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Is Nostalgia Top Fuel Dying out?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gasser1961, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. "But....in top fuel, although everyone has the same parts, some teams can afford more of those parts within their means....tune things more to the limit. The can also afford the tighter safety rules as well. So they get to keep racing while the guys with less money are pushed out cause they can't qualify, or afford the safety equipment. Not whining...just saying that's what it looks like. "

    That's been true since the very first car in the very first drag race!
    Some teams have won over the years by ingenuity and innovation, not money ( I realize today's rules really limit this), and, oh, what's it called......great driving!
     
  2. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    I went to the Nostalgia Nationals at Tulsa in '85 when Steiner and the boys were making smokey runs like in the '60s. I believe they were not using slipper clutches and not spraying the track.....just like the old days.
     
  3. Yep. The clutch is the key, but does anybody still make a clutch safe and suitable for this. You don't need 2000 hp for this.
     
  4. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Jack Harris never raced with a $9000 blower and he ran 5.60's @ 260mph, motor still had the mag in the back of the block so you know the blower was not set back

    And do you know how many teams are using that $9000 blower?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013


  5. What do I know, but isn't blower setback a matter of rules?
     
  6. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    Hell....I'll agree that it's usually the smarter guy that will make it to the top of the class.......but would you agree that money does play a part in the smart guy getting to the top of the class in TF?

    You could be the best tuner on the block...but if you don't have the equipment that let you use make use of the knowledge, you're probably not going to go too many rounds.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  7. coupemerc
    Joined: Jul 16, 2007
    Posts: 406

    coupemerc
    Member

    We saw this issue on an alcohol car back in the 90s. When they started putting the pie shaped exit opening in the front of the blower, it would beat the front two cylinders up. The best solution is to move the blower back so the exit is more centered on the manifold. Wish I thought of it back then.
     
  8. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Somebody SMART with their money makes it to the top.
     
  9. Project Paladin
    Joined: Nov 10, 2012
    Posts: 229

    Project Paladin
    BANNED

    My point was this. Yes they all have the same number of parts. Some people have much better parts then others. Do you think Bill Richardson or Jim Boyd run the same parts as Harris or Fuller?
     
  10. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    So its the racers with fresh parts thats the problem because some racers run with worn out junk. Jimmy just wants to make a pass down the track, thats all, has no intention of qualifying and does not complain because he is one of the have nots.
    I would not put Fuller in the money buys you success group. I would put Tedford & Magee in the do much with very little group. Built their own chassie, work overtime at their jobes to afford to go racing, When they reach the performance limit of some parts they step up to the next level and continue. They have a parts inventory that allows them to change out marginal parts with fresh ones and in the meantime service those marginal ones to be used later on. Very Smart people, they dont waste time or money on some $9000 super blower and still make it into the final rounds if not win the event. This is Nitro drag racing and the only way to guarenty a win by throwing money at it is by paying everyone else not to show up
     
  11. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    Kind of hung up on that blower....arn't ya.

    As for the problem you speak of.......it was in the title of the thread.
    TF seems to be dying out a bit.
    Why?? Part of the reason IS money. If you can't afford the carbon fiber brakes, or the auto shut off systems, or the newer faster parts....you're probably not going to be racing much.

    And if ur the smart guy doing 6.5 a few years back for X amount of dollars, I seriously doubt you're going to be running 5.5's now for the same outlay of cash...no matter how smart you are.

    I'm of the do what I can with what I can afford group. Built my own chassis, motor....well....everything because I couldn't afford to have someone else do it....and I built it to be dependable. I run 10.0's with foot brake and have a ball doing it. Would I like to go faster....hell ya. But I don't have the MONEY to go faster. Kinda the same thing with the TF guy who was competetive then...but can't afford to be now because he dosen't have the MONEY to do so.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  12. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    No I am not hung up on it, but a lot of people are and most of them dont have a racecar and using that as an excuse.
    Everybody out there that races has access to and most are running the same parts, the difference being that those with money will buy new and the those with less buy the used up stuff. And yes, the new brakes and safety crap has stalled out some racers untill the time comes where they can afford it.
    One can run 5.80's with a reasonable buget if you have been into it for awhile. The 6.50 you talk about was 14 years ago.
     
  13. Project Paladin
    Joined: Nov 10, 2012
    Posts: 229

    Project Paladin
    BANNED

    Ok Bruce, if cost is not a problem why are there less and less top fuel cars out there?
     
