The FED Experience
From the age of 15 until about the age of 19 or 20, my family campaigned a number of different door slammers in classes ranging from the NHRA’s Super Gas to the IHRA’s ProMod. As a driver, I took my lumps and had my failures, but I hung in there and we had some success from time to time. Even so, the experience of driving a super modern and incredibly well developed door slammer wasn’t enough to prepare me for my first ride in a Front Engine Dragster.
At the time, I was at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School in Gainesville, FL. One of the students was going after his Nitro license and brought his FED to pursue the goal. Without giving it much thought, I jumped in the pilot’s seat and got ready to go. After all, I was used to driving 7-second door slammers – driving an underpowered and antiquated dragster should be easy, right?
That 1/4 mile blast was one hell of an awakening…
Off the line, I predictably spun the tires. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for is how unpredictably the car gradually achieved traction. If there were an in-car camera pointed at my hands, you would have thought I was back in Europe driving an open wheeled car on a grand prix course. That damned thing pointed every direction imaginable while the ass end fought for stability and traction. I would have let off, but I was too scared to unload the chassis and forfeit what little control of the car I did have.
Instead, I kept my foot planted and did the best I could to keep the car pointed down the track. I crossed the center line… Twice…
When I finally got out of the car, I was shaking pretty good and my colleagues were doing everything they could to hold back their laughter. They knew as well as I did that the old FED had absolutely destroyed the ego of a cocky teenager. I learned one hell of a lesson that day.
And I kept thinking about that ride this weekend at the H.A.M.B. Drags as Kerry bombed down the quarter mile in his Dragmaster. Sure, Kerry’s car isn’t making the power of a Nitro car, but he’s overpowering his antiquated tires just as well. Plus, he’s fighting a shorter wheelbase and an absolute lack of any kind of development time. Put frankly, there is simply no aspect of his car that is predictable… yet. And that’s what made it all so much fun to watch…
KCMongo put together a short video of the experience and figured you fellas would enjoy it as much as I did.