Interview with the Aerodynamicist
By Darr Hawthorne
After Tim Gibson's Semi-Final loss here at Sears Point, I knew he would have a little time to chat with me. Gibson is the Aerodynamicist for John Force's Funny Car empire and Driver of The Bill Miller Engineering Top Fuel Dragster.
I asked Gibson what happened in the Semis when he smoked the tires on the starting line. Gibson answered, "we had a clutch problem in the pits, and it took too long to fix it, and we were unable to finesse the car a little bit like we needed. The track had gotten hotter in the last round, if Bill (Miller) had the time to work on it a little more, he could have finessed another 4.70 out of the car."
Is this the same problem you had when NHRA Starter Rick Stewart shut you off on the starting line in qualifying? "No, no, no we were trying something completely new in qualifying and we are missing one detail of this new thing... it's not a big secret, it's a new combination and we are just missing one ingredient, so we went back to our Seattle combination and detuned the motor a little bit. If you are going to make it all the way down the track, you'd better make it in the first round," Gibson proclaimed with a chuckle.
Since the team does a lot of testing, I asked Tim what the plans are for this car. He answered, "we've got this car kind of on hold as far as development, and everything is going into the new car. The new car is on (Don) Long's (chassis) jig, it will hopefully be done at the end of the year."
Many fans and competitors are interested, so I wanted to know about John Force's Top Fuel Dragster project and if it would be on the drag strip next year? Gibson explained, "I have no idea." Will you drive it? "I doubt it, that would be a big commitment to run the full series... you're really giving your life up... maybe that would be worth it, maybe it wouldn't... it would be something to consider but I don't know what his (Force's) plans are."
The team missed the Brainerd race in preparation for the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend.
Darr Hawthorne@Sears Point