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Danny's Corner

Comin' Down the Mountain

Lyle Greenberg's 2000 Debut

by Danny White
With notes from Lyle Greenberg

Lyle Greenberg, a good friend of the Drag Racing List, made his 2000 debut at the Ennis Federal Mogul Series race last weekend. It took several last minute, nail biting, one o'clock nights to get Relapse 1993 Daytona alcohol funny car to the track. Lyle told me about getting the new tin done the night before he was supposed to leave. He also was very late getting an engine diaper -- Bret Williamson had to send the one off his Team Eagle funny car in order for Lyle to race. The Relapse team, with such sponsors as JW Last of 70's Funny Car web site fame, had to buy a new truck and trailer after his racing partner decided to leave alcohol funny car racing. Lyle found one in Oregon, belonging to fellow alcohol racer Dan McGlone, who is selling all his racing equipment. So, Lyle flew to Portland, Oregon, during Christmas to get the truck & trailer combo. That new combination of truck & trailer and other miscellaneous parts got him to Ennis.

Lyle had decided to come to Ennis instead of going to Tucson next week to race. Ennis had 17 cars pre-entered to race in alcohol funny car and surprisingly, they all showed up. Six of the seven NHRA divisions were represented, all except Division 2. The field had heavy hitters like Pat Austin and Tony Bartone, and the local killer cars of Jackie Stidham, Jimmy Jones, Tate Branch, and Todd Simpson. Other cars on hand were those of Ron Morrison, Ben Harper, Robert Kanewisher, Rob Fleming, Michael Heckert, and Scott Palmer. The show had several funny car rookies in it, too, as Keith Kinsley, EJ Johnston, Warren Dauzat, and Richard Shaver joined the mix. Last but not least was our own Lyle Greenberg.

Lyle, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had never raced at Ennis before so that put him at a disadvantage. In fact, he had never raced in air anywhere approaching the near sea level altitude of Ennis. The best air he had raced in was the 2,500-foot elevation of Phoenix. The altimeter last weekend read a little over 300 feet, the natural elevation of Ennis. Lyle showed me the Les Davenport computer program for setting the fuel system that helps him tune the car to a baseline. The first session for funny cars was canceled on Friday due to unsafe crosswinds. It was a miserable, blustery day resulting from a night of serious storms that blew through the North Texas region. The canceled session cost Lyle an extra pass that would have been critical to the tune up. This made the two passes on Saturday "all or nothing" affairs.

Lyle's first run was in the early afternoon in the left lane of the Texas Motorplex. Lyle did a good burnout, backed up, left decently, but needed more clutch. The number seven spark plug messed up, dropping the cylinder throughout the run. Lyle did manage a 6.144 at 235.25 mph. The run put him into the show in the number five spot, but he fell in position as more cars ran. Lyle ended up in the number nine spot after the session was over.

Despite the great atmospheric conditions, the funny cars were having a tough time getting down the track without shake or spin. Lyle showed up for his second run with a more aggressive tune up, designed to get into the fives and into the field. After five that evening, Lyle Greenberg lined up in the right lane. The burnout was great and the car launched hard, but Lyle experienced severe tire shake and took a hard left over the centerline. At the 330-foot mark, Lyle took out the foam progressive timer blocks, disqualifying the run and ending the racing weekend for the Relapse team. Lyle would end up as the number three alternate. His 6.144 pass was .173 behind the number eight qualifier, Scott Palmer, and behind number one & two alternates Randy Fleming and Richard Shaver. Pat Austin had the field covered in qualifying with a super 5.63 at 257, a tenth ahead of Tony Bartone. Fleming & Shaver got into the show after Stidham & Palmer broke, but still left Lyle on the outside looking in.

Overall, the weekend was a pretty good showing. Considering that he had never raced at the Texas Motorplex before and only had two shots to get into the field, Lyle's high country hauler did good -- better than six other cars. The team will regroup and will be ready for the next race, most likely a Division 5 race in the high altitude the car is used to. So go get them next time, Lyle, and make us all proud here at The Drag Racing List. We will be rooting for you!

Danny White

Lyle's take on the second pass and the weekend...

Our second run resulted in what we fondly refer to as tire shake or basketballing the tires. The alky cars are particularly prone to it at the top of low gear, usually at 150 feet out. If you have too much clutch or maybe too little clutch, maybe too much HP, or maybe not enough HP or ... well you get the picture ... the tires go square and you feel like you've just been put on one of those paint shakers at Home Depot. You should see the stuff it can break when it shakes hard! The best run profile with the Goodyear tires I run is one where the car gets up on the tire quickly, but doesn't go square. It's a fine line! I really didn't think my deal shook very hard on that last pass, but it sure as hell made a left turn. When you get out of the groove at the 'Plex you're done! Too bad, because the 60' and 330' timers (accounting for the fact that I lifted at about 250') seemed to indicate that we were on a low 5.90 or high 5.80 pass.

The trick of the week in the blown alky classes is the Hoosier tires. Shorter tire, different construction, and a footprint that is bigger seem to create a tire less prone to shaking. I guess I'm gonna have to try a pair, but first I've got to get some beadlock wheels. With the Goodyears, most everybody was short shifting to 2nd to keep it from shaking at the top of 1st. Now with the Hoosiers, people are able to stretch 1st gear out. I know when I have gotten away with driving it out in low, I've picked up a solid tenth, and that is what the guys are picking up with the Hoosiers. The solid 5.70 cars have turned into 5.60 cars and the 5.60 cars have turned into 5.50 cars.

Lyle Greenberg
443 Federal Mogul Funny Car


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