06-01 "On the Road" with Luke Bogacki
In today’s high-tech, big money bracket racing community, it is common knowledge that a rear engine dragster is the most obvious and most commonly used weapon for winning bracket races. The percentage of winners, especially at the larger events tell the tale-dragsters light the beacon more often than not. Maintaining and driving both the Texas Supercars Cameron Dragster and ‘76 Nova, I will completely agree that I’ve enjoyed a lot more success, especially in the world of big money bracket racing, behind the wheel of the dragster. In fact, there have been several occasions in which I wonder why on earth we own anything with doors on it to drive down a racetrack. Since the beginning of 2000, we’ve been in nine $10,000 final rounds, eight of which were in the dragster. But I’m here to tell you right now, I’ve never felt better about winning than the one we claimed in the slammer! I guess what I’m getting at, is that although a doorcar may not be the most logical weapon of choice for big money bracket racing, they sure are fun--and they bring the driver a lot more into the equation of winning races.
Since I started racing, about five years ago, we’ve gone through a handful of fun rides, from brackets to stock eliminator, and our current 10.90/bracket Nova. Throughout the years, we’ve come up with a few neat little things we can do to the slammers to make them a little bit better, and more fun. Here’s a few.
The Burnout Timer
I fought tire temperature and waterbox issues with our Nova for several months, before deciding to eliminate the burnout variable from the equation. We simply wired up a separate delay box (an old four digit/no crossover box is perfect) and used it on the linelock, rather than the transbrake. At the same time, I employed the three step rev-limiter on our MSD 7AL-3, and wired in a separate RPM activated switch that is powered only when the linelock is activated, to shift the car in the burnout. I set the chip around 6200, and shift at 6000, and run around 2.5 seconds in the timer. This way, I can just roll through the water, build brake pressure, set the linelock, release it, put my foot on the mat, and when the linelock disengages, I lift. Hello consistent burnouts.
Throw the Digger some Brake Lights
This little trick is probably a lot more fun than tangible, but it looks cool, and makes people think. Within our K&R Pro Cube Delay box are three separate two-stage timers. I’ve wired up the third timer to the brake light side of my tail lights. On my mid-six second car, I’ll flash the brake lights against a dragster from say 5.75 to 6.25-to make sure they’re still behind me where they can see it. Does my opponent notice? Sometimes. Do they do anything about it? Not usually, but it’s good for a laugh when we get back to the pits.
Throughout various testing outings with our latest Nova, I’ve come to one conclusion on torque converters. Looser is definately better. The difference doesn’t seem as obvious running wide open, but in 10.90 trim it loves a loose converter. My theory is that it likes the flash kicking back off the throttle stop, to get the rpm’s up and get the car moving again. With a big heavy Nova (2800 lbs), and a small (but mighty) 388 cid Huntsville Engine, I don’t shift the Nova while it’s on the throttle stop--so it likes flashing up in low gear. I know what you’re thinking...how loose is loose? I can’t divulge everything, but it’s looser than you think....Call Bill Taylor Engineering today and get one just like ours!
Dry Water Box?
Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this idea on my own--I saw it on Billy Simpson’s clean little Chevy II, and it’s just about the coolest idea ever. How many times have you rolled up for late rounds only to pull into a nearly dry water box? An inept or overworked water box attendant (or lack of one entirely at some tracks) can spell disaster for a racer who races by him/herself. This is especially true in a big heavy door car that needs some moisture to get the tires turning. Our pal “Awesome Bill” eliminated this problem permanently by hooking up a windshield wiper motor to a small water tank in his slammer. On a 12 volt switch, he can spray water down through spray tubes located in front of each slick, thus creating a saturated and consistent surface on which to start the burnout.
I hate to beat a dead horse, because I know we’ve done an article about it before, but I absolutely could not be competitive in big bracket events with the slammer without the benefit of Nitrous Oxide. The biggest advantage of a door car in my opinion, is that you can feel what the car is doing, moreso than in a dragster. When our Nova leaves the starting line, and sets the front wheels down, I have a pretty good idea of whether I’m fast or slow, just by the way it reacts. Anytime you make a bunch of runs in one car, you begin to get a feel for what it’s doing. That being said, I drive the finish line a lot differently in the Nova than I would the dragster. Yes, I’m looking at my opponent, but I’ve actually got an idea of what I need to do (speed up or slow down) long before the finish line. I guess you could say I’m driving my race moreso than racing my opponent. If I did not have a Nitrous Works plate system, or some type of manual override, that would take the “speed up” option away, and in my opinion take away an opportunity to win a lot more races.
Hopefully some of the ideas listed above will help to make your doorcar driving experience a little bit more fun and prosperous! If anyone has any questions or comments, I urge you to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please allow me to thank Dragraceresults.com, Texas Raceway, and our cast of marketing partners for making this column and the success of our racing team possible.