If you recall from last month, HPP travelled to the world- famous NHRA Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, for the first Pavement Pounders Shootout Florida Edition of 2011. This month we’re back at the home of the Gatornationals for another exciting round of Pontiac-only drag-racing action.
As in past Shootouts, we hand-picked the drag-racers and asked them to utilize the private event to test out new speed parts; experiment with tuning, technique, and vehicle weight reduction; observe whether their choices helped or hurt their Pontiacs’ e.t.’s; and, of course, tame the track with their best-ever quarter-mile times.
Let’s meet the racers.
Mike Chell of North Port, Florida, spends his day working on Florida’s Peace River, but don’t expect him to call a truce when behind the wheel of his ’71 GTO. It features a 455/463 with No. 96 heads, a Turbo 400, and 3.55 gears.
Ed Deel of Rockledge, Florida, was an amateur front-engine dragster racer, but now races a ’70 LeMans with a 400/406, 6X heads, a Turbo 400, and 4.33 gears.
The track is 853 feet above sea level, air temperature was 84 to 90 degrees, barometric pressure was 30 hg, and the dew point was 62.1 degrees. Mike’s best pass occurred at 1:17 p.m. (2,298 D/A) , so he will receive a correction factor of 0.9731 for e.t. and 1.0283 for mph. Ed’s best pass occurred at 11:05 a.m. (1,937 D/A), so he’ll receive an a correction factor of 0.9783 for e.t. and 1.0227 for mph. The correction factors are designed to chart the theoretical best performance at sea level and will be done on the best pass only, based on e.t.
Mike describes his GTO as a “show car and a strip car.” His goal for the Shootout was to evaluate the effects weight reduction had on his performance. Prior to coming to the event, he removed his cast-iron intake manifold and factory front sway bar, set a baseline, and then added Weld front runners.That’s when he earned his best e.t. of the day—12.26 at 108.71 mph.
Asked what he liked about the event, he said, “The freedom between rounds to cool down and change things,” “He described the track conditions as “little traction” and “hot, hot, hot.” Regarding his GTO’s reaction to the track, he said, “I ran a bit slower because of the hot weather. I had only one pass with fair traction, and the car ran straight and pulled clean down the track.”
Ed came to the Shootout with a dialed-in tune that he’s used successfully in over 400 quarter-mile races, and that took him to the winner’s circle in his class at Norwalk four years ago. His goal for the event was to test out a new set of Goodyear slicks, which he had not previously run on the LeMans; experiment with new launch techniques; and evaluate what effects shock softness had on his e.t.’s.
In preparation of his first pass, he treated the track audience to a blistering burnout that enveloped his LeMans entirely in smoke. Then he launched at 2,500 rpm, crossed the 60-foot in 1.62 seconds, and recorded an 11.86 at 111.45 mph.
Though his third pass also broke into the 11s, the first pass stood as his best of the day.
Ed said he liked the laid-back feel of the Shootout and the great track crew, and said the highlight of the event was the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in a national magazine” with his LeMans. He described the track conditions as “good in the a.m. and slick in the p.m. heat.”