In the runs to follow, Terry would run a second bye that didn't approach his earlier record time. Meanwhile, Hemi Dave was making some big noise of his own. His Round 2 e.t. was a smokin' 10.40 at 133.79. That was a new record for the fastest mph. In the finals, the two would meet. Had Terry raised the bar high enough to keep it out of reach, or could Hemi Dave reach deep enough to find one more tenth of Hemi magic?
All eyes were on the starting line as the new record holder squared off against the guy who just lost it. This is the kind of battle racers live for. Both cars were breathing fire, the drivers were ready for war, and electricity filled the air. The tree lit, and they were off like a shot. Both got a clean leave. As they flew towards midtrack, it was just too close to tell, but through the traps, the win light flashed for Hemi Dave. His e.t. of 10.48 at 133 just edged out Terry's 10.50 at 132. So Dave won the meet's eliminations, but the bigger prize, the record for low e.t., went to Terry's Corvette. That record is what gets talked about, what captures the imagination, and it's the target that other racers shoot for.
"The record is back in the Chevy camp where it'll hopefully stay for a while," Terry says. But he knows better than to rest on his laurels. Dudek's gunning for him, and there are various other predatory Corvettes swimming these waters, including a couple that Terry's working on. With Dudek breathing down his neck, going faster is a must. But Terry says that faster will come only from a lighter car, not more horsepower. "I'm carrying a lot of weight in that car," he says. "I don't want to give away its actual weight, but if I could hook it without the weight, it'd be a 9.90-second car."
It's worth pointing out that other racers have gone faster by adding pounds-hundreds of them-to the rearmost point of the trunk to aid in starting-line traction and weight transfer for that critical couple of seconds that make or break the run. Adding weight runs counter to standard racer-think, which holds that removing 100 pounds is good for a tenth, but we're talking about stock-type bias-ply repro rubber here, not slicks, and that changes everything. It's also worth pointing out that a Corvette is a different animal than a standard muscle car, so perhaps less weight is the hot ticket. The man holds the record, so what he's doing is working most would agree.
Most, but not Hemi Dave. "Even with their slick aerodynamics, independent rear suspension, and 400-pound weight advantage," he says, "these L88s haven't been able to beat my 3700-pound brick of a Hemi for over two years now-supercar, my ass." One thing's for sure; the red-meat racers will be out in force for the '09 F.A.S.T. season, and the fireworks are sure to be spectacular.
Pure Stock Drags Rules
The second weekend after Labor Day, the Pure Stock Drags happens at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex. The Friday-Saturday event draws 140-150 stock, original muscle cars. Rules are strict, allowing only minor changes in exhaust pipes, mufflers (Flowmasters are OK), air filters, and tuning. All castings must be factory correct parts. More info: www.purestockdrags.com.
F.A.S.T. Drags Rules
F.A.S.T. stands for "factory appearing, stock tires," which sums up the rulebook. Engines must look factory stock but internal mods are allowed, so increased displacement and updated valvetrain are OK. The spirit of the race is to "...look stock, sound stock and run fast." F.A.S.T. events are held in multiple locations throughout the season. For more info, log on to www.fastraces.org.