A story i have had save for some time I read , I imagine what it wold be like to set Behind NITRO !!! I have been a person fortunate to stand on starting line for All professional pro classes , """Nitro """ just can not ???? My self only been Little over 200 mph on ALKEY in Blown Alterd . Hope you will Enjoy the story........... """""""""""Nitro Altered story """"""""""""""""" White Punk on Nitro ,,, It will be in my memory banks until they stop working """""""""""""A Few Moments in HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "I Was Held Captive By A Fuel Altered" So help me, this is the truth. When I was growing up in New York City, I had three dreams. The first was to drive a fuel car. The second was to become a hot shot automotive journalist and write for big car magazines. The third one, of course, was to see my ride in the pages of HOT ROD. I've been messing with fuel cars most of my adult life. I've sucked clutch dust and tweaked, tuned and built enough stuff over the years that you could say I've got a well rounded background within the world of cars that go boom. The only thing I hadn't done was actually sit in the seat and steer one down the strip. Why? Because my empty pockets run pretty deep, and as you all know, in the world of professional drag racing, it's the billionaires who have the fun. Like anyone else with as loose a grasp of reality as I exhibit so professionally, so often, I wasn't about to let a trivial detail like an utter lack of resources stand in my way. So I built me a fueler. It's A Hot Rod No kiddin', you don't even need to have a passing interest in pro drag cars to appreciate my ride. Why? Because it's not a race car, it's a hot rod! To me, race cars are really nothing more than tools; devices to be used in the quest for making money and/or satisfying ego. Hot rods are also tools, but they are used within a much more spiritual realm. Hot rods exist only to please the soul. This is why I chose to package my hot rod in the form of a AA/Fuel Altered. Given my East Coast, growin' up street racin' in Brooklyn roots, a Fuel Altered is about as far removed from my native culture as you're ever gonna get. Anyway, had I gone with a more conventional machine like a Funny Car or digger, people might have gotten the impression that I was trying to be serious. No sterile alloy replica was gonna do my hot rod justice, so I whipped up a cast-iron 426 Hemi. Stock bore, stock stroke, stock cylinder heads, 6.0:1 compression, and an 8-71 blower. So help me, if you topped the things with carbs, it'd be mild enough to drive to LA. On 90 percent and 60 degrees in the mag, it'll make an honest 2,000 hp, which on paper is just enough to cram my 1,600-lb. sled through the lights a pulsebeat under 6 seconds . . . on paper. The neat thing about Fuel Altereds is that they have no contemporary science of their own. Dragster wings don't function very well on such a machine, and it has none of the aerodynamics and thus directional stability of a Funny Car. The Fuel Altered is an entity unto itself. Preparing To Die They say you never forget your first ride in a fuel car. Well, I'll attest to that. What influences me even more are the days, hours and minutes preceding my first attempt at riding the beast. Anyone who says they'd attempt a contraption as uncivilized and hyper-rude as a Fuel Altered and not be scared witless is someone you don't want to spend too much time around. The machine would be just as willing to snuff you out as it would to whiz you safely through the lights. I managed to keep my fear well-covered until I went for the required "AA" physical a couple of days before the ride. I clearly remember the doctor wrapping my arm in order to take the blood pressure readings, and the thought popping into my head, "I wonder if they do this to the pig right before they stuff the apple in it's mouth?" Hey, I knew I was in trouble. Still, I kept it under wraps while I pondered the pyschological implications. About then, I experienced the grand realization of a drag racing lifetime --- you don't drive one of these things you want to . . . you do it because you have to! It is a disease. Nailed To The Cross I'm sure the feelings that twisted my gut as the shoulder harness was being cinched against my chest weren't all that different from those one might experience while awaiting the executioner's cold hand. We've all had "butterflies in the stomach," but I'll tell you, those suckers felt more like wombats on angel dust! My anxiety was checked by the knowledge that I could disband the firing squad by simply lifting my right foot. The adrenaline high was awesome, and we hadn't even towed from the staging lanes yet. When we imagine ourselves thundering the ground and storming the big end, we tend to leave out the details that compromise the tangible experience. We'll leave out the discomfort and the claustrophobia. In the name of safety, the NHRA mandates a multitude of devices. First, there's the itchy