New Car Arrives – Gregg Racing

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So ~
There’s a Hellova’ “Back Story” that will follow soon, as Gregg will be sharing the details of how our New Car actually came to be! Please allow me to ‘whet your appetite a bit here- Our story will begin with a trip to the 2011 IMIS show in Indy that Gregg and Jerry Darien attended after researching options to actually BUILD twin cars. By the time we’re done with our story, we’ll be speaking of Bob Vandergriff and his Crew Chief Rob Flynn, along with Robert Hight (and the John Force Racing Organization), and then we’ll conclude our journey, (‘er…..That’d be the 11 month saga we’re speaking of here, NOT the band from the 80’s! Lol!!!) with none other than Joey Severance!! We now have our new Chassis, and it is a virtual “Twin” to one that Jerry Darien has! More about that to follow also! Please stay tuned & we’ll fill you in on this IMPROBABLE story!! Relationships MATTER, in WHATEVER you’re doing – This is CERTAINLY true in Drag Racing!!

Gregg Racing ~
Good friends & Good Times at 265 MPH!!

NAPA Day Races – Gregg Racing – FUEL ALTERED BABY

NAPA day at the Races- 09-21-12- From Gregg- Can you say- FUEL ALTERED BABY! Here at Woodburn W~ Car Owner Art Mendoza & Russ Parker, Driver of this Bad Boy! HOW COOL IS THIS!!
Fall Classic- Fuel Altered- It’s Baaaaack!!

Robbie and I were here at Woodburn Dragstrip with our 3 Granddaughters for the Fall Classic last weekend and I had a unique opportunity to be a spectator. Although I’m not a particularly GOOD spectator, it was our Granddaughters first time to EVER be at a Drag Strip. So, we had spent our time trying to explain how LOUD each Car was compared to “Grandpa Gregg’s Car”, attempting to get their little minds around the reality that, YEP, an A/Fuel Dragster is INDEED louder than that Super Pro Car they’d just heard! For Lacey, 8, Bethany, 6 and Caidence, 5, they’d never HEARD so much as a BBC Car with uncapped Headers, so it was INCONCEIVABLE that Grandpa’s Car could POSSIBLY be louder than that! HOW COULD IT BE?!

I sat in the East Grandstands just past the Starting Line with Robbie and the Girls, getting used to the idea that I was a spectator for the day, feeling the angst to go help, well, pretty much ANY of my friends who had Cars here at this event, our Car being home with a Rod hanging out of the side of the Block! As Homer Simpson says, DOH!!!!! The BB/FC show began and we watched many of our friends put on the show that is Blown Alcohol Funny Car Racing. The Girls eyes got bigger as the sounds got even LOUDER and the smoke got even THICKER from long smoky burnouts. And then Russ Parker, a dear friend of mine since the early ’90’s, doing double duty that day, finished driving his BB/FC and headed back to the Starting Line to jump in his second ride of the day- Art Mendoza and partner Jim’s Fuel Altered. I had been doing okay at being the obligatory spectator, caring for our Girls……. Until….. Until, they fired the Fire Breathing, Kick Butt, Fuel Altered, Short Wheelbase Mean Machine. I swear, I felt a chill go up my spine, as I sat up in my bleacher, no longer needing the full seat, as I only occupied the edge. Russ pulled through the Water Box, slowed to almost a Stop as the Beast Cackled with a Mean-Ass Nitro Rage known to all who’ve ever heard a Blown Fuel motor run. It’s gonna’ Go or Blow, but it’s gonna’ be SPECTACULAR either way, and everyone is watching! Russ eased into the throttle as the three big Red Butterflies squeezed open slightly and the cackle now turned to an Ear Ripping blast of Nitro induced pain- but a good pain, of course! The Car JUMPED up on the Tires, Smoke Billowing off of them, rolling high into the air as the Car launched forward past the Starting Line. I was captivated. Two of the Girls were now in my lap, squeezing my neck in fear. I didn’t care. I was engrossed in this Bad Ass Fire Breathing Nitro Machine with Flames TRULY Licking out of the Headers. OMG, I want OUR Car to do that! If the girls hadn’t been in my lap, I’d have run to the Starting line to be a part, but I restrained myself….. for now. In the other Lane, my other good friend, Gary Eickmann, is driving Claude and Lisa LaVoie’s AWESOME Nostalgia Fuel Funny Car that Gary had been tuning to low 5.90 runs at over 240 MPH.

