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.