In the photo, notice the four holes we drilled in an old thermostat. Our drill, drill bits and a piece of 2-by-4 wood lie on the driveway. It takes only a minute or two to complete this Joe Haddon Quik Trix.

Footbrake racer extraordinaire Joe Haddon of Conyers, Georgia, gave us this Quik Trik. He kept having heating problems with his 10-second Chevy II, and tried everything to keep his small-block Chevy cooled between rounds --- squirting down the radiator, running the fan extra-long, adding water between rounds, etc. He finally came up with this simple idea. He took the thermostat out of the water neck on his intake and drilled four small holes in the thermostat. He found that it aided in the water flow to the engine and intake when he first starts the engine on a Saturday afternoon. The drilled thermostat also acts as a pressure release or a pressure balancer. His 180-degree drilled thermostat, he found, also modifies the water temperature to a degree (no pun intended). During the rest of the racing day, the “holey” thermostat, he found, gets the radiator water flowing past the thermostat, helping cool the engine that much more. This one is a cheap Quik Trix and should be used on an experimental basis. But hey, Joe says it works, and we believe him. He used to have his pit area covered with water from his water sprayer. No more.


We used Fran’s hands as a model to show you the difference between the two dragster body panels. She is holding the front piece on our new Fabrication Concepts front-engine dragster, completed in 2004, while her dragster’s panels, circa 1989, are in the background. Note how my FED has the bottoms bent outwards, while her older digger’s panels tuck inward. Our rubber donut is placed underneath Fran’s dragster, and acts as a cushion in the trailer.

It used to be that dragster builders rounded the lips of body panels to the inside --- down and under --- of the dragster’s frames as THE proper way to outfit the panels to the car’s tube frame. Not any more. Now most newly-built dragsters have a lip that bends outwards of the frame, and there is a good reason for that --- many dragster racers nowadays use a rubber “donut” that sits on the trailer floor between the dragster’s frame crossbar that is welded to the bottom of the frame around the driver’s compartment. The donut prevents the dragster frame from getting cracked and bent when being hauled around in the trailer. And with the body panels bend out, they don’t get bent or warped when the donut is set in place and the car lowered onto the top of it. Outer-rounded body panels also help when it becomes necessary to set the dragster on jack stands. We found this to be especially true when jacking up our new Fabrication Concepts front-engine digger for jack stands. Fran’s 1989-model dragster has the panels bent to the underside and inside of its frame rails, and we bent a couple of them before learning to place jack stands on the innermost part of its frame. Again, logic dictated this change among builders, and in this case, newer is definitely better.

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