Now, keep in mind, if you would, I’ve made hundreds of Runs in our Car, many at 260 MPH, in the low 5 second range, and as awe inspiring as they are, I must confess….it IS DIFFERENT to stand BEHIND the Car and FEEL it than it is to even be IN it. Being IN it SUCKS THE AIR OUT OF YOUR LUNGS as it accelerates from 0 – 80 MPH in ONE FREAKING SECOND, and then as it further accelerates from 0 – 220 MPH in 3.5 Seconds on its way to 265! This IS virtually SPIRITUAL, as I explain to all who will listen that it feels like being rear-ended by a School Bus going 100 MPH……. WHILE Your Head is in a Paint Shaker!!!! Being BEHIND IT, is equally spiritual- it’s just different as you FEEL the Power POUNDING down through your Heart, your Guts and then down to your Feet! It’s just a different KIND of Cool.

So, I’m watching Russ and Gary Stage their Cars…. They bump in, the lights go Yellow… and all you hear is Massive Nitro Explosions from both Cars as the Fuel Altered EXPLODES out of the Gate with a FURY to a .949 60’ ET that MY CAR has to be on a good run to match. The Altered then has trouble, Breaks a Blower Snout, Oil from the Snout shoots ALL over Russ’ Visor; he brilliantly manages the Driving job and lifts, safely handling the Car to a stop. Gary thunders on down to a 5.92 in the low 240’s again! ME? I am in AWE! I told my Bride…. OMG! I NEED to Drive that Car!

NAPA Day at the Races- FUEL ALTERED BABY!

Now as Ron White says…. I told you THAT story to tell you THIS story!! So, now fast forward one week to Friday, 09-21-12 and now I’m back to Woodburn at the NAPA day at the Races, where Car Owner Art Mendoza is back with his partner Jim, along with Dave Hix helping with the Tuning duties. Dave and his wife Heidi are former Fuel Altered Owners, who successfully campaigned a BITCHIN’ Fuel Altered for years, helped by Ronnie Mankins. Ronnie is also here today. Dave KNOWS how to set these things up.

The air is WAY better today- not a LITTLE better- a LOT better. I’m concerned for my friend- Russ. So, I called Russ this AM to offer a bit of input on Mag settings to see if I could keep this virtual Satanic beast from killing him today. Essentially, More Mag means, More Power- to a point, of course. But, with the WAY better air, conventional wisdom would STONGLY suggest that if we want to keep the Heads on and have any CHANCE of “making it”, we MUST back the Timing off a bit. (Did I mention, this car is SO cool?!!) Russ does SUCH a good job of driving this Car, but I want to be here to watch, help and just see what the future might hold. I mean, you never KNOW what the future might hold! I mean, Russ COULD get hit by a bus…. He COULD, you know?!!! The jokes abound in the pits as Russ makes sure all check my hand size against his neck for future forensic needs! Russ is such a dear friend that it makes it fun to joke about such things, knowing I would never displace him for a driving job. Thankfully, I already HAVE a driving job! But, it’s fun to joke about such things!

We’re posting a couple Pics of this Cool Hot Rod, one I took today here in Art’s Pit area with the Body up and then one Action Shot where ALL THREE Wheels and Tires you can see here in the Pic are OFF THE FREEEAAKING GROUND!!! OMG! HOW COOL IS THAT!! And, a video with the sound that will allow you to experience a bit of what I’m sharing.

Click Here To See The Video

Today was a rough day for Altered Reality Team Racing, as at the top of the first Burnout, a few of the Rods decided they’d simply had enough as they made a Mass Exodus of their Warm Home and came out the side of the Block. My Mentor, Jerry Darien told me once, long ago when I was complaining about how TERRIBLY Difficult it was to run My A/Fuel Car… He said, “Gregg! If it was easy, the Pits would be FULL of 3rd Grade Girls with A/Fuel Cars!!” I have NEVER forgotten that lesson. Nitro is NOT easy. Anyone who thinks it is…. Has never tried it!

