The tricks of the trade and the exotic engineering behind the NHRA’s Pro Stock class have endeared it to gearheads for decades, and while some transparency might be great, the truth is that it’s the Area 51-like secrecy — the jackets thrown over the carburetors and the cordoned-off pit areas — that have given provided so much intrigue and mystique.
With the NHRA forcing the teams, in an unprecedented move amongst all forms of motorsport, to uncover the engines and allow the fans to view the engines, combined with less overall competition (and wandering eyes) than at any point in the class’ history, the veils of secrecy have been gradually pulled back in recent years. But there’s still a lot of information that teams could tell you, but then they’d have to kill you.
Fortunately, some of the more independent, part-time runners, feeling like they have fewer secrets and less to lose by sharing those they do have, are perfectly willing to make their racing programs semi-transparent. And Maquoketa, Iowa racer Dave River is a prime example; at this weekend’s NHRA Heartland Nationals, he and tuner Scott Clark of Real Tuners filmed their first round elimination run opposite of Jason Line and overlaid their run data — data that many teams would consider sensitive and guarded information — generated by the Holley EFI fuel injection system and their Racepak data-logging hardware, to share with their fans.
River clocked a weekend-best 6.707 at 205.69 mph on the opening round run, and in the clip he and Clark share their engine and driveshaft rpm, G-meter, vehicle speed, shock position, clutch rpm, and clutch slippage ratio throughout the run. You’ll notice the shock values, shown in inches of absolute shock position, reacting to the launch of the car, and then being driven down as the increasing windspeed over the car forces the body into the racing surface. Likewise, pay attention to the engine, driveshaft, clutch speed, and clutch slippage as they gradually build toward a near 1:1 connection right in the lights … at a valvetrain-workin’ 10,582 rpm!