Whither AA/FD?

It seems to me that the Nostalgia Top Fuel class is in  danger of disappearing from the drag racing scene. One of their strongest supporters, Steve Gibbs, has threatened  some draconian (but in my opinion necessary) actions to try and save the class. This is after the 14-car Top Fuel class was responsible for 2 and 3/4 hours of track repair from oil-downs at the just completed California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield. At that same event the  30+ car field of AA/FC were responsible for about  30 minutes of track cleaning.

Among the several severe measures Mr Gibbs has proposed to cure the problem is disqualification for oiling the track during eliminations, which is harsh. Also, shockingly, Gibbs, who has always championed sixteen car Top Fuel fields, also proposed reducing the field from sixteen qualifiers to eight!

It is obvious that Mr. Gibbs is very, very  frustrated by the inability of the Top Fuel teams to deal with the reality that Nostalgia Top Fuel engine and tire rules obviously need to be changedto prevent the excessive number a of engine explosions and subsequent oil-downs.

The problem seems easily identified. Under the current rules nostalgia Top Fuel cars are restricted to narrow,-hard tires that are prone to spin, a and direct drive trans. As a result most competitive Top Fuel cars are turning the engines around 10,000 rpm the last 300 feet of the track and running out of fuel volume causing  bad things to happen in the engine. No nitro engine is “happy” at 10,000rpm

Using  a fuel pump that delivers fewer gallons per minute than the 21-gallon pumps used by the AA/FC cars and  a Big Show  mag  to fire the plugs at 10,000 rpm or more is a recipe for parts failure. And bear in mind that even if the engine doesn’t have a catastrophic failure, a pinched ring or other relatively minor damage generally results in the crank case getting pressurized and forcing oil out of the containment system and onto the track. Also the current engine combination has made having and racing a competitive Nostalgia Top Fuel car prohibitively expensive and as a result few, if any, new cars or teams are coming along.

As a part-time racing series promoter of AA/FC cars I have been approached by Top Fuel racers about putting a circuit together for their dragsters. The fact is, I would love to. Many of the tracks that host the DRO AA/FC Challenge would love to add another nitro class. They know that the more nitro classes they have the more tickets they will sell, but to a man they are unwilling to invest the money in a Top Fuel show.

The two reasons they give are: 1) They aren’t  sure Nitro Top Fuel cars on their own will sell tickets and 2) They perceive the cars in the class as being serious “leakers”.  Like it or not, Top Fuel racers, those are facts.

So the solution to me seems obvious. It is time to write a new set of rules for Nostalgia Top Fuel.

If I were writing the rules they would be simple. I suggest they exactly duplicate current nostalgia AA/FC rules. Points Mag, 21 gallon fuel pump, 6-71 Blower with current overdrive and make the nostalgia AA/FC tire and a two-speed trans legal. I think with those rules the cars will  be just as quick or quicker than they are now and ultimately more affordable.

I know what I am suggesting is going to infuriate some AA/FD team owners and drivers,  but if something isn’t done soon I feel the class will disappear. If Steve Gibbs threatening to limit the field to eight cars and the CHRR doesn’t get the Top Fuel sponsors and racers attention and motivated to fix the class nothing will. If nothing changes  then I suggest that soon Top Fuel will become an exhibition only class. Maybe there will be no Heritage Series class for them. It’s already that way in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Is that the future of Nitro Top Fuel?I sure hope not!

By the way, if there are racers here in the Midwest interested in a Top Fuel class using the rules I’ve outlined above, send me an email at jeffburk@racingnetsource.com. I would be interested in trying to develop another nitro class for the DRO series. NO CALLS PLEASE!

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