Double Vision Dragster Build - Even COVID Couldn't Stop Us!
Welcome to our 3rd Double Dragster Build! Yup you read that correctly... 3rd. The first one in 2015 I vowed to never do 2 at the same time again. As my wife puts it "you don't listen". I guess she's correct. Didn't even listen to myself!
Well all things begin with an idea, vision, thought, however you wan't to put it, but as most of you know the company my Partner Lynn Ellison and I started 7 years ago continues to grow and evolve along with these builds, so it was only fitting to brand them with both our CollectorTethers.com and DragRaceSolutions.com brands this go round.
Eddie Hollen Designs took my idea and once again brought thoughts to life and then I turned it over to my good friend Todd Zeller of Todd's Extreme Paint in Milan, Michigan to make it happen! As we walk through the build, lets see how close we can get to this picture dreamed up in late November of 2019.
Like all of our previous car builds, the story starts out north of us in Ohio at American Race Cars. We have great relationships with a lot of companies, but Travis Colangelo and I just seem to have clicked over the past 10 years with all of the business and builds we've done together. Along with the 2 DRR Championship Series cars we did, these 2 make 10 cars we've worked together on and I couldn't be prouder for Travis & Shelly's support and dedication to both DRR and our personal racing team.
American Race Cars moved a few years ago from their original location in Pemberville, Ohio to their current location and new shop in Port Clinton, Ohio up near Lake Erie. The new shop has a great workflow for the kind of production ARC needs to have keeping them at the forefront of industry.
Fortunately there was a nice break in the weather in early March to make the quick 10 hour trip North from Nashville to Port Clinton. I arrived late that evening and met the team for coffee the next morning. We got loaded up, ate some Pizza and I headed back South in the Bounder to my next stop. Memphis, Tennessee! Only 725 miles!
My trusty Bounder that Nicole and I purchased new in 2006 has sure seen a lot of race tracks sporting 100k miles on her now. Been tip to tip from Bremerton, Washington to Immokalee, Florida - 3286 miles and from Sonoma, California to Budds Creek, Maryland only 2851 miles. Some fun facts.
Back to the vision... my good friend Rick Taylor who owns Rick's Powder Coating in Memphis, Tennessee and I got together and I explained to him what I was looking for. No questions asked, Rick told me how we were going to go about it and he put the wheels into action. I dropped the chassis and parts off when I arrived and about a week later Will Holloman mad a trip down for me and picked them up. Rick's is a BIG place and can handle all your powder coating needs. Keep them in mind if your in that area.
Although COVID 19 helped take the rush off of the build process in the spring, the winter was filled with preparation along with the selection of all the parts and pieces it would take to completely assembly the Double Vision Dragsters at our own shop in Gallatin, Tennessee.
My good friend Ty Lynch was somewhat of a victim of the pandemic as his career is in tour buses. Well when all the shows got shut down, so did his work. Ty had already committed to wiring the dragsters but when COVID happened, well let's just say I picked up a real good hand with the complete assemblies. I can't thank him enough for it all.
We have some real good partnering companies that are involved in these builds and I'd like to showcase some of their products and how we use them on our cars. At anytime in the article you can click on their logo to take you directly to their website to see these products and others they offer.
Chris Lindsay of LRP Wheels provided the 16x16 Double Bead Locks along with the Billet Front Wheels and his "all new" Leather Wrapped Billet Steering Wheels to match. I wasn't positive on applying color to the wheels, but after they were completed and I saw them coming together, I wasn't disappointed!
Moser Engineering supports the sportsman racers as much as any company I can think of in our industry. Couple that along with the quality products and personal service you get when dealing with them and they're all I think about when we start talking running gear for our cars.
Like all American Dragsters, ours are also equipped with Moser M9 housings. We also choose their Extreme 40 Spline Axles, Dual Caliper Stainless Steel Brake Kit along with their heavy duty Bolt Through Center Section. This build we decided to select the optional powder coat for the center section. This will do wonders for my OCD and a clean center section!
Hoosier Racing Tires have been on all of our race cars for approaching 30 years now. This is the 3rd year straight we have used the "new style" BR3 Rear Racing Slick on our dragsters. If you haven't tried Hoosier's new design I urge you to give them a try. Much work has went into this tire to bring it back to the forefront of racing.
Huntsville Engine & Performance returns for our 3rd straight build and their 6th year powering a DRR Team Car. We've built a great relationship with Andy Anderson and the guys at HEP over the years and can't thank them enough for their personalized service. We've had great success with their 615 SR20 Engines the past 5 years and are equally as excited to have one powering one of our new cars.
New to the DRR Team in 2020 is Oakley Motorsports out of Owensboro, Kentucky. The Father Son duo of Phillip and Jay Oakley come "on board" this year bringing added technical support to our racing program. We've raced with the Oakley's and done business with them for years and I'm excited to have them in our corner for 2020 and beyond.
