The Competition Eliminator class might look like a really fast version of the island of misfit toys to the average person with all the strange combinations that fill it at NHRA events. The reality is that Competition Eliminator is a class packed with racers who like to find ways to go really fast using unconventional combinations. Andrew Holt is one of those racers and his F/Dragster packs a whole bunch of power in a very, very small package.
Holt and his family have deep drag racing roots so it’s no surprise that he jumped behind the wheel of a race car. His father and brother run John Holt Race Cars, a shop that’s known for churning out some top-level sportsman cars, so the knowledge base is there to run a killer program. So the family got together and built the F/Dragster and decided to cram a Honda engine in it and make the dragster a manually shifted machine.
There’s an old saying in Competition Eliminator racing if you throw a part up in the air and it comes down, it’s too heavy, so Holt’s dragster was designed to be as light as possible.
“The dragster was custom designed from scratch given the speed, engine-drivetrain layout, and weight considerations. It has a 200-inch wheelbase and is very narrow to minimize the aerodynamic footprint and minimize weight. Weight is extensively minimized in every area including a titanium rear end housing, very sparse interior with only three switches and a water temp gauge, titanium or aluminum hardware throughout, magnesium motor plates, and extreme lightening of components. We even run very small tires – 26 x 9 x 15-inch to minimize rolling resistance and rotating weight,” Holt says.
Powering Holt’s dragster is a 140 cubic-inch Honda engine that is a modified version of their K20 platform. Holt is very familiar with this engine from his time as an R&D Engineer at Honda. The block was sleeved by RameyBuilt and features a Winberg 90mm crankshaft, GRP Rods, CP Pistons, Ferrea valves, a Hogan intake, and custom camshafts from Web Camshafts. This combination has motivated the dragster to a best pass of 8.14 at 163 mph.
“Competition Eliminator is an engine efficiency game, maximum output per displacement, so it’s a constant job to increase the engine’s power level. Currently, our power level is in the 350 horsepower range with things in the works to boost it hopefully to around 400. The operating range of the engine is very high due to the stable valvetrain with the overhead cam layout. We shift the engine at around 12,000 RPM… it definitely sounds crazy going down the track,” Holt explains.
Holt bangs his own gears in the dragster using a five-speed Liberty Equalizer transmission that’s air-shifted, with a 6.25-inch RAM clutch.
“The unique feature of our car is that we engineered a custom adapter for the Honda engine so that both the bellhousing flange and crankshaft adapt to small-block Chevy dimensions. I did the layout and designed the components in CAD and had Systematic Machine in Cleveland custom machine the components out of billet aluminum. It makes the adaption of the engine very simple and compact, and without the use of a bunch of custom bellhousing or clutch components,” Holt says.
With all the other options out there, why did Holt and his family decide to go Competition Eliminator racing? The answer is simple: the challenge of figuring out how to make their unique combination go really fast.
“Deep down inside, our family loves heads-up racing, and Comp Eliminator was a natural fit when we decided to build our own racecar. We love the challenge of racing against the best, and the ability to be creative in our quest for more speed rather than being required to just throw money at the problem. You do have the option to pick an undeveloped engine combination, develop it yourself, and trade a lot of time and effort for raw dollars. F/Dragster is a great class to enter on a budget. Some of the fastest cars in Comp are not huge budget operations, but rather smart guys who thought outside the box…and worked hard to make something unique fast. The variety of the people, cars, and their approaches to winning a race are fascinating to see,” Holt says.
Andrew Holt’s dragster is the backbone of what makes Competition Eliminator racing cool. In a class full of cars that use rocket science-level engineering to go fast, Holt has found a way to stand out in a tiny dragster that spins its engine into the 12,000 RPM range while laying down low eight-second passes.