It will be VERY interesting to see what the future holds for Art’s Fuel Racing. He has big dreams and many good friends to help keep him within the Non-Negotiable boundaries that Nitro INSISTS upon. Stay within those lines and Nitro will do AMAZING and inspiring things. Step outside those lines by a few thousandths of an inch- and it becomes an indiscriminant destructive killer. If it were easy….. But WOW, is it cool?

Thanks much to Art for letting me hang out… And to God for giving me the most AMAZING friends… Russ Parker, Gary Eickmann, Dave Hix and my Mentor, Jerry Darien- All Men of DEEP Character, Talent and Intelligence. Some day when I grow up, I want to be just like THESE guys! For now, thanks for following us here at Gregg Racing. We value each of you for checking us out! We have much more to come, so stay tuned….

Gregg Racing…. Good Times and Good Friends… at 260 MPH!!!! God Bless~ 🙂

Results From The Woodburn Dragstrip Fall Classic | Gregg Racing

 

To Begin~
We had a GREAT Outing this past weekend! I’m attaching a video taken from the Stands by a fan. Not the best view, as it doesn’t show the Driving Job I had to do! (but, you can see AND hear what happened in that Run and I’ll explain more about this below.) THAT poor vista is a HUGE regret, as it was the most remarkable Driving Job I’ve had to do since I’ve owned the Car! I received more complements after that lap than from any other pass in the Car- EVER!

Three Laps in the 5.40’s- 2 over 260 MPH -1 @ 264.39- 2 MPH off our Career Best!!
We’d come “Out of the Box” on Thursday with a 5.46 @ 259 MPH, putting a Cylinder out at 4.4 seconds- a VERY good start to our Weekend. Nothing hurt and a TON left in it. We fixed the Cylinder dropping problem- we hoped- and tried another test pass- The Car did something I didn’t believe possible- it went out 300’ and BLEW THE TIRES OFF! Smoking the Tires THAT far Down Track takes a HUGE amount of Power, which we seemed to have now. We were going from there into Round 1 of Eliminations of the Make-Up Race that had rained out back in July- BUT that last Test Pass had shook HARD, damaging our Reverser, the device that allows me to go from Forward to Reverse so I can back up from a Burnout. We THRASHED, attempting to repair the Reverser which made us quite late to the lanes for our first Round of Eliminations, not really sure if we’d even have Reverse to be able to back up from the Burnout! I did a VERY short burnout, just in case the guys would have to push me back! I know that everyone there was startled, as I’m known for doing “John Force-esk, Long-Non-A/Fuel Traditional Burnouts”, but not knowing if you can even get it into Reverse will cure you of that RIGHT NOW!! OMG!! So, a short Burnout it was!! But, the Reverser worked, so I backed up and had to wait for the other guy, as we were then early!! I then Staged the Car- (This is the pass I’ve attached the video of)- and away we went, side by side, BUT, then the Car began to Shake HARD, again, moving around, left and right and CLOSE to the left wall- it was VERY close to the wall. When it does that, it essentially quits pulling. You’ll see in the Video above, he pulls away as I’m shaking, but he then Blows a Burst Panel (a safety device protecting the supercharger from too much pressure in the Manifold) and I get my Car to settle down and it HAULS ASS 🙂 all the way to the finish line, running 5.420 @ 264.39 MPH! We whooped up on him! This is our Best ET in a LONG time and our best MPH in a VERY long time!! When he blows his Burst Panel, you can hear a very distinct whining sound from his Supercharger (aka- Blower) as it is spinning in excess of 20,000 RPM!

