Project 4-Link Update

fter six weeks of traveling to IHRA and NHRA regional and national events we had some time to consider just "where do we want our racing to go" in the future. Barb and I talked quite a lot about having more fun, being more competitive and getting back on the winning track. Now by the "winning track" I mean attitude mostly. It so hard to win now that it takes a mix of skill, preparation and luck. We just want to return to when we felt like we could win every time we pulled through the gate. That means we will be making some changes to our National event-winning "Project 4-Link" rear engine dragster.

We have had some success in the 8.90 Quick Rod/Super Comp racing over the past two seasons. I was fortunate enough to win an IHRA Pro-Am race and an IHRA Hooter's National Event. We always seemed to qualify well and the entire experience was fun and we met a lot of very dedicated racers and made some great friends. We have decided to "move on" into something different right in the middle of the racing season here in the Midwest. We are going to try our luck in IHRA Top Dragster and do some Quick 16 racing locally.

The reasons behind this change are many but to keep it short I want to return to the type of racing I like best, full-tree bracket racing. The 8.90 Pro-Tree racing and the throttle stop timers, weather stations with pager systems, and lack of actual racing at the events has turned me off to it lately. I have the utmost respect for the racers who can time trial one day and then the next day go out and "hit the 8.90" at will by simply looking at their weather station and adjusting the throttle stop timer.

The quality of the competition I ran into at IHRA and NHRA events was outstanding. I see brand new cars, new 900 hp engines and indestructible transmissions in every staging lane. The cars are all "killer" and so are the drivers. I would estimate a majority of these dragsters are costing between $35,000 and $50,000. It isn't a money thing to me; it is just such tough competition it seems more like pulling a lever on a slot machine than racing.

Personally, I think going back to full tree bracket racing with both the DRO Project Cars is really a return to our roots and I am looking forward to it. I am not giving up on one of my biggest goals though, an NHRA National event "Wally." I have one more chance in 2003 this summer at the Rugged Liner Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota in August. If you are there be sure to stop by out pit area, we have been known to have a couple spare cold drinks with us for DRO readers.

We are putting the "Project 4-Link" tech column back into action right alongside the "Back-2-Basics" tech series. I think it will be interesting to you readers as we are working within a very tight budget on the "Back-2-Basics" Vega and a little more liberal budget as we update the "Project-4-Link" into Top Dragster competitor. Most of you know we are running a 540-inch Indy Cylinder Head Bracket-Master engine and it has proven very reliable over the two and a half seasons we have raced it. We will be testing its limits a little more over the next few months and with all the big-inch Chevrolets out there it should be interesting to see if we can make the Mopar competitive.

The plan is to add an Indy tunnel ram with a pair of alcohol King Demons on top. There will also be a Nitrous Works system plumbed in "just in case." The chassis needs some additional items to be legal in Top Dragster. A metal battery box, engine "diaper" (hope that isn't needed) and a small addition to some aluminum work on the car which won't take long to get in place. A wing will be necessary, but only if we get serious enough to take it to an IHRA Hooter's National Event.

I am shooting for our initial outing in Top Dragster to be at the IHRA Pro-Am in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The plan is to have my son, Andy, do the driving. Hey, when you are looking for hundredths of a second use the lightest driver available, right? He is about 50 pounds lighter than me and that is about .05 in elapsed time and those youthful reaction times can't hurt either.

Watch for the tech updates to start in the next issue of this magazine. Until then, I hope you will always race safe and enjoy every day.

Previous Story
Project 4-Link — 1/8/03
Project 4-Link torn to pieces – on purpose


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