fireproof underwear. Then the thick fireproof pants, the bottoms of which are tucked into fire boots, which, in turn, are duct-taped to the pants so that they don't get snagged during a hasty exit. The jacket goes on next, and then your head is swallowed up by a fireproof sock. Since I don't have a firewall between my face and the engine, I wear an old-style breather mask and goggle setup, which in my estimation is a whole lot more insulation than a 1/16" inch thick sheet of Lexan. The helmet is the last thing to go on. Race cars are usually quite comfortable when you try 'em out in street threads, but climb in looking like Captain Orbit and "tight fit" takes on a whole new meaning. Once you get scrunched into place, your crew begins the strapping-in process. A pair of 3-inch-wide belts run from the seatback over your shoulders to 3-inch lap belts; all four intersect at the middle of your gut and are then cinched tight. The final blow to freedom is the anti-submarine, or "crotch-strap," fitted to the buckle. In case you have a modicum of mobility left, three more devices ensure sensory deprivation: flameproof gloves, arm restraints, and --- my personal favourite --- the neck brace. Then you're ready to rumble. Hey Dude (Don't Be Afraid) You feel incredibly isolated, but the next few minutes of utter silence allow an exercise in automotive Zen: Become one with the machine. Feel the controls. Run through all the motions. Contemplating your fate is no longer an option. Find a comfortable grip on the wheel with your left hand, which is so swollen out of proportion by the bulky glove you can only fit three fingers around the grip. Right hand on the brake, you tug back, then reach down to operate the reverser with your left. You feel for the clutch pedal, which is way forward in the cockpit. Since the car is equipped with a centrifugal clutch, the pedal is only used to help release tension going in and out of reverse. At all other times, you drive the car essentially the same way you would an automatic. Finally, you practice the run itself. Left hand firmly on the wheel, you brace yourself against the seatback, pull hard against the brake, then peg the throttle. As soon as your right foot stops, you let go of the brake, reach down between your knees, and pull the shifter into High gear. There's only one strategy involved in shifting a two-speed fueler. Do it is as quickly as possible! The only motion required from this point on, aside from steering, is deployment of the chute. You acclimate with your right hand, running it over the chute lever, and letting it fall back to the brake handle. Suddenly, your mind shatters like a plate-glass window as the tow rope jerks the car forward. Reality grabs you by the spleen --- the moment of truth has arrived! You do the best you can to keep your head together as the crew maneuvers the car into the fire-up zone. You watch, somewhat detached, as one of them puts the starter to the blower drive and rests the gasoline squirt bottle atop the injector. You are no longer a human being. You are a component of the machine. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that no one is paying attention to or even looking at you, because they're all focused on their individual roles. Somehow, this instills an odd feeling of confidence. An official signals that it's showtime. You crack the throttle as your man gives the injector a healthly squirt of gasoline. Close the throttle. The starter spins the motor up to cranking speed. You point to another crew member who's poised with the magneto ground wire in his hand, and he rips it away as if trying to start a balky lawn mower. The sleeping elephant roars instantly, as if a red-hot poker has been shoved through it's guts. Electricity vibrates through the framerails. You tug the brake handle tightly and watch as your crew hustles to get out of the way. Idle speed is high for the first couple of seconds as the engine swizzles it's gasoline primer shot, but once it's fully involved with the nitro, the beast hunkers down with a hammering lope. All vestiges of fear and apprehension are erased by a level of lust only nitromethane can inspire. Aside from the deceivingly gentle rocking generated by the motor's 2500 rpm idle, you are quite unaware of the noise it's making and this is somehow unnerving. You watch the crew scurry, cupping their hands over their ears, flinching as nitro fumes corrode their sinuses. You are in the eye of the storm and it's eerily peaceful, and ultimately surreal. With the tow vehicle away, you ease off the brake and roll toward the water box. You goose the throttle to give the tires a full spin in the wet stuff. The monster at your feet bellows as the slicks freewheel for an instant, playfully bobbing the back of the car skyward. Everything seems right. You glance down at the oil pressure gauge: 100 pounds of pressure. You keep rolling. A crew member motions you to a predetermined point. He gives the high sign and you dig deep