The Brotherton Family and BRODIX down in Mena, Arkansas are well known around the country and we couldn't be prouder to run a particular product than theirs. Like our previous combinations we're utilizing their SR20 CNC Port Matched cylinder heads while adding their latest intake manifold to feed them with. Both engine builders liked the new manifold and from the builds I'm pretty confident in the power increase from it.
Marco Abruzzi built the matching Mac Daddy Powerglide transmissions once again for this build. All American Made parts including the Reid Cases straight from Abruzzi's shop in Warren, Ohio. We like the matte black powder coat which comes as an option from Abruzzi along with a carbon hydro dip option if you want it. This year we're trying a 1.58 low gear option. It's thrown us a little learning curve but we're getting closer every weekend out.
Although we didn't change converter brands this go round and returned with FTI Performance, we did change the game. To say this was one of the most nervous changes of this build would be an understatement! I felt we had a real good handle on our previous FTI combo, but Greg Samuel instilled confidence in me that this would be equally as good or better. We made a modification to their normal out of my request and have had to make a few tweeks, but I have to say I like the adjustability of the bolt together. So far so good and we're making another adjustment as I type. And you gotta admit... It's sexy ;)
Throughout our build you will see an array of MOROSO products, including what most racers are familiar with like Oil Pans, Valve Covers and Vacuum Pumps. But we source MOROSO for our Transmission Pans & Dip Sticks, Charging Lugs, On Off Solenoids, Evac Canister and more! Just keep an eye on the build and you'll be sure to spot this famous brand everywhere in our build.
I can't deny I love doing these builds. But there are still things that are stressful even after all of the years assembling cars. I have to reflect back on the things my Dad and other mentors taught me over the years. Brake lines and transmission yokes are a couple of the things I stress over during the builds. I know it's not life or death, but they're both pretty important, take time and just have to be right! Luckily this go round there were no issues.
I mentioned earlier that my good friend Ty Lynch helped a ton on these builds this go round. He's become a great race car wire'r and I can't thank him enough on the great job he did on these cars. Keep him in mind if your looking to have a car wired or re-wired.
We've been using Penske Racing Shocks now for 8 years. I think it's one of the main reasons we're able to be so competitive from the first day out at the track with a new build. Eric Davis of Penske Midwest spends as much time talking and working with racers at our level at the track as he does building and designing them in the shop.
We use Mike's Fab Shop Gen 3 Stainless Dragster Headers because we know the performance, quality and support is there every time we order a set... or 2. These came polished from Fab Shop and then we had them treated with a black nitride coating which won't chip, scratch or fade and weights zero. If you see us at the track stop by and check them out.
We've had Karsten Blume's K-B Carbs out of Ohio on our last 6 dragsters and we can't thank him enough for the personalized service he provides along with a such a high quality product. This year we chose pair of billet 2.400 bore carbs with some "new" big billet bowels from the boys over at APD.
New to our race team this year is Hagerty Motorsports Insurance. With all the work and investment that goes into a racing operation anymore, it just makes sense and allows us to travel with much more confidence knowing our cars are covered by Hagerty Motorsports. I never realized it was so affordable, and to have a company as large as Hagerty now providing coverage in our sport is very comforting. A quote is as simple as a one page application.
We've been using the Altronics Powerlite 16 Volt Lithium Batteries since 2015 in our dragsters. These big engines and lots of racing require serious cranking amps and a quick charge turnaround and these batteries provide both aspects. Altronics also makes a simple clean billet mounting tray that we also use to mount them.
K&R Performance is well known for their Pro-Cube Z-plus packing a lot of function in a small package. We chose them for our builds and the option to get it in gloss black, fit our theme perfectly! We also use their onboard air compressor shown above mounted in front of the battery. We have air chucks on both the front and rear of the car allowing us to adjust tire pressures anytime we like. It's almost made the air compressor on the trailer obsolete!
Jones Transmission Cooling Pumps have become a staple item on a double entry weapon anymore. They allow you to circulate the transmission fluid throughout the transmission and torque converter between rounds while running a fan over the cooler. This nifty junction block allows normal flow of the coolant when the car is running then mechanically engages when the car is off and the 12 volt circulation pump is on. You can see the pumps mounted right above the rear end housing.
Again... Big Engines require ample starting power and that always comes in the form of a Meziere 139 tooth 10 pitch starter and flexplate for our engines. You won't find higher quality products and a better company to deal with than the Meziere family enterprise out in Escondido, California. I just found out this year that they offer a starter / flexplate combo that includes ARP 12pt flexplate bolts too! Just save'd ya a little money if you're shopping.
One thing we've realized over the years is that your can't run big enough starter and ground cables. You get these big engines pulling on the starter, bigger is definitely better for cable sake. This year we ran 2/0 awg and I like it!
APD up in Genoa, Ohio is known "World Wide" for their Alcohol and Gasoline Race Carburetors, but did you know they also make fuel pumps and crank drive mandrels? We love the quality and dependability both these products provide. The crank drive mandrel is steel and the belt drive pump offers an internal bypass which just simplifies the plumbing and works great with our nitrous system we installed.
