I’ve discussed the currency of commerce over the last couple of weeks. This week, I’m going to discuss the currency of auto racing. That currency is speed. Every race car driver wants speed out of their car. The more speed they have, the better chance they have to win the race. Every part of the car is designed specifically to produce as much speed as possible, within the letter of the law…or as close as possible to the letter of the law.
Speeds reach new levels in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. 10,000 horsepower, nitromethane fueled cars can reach speeds well over 330 MPH in just under 4 seconds. To be the fastest in this sport, you have to have the right parts, the right crew chief, the right driver, and the right equipment. When these four come together in a run, it’s something beautiful.
Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota isn’t known as a place where records get broken. In 2015, it seemed as though there might not be an event there at all, as severe weather damaged many of the facilities on July 12. The racing community rallied around, and got the track ready for their race on the weekend of August 20-23.
The weather was really cold for August, and when the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals kicked off, the four pieces that make up the currency of racing came together, and led to some monumental runs. The first was a qualifying run which saw Driver Suit Blog favorite Fast Jack Beckman run 1000 feet in 3.901 seconds in his funny car during qualifying, then backing it up with a 3.903 the next day. In top fuel, Antron Brown ran a 3.68, and the backed it up with a 3.696. Shawn Langdon ran a 3.662, but failed to back it up, thus not setting the official record, and getting the 20 bonus championship points it brings.
The big highlight for funny car at Brainerd was Del Worsham vs. Matt Hagan in an elimination round. During that run, Hagan ran a blistering 3.879 second elapsed time. This piston head came from Hagan’s car during that historic run.The head itself is in decent condition, having some scrapes and scuffs. It also has some stuff etched into it. The number 75 is etched into both the top and bottom of the piston. Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables have signed the side of the piston, and a Mopar logo and 3.879 have been added to the top. Speed may be the currency of racing, but safety is another primary focus. Next week, the pit crew aspect of safety will be discussed. Until then, here are the record setting runs from Brainerd…