into the throttle. The motor comes on like a chainsaw, the back of the car rises up as the tires sling outward. Visual perception changes to one of looking down on the motor and front tires. From where you sit, there's no indication that you are actually smoking the tires. No clouds, no deafening noise, no indication of anything radical other than a slight skating and drifting sensation, as if driving through thick snow with the hammer down. You gently saw the steering wheel in response to the car's subtle movements. As you watch the Tree pass from your peripheal sight, you ease off the throttle to keep the motor out of valve float. Everything feels so smooth and easy that you want to keep the skins lit for the whole quarter mile and call it a day, but the plan is to vulcanize 100 feet or so and then get it stopped. The first licks of ferocity begin when you back off the throttle at the end of the burnout. For an instant, the tires leech the pavement while the motor is still generating, and it shoots you forward at a rate oddly out of synch with the seeming tameness of the burnout itself. It's an enormous rush! You grab the brake, pull the car to a stop, and begin fumbling it into reverse. A moment or two later, a crew member begins relaying hand signals to bring you back to the burnout tracks. You gently twist the steering wheel as you reverse into the freshly generated fog bank, occasionaly glancing at the oil pressure gauge, then the headers, just to make sure everything's still lit. Fifteen or 20 feet behind the starting line, you go for the clutch pedal and pull the reverser handle back. In the same motion, you put the transmission into low gear by pushing the shift lever forward. It occurs to you that the only thing that's more fun than a sliding high-C burnout is hammering the throttle and grabbing at the brake for a quick blast of dry-hop g-force. Whap! The machine lurches like it's been rear-ended by an 18-wheeler. The shock compresses you in the seat, and you feel your internal organs wrapping around your spine. Dude, you're livin' large now! The chirpie puts you right in the beams. You inch ahead and the top light flickers on. You linger with the pre-stage bulb for a moment as you gather up and prepare for battle. The irony is that your competition isn't in the other lane, it's the Nazi doktor's bed you're strapped to, ready to scare you half to death if not complete the job outright. Sure, you're the one at the controls, but the beast-thing howling in your face is the boss. You ease off the brake and the stage beam lights up. Tug the brake, take a deep breath, and get ready to do it for real. Everything turns to gel and kicks into slow motion. You look toward the Tree. Yellow flashes. You slam the throttle, and for the slightest part of an instant, nothing . . . then boom! The docile idle becomes a fury. The clutch comes in and you feel the frame distort around you in an unnerving reaction to the awesome torque. Acceleration is sudden and violent, yet smooth and efficient in it's application, and you rocket forward, aiming the front of the car at any large object on the horizon. You're shoved ahead by the tires, but the sensation is more like being sucked through a tunnel by an immense magnet . . . but everything is still happening in slow-mo. Your brain has gone into severe trauma mode. As far as it's concerned, you're in the middle of a horrible accident. The first 100 feet or so of strip seem to take an eternity to cover, and during this time your analytical mind has gone into some sort of hyperdrive, a thousand inputs being absorbed and processed simulatenously while you weed out the critical decisions necessary for control. You grab for the shifter and yank it back, aware of the extra load placed against the motor because you can feel it's pitch change deep in your bones. At the same time, you're aware that the car is drifting to the right, and you counter it with the steering wheel. It was too little a move, too late into the drift, and now the finish line markers in sight an instant ago have become a yellow stripe and a white blur. You've just received an invitation to dance with Mr. Guardrail. No thanks, man. Bring the hot rod home intact. You reel in your right foot, and like a slot car, the toy falls right into line and motors down the strip with the deliberation of a cat drawn to a bowl of tuna. @!#**&@! Well, see, we'd love to take you along for the rest of the ride, but truth is, we haven't been there yet. We've put about five runs on the "Bomb Squad" so far, and the most she's gone is to the eighth-mile . . . and that was a struggle. Severe tire shake put an end to one run, and landed yours truly in the hospital for one lap of the CAT scan. That's a story in itself: I made it to the hospital before I made it to the finish line! With a best of 11.08 at 42 mph --- try that in your street car --- we've got a long way to go, but we're having fun every inch of the way. And we're doin' it on nitro!