Digital Delay was our "go to" for wiring with their Mega Dial Panel, Control Board and Digital Dial In Boards. Also you can see the small board laying flat on the tray in the middle which is used to control the nitrous function and incorporates a wide open throttle, override control and allows the timed function to integrate. This certainly simplified the wiring process for all the functionality I was looking for.
2020 was my first experience with Nitrous Oxide and to say the guys at NX made it simple was an understatement. Their website is simple to use and when I called the tech line for a few pointers it couldn't have wen't smoother. The technician on the line new his stuff and although I probably asked to many questions, he answered all of them with ease.
We went with their 4500 RNC Plate System with a Lightning Bottle Valve which will allow us to spray up to 750 hp if we ever need it! The fuel solenoid comes right off the back of the fuel log for a simple installation. The Nitrous solenoid mounts on the linkage side with a real nice JEGS mount that incorporates the solenoid and throttle cable mount.
As noted above on the Digital Delay post, Ty Lynch wired it in so it's armed with the electric fuel pump switch which we don't use since we use a belt drive fuel pump. We've got a hot button on the steering wheel for an override and it's incorporated into the timer on our K&R Pro-cube if we want to spray on time. Very versatile set up.
Pro 1 Racing and Safety Products out of Fort Worth, Texas is the "go to" company for seat belts now days for a reason. The quality is exceptional, the service is exceptional and the owners are exceptional. I've had the please to both know and work with the owners for many years. Most people don't think about the fact that your trusting your life with a seat belt company. Think about that the next time you're getting seat belts and seriously consider PRO1.
Call me "old school" but I'm just a "gauge guy"! Auto Meter Phantom II Gauges have been my choice for years now. We use a Vacuum Gauge to keep an eye on how our engine is performing, an Oil Pressure Gauge to keep an eye on our Moroso Oil Pump and Lucas Oil, a Temp Gauge for consistency and a Volt Gauge to make sure our Alternator is working properly and that our Altronics Battery in maintained. And I love the 10,000 RPM tach right in the middle to keep an eye on the R's in the burnout. We also incorporate a low oil pressure sender from Auto Meter that ties into the 2 small red LED lights by the oil pressure gauge. Look closely and you'll see them.
This is the 2nd build that We've used the Biondo Racing Products Elite Outlaw Shifter and I still stick with "I think this is the nicest shifter on the market today". The quality is 2nd to none and of course the guys at BRP are more than helpful to assist you with your application. The 2nd picture shows the safety panel American fabricated for additional safety and of course Todd's put matching graphics on them for a little interior bling!
We're not only using Lucas Oil Racing Oil this year, but are also utilizing their 75w-90 Synthetic Gear Oil and their Sure-Shift Semi-Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid. We can't thank them enough for the high quality products and support they provide not only our race team, but the other racing teams along with everything else they do for the motorsports industry as a whole. If you operate not only a race team but possibly a fleet, farm or business that uses products Lucas Oil Products could fulfill, I strongly suggest you give them a try.
One thing that just makes sense to me is an air cleaner! We spend way to much money on these engines not to! If you're a dragster guy the K&N 66-3310R comes with a raised bell horn to fit a 4500 style carburetor inside of the scoop tray. JEGS keeps them in stock!
I always tell people "Gas Cars" are real good now days. A huge part of that is contributed to the racing fuel we use. Renegade PRO116 from Valor Oil in Kentucky is what we've used for nearly 10 years now. They've expanded their dealer network to a lot of the major markets across the country the past few years. The company is owned by a racer and I'd highly suggest you take a look at them. They're big into all forms of motorsports and offer race gas and methanol.
Specialty Fastners is who we go to for just that "specialty fastners"! We upgraded all our bead lock bolts to 12pt stainless steel, used stainless steel nuts and washers on the center sections and they provided the aircraft grade shouldered bolts for the 4 link and shock mount bolts. Give them a look, as they carry all the things race car guys need!
The thing I like about JEGS is that it's just like having your own personal speed shop! Type in www.JEGS.com and you're there. Most of the products we use in our builds are available from them along with their own brand of products like the distributor hold down clamps we use shown in the photo below.
Some of our staple products are showcased on the front of this engine. Our Billet Water Filler Neck shown with our Rad Cap Safety Girdle, Our Stainless Steel Water Pump Crossover Tube and Billet Vacuum Pump Mount and Pulley.
We take pride in the fact that all our products are made in the U.S.A. including our Quarter Turn Fasteners and Billet 12pt Lug Nuts which are so popular among the racers.
Well I like to think I saved one of the best for last with my good friend Todd Zeller. He has always came through with my special requests, always seeming to exceed my expectations on how it should look. If you take a look at the following pictures and then scroll back up to the top of the article to the renderings done 7 months prior and I think you'll agree.
I hope I've given you some great insight into what it takes to put one, or two of these monsters together and possibly some good ideas on parts and procedure for your own race cars.
I can't thank everyone involved enough for their help and support of these builds. We truly were challenged with COVID-19 during this build but not 1 company let us down during the process.
Please keep the companies involved in mind when your making upgrades or performing a new build this coming off season and remember you can click directly on the company logos for more info.