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Getting Whopped –On The Track & By The Weather~
We got whooped in R2- I ran 5.49 and lost to a 5.46. CLOSE, but no cigar! This all happened before the Weekend even began, as our Testing and Eliminations occurred on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday, the Weather had turned Colder, making the Corrected (or “Density”) Altitude VERY low. This is the Altitude the Motor THINKS it’s running at. VERY good air = VERY Good Power! We were already making a TON of Power- and then it got Colder. The Sun didn’t even peak out from the Clouds, meaning that the Track never saw the Sun, so the Track Temperature never got over 71 Degrees. In our world, a Track Temperature of 90 Degrees is considered to be optimal. A Track Temperature that varies in either direction by much begins to affect the available Traction. Add to that the fact that the Cool Air was adding a ton of Power, and – well, we knew we were in trouble! We tried on two attempts to get our Hot Rod down the Track, but went up in smoke both times, in spite of attempts to pull Power from the Tune-Up. Sunday arrived with a similar forecast and I was making an even more drastic change to the Car- Changing Cam Timing. This is one that I have done before to get the Car down the Track when we had great air and the more “normal” Tune-Up moves were ineffective. As I was preparing to Move the Cam Sunday morning, the call was made- the Race was called for Rain. DOH!!! One more time- Woulda’, Coulda’, Shoulda’!

Managing Expectations
We really wanted to come away with a 5.3 Time Slip from the Weekend and we were SO Close on several tries this weekend. Racing with Jerry is SUCH a GREAT time! He was a tremendous help and we all had a TON of FUN! When I brought him up for the Woodburn Divisional back in July, the Car was running 5.60’s and 5.70’s in the mid 240 MPH range– and hurting itself on most every Pass! Now, we made 3 Runs all in the 5.40’s, the slowest of which was 258.91 MPH and up to 264.39 MPH- all with no carnage! We also had some Tire Smokers where we overpowered the Race Track for the available conditions, but our performance has picked up so much that we are now competitive again, and we again have the respect of our competitors. It’s been a while! This is VERY rewarding!

Where We Go From Here
We’ve been invited back for one more outing before putting our Hot Rod away for the Winter. It’ll be Friday the 30th of September where we’ve been invited by NAPA Auto Parts back to Woodburn Dragstrip, our Home Track, one more time. They have rented the Track for the day. They were looking for a “Big Car” and Keith McCurdy- a long time friend, Crew Dude and NAPA staffer invited us to come out for the day. So, please come out on Friday the 30th and spend the day with us! We’ll have a great time, hearing the sound of Nitro Cackling in the Pipes, smelling that distinct smell of Nitro and feeling the awesome Power of that “Bomb” going off at the Starting Line when, before we put Her away for the Winter, we say a couple more times – “God Bless it! Send it!!” Please Come Join Us!!

Thanks to all who make this happen!! 🙂

Fondly~
Nitro Gregg

Fall Classic Woodburn Dragstrip | Jerry Darien and Gregg Racing


Hey all Gregg Racing Fans, Friends & Nitro Junkies!!  We have some GREAT NEWS in the Gregg Racing A/Fuel Dragster Camp!!!  This weekend is the Fall Classic Race at Woodburn Dragstrip and on Friday the 16th, is the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series (LODRS) Woodburn Make-Up Race for the event that was rained out back in mid-July.  The CBM Means Business; Gregg Racing A/Fuel Dragster Team has come out early, today on Thursday the 15th to do some testing in preparation for this make-up race tomorrow the 16th.  The KILLER NEWS is that we have the privilege of having JERRY DARIEN join us again at this race as our Co-Crew Chief!!  WHOO HOO!!!  Jerry is one of the top A/Fuel Tuners on the PLANET and has trained more NHRA Pro Top Fuel Drivers than any other Tuner/Car Owner in history!  He has been called the “Trainer to the Stars”.  A partial list of drivers he’s personally trained includes:

  • Gary Scelzi
  • Frank Pedgregon
  • Melanie Troxel
  • Steve Faria
  • Brandon Bernstein
  • Morgan Lucas
  • Ashley Force
  • Troy Buff
  • Brittany Force
  • Courtney Force
  • Megan McKernan

