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It was way back in 1988 when I first calculated that Eddie Hill’s record setting 5.066 ET Top Fuel run at that year’s Gatornationals required just over 4,000 HP. That started a string of National Dragster articles on nitro burning, drag racing engine horsepower figures. So I wondered, how do the current Nostalgia Funny Cars (with the smaller 6-71 roots blowers) stack up compared to the 4,000 HP standard from 1988, some 26 years later?
Today we have an actual engine dyno sheet for the Ron Hodgson & Tim Boychuk Nostalgia funny car that won the NHRA Heritage Series Bakersfield March Meet in 2013. At that event, when the car won the 1st round of eliminations with a 5.753 ET and 252.43 MPH, the Jim Basko and Bob Papirnick tuned engine showed 3,020 HP and 2,200 ft-lbf of torque!
But you say “Wait a minute! I’m not aware of any engine dyno that can handle that much HP. Did someone strap a funny car on a chassis dyno somewhere and measure the rear wheel HP?” No, not to my knowledge. The only dyno we have for the nitro cars is the “dragstrip dyno”, and data from the “dragstrip dyno” comes with every run – including the timeslip info, measured weather conditions and the onboard data recorder.