VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 3 - March  2017


Outlaw Drag Radial driver Justin Swanstrom at last month’s Lights Out 8 at South George Motorsports Park.


Our Tom McCarthy will be posting photos on the DRO Facebook page this weekend from the Outlaw Street Car Reunion at Memphis International Raceway.


The Outlaw Street Car Reunion IV is one of the major small-tire races in the country.


We’ll have the complete race report next week in DRO.


Oh no, DRO editor Jeff Burk has been doing some more wondering...



After a strong off-season of testing, Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Jerry Savoie hit Florida’s Gainesville Raceway hot with a 6.75 at 198.99 mph for number one qualifier at the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.


Savoie’s new White Alligator Racing teammate LE Tonglet was actually quicker than Savoie on Friday, checking in at third in the qualifying order aboard his Nitrofish Suzuki before finishing in sixth with a 6.81 on Saturday

Tonglet’s bike fell victim to a clutch problem that surfaced in the final round of qualifying and slowed his reaction time against Joey Gladstone on raceday.


“It’s a disappointing thing,” said WAR tuner Tim Kulungian. “It’s not what I expected to happen. With LE’s bike, we struggled this weekend to get a clutch to work, and it really threw us a curveball in the third round of qualifying. We had great results in testing, and OK results in the first two rounds. We started making some changes to the engine and the clutch did something very unexpected. When you put a lot of heat in these clutches, it changes them.


“We tried to do what we could to bring it back to life for the fourth round of qualifying and made a lot of changes to the lock-up, and then it slipped even worse.


“So, Saturday night we took the engine out of the motorcycle, the transmission—we evaluated everything that had to do with the drivetrain. Is there something broke that’s making the clutch do this? We couldn’t find anything.


“So we put a whole new clutch pack in for the first round of eliminations, which in Pro Stock Motorcycles, that’s an unknown. We made changes again to the lock-up with weights and static pressures and things that I thought were gonna be a really good starting point. We thought we’d run a decent number the first round of eliminations, and we did.


Kulungian continued, “The challenge with the style of clutch we use is it tends to slip a lot on the starting line, and it makes for a slower reacting motorcycle. So for someone who’s making decisions, I always have to be very mindful of that—how much are the changes I’m making in the motorcycle gonna affect the motorcycle and the reaction time of the driver. Out of the two styles of clutches that I would select, this is one that performs great going down the racetrack but it can alter the driver’s reaction time. Not only is the driver’s reaction time compromised, but the 60 foot, the 330, and definitely the eighth mile. You look at the 4.35 eighth mile LE went in E2, and compare that with his eighth miles in Q1 (4.33) and Q4 (4.38) and the only thing different is a clutch that’s working better—not properly, not how we’d like it to work, but better. There were no engine configuration changes there—we feel like we were making decent power.


“So, in LE’s case, I believe it definitely had a role in slowing the motorcycle down when he let go of the clutch.”


“When we get it together, when we get LE’s clutch sorted out, we should be a force to be reckoned with,” finished Savoie.


The Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame, presented by Speedcafe.com, inducted 21 new members at a gala function attended by FIA President, Jean Todt, in Melbourne.


The Australian Hall of Fame was launched last year with an inaugural list of 30 inductees including three-time Formula 1 World champion Sir Jack Brabham and five-time MotoGP champion, Mick Doohan.


The inductee list included competitors from virtually every facet of the sport as well as two “special” awards for legendary engineer Ron Tauranac and long-time administrator, the late John Large.


Jim Read became the second drag racer inducted after Ash Marshall paved the way last year. The Top Fuel racer has previously been inducted into the Australian National Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and awarded the Order of Australia – Australian Sports Medal. He was the first to break the 7-, 6- and 5-second barriers in Australia, the first to reach 300 mph, the first and only competitor to win Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Car at the same event and the first Australian to top qualify at an NHRA event.


The other inductees are:


Motor Racing: Alexander Nicholas “LEX” Davison (D); Jim Richards; Mark Skaife; Frank Gardner (D); Kevin Bartlett; Larry Perkins; Vern Schuppan


Motorcycle Racing: Keith Ronald Campbell (D); Thomas Edward Phillis; Troy Corser


Rallying: Peter “Possum” Bourne (D); Neal Bates; Coral Taylor


Motorcycle Speedway: Arthur George ‘Bluey’ Wilkinson (D); Leigh Scott Adams


Motorcycle – Motocross: Ken Rumble


Karting: John Pizarro


Speedway Cars: Johnny Stewart (D)


Special Category: John Large (D) - (Administration); Ron Tauranac – (Engineer)


(D) = Deceased


The NHRA announced the Summit Jr. Drag Racing League Division ET Finals for each of the seven NHRA divisions. The League offers children 5 to 17 the chance to race half-scale dragsters at many of NHRA’s member tracks as the 2017 season marks the 25th anniversary of the NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League.


Northeast Division 1: Aug. 11-12, Numidia Dragway, Numidia, Pa.


Southeast Division 2: Oct. 6-8, Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, N.C.


North Central Division 3: Sept. 8-10, Kil-Kare Raceway, Xenia, Ohio


South Central Division 4: Sept. 8-10, Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas


West Central Division 5: June 23-25, Bandimere Speedway, Morrison, Colo.


Northwest Division 6: Sept. 1-3, Woodburn Dragstrip Woodburn, Ore.


Pacific Division 7: Sept. 16-17, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway


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