Joe Hornick: The man who mastered consultancy in racing

Joe Hornick: The man who mastered consultancy in racing

By Bertie S. Brown: At the lower rear corner of the rear wing of 2017 Funny Car National Champion, Robert Hight, a decal displays three letters: JHE, an abbreviation of Joe Hornick Enterprises. Hight won this year’s national championship at Pomona, Calif., and JHE, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, assisted them with technical know-how throughout the year. Since the beginning of this century, Hornick has been the hidden hand in a long series of racing successes. His business model is entirely his own: he offers his company’s complete services to just one racer in each category. Their complete service is an interesting proposition. JHE uses a test pool that serves to advance research and development in race engines with similar characteristics. Let’s say they have four customers running blown alcohol engines in four different racing categories—a blown alcohol pulling tractor, Pro Mod, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car. In the test pool program, each engine runs different components or systems and, in so doing, each race team shares a quarter of