The Ongoing Saga, part 2

The summer was an especially warm one on the Georgia asphalt, improving grip on tires, but requiring intake manifolds to be cooled before each drag run. Tripper tossed a bag of ice on Thunder's intake runners and checked the supercharger belts one more time. The silver Skyline shined in the warm sunset, with a gleam of light coming from its quarter panels. The car was still its original color, and with no body kit on it, Tripper looked like any other 47 year-old man, but he'd brought one of the meanest cars to the track. This thing was far from stock; It had GREDDY twin turbos, full racing exhaust, bigger brakes and more suspension goodies than a Geometry professor could shake a stick at. Even though it had been tuned for an autocross track, the UR crew still made the drag strip a regular appearance.

"Besides, the drag strip is open every weekend, not once a month, like SCCA." Richard said as he talked to Ryan. Richard was about average height, and athletic build, like you'd expect a driver to be. Ryan, on the other hand, was about as tall, but much bigger. He said he used to have a six-pack, it looked to be a whole keg now. Tripper was an older gentleman, still playing with the boys, racing like he was twenty-five again. Behind Thunder in the staging lane was Eddie with his S2000, a naturally aspirated Honda, again, set up for autocross.

"Thirteen seconds is very respectable for a daily-driven import, "some kid yells out of a Camaro, "but if you want a real adrenalin rush, you got to have a 10-second Chevy"
"Thunder's ready, Richard. Kick some ass." Ryan looked at the youngest member of the team and gave him a helmet. "You'll need it."

Burnout box, drive around and back in... 4000rpm, drop the clutch... spin the tires so all the girls can smell the smoke, now onto the line.

The staging for a drag race is made of a tree of 16 lights arranged in pairs in a tree. One side of the tree corresponds to each lane. The top two pairs of lights in the tree are wired to a set of lasers each, set a foot apart. From the second laser to the end of the track is 1,320 feet away, ΒΌ mile. The staging process involves both cars lining up with the first set of lights, one waiting on the other to light the first set before rolling 1 foot together, in unison, to the second set. This is proper staging. One competitor can jump-stage by rolling past the first set of lasers to the second without waiting on the other competitor. This is bad form and usually a sign of either a new racer or just a disrespectful one.

Richard pulled up until the pre-stage light was illuminated and waited on the Camaro to do the same, but the Camaro jump-staged and pulled right to the Stage light. Richard quickly rode the foot to the stage light and stood on the brakes, knowing he had five tenths of a second until the green light, with one yellow light illuminating on each side of the tree to count the four tenths to go.

Yellow... Split second reaction time means GO NOW!


The supercharger instantly snapped into action and blew air into the manifold, and as the intake valves opened, the fuel and air mixture at a perfectly balanced ratio of thirteen and a half parts air per one part fuel. Then the spark plug ignited the mix and the piston was shot downward. The connecting rod gathered the energy from the piston and forced the crankshaft to spin, which sent power through the transmission, down the driveshaft, split at the rear end to the rear tires.

First gear, second gear, third gear...

fourth gear, fifth gear... Nitrous! The single-shot fogger system was just what it took to leave the Camaro looking at the oval tail lights of the Miata.

a quarter-mile away, Ryan and Tripper cheer as they look at the scoreboard and read: "11.37" on the camero's lane, "10.99" on the 4-cilinder Miata!

Richard let the accelerator go and coasted the car to the registration building, where Emily was waiting with his timeslip.

"Good Job, Rich! Sounds like Thunder's all dialed in tonight." She watched Richard slip the helmet off and stop the car with the parking brake.

"Damn. I don't think I've ever gone that fast for such a short period of time. I gotta frame this slip." Richard took the piece of paper with the lightly printed numbers of his speed and elapsed time.

"No fucking way that car's in the right class, my Camaro has over fifty horsepower more!" the driver in the Camaro yelled as he stopped just before hitting Thunder's rear bumper.

"It also weighs over five hundred pounds less than your car. Take out your amplifier and subwoofer next time you come racing." Emily looked over to the driver and handed him his timeslip. "Anyway, when are you going on that trip you were talking about? I know everyone's excited to hear from you on the road."

Richard had worked for Import RaceWars, a company that produced car shows and drag race events across the United States for two years during local events, and this was going to be his first season as a full-fledged team member, going across the country with the company's best and brightest. He would meet the people who shaped the automotive industry. Richard was more than a little excited, he planned on studying Marketing and Engineering in college and hoped to work for one of the parts manufacturers after graduation.

"I leave next week. I won't be able to talk much while I'm at the shows though, I'll be working over 14 hours a day." Richard looked had a sparkle in his eye just talking about it.

"Well you know David's jealous as hell." Emily smiled back at him.