Phone: (574)522-2261

How do you shift gears going down the track?

I shift the car by pushing in a button on my steering wheel.  There are 2 buttons on my steering wheel that when pushed send air back to a pod on my transmission that actually shift the gear. The only way I know when it is time to shift is by the shift light that is in my car.  I have my shift light set up to come on at 8,700 rpm.  When the car reaches 8,700 rpm the shift light illuminates and I push the button to shift gears.  By the time the light turns on and I have actually pushed the button the RPM has climbed to 9,000 rpm.  This is where we like to shift the car.  Unlike some of my fellow competitors who use computers to actually shift their cars, I do not rely on anything but my shift light and my thumbs to do the work.  It makes driving the car that much more fun!

Vintage Trailers Dragster

2006 Spitzer 290” Wheelbase Top Alcohol Dragster Chassis with 1 piece carbon fiber aero body
9 ½” Mark Williams Rear End with 4:10 Gear and Carbon Fiber brakes
Hoosier Tires Front and Back
TFX Vinyl Wrap on Body
ISP Custom Foam Seat with Lateral Helmet Padding
Full Titanium Deflector Shield
Race Pak V300 Race Computer with Digital Dash
Biondo Little Wizard Delay Box
2 Speed Lenco-Drive
Coan Converter
CSR Flywheel
471 Cubic Inch BAE(Brand Anderson Engineering) Billet Aluminum Block
Bryant Crank
R&R Rods
Visner Heads with Titanium Valves
&D Rockers
BAE Intake
DMPE M5 14-71 High Helix Supercharger
3 Hole Carbon Fiber Hat
Waterman Fuel Pump
MSD 44amp Magnito, Box, Coil, 2 Step Module, and 6 Shooter
Dan Olson Oil Pan
System One Oil Pump (Wet Sump)
Brad Penn 50 wt Oil
VP Methanol

The Crew

Troy Stone – Crew Chief
Todd Kujawa – Crew
Baerett Stone – Crew
Shanna Snyder – Driver / Crew

Who Builds Our Engines?

Believe it or not, Shanna, Todd and I actually build and service our engines from start to finish.  We decided a few years ago that it would make more sense to actually build our engines instead of buying an engine already built by someone else.  It may sound strange, but all of us get a tremendous amount of enjoyment from building and servicing the car.  We have made many mistakes in our engine program but we are always learning new things.

Do you steer the car very much?

I always joke with people that I don’t so much steer the car as I urge it to go in a certain direction.  Unlike a short wheelbase car, dragsters are not meant to have the steering wheel ripped back and forth.  In fact, a very tiny movement in the steering wheel makes a big move on the track.  My dragster very rarely goes straight down the track.  It is a constant battle of very slight movements of the wheel to keep it in the center of the groove.  The farther we get down the track and the faster we are going means I have to move the wheel that much less to get big changes in direction.

flexibility to control how high I want the RPM to go on the car during my burnout.  Long burnouts are fun to do and a fan favorite, but they are really not necessary.  Our burnout plan is always to start it approximately 30 feet before the Christmas tree and to roll out of the throttle as my body passes the Christmas tree.  This gives us about 45 feet of nice clean, warm surface to launch the car onto.  When we do a burnout I usually bring the car up to about 6,800 rpm in high gear.  Once the car is “up on the tire” I could keep the burnout going down the whole ¼ mile if I chose to do so.  The only bad part about a burnout is that I never get to see it.  Everyone outside the car gets to see all the smoke but I rarely see any smoke by the time I back up.

Vintage Trailers Dragster Info

How Much Horsepower Does the Engine Make?

Our engine produces approximately 2,600 horsepower.  The interesting thing is that with me in the car we scale out at 2,054 pounds.  This gives us a horsepower to weight ratio of 1.265 horsepower per pound.  If we compare that to a new Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 with the 7 Liter LS7 motor with 505 horsepower at 3,180 pounds, the Corvettes horsepower to weight ratio is .15 horsepower per pound.

Who tunes the car for the runs?

Troy tunes the car and after many years came to the conclusion that it was easier to just put 6.00 on the car and tune the car to run that number.  Where many of our competitors change their dial from round to round, Troy prefers to just change the tune up on the car and make it run 6.00. 

What are your times in the ¼ mile?

In our car we go from 0-60 in less than a second, we travel half of the track (1/8th of a mile) in 3.75 seconds at 194 mph and we run the ¼ mile in 5.79 seconds at 238 mph.  To put that in perspective, the ZO6 Corvette will travel from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and it will run the ¼ mile in 11.7 seconds at 125 mph. 

What is tire shake like?

Tire shake is something that no driver ever likes to experience.  Shake occurs when the tires actually become square from either too much power being applied to the current track conditions or too little.  The easiest way to describe tire shake is to imagine putting on a helmet and sticking your head in a paint shaker.  You head literally bounces off of each side of the roll bars. Your vision almost instantly goes black and in some cases it can actually knock you out! Obviously there are degrees of tire shake.  Sometimes the car will “waddle the tires” which in the car feels much different than actual shake.  Waddling the tires is what happens right before shake and in some instances the car will drive through it.  If the shake gets too bad you really only have 2 choices.  You can either peddle the car by lift out of the throttle and then roll back into it and see if it goes away or you can shift to the next gear and see if that calms the car down and eliminates the shake.  Either way tire shake destroys a run and is very hard on parts!

Do you really need parachutes to stop?

Our car is equipped with 2 parachutes per NHRA’s competition rules.  At most tracks you could stop the car without the parachutes but it is a little tricky with such a long wheelbase car.  I always throw both of my chutes just in case 1 does not open.  The parachutes are a very efficient and safe way to slow the car down to a speed where using the brakes is not quite so dangerous.  Our car is equipped with carbon fiber brakes and they are very effective at slowing the car down.  The hotter the carbon fiber brakes get the better it grabs so you have to be careful.  At tracks with not a long shut down area a parachute is a must to get the car stopped safely without going off the end of the track and into the sand pit.

How much fuel do you burn on a run?

On a normal run for us (Burnout & run the ¼ mile) we use approximately 6 gallons of methanol. Not exactly the most fuel efficient car in the world coming in at 24 gallons to the mile.

In the following blog I will attempt to discuss what all goes into our car and answer those questions that people have emailed me.

What is the launch like?

The launch is by far my favorite part of racing the car.  The burnout is over.  I have the car staged and ready to go and once I slam the throttle to the floor, it feels like someone just lit a rocket under me, which I guess you could say they actually did.   When the car leaves the line I experience approximately 4.1 G’s!  In other words, my 185 pound body feels like it weighs 758.5 pounds.  Literally I am thrown back into the seat!  There is nothing like it.​​

What is it like to do a burnout?

I would have to say that this is my second favorite thing to do in the car, the launch being my favorite.  The burnout has a couple purposes.  First is to clean off any debris from the tires.  The second is to heat the rubber on the tires and lay down some fresh rubber on the track to launch the car on.  A lot of drivers have a “Burnout Limiter” on their car which only allows the motor to go to a set RPM, say 7,000.  I have never used a burnout limiter so I am doing a burnout solely by changing the RPM by how far I push the throttle.  It is a much more difficult way to do a burnout but it gives me the

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