When Jeff Sitton showed up at No Mercy 6 and demolished Jason Michalak’s previous Radial vs the World elapsed time record of 3.97 with his mind-blowing 3.90-second pass, many wrote that up as where the bar would be set for the few remaining races of 2015 and likely the target for much of 2016. Apparently, however, Texas Jason Michalak and his tuner, screw blower guru Billy Stocklin, missed that memo. Jason left SGMP on a mission, and spent several days testing, or more appropriately, hammering his C6 ‘Vette while Stockin and doorslammer legend Frankie Taylor chased down the ideal gear ratio and torque converter combination.
At this past weekend’s season-ending Radial Tire Racing Association (RTRA) event at Denton, Texas’ Northstar Dragway, Jason unleashed a string of runs DEEP in the 3.90’s before turning up the wick and throwing all they had at the ultra-tacky Texas concrete and lighting up the scoreboards with a 3.87, becoming the first radial-equipped car to dip into the 3.80’s just a week removed from the one-year mark of Brad Edwards becoming the first radial competitor in the 3-second zone.
Michalak had a list of factors and contributors to credit for making the feat come to fruition, along with a surprising revelation about his powerplant. “We’re all tapped out as far as power goes,” revealed Michalak on Monday. “On the .87, we were throwing everything we had at it. You know, the blower hasn’t really been reinvented since like 1985, so there just isn’t any more power to be made with this combination. We’re already shredding the belt on each pass because we’re spinning the blower as fast as it will go.”
While he didn’t reveal what the car ran in post-No Mercy testing, it’s obvious that Michalak and company found something they really like in the transmission and converter changes they made following the event, where they struggled to run at the level they had achieved earlier in the season. “We didn’t run near as good as we wanted to at South Georgia. You had several cars go in the threes for the first time, but we just couldn’t run with them,” Jason lamented.
We’re all tapped out as far as power goes. On the .87, we were throwing everything we had at it.
When asked if there was any other way to coax any more elapsed time out of the setup as it sits, Michalak was reserved. “We had 1.02 and 1.03 60-foots all weekend. If there’s anything left as far as elapsed time it would have to be in the 60 [foot] and that would take insane luck as far as the track and air goes,” he said, though he was quick to point to Stocklin’s knack for extracting every last ounce of performance out of any hotrod he tunes. “Billy is the best there is as far as these screw blowers go. If there’s anything left, he will find it.”
Besides those individuals mentioned, Jason credited shock wizard Mark Menscer, Mickey Thompson’s Tom Kundrick, and Brad Anderson Enterprises’ Jeremy Evrist for helping get the car down the track in record fashion, along with Holley Performance’s Robin Lawrence, Taylor Lastor and Neal Chance Converter’s Marty Chance.
“I also have to say a special thanks to my brother, Kyle. That man has been great to me and if it wasn’t for him, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” Michalak says of friend and teammate Kyle Huettel, also a legend in the radial racing community.
Nothing motivates you to go out and run better like being No. 2. We didn’t like it when Sitton took the record from us, and I’m sure he feels the same way.
Finally, Michalak gave a massive tip of the hat to Gene Nicodemus, owner of Northstar Dragway, for providing them an amazing track surface that allowed them to lean on the car and know it was going to stick.
Donald “Duck” Long recently announced his annual February radial extravaganza, Lights Out 7, will pay a whopping $50,000 to the winner in Radial vs the World, the richest payday in the history of small-tire racing. With the entire field eyeballing that massive pile of cash, finishing the 2015 season at the front of the pack also puts a target on Michalak’s back, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Nothing motivates you to go out and run better like being No. 2. We didn’t like it when Sitton took the record from us, and I’m sure he feels the same way.” Michalak also pointed out that there’s a field of insanely-fast cars that are also gunning for the record and the payday — not just he and Sitton. He pointed to the boosted big blocks of DeWayne Mills, who went on a hot streak earlier this year after taking flight in his Golden Gorilla Camaro at Lights Out, and Chris Daniel and Brad Edwards, as well as the lightweight turbo small-blocks of Rick Thornton and Keith Berry as cars to watch come February.