustments.

For the passes, we were luckily running Mitch then Sam, as we were a bit short-handed and people fitting into new tasks.  There isn’t room for error on one of these beasts in any phase of operations.

Mitch did his burnout and as he staged, everything looked great.  At the green he hit the throttle and the bike moved forward about two feet and then locked the rear tire and left the ground.  When it landed, the rear tire broke loose and all were dumbfounded, having never seen that before.  It sat there idling and then after the fuel shut off, pushed back to the pits normally.

Sam staged after the burnout and left without smoking the tire, making nearly a full pull.  While the wind pushed him across the track, he still was able to stay in it much longer. This was the first time the bike had gone down the track under power in 9 passes dating back to Rockingham II of 2016.  It wasn’t stellar, but it gave a good basis to start from.

It was getting to the end of a long time for this old man to have been up, as we left for the track at noon on Thursday and car sleeping just doesn’t cut it.  Servicing the bike and puzzling over the behavior exhibited by Mitch’s bike kept everyone busy until late.  A long drive back to the hotel, shower, and collapse to get up and do it again.


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