We love letters, especially technical questions. Submit your tech questions to Kevin McClelland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular shout-outs and good tidings are also always welcome.
We got a call this week from our good friend Ian Smith in Australia. You may remember the name from previous columns. He came up over the Thanksgiving holiday last year to go to the Las Vegas ET Bracket Nationals. He experienced racing with the McClelland clan and sponged up information on how they put on such a large bracket race. Ian and his son, Warren, also race a Super Gas Beretta at their meetings in Australia. Back to the call: Ian could barely contain himself. They had just won the Fuchs Australian Nationals in Sydney! For them, this would be like winning the U.S. National in Indy! In 2003, Warren won the National Championship in Super Gas, but they had never won a race. Ian has been racing for over 39 years, and about 15 years ago Warren took over the helm of the race car. Ian served as the Australian National Drag Racing Association Chairman for 10 years, and as Calder Park Raceway’s meeting director during the sport’s heyday through the ’90s. Ian was recognized in 2000 by the government when he was awarded an Australian Sports Medal.
The bottom line is you won’t find a more deserving bunch on the planet. You might think it’s an easy feat to win a National in Australia. Well, Warren was the number-one qualifier, and in the final round won on a holeshot with an e.t. of 9.908 to his opponent’s 9.903! That, my friends, is some tight racing, I don’t care which side of the planet you’re on. I’ve had the pleasure of helping them with their racing endeavors since 2002. We were put together by the NHRA just as Ian had retired from the ANDRA. Ian and Warren were just learning about throttle stops and the finer points of racing Super Gas.
Their car is a righthand-drive Chevy Beretta that was originally built for their competition eliminator class in Australia. The car was a roller when they picked it up; the previous owner was running a blown small-block and a clutchless manual trans. Ian quickly purchased one of the first Reher Morrison Super Series crate racing engines in the early ’00s. The car runs 9.90 at 148 mph.
Talk about die-hard racers. We complain from time to time here in the States about the amount of travel for us to follow a series. For Ian and Warren to follow the racing circuit in Australia, they regularly travel a 1,000 miles to hit a race. The closest eighth-mile track to their house is over three hours away. They are a dedicated racing family who I’m very proud to know. Enjoy the afterglow of your win, Ian and Warren!
I enjoy reading your tech articles and thought I would ask you a few question. My ’68 Chevelle has undergone various stages of builds, since I was 16, to my current build at age 56. I am probably one of the few who actually kept their first car. As I have aged, so has my taste; I went from an eight-track tape player and air shocks to a Pro Touring street car. I have gone from a 307ci two-speed auto trans to a 327 ci with a four-speed to a 377 ci to my current build 434ci small-block with a planned five-speed and a 3.55:1 rearend gear, turning a 28-inch tire.
I have several questions about my dyno results. I dyno-tested my 434ci build and noticed the horsepower and torque curves cross at approximately 5,300 rpm. I asked my builder about it and he said it’s true for all engines. I have read articles with true values, not inflated torque and horsepower values and found this to be true. Why is this?