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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Regional Drag Racing Motors

By George Bolthoff

George Bolthoff's gas dragster tries on 392 Hemi power for size! Photo thanks to George Bolthoff

In 1964, I realized that race cars "evolve" to fit local track conditions. I would make a change, go out to the beach and if the car ran faster, then the change became the new "trick." The gas motor that evolved from this was basically a low compression, high blower, and lots of cam combination. Low speed torque was not important with the good air and dewy track (as Pat Foster has said). At the warmer inland tracks, this combo still worked good, just had to launch at a higher RPM. With a good blower this combo made good high RPM power and the car turned fast times.

The Midwest racers didn't have the good air and their combo tended toward high compression, slow blower, and less cam. This gave them much better low-end torque and they ran better ETs (on the Midwest tracks). I think Foster answered why the Midwest guys had a better deal coming west than we did going east! While the Midwest gassers were tough racers (they were the big dogs, after all!), I was never beaten by one at the beach. I lost the 64 March Meet to Gordon Collett when an injector nozzle fell out as I staged and the engine blubbered to a halt. The 1965 combination was high compression, big cam, and set the blower overdrive to fit the track conditions. This combo ran well on the coast and the Midwest.

On cams: The Chevy powered car started with an Isky cam but the speed was stuck at about 176 mph. Changed to a Engle and the car started running in the 180 mph range. The Chrysler engine always had an Engle cam with experiments with most other brands. None ever worked better, so I stayed with Engle. The McLaren Can-Am cars ran "special" Chevrolet flat tappet cams and the Indy cars had Crane cams.

George Bolthoff


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