Over the weekend, the four month old, all-time quarter-mile doorslammer elapsed time record fell by the wayside, and it came from an unlikely source and with little fanfare outside of hardcore racing circles. And that just might be the way Dan Nickelson likes it.
Nickelson, a native of La Verne California with over 40 years of tenure in the sport, drove his bright red 1999 Dodge Viper into the record books on Saturday when he unleashed a stunning 5.706-second lap during qualifying for a West Coast Outlaw Pro Mod Association event at the Sonoma Raceway in California, eclipsing the 5.730 elapsed time record set by Jose Gonzalez at the Street Car Super Nationals in Las Vegas in November.
A stark contrast from Gonzalezs’ big block twin-turbo entry, Nickelson’s mount is powered by an aluminum Hemi bullet with a PSI C-rotor screw supercharger prepared by Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Randy Goodwin that is typically run on a conservative tuneup to minimize parts damage and maintenance. On this day, however, conservative went out the window, as Nickelson and company got after it unlike any other doorslammer in history.
Said Goodwin on the Yellow Bullet forums: “Anyone who knows Dan knows he insists on running a conservative set up. His crew is typically one guy, his daughter, and his girlfriend. He rarely pulls the pan at the races and is very careful to keep it safe.”
Nickelson was 0.953 to sixty feet, 2.519 to 330-feet, 3.759 at 196.70 mph to half track, and 4.812-seconds at 1000-feet, on his way to the record shattering 5.706 at a speed of 251.53 mph at the quarter-mile clocks. Conditions improved with a corrected altitude near sea level in the third and final qualifying session, but Nickelson lost traction early and missed the opportunity to perhaps break into the .60’s. Nickelson later backed up the run with a 5.736 during eliminations that falls within the standard 1% needed for a backup to make the record official. Adding the icing to an already incredible weekend, he downed Marc Meadors for the event crown on Sunday.
Nickelson’s Viper was originally built back in 1999 by Jerry Haas Race Cars and was campaigned by Shannon Jenkins as a nitrous car. Nickelson had an unfortunate incident at the Mission Raceway Park last July that caused considerable damage to the car, and it was front halved by Bunker Race Cars and the C-rotor blower was installed. The car features an automatic Bruno/Lenco transmission with a Spec Rite converter.
“I told Dan when he first started doing this with the Viper that it should run 5.70’s with a “D” [PSI D-rotor supercharger] on it if he would just get after it,” said Goodwin. “I think it should run low 5.60’s to 5.50’s with the “C”, but knowing Dan he’ll run it just hard enough to go fast, and only as hard as he can without working on his car past dinner time at the races!”
Who says you need the latest and greatest or the best stuff money can buy to run at the front of the pack?
(Video credit: Ben Bolyan Jr.)