  14. dragsled
    Joined: May 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,976

    dragsled
    Member
    from Panama IA

    I don't have a dog in this fight But I'll add my 2 cents, Keep in mind even tho I'm building a car I haven't set foot on a drag strip in proablly 19 years, BUT Back then I worked for a bunch of teams, We ran the NHRA races or the Big show as it's called now days and the IHRA deals,, Some had money to burn some didn't, some had good tuners some had guys who couldn't hit there ass if there life depended on it,:rolleyes: those guys normally cried the owner didn't spend the money I needed to run fast:( , with the money backed teams it was nice to be able to put in a rack of rods and pistons every pass, and some of the no money guys, would say hey Tim do you think you can polish that blackened crank enough to make one more round:D, on the money teams we could be out driven or out tuned by any low buck team with a good tuner on any given weekend so tossing money at a car doesn't always get you a win, But at the same time the money guys parts might hold up longer, so it goes both ways, in that case thats when the driver needs to do his job, Now I relize that the cost of building a car has skyrocketed and that has shut a few people out, (this ain't no poor mans game) but once you have a car out there being smart with what you have makes all the diffrenance in the world on race day,, Well thats my 2 cents , time to get outside and do some work on the ramp truck,, Tim Jones
     
  15. nitrodusterron
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 42

    nitrodusterron
    Member

    Yes Scott we have the 1969 Chevy II Jungle Jim Twins. They are the original ones that we have restored and cackle them.

    As for the topic at hand. Yes I see the class dying out. Money is the big part of it and the fact that you have to run the rat piss out of the car to be competitive. If you want to win you had better be ready to do a "rack and a pack" every time. RPM is huge on these cars and THAT is the biggest culprit to parts attrition IMHO.

    We don't RPM the TIKI. I shift at 7600 and run through the lights around 8200. That makes a 6.70@210 and that is a fun run when you have someone right out the window. As for the burnouts they are a blast and I do them even if there is no one in the stands. Reason why......more time in the car!!!!!!!!:D
     
  16. I'm not so sure.., CHHR last October ,I beleive there were 40 some cars in Top Fuel & Funny Car trying to make the field, the place was packed and Steven Gibbs was riding around on his beach cruiser with a shit eat'n grin on his face. Mean while, NHRA can barely fill a 16 car field. Ford just announced they are pulling completely out of Pro Stock & Fuel racing, Castrol has been sold, and if they and Ford are gone from Force, I've been told that's a 6 million dollar hit to his team.
     
  17. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    New and used parts are not what I would consider the "same" parts... but I do understand how wise use of the used up stuff can still yield a good result.

    My main focus on money was what it cost to build a competitive car....less on the day to day tuning of the car.

    Considering the only fault you found with the formula was WHEN cars were running mid 6's (and not the fact that it cost more to go fast now then it did then)...I will assume you will agree with what the formula represented.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  18. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    There you have it.

    And when there's a limited amount of people doing it in the first place, a "few" people can seem like a big percentage.

    Would be interesting to count at the actual entries in events over the past yer. See wehat the numbers show.
     
  19. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    You guys are a class act IMO. To compete the car like you do (a clutch car to boot...... if I remember correctly), to be consistant AND put a show on for the fans (who ultimately pay the bills)....cool.

    And thanks for bringing the JJ car over to the camp ground at BG this year. It's moments like that that fans will ALWAYS remember. Need a bit more of that kind of stuff.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  20. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    Back to the topic of TF. These next questions go to the experts/owners.
    Is there a way to create a class that would allow teams with lesser budgets to race? To help sustain top fuel and the hobby?
    Or is it worth any effort at all..should nothing be done and let the chips fall?
     
  21. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Its history repeteing itself---Funny cars
     

  22. Exactly right. FC's are just more entertaining to watch. This exact same discussion has been going on since at least 1970.
     
  23. storm king
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,991

    storm king
    Member

    They lost me with the new chassis designs. I think they were the bomb when they ran period type chasss. But the drivers say, oh, the new ones are SO much easier to drive and see out of. No shit. They also don't look in the least "nostalgic". When they put the big blowers on them, etc, etc, they became boring, to me.
     
  24. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    The cost of putting a car together is irelavent, it cost everybody that WANTS to race the same, It just takes some people longer to pay for it.
    What kills The teams is what it takes to go racing. One of my customers that runs T/F says it normaly cost him $10,000 to run the MM or CHRR and thats if they dont KILL a bunch of parts.That cost comes from Crew and entryfees,meals & hospitality,lodgeing and transport. Add in fuel, oil,tires, and other consumables as in rings,bearings,plugs,valves,gaskets,clutch disc's,piston-rod-sleeves. Most people dont releise that most engine damage starts on the burnout (hardly the effort of the tuner "putting it on kill") it doent manifest itself till the end of the run.

    There has been tries to create a sub class of T/F, but the pie can only be cut into so many pieces and not enough spectator draw by this class alone to bake a bigger pie.

