Top Dragster racing is the pinnacle of open-body bracket racing with machines running in the bottom six-second range at most events, and drivers who are able to run insanely tight packages at these speeds. The class is full of different power adders, but the use of centrifugal blowers like the ones offered by ProCharger seem to be growing exponentially in popularity when you walk the lanes at an event. We talked with Sergo Shifman from ProCharger to get his take on why the blower craze is taking a hold of the Top Dragster class.
Top Dragster is bursting with dragsters that have big cubic-inch nitrous and roots-style blower engines that are in the 600-700-inch range, but there are more centrifugal blower and turbo combinations filling the class these days. “Since about 2015 we’ve really seen a lot of dragsters starting to switch over to a ProCharger setup from the big cubic-nitrous engines. A few dragsters with ProChargers showed up and started doing well, so that also helped with the switch,” Shifman says.
According to Shifman, many of the dragsters that have made the switch are using more conventional-style big blocks that are smaller overall in displacement, and use off-the-shelf parts. “Most of the engines are mid to lower 500 cubic-inches with conventional heads since the blower makes creating power easier and doesn’t require exotic parts.”
The ProCharger of choice for many of the NHRA Top Dragster racers is the F1X-12 blower that was originally used in radial tire racing. This blower is actually closer to the F-3 series and shares the gearbox and many other parts from the F-3 family of blowers. “It’s the perfect size blower for the 1,800 to 2,200 horsepower range and that’s where it seems to work its best in its efficiency zone. It can be pushed beyond that with a big cubic-inch motor into the 2,300 horsepower range. The 2,000 horsepower zone seems to be where they run the best to the 6.00 or slower range,” Shifman explains.
Overall, racers seem to like using the ProCharger because it keeps things simple and makes power management easier for them. An engine with the ProCharger bolted to the front won’t require as much compression, radical cam, or nearly as much maintenance as a big nitrous motor. According to Shifman, “the car is a lot easier to work with on power management with a ProCharger. The boost curve is much more linear and can be controlled much easier on marginal tracks, because spinning isn’t winning.”
Next time you’re at an event where Top Dragster is being contested make sure you check out these wicked machines. Chances are you’ll see some very fast passes and a wide range of ProCharger configurations in use.