of Race Operations
Words by Ian Tocher
DRO: I wouldn't
argue with that, but there's still been far
too many singles and oildowns lately.
Peaco: The biggest
thing we're concerned about is the oildown.
That's only got better at the end of the year
-- not perfect, but better. And some of the
guys that are in Top Fuel are helping out with
that. Bruce Litton for instance, he is selling
his car to a guy who is going to run IHRA, but
not only is Bruce selling the car, but he is
going to work with that guy next year and get
him tuned up. All those competitors realize
they have to work together to help each other
or we're all dead in the water.
DRO: What's the
likelihood of adding injected nitro cars to
bolster IHRA's Top Fuel fields?
Peaco: There has
been talk. We've seen some proposals. Actually,
we've got comments from three new Top Fuel teams
that are going to run the full slate of IHRA,
but we may lose a few we don't know about yet
and we'll be in the same boat.
The injected nitro deals are an interesting
proposition. We've seen some proposals come
in and they have been giving us some "what ifs"
(what if we had this many inches, took off weight,
we changed this) and "we thinks" (we think we
can run some 4.90s, and maybe some 4.80s). Well,
that would be competitive. We're just learning
about the A-fuel cars as a sanctioning body;
we really don't know a tremendous amount about
them. It's something that we're looking at as
a definite -- I don't want to say alternative
-- but a definite possibility that we include
them if we can get the rules right.
They're not going to run NHRA rules and be
competitive in IHRA. We would have to have something
unique. They would have to change over and be
IHRA cars if you will because of what the rules.
We would have to look like to get them competitive
from a fan standpoint. Some people think they
are going to be just fine; some people think
the lack of the eight-foot header flames and
the difference in the noise make them unsuitable.
That may not be nice to some, but remember what
I said about my experience in the stands in
New England. Those guys were entertained --
they wanted to see fuel and as long as they
went four seconds at 300-and-something, they
were happy. I think these folks would come in
and put on a good show.
Now the question comes, can you run them with
Top Fuel or would you run them as a separate
class? I'm not really interested in adding another
class; I think drag racing has enough classes
to begin with. I would be interested to see
if they could run with the Top Fuel cars that
we currently have, but I wouldn't want to put
them in there to use them as cannon fodder.
If they could run with the pack I would give
it some serious consideration. If they were
going to be number seven, eight, or nine qualifiers
and that's the best they are ever going to do,
then that's not fair to them.
DRO: What about
Pro Stock? Are we going to see EFI on them soon?
Peaco: That is
a possibility, but not as soon as I would like
to see personally. Pro Stock is a little bit
different because most of those people get their
motors from basically two guys: Jon Kaase and
Sonny Leonard, whereas you have a variety of
different engine builders and combinations in
So I think it's more doable in IHRA because
if Jon said he could do this and if Sonny said
he could do this, then we're in business. I
know Warren Johnson would do it tomorrow, but
it doesn't mean that Art Pollard and Jim Yates
and Greg Anderson would want to as well. They
are all doing their own things.
DRO: Has IHRA
ever had serious discussions about EFI with
the engine builders?
Peaco: I will
be talking to them and the drivers as well.
Nobody -- myself included -- knows a lot about
fuel injection. Harold Martin has been working
on it in Pro Mod for a long time, so that's
a good resource we can tap. I know some drivers
would do it, but again we're talking about me
making a swipe of a pen and somebody has to
spend $20 grand on a new fuel injection setup.
So I'm not going to do it just to be doing it,
or just because I think fuel injection is the
way I think it should be. I'm only going to
do it if it makes sense.
The way I see it happening is us introducing
fuel injection as an option. There's a lot of
technology that has to be developed and learned,
but the Stockers learned it and the Super Stock
guys did, too. I've talked to some of the manufacturers
and they are interested, but some quite frankly
don't know enough about 815-inch motors to know
that it is going to work.
If you ask all the drivers, they are going
to say no. In their place, I would, too. IHRA
Pro Stock is as tight as it has ever been. We
finally got Pro Stock to a point where it's
probably the most competitive class in IHRA
and presents the best side-by-side racing we
have. Now fuel injection? Are you crazy? But
it is the future. For obvious reasons the factories
would fall all over themselves to get EFI into
Pro Stock, and all that is okay as long as it
doesn't put a hardship on the guys racing the
class. If I didn't have any racers, I obviously
would not have made the right choice.