Skooter Peaco

IHRA Director of Race Operations


Words by Ian Tocher

DRO: I wouldn't argue with that, but there's still been far too many singles and oildowns lately.

Peaco: The biggest thing we're concerned about is the oildown. That's only got better at the end of the year -- not perfect, but better. And some of the guys that are in Top Fuel are helping out with that. Bruce Litton for instance, he is selling his car to a guy who is going to run IHRA, but not only is Bruce selling the car, but he is going to work with that guy next year and get him tuned up. All those competitors realize they have to work together to help each other or we're all dead in the water.

DRO: What's the likelihood of adding injected nitro cars to bolster IHRA's Top Fuel fields?

Peaco: There has been talk. We've seen some proposals. Actually, we've got comments from three new Top Fuel teams that are going to run the full slate of IHRA, but we may lose a few we don't know about yet and we'll be in the same boat.

The injected nitro deals are an interesting proposition. We've seen some proposals come in and they have been giving us some "what ifs" (what if we had this many inches, took off weight, we changed this) and "we thinks" (we think we can run some 4.90s, and maybe some 4.80s). Well, that would be competitive. We're just learning about the A-fuel cars as a sanctioning body; we really don't know a tremendous amount about them. It's something that we're looking at as a definite -- I don't want to say alternative -- but a definite possibility that we include them if we can get the rules right.

They're not going to run NHRA rules and be competitive in IHRA. We would have to have something unique. They would have to change over and be IHRA cars if you will because of what the rules. We would have to look like to get them competitive from a fan standpoint. Some people think they are going to be just fine; some people think the lack of the eight-foot header flames and the difference in the noise make them unsuitable. That may not be nice to some, but remember what I said about my experience in the stands in New England. Those guys were entertained -- they wanted to see fuel and as long as they went four seconds at 300-and-something, they were happy. I think these folks would come in and put on a good show.

Now the question comes, can you run them with Top Fuel or would you run them as a separate class? I'm not really interested in adding another class; I think drag racing has enough classes to begin with. I would be interested to see if they could run with the Top Fuel cars that we currently have, but I wouldn't want to put them in there to use them as cannon fodder. If they could run with the pack I would give it some serious consideration. If they were going to be number seven, eight, or nine qualifiers and that's the best they are ever going to do, then that's not fair to them.

DRO: What about Pro Stock? Are we going to see EFI on them soon?

Peaco: That is a possibility, but not as soon as I would like to see personally. Pro Stock is a little bit different because most of those people get their motors from basically two guys: Jon Kaase and Sonny Leonard, whereas you have a variety of different engine builders and combinations in NHRA.

So I think it's more doable in IHRA because if Jon said he could do this and if Sonny said he could do this, then we're in business. I know Warren Johnson would do it tomorrow, but it doesn't mean that Art Pollard and Jim Yates and Greg Anderson would want to as well. They are all doing their own things.

DRO: Has IHRA ever had serious discussions about EFI with the engine builders?

Peaco: I will be talking to them and the drivers as well. Nobody -- myself included -- knows a lot about fuel injection. Harold Martin has been working on it in Pro Mod for a long time, so that's a good resource we can tap. I know some drivers would do it, but again we're talking about me making a swipe of a pen and somebody has to spend $20 grand on a new fuel injection setup. So I'm not going to do it just to be doing it, or just because I think fuel injection is the way I think it should be. I'm only going to do it if it makes sense.

The way I see it happening is us introducing fuel injection as an option. There's a lot of technology that has to be developed and learned, but the Stockers learned it and the Super Stock guys did, too. I've talked to some of the manufacturers and they are interested, but some quite frankly don't know enough about 815-inch motors to know that it is going to work.

If you ask all the drivers, they are going to say no. In their place, I would, too. IHRA Pro Stock is as tight as it has ever been. We finally got Pro Stock to a point where it's probably the most competitive class in IHRA and presents the best side-by-side racing we have. Now fuel injection? Are you crazy? But it is the future. For obvious reasons the factories would fall all over themselves to get EFI into Pro Stock, and all that is okay as long as it doesn't put a hardship on the guys racing the class. If I didn't have any racers, I obviously would not have made the right choice.

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