His tuning skills are known for their conservative nature, keeping  his rookie Drivers safe and his parts lasting a LONG, LONG time!  The standing joke is that you NEVER, EVER cut a Zip Tie from the wrong end on Jerry’s team, or he’ll have your HEAD!  We reuse all zip ties and that attitude is representative of the ultra-conservative approach Jerry has taken to A/Fuel racing.  When others through HUGE sums of money at their programs, buying the latest part to fall off the newest CNC Machine, Jerry sticks with what he has, making it work.  And he makes it work!  His career best is a 5.22 ET at 275 MPH with Ashley driving- but that was in the “good ole’ days”, when NHRA allowed 100% Nitro.  Jerry says, “100% Nitro adds 50 IQ points to any Tuner!”  Now, after several drops in our Fuel Percentage, we’re down to 94% by the current NHRA rules, it’s WAY harder to makes these Cars run- especially when it’s hot out!  So, how’s Jerry done on 94%, WITHOUT the “50 IQ Point ‘Bonus’ Points” that used to come naturally by way of running 100% Nitro?  Well, on 94%, with Courtney in the Car, his Career Best is a 5.23 ET at 272 MPH!!  PHENOMENAL performance out of a Living Legend (That’d be Jerry, – Courtney will earn her Stripes in the Years to Come! J ) whom we at Gregg Racing are TRULY HONORED to have helping us out this weekend at Woodburn!   Come be a part of the Program and meet Jerry if you haven’t already- you’ll be glad you did!!

Jerry has been a good friend to Gregg since Gregg bought his A/Fuel Car from Jerry back in 1999- the Car Jerry had built for Melanie Troxel to drive.  It wore the In-N-Out Burger colors in those days.

UPDATE!!  Thursday 6:45 PM We had intended on making two Test Passes today, but…. , as they say, nothing’s easy.  We got one hit in today, but it was a GREAT opening to our long anticipated weekend!  In fact, in “Jerry speak”, he told me one time when I was complaining to him about how TERRIBLY difficult it is to run one of these VERY finicky A/Fuel Dragsters- He Said, “Gregg, if it were easy, the Pits would be full of 3rd Grade Girls with A/Fuel Cars!!!” It isn’t easy running an A/Fuel Car, or probably much of anything worth doing in life!  BUT, today, we had a GREAT opening Pass!

 

Allow me to share a little bit of the “Inside the Tuner’s Corner” with  you:

         Coming here today, we knew-

  • The Air would be VERY good- about 1100’ Corrected Density Altitude
  • We have been having issues with the Car “Smoking the Tires” at the Hit
  • Smoking the Tires SUCKS and you learn NOTHING doing this!
  • We’d have to REALLY “back the Car down”, by lowering all our Tune-Up settings pretty dramatically for our first Pass
  • We Set a VERY Mild Tune-Up and…….  (OMG!)  WAIT, I need to tell you just a LITTLE MORE for perspective.  (Sorry for the tease, but it’s REALLY worth it!  I promise!

When we qualified for this race, just 8 short weeks ago, here’s what our Time Slip looked like:

60′ ET

0.990

330′ ET

2.548

660′ ET

3.725

660′ MPH

213.47

1000′ ET

4.721

1/4 ET

5.596

1/4 MPH

252.80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best we could muster was a 5.596 ET @ 252.80 MPH.  Today, we came out of the “Box” (Trailer) and with a VERY mild Tune-Up, HERE’S what our first Hit Time Slip looks like!  Below:

60′ ET

0.986

330′ ET

2.491

660′ ET

3.634

660′ MPH

219.29

1000′ ET

4.608

1/4 ET

5.463

1/4 MPH

258.91

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALMOST a tenth and a half better!  …AND, as the late night Infomercials say… “But Wait, There’s More!!!!”

On this run, it dropped #4 Cylinder at 4.4 Seconds!  Woulda’, Coulda’, Shoulda’!  But, we’ve fixed this so it (Hopefully!) won’t happen again, along with addressing a NUMBER of other issues, and we TRULY believe that our first 5.3 Pass is IN THERE, WAITING for us to turn the knobs JUST RIGHT and that it will come out THIS WEEKEND!!!  The Motor was very safe, nothing was hurt and we’re VERY excited about tomorrow! 🙂

Eliminations begin at 1:30 Tomorrow!  I’ll try to do more posts, but the BEST option is to just come out here and JOIN US!! 

Gregg