The good and the bad of the Top Fuel class at the March Meet


Before the March Meet kicked off there was some good news to share with those who favor the Top Fuel dragsters. Over the winter, the Top Fuel team owners got together and decided that it was time to take action and do something that would be a positive influence on the class in an attempt to bolster numbers in the class, which in turn would equate into full fields at their selected events in the Heritage Series.

First off, Top Fuel car owners now have the option when it comes to the drive train in the dragsters. They can run the traditional high gear only which has been prone lately to increased breakage with then translates to increased down time during racing, due to the fact that some crew chiefs were reporting engine RPMs nearing 10K in the lights.  Alternatively, teams can run a modified version of what the Funny Car teams run and that is two speed, with a points style mag, although the teams are still regulated to the mandated 19.9 gallon per minute fuel pump.

This was done when the ownership group met with Steve Gibbs and Bob DeVour from the Heritage Series. The ownership group wanted to have the ability to run the same rules as the flopper guys, however, the Heritage Series was set on previously stated set of rules. Either way, many feel this is a positive move to help the dragster class be rejuvenated.

Another piece of good news for the Top Fuel teams is the new tire developed by M&H, which is five to six inches taller and two inches wider than its predecessor. This will have a dramatic effect on the way the engines run. With a taller tire, this will act like more gear and less RPM at the finish line. According to Jim Murphy, six percent less, which means a car running at 10,000 RPMs at the finish line will be 9400 RPMs now with this tire.  This is a significant difference and should equate in theory to reduced engine damage.

Another aspect that Murphy and Jim Head have been working on over the winter is a new and improved breather system for the engine.

In simple terms, it is an addition breather, which is vented from the front cover on the engine. There is a baffle system in the lifter valley, which acts as a deflector. In the event of burned pistons or other catastrophic internal damage, this pressure in the crankcase is then deflected to the front of the motor where the new breather port is located; the pressure and oil is evacuated into a tube running from the front cover down along the frame rail to the puke tank.

This does not replace the traditional breathers in the valve covers where pressure and oil are evacuated from the breather through the frame rails in to the puke tank, but it becomes a force multiplier.