    This can no longer be considered a hobby, Its 2013 not 1964, these cars dont fit in a normal garage, are not taken to the track on a open trailer, there are not 3-4 tracks within a 50mi radious running open shows every weekend and face it the economy really sucks right now.
    So Scott, let me ask you this say there was a eco class for fuel cars just starting.I have a customer that wants to get out and is selling his whole operation, Thats truck ,trailer, brand spanking new car, and a ton of spares,tools, support equip and will even throw in a drum of nitro all for 95K thats .50 on the dollar invested. Do you have the desire and the funds to write him a check right now for it???
     
  25. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    A funny will fit in most peoples garages (body out back or in the trailer) whereas a dragster wont so it is either at a shop or constantly moved in and out of the trailer if one works on it at their house.
     
  26. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    A lot of guys got out of nitro racing decades ago because it got too expensive. They found other forms of entertainment to enjoy...things they could afford. When the Nostalgia Nationals came about, many of the old timers got back in because they had never lost the desire to burn their eyes and hurt their ears....and they could afford it again. But many have left again for the same reason as the first time.

    I don't think nitro racing will ever die. It is too thrilling. There will always be enough money available for some to race. There are some Fuel Bike racers trying to get a nostalgia movement started. It will probably happen too but slowly. The original T/F motorcycles, the few that remain, are too valuable to race so clones will have to be built...just like the T/F Dragsters and Funny Cars of today.
     
  27. scottmech
    Joined: Mar 21, 2009
    Posts: 78

    scottmech
    Member
    from GA

    Totally a hypothetical question that adds no validity to the topic at hand. Can't answer that, cause I don't know what it's like to have enough money to spend 95K on a hobby. Hell......I had the cheapest/shortest enclosed trailer at any track I go to....12 ft, single axle cargo trailer. Should have seen the look on the guys face who was leading the rigs to their parking spots at HRR BG....lol

    I'll humor you with an answer to your question anyhow. I would approach buying a TF car the same way I approached building/driving my current car. Base the decision on not only on cost to build the car, but to operate it as well (under a defined schedule) and still be comfortable in day to day life. My car had specific parameters it had to meet. Had to be built for under 10K, be a Fiat altered, seat 2, blown, run on pump gas, be street legal,pass tech down to 10.0, run low 10's and be able to beat on it without worrying about braking parts. I met every one of those goals.....and the car turned out to be more consistent than the driver...lol

    Anyone else have an opinion on the subject at hand??
     
  28. voxnut
    Joined: Oct 30, 2008
    Posts: 205

    voxnut
    Member
    from sacramento

    Bruce-

    Was nostalgia nitro racing (I still hate that word) more of a hobby back in the 80's/early 90's? I was off doing other things with vintage sports cars and mostly missed it, but it seems like the credo then was "2 guys with decent blue collar jobs could afford to go nitro racing." Granted, I realize that iron blocks and heads are in shorter supply, and I would guess that vintage blowers and injection setups were pennies on the dollar, wheras now they are collectible.

    I just sometimes wonder if the reset button was hit to create vintage drag racing to begin with, perhaps there is a reset button to hit on the nostalgia deal to bring it back around to what it was 20-25 years ago. That said, I do know that drag racing in general is losing steam with popular culture, and there are only so many people under 50 even interested in drag racing from the 1850's and 60's, so perhaps it's more of an "enjoy it while we can" scenario.
     

  29. I hate the word "nostalgia" as well, but that brings us to what I think is the real question, what is the class all about? There is nothing "nostalgic" about it. The cars have totally morphed into front engine big show cars with limited fuel pumps, small tires and other restrictions, but otherwise have nothing at all in common with cars of the 60's, nothing at all!
    A safe 60's style chassis could be built,but it wouldn't be competitive, same with mechanicals. At least the fC's more or less LOOK like the era they are supposed to represent, dragsters don't at all. No swoopy bodies, no metalflake or chrome, canard wings, no spoked wheels etc. In other words, the
    class is for MODERN fuel dragsters with front engines.
    Fans would go ape ( I think) over REAL" nostalgic " looking cars, but racers wouldn't want to run them. Maybe they'd be better off as more an exhibition class with not so much depending on winning. Kinda like, say, the old coke cavalcade of Funny cars, they ran well, drew fans and paid for themselves as a group attraction, not winner take (almost) all. It would take enjoying racing, not just winning.
     
  30. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,115

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    And theres you answer, Nobody is willing to step up(or down) to a more conservitive class even for 1/2 the cost.

    Its the lack of venues thats killing T/F, its the lack of events thats killing it. back in the day if you were not ready there was always next weekend and they were one day events and the crew jumped into the back of the truck, some even hopped on the trailer.Now with the lack of races or long travel to get there, EVERY RUN HAS TO COUNT because next time is in 8 weeks
     

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