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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Do Jet Cars Leave Residue
that Mars Race Track Surfaces?

By Al Hanna

This is an issue I have discussed with nearly everyone over the years. There are efficient running jet cars and inefficient running jet cars very similar to any other drag racing category. I can't give you a number (it's a very big one), but the number of times I or my drivers were strapped in their jet car when a comp dragster kicked a rod or lost a transmission, completely ruining the track, cannot be counted. For some reason, if a car with pistons and rods ruins the track, that's OK. An efficient running jet makes 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. I defy anyone to show me where 1,700 F. and a thrust of 6,000 lbs. can do anything but clean, heat, and blow off a track surface. 

We've been at many bracket events where the drivers complained of breaking out fast as opposed to slow. In fact, one interesting question to ask is what does each drag race association, along with NASCAR, CART, SA, and all other associations use to clean a track after an oildown? A jet. Hmmmmmmmm. Some of them burn gasoline and some of them burn kerosene or diesel. Most guys who complain must be getting a drink or going to the john at the time the jets are saving, preparing, and heating the track. 

In fact, at the fabled 'Big Daddy' versus Shirley showdown at Autofest 2000 at Moroso last year, they were scheduled to run at midnight to bring in the New Year. The conditions were horrible, cold, and very humid. The track was cold and slippery. To save the show, they heated the track with Freddy Sibley's Jet Track Dryer Truck for 1/2 hour and the race came off as scheduled with both cars hauling ass. Credit needs to be given to the jet world for that one.

I want to take several top runners in top classes, on an off day, to Maple Grove or some other good track. We'll have them all make their best run under those conditions, get ready, and then run right after we run the "Queen of Diamonds" or the "First Strike" in the same lane. The "Queen" has had an 8.81 60-foot time. The "First Strike" has run 290 MPH. They are race cars. My contention is that would end and document the results once and for all. It would be a good story for ND or some other worthy media source.

Jets can melt the rubber in the burnout box. We try not to have so big a fire show that that happens. The fire show can be controlled and adjusted. Unfortunately, many of the jet guys, especially those who don't know how to run fast, think the only savior to their getting dates is a big fire show. So be it. That can cause an admitted problem.

One final note. Jets are most efficient at a given temperature. If that temp is not achieved, the engine is inefficient and there may be a poor burn. If the engine exceeds that number, there is parts meltdown. Again, knowledge and experience in running on that number is limited to only the top teams.

The next time a jet car runs, watch the burn. If it's blue/white, ask for that lane. If it's yellow/orange, ask for that lane to be cleaned up or change lanes. The big jet trucks run a lot of fuel through them and usually run at the end of a show making their effect on the track -- regarding the race -- minimal.

Hope that sheds a light on the subject. It is often a sore one to me. See you on the web or Nitronic or at the track or? Bye for now.

Al Hanna



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