Jumping into a brand new racecar will always have a certain degree of challenges, but don’t tell that to Ken Quartuccio Jr. and his team. The transition into his Skinny Kid Racecars-built Corvette has been almost seamless for Quartuccio and he’s proven this as he terrorized the Outlaw 10.5 class in the later half of 2018. Quartuccio added another monumental accomplishment to his resume at last weekend’s World Cup Finals (WCF) when he became the first driver to run in the 5.80s on a set of 315 drag radials.
Quartuccio went to the World Cup Finals with the main intent of winning, but he’d called his shot a couple of weeks prior and the record was to be the icing on the proverbial cake. Since most modern era radial tire races are contested for just an 1/8-mile, finding out what one of these cars can do over an additional 660-feet is a challenge due to the lack of data — nevermind the danger of running over 250 mph on less than 12-inches of tire tread. Knowing what was in front of them, Quartuccio and noted tuner Jamie Miller wanted to be sure that both he and the car were ready for 1/4-mile combat before they turned the Corvette up.
“I had to get comfortable with the car during the first few runs of testing and Jamie was adamant about that, as well. Even during the first few runs I was still trying to get settled in and was throwing the parachutes at 700-feet. During testing, we still ran a 6.30 in the quarter and we were happy, but the car ended up spinning during the two-three shift in the first qualifier Thursday night. We attributed that to us having to fight the cold conditions and the track prep,” Quartuccio says.
After he was settled in, Quartuccio was ready to let the Corvette eat and it delivered. During the second day of qualifying, Quartuccio leveled the radial tire record with a 5.88-second pass at 250 mph that looked virtually effortless. On that first record-setting pass Quartuccio went 1.08 to the 60-foot block and 3.96 to the 1/8-mile at 201 mph. Then during the first round of eliminations, he ripped off a quicker 5.86 at 253 mph where he went 1.07 through the first 60-feet and 3.94 at 201 mph to half-track. Those kinds of numbers would put him in the field at many 1/4-mile Pro Modified events.
That sensation is just crazy and from half-track to the 1/4-mile, it’s incredible because it just doesn’t stop pulling.
Making such incredible passes on a radial tire is truly amazing, but according to Quartuccio the feeling inside the car is truly a unique experience.
“The feeling in the car is just crazy. In the nitrous car at one second it pulls 3 G’s and at four seconds it pulls just 1 G. In this car it pulls 3 G’s at one second and almost 4 G’s at four seconds so it’s rolling out very hard. That sensation is just crazy and from half-track to the 1/4-mile, it’s incredible because it just doesn’t stop pulling.”
Becoming one of the baddest men on a radial tire wasn’t easy by a longshot. Quartuccio and his crew fought through several issues at the World Cup Finals, including a blown-up turbo. The support he received from his partners helped make overcoming the roadblocks much easier.
“Mark Menscer, from Menscer Motorsports, worked with us all weekend long to get the shocks right. We fought with a bump in the left lane where we did a shift and Mark worked hard there to help get the car through that section. The downforce on the nose was pushing down and causing the front tires to make contact with the headlights. It actually wore the insides of the headlights out where the contact was made. We were working with bump stops and shock compressions to take care of that and did.”
The 5.86 that Quartuccio ran during eliminations is still not reaching the Corvette’s full potential; there are still a few more tricks that he and Miller have to make the car quicker. If they’re able to get the car onto a true radial-prepped track the numbers the car could lay down would be legendary.
“The car has more left in it, for sure. Jason did a great job with all the wrecks and oil downs keeping the track in great racing shape, but the style of prep he does to keep things even for the event isn’t the best for putting a ton of radial power down. That’s not a knock on him, it’s what he has to do so things stay fair. Now, I think if we could have got a hit in during the day in the right conditions the car had a high 5.70 in it and with a gear change it could go a mid-5.70 easily. We just couldn’t get ahold of the first 60-feet because it wasn’t radial-only prep,” Quartuccio says.
What Ken Quartuccio Jr. accomplished at the World Cup Finals is truly impressive, period. Pushing a small-tire car into the three-second zone in the eighth-mile takes skill and bravery — running the same car out the back takes that to a whole new level. Seeing small-tire cars run the full 1/4-mile is a rare treat and it’s great to see racers like Quartuccio lay it all on the line to do what few are willing to do.