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New Tech Series: Inside an A/Fuel Dragster

New Tech Series: Inside an A/Fuel Dragster

Some of you may know that BangShift.com has joined forces with the A/Fuel Dragster team of Jeff Veale and Ethan Brown Motorsports. Those guys have been cool enough to school us on the ways on injected nitro. We’re now here to share that info with you as a multi-part tech series.

BangShift.com will post a new A/Fuel tech story
once a week on Monday at 10:00 a.m. for the next several weeks. We’re
going to take you through just about every inch of an A/Fuel dragster
an spill the technical beans that probably haven’t been spilled in a
public place like this before. Hell, we’re going all the way down to
the stinkin’ cam specs, people!

Lesson one, what’s an A/Fuel dragster?

These nasties compete in the NHRA’s Top Alcohol Dragster category. That in itself is a bit confusing as these cars run engines powered by nitromethane, the same fuel that powers the Top Fuel Dragsters and Fuel Funny Cars we all know and love. The main difference between a Top Fuel Dragster and an injected nitro dragster is the fact that the Top Fueler uses a supercharger where an injected car is naturally aspirated.

A/Fuelers are impressive beasts, capable of producing several thousand horsepower and traversing the quarter mile in the low-5-second range. The engines use a stout 94-percent mixture of nitro, although it should be noted that the percentage keeps getting lowered by the NHRA in order to maintain parody with the supercharged alcohol-burning dragsters that these cars run against. An A/Fuel crew chief would gladly run 100 percent, or the straight can, if the rules allowed.

Crazy as it sounds, these cars are actually not incredibly outrageous to race. They cost nowhere near the money of a Top Fuel operation and can be built for the kind of money that racers are spending to have top flight Super Comp cars built. Claims have been made that you can be in a car with some spare parts for $65,000. That’s not cheap, but that’s not astronomical by any stretch of the racing imagination.

If you’re reading this, realize that the Veale and Brown Motorsports guys didn’t have to share this good stuff, but they wanted to get the word out on these great cars. There will be info shared here that has never before left the gates of a drag strip. Buckle up, kids!

For now, here’s an overview of the car as provided by Veale/Brown Motorsports

Chassis: 300-inch, Dave Uyehara built Top Fuel chassis, formerly run by Connecticut-based racer Rit Pustari.

Wing: Former three-element Top Fuel wing with one element removed

Rearend: Strange unit with 10.5-inch ring gear, 2.91 gears, and carbon fiber brakes

Body: Magnesium with Chrome-moly shield

Fuel tank: 17-gallon capacity with 1.5-inch-diameter lines. The car burns 8-9 gallons per run.

Engine: 421ci Brad Anderson Hemi, 4.37×3.5-inch bore and stroke. The heads are Brad-6 units

Clutch: Crower six-stand, 12-lever, 10.5-inch clutch with four discs and three floaters

Fuel system:
Waterman 58-gallon pump

Tires: Goodyear 34×17 slicks on the business end run at 6-6.5 psi

Weight: 5 pounds per cubic inch,  minimum weight 2,150 pounds. This one comes in around 2,200.

Computer: Race Pak Pro 1A. Data comes from eight EGT sensors, a driveshaft sensor, an oil pressure monitor, a g-meter, two engine tachs (due to the dual mags), a fuel pump pressure gauge, a fuel nozzle pressure gauge, and two fuel flow meters that monitor the fuel that goes through the barrel valve into the motor and the fuel and bypasses it on the return side back to the tank.

Performance: A typical 60-foot number is an eyeball-flattening 0.930 seconds, and the car will 1/8 mile at 3.5 second at 220 mph. The quarter mile comes up at around 5.3 seconds (or less!).

Photo: Dave Ostentowski
Veale and Brown A/Fuel Dragster

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