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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

How Do Snowmobiles Drag Race on Asphalt?

By Steven LaMunion

Team Powerhouse Showdown -- drag racing snowmobiles! Photo thanks to Steve LaMunion
Team Powerhouse Showdown -- drag racing snowmobiles!
Photo thanks to Steve LaMunion

Putting a snowmobile on the asphalt is a lot easier than you might think. I got involved in this in 1998 and wrote a story about it for www.off-road.com/snowmobile. You can find the story here: http://www.off-road.com/snowmobile/indx1098.html

It takes very little to put a trail machine on the race track. A special made track of flat rubber, 40-durometer replacement for the lugged standard track is needed. Skis are made with wheels in them.

As a baseline, a late model standard 800cc triple cylinder engine snowmobile with asphalt track and skis on it is capable of running mid 10s at 120 with a 160-180 lb. driver. It takes a fair amount of test and tune time to find the right clutch setup to run those numbers, but those times are achievable without any engine modifications. A typical 800cc stock snowmobile makes 140-160 hp.

We have several snowmobiles competing on asphalt where I live in NY State. There are many sleds running 9s, some of them running low 9s at 140+ mph. These sleds are not trail machines. They are typically what would be considered "pro stock" sleds in grass racing. They feature lightweight chassis and full race engines of 1000cc or more. 220-250 hp is not unusual.

The sleds launch fast and hard; no shifting, no balancing, and no sidestand to hold them up in the staging lanes.

Auxiliary cooldown carts are needed. I use a cart with a bilge pump and a small car radiator/fan on it. After a run, hook up hoses via quick connects on the cooling system circulate the water through the radiator and back into the sled.

I run an "improved" stock 700cc sled. Improved stock means a modified engine and stock chassis. It runs 10.5s at 119 mph with typical 60-foot times in the 1.42-1.44 second range.

Snowmobiles are very competitive in bracket racing. I dare say, more consistent than a car or a bike. If the sleds have any disadvantages, it's in the reaction time. There are no 2-steps or trans brakes for snowmobiles. Creative clutch work can help for a more consistent start, but they will never be like a bike on a 2-step.

If you're interested in knowing more, email me. I have tons of digital photos of how to build and set up a sled for asphalt or visit the rpm.net web site in my signature line.

Happy Trails!

Steven LaMunion
http://www.rpmnet.com/racerpages/racerpage.cfm?DriverID=854
http://www.off-road.com/snowmobile

 

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