Neal Chance Racing Converters has developed and tested — with proven success — a new torque converter design known as the PowerPump, that’s headed to its lineup of world-class drag racing products.
Marty Chance, the innovator behind the Neal Chance name, has long kept his bag of tricks and hard-earned advances in product design and performance close to the vest, and this time is no different. While the specific tweaks that were instituted to create the PowerPump will remain unspoken, he says the key is an improvement in the efficiency of fluid transfer.
As many know, a torque converter is comprised of three impellers: a driving impeller that’s connected to the crankshaft, a receiving impeller mated to the output shaft, and an intermediate impeller, known as the stator, that redirects the flow of fluid to create pressure. The developments in question here, of course, are in the driving impeller. But the things that Chance and his team have learned in refining the driving impeller will eventually translate to the rest of the unit. “It doesn’t stop there,” he says, whetting our appetite to know more, but keeping his secrets under lock and key.
“Positive pump angle in a torque converter is like base in a clutch. It’s what really drives the tire. So the more positive pump fin angle you have, the more power transfer potential you have. We designed a pump impeller that can give you more base, like in a clutch, with even less positive angle. We made it become more efficient, sooner, which results in an increase in power transfer potential. It goes far beyond fin angle, and gets into the science of power transfer. A torque converter, by definition, is a hydraulic power transfer — you’re just transferring power from the crankshaft to the tires, and you’re doing it not with a solid coupling like a clutch or a lockup converter, but only by transferring fluid. We’ve designed a better mousetrap that does this more efficiently. For something that used to require a factor of 35 of base to transfer X amount of torque, we can now transfer even more with a factor of only 30, for example. It’s a better transfer.”
Chance first instituted this new design in the 10.5 inch, billet bolt-together “Pro Mod”-style converter, and tested it in Kenny Hubbard’s ProCharger-boosted X275 car over the winter. Chance says it was significantly, and undoubtedly, faster. “We’d go back to the old one, and the car would slow down. Put the new one in, it would go back to being faster again. It’s better hands-down, and you can’t blame it on air density, on the track, on the tune, it’s absolutely faster. It’s a more efficient power transfer,” Chance says. ”It did so well that Kenny called me and asked if there was any way we could do one for his daughter, Kyla’s car, too. Her car doesn’t make the power his does, being an Ultra Street car. So we programmed the pump angle in and made them a custom converter and not only did she pick up elapsed time, she won the first race out with it. Kenny won four races in a row against the best in the sport to start the season with it in his car. So in a limited period of time, it’s had major success.”
After switching over from this nitrous oxide combination to a ProCharger, Hubbard has run Neal Chance converters. Rules changes last offseason necessitated a move from an F-3R-102 (which he ran 4.15 with) to a less powerful F-3D-106 supercharger. Hubbard and Naiser switched the combination over, put the new PowerPump converter in the car, and “went a 4.13 the first time I let go of the button.” Hubbard went on to win Lights Out in South Georgia for the first time in his career in February. “That converter was doing so well in my car that I called Marty and asked if we could do something similar for Kyla’s car. He said ‘sure,’ and she got her first win at the Radial Outlaws event in Steele, Alabama, and went 4.47 there.”
Kenny’s X275 Nova features horsepower from a Jeff Naiser-built, inline-headed small-block Chevrolet with a ProCharger F-3-106, and Kyla’s Ultra Street Monte Carlo is motivated by a 440-cube small-block Chevrolet with an F-1-94. Both features two-speed M&M Turbo 400’s mated to their respective Neal Chance PowerPump-equipped converters.
At the U.S. Street Nationals, breakage forced Kenny back to a standard 10.5-inch converter for the weekend, and he was immediately .015-seconds off the pace, and “I had to give it a lot more power to even try getting close to where we were getting with this PowerPump converter. We got the converter back from him, put it back in the car, and picked the e.t. right back up again. We’re going quicker with this combination than we did last season, with less boost. It’s all been impressive.”
Chance says there are high-level blown alcohol teams in the sport that are also privately testing PowerPump-equipped converters, and in due time those results will be shared. This pump will eventually end up in Neal Chance’s 8- and 9-inch converters, as well.
“I highly, highly recommend it,” Hubbard says in closing. “It works so great, that I feel like I have the upper hand with it and wish I didn’t have to share with my competitors what I’m doing. It’s that good.”