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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

War Horse Aims to Become the
Quickest Roots Blown Funny Car

By Bruce Mullins

Bruce Mullins became the quickest Roots car in the NHRA with a 5.80, 240 blast at Reading. Photo by Greg Gage
Bruce Mullins became the quickest Roots car in the NHRA with a 5.80, 240 blast at Reading. Photo by Greg Gage

The 2000 Keystone Nationals was one of those races where you learn the value of your crew and fellow racers. As the car was being prepared for the first qualifying pass on Friday, we were all holding our heads high with great expectations. Unfortunately, I made an incorrect jet change and at the 1000-foot mark, the engine torched a hole out the front of the head and block. I shut the car off as soon as I felt the engine nose over but it was too late. A big flash of flame under the body and a lot of smoke gave us a coasting 5.96 at only 214 mph. 

We rushed the car back to the pits and the War Horse crew quickly removed the blower, manifold, and cylinder head to survey the damage and to decide what had to be done. Team Torch wanted an arm and a leg to weld the small hole in the block. It didn't look like it would be worth it to repair the block at the track although we had spare heads and other parts in the trailer. Then Super Comp racer John Di Bartolomeo took a look at the damaged area and told me that if I cleaned the area he had a welder in his trailer and that he could fix it. 

After he filled the hole with weld, I took the car back to my pit area and spent about two hours grinding and making sure the deck was square and level. Scott and Robbie then went to work checking the rest of the rods, pistons, and bearings. While they did that, Mike cleaned one of the spare heads. Tim and I finished cleaning the rest of the parts and we commenced reassembling the top of the motor. At about 11:00, we pushed the car back into the trailer. The last qualifying session was at 10:00 a.m. and when I left the starting line, little did I know or expect what it would run.

With the front wheels in the air until almost the 330-foot mark, I thought it was a decent pass but WOW -- 5.80 @ 240 mph! Only one person has ever been faster with a Roots blower and that is Jim Lape who recorded a 5.76 at the IHRA race the weekend before at Epping, NH. (Jim failed to back it up for a national record). The best part is we only had to change one bearing after the run. For the first round, we were paired up with Jay Payne. Even a .476 to a .568 holeshot wasn't enough to get the win. The War Horse shook and skated to a 5.88 but Jay ran a 5.73 to sneak by in the lights. What do you gotta do? 

But the run wouldn't have been possible without a little help from some great friends and fellow racers. Thanks everyone and watch for us at the President's Cup. The IHRA world record is a 5.85 and with the performance we are showing it could be an exciting weekend!

Bruce Mullins
mullinsracing@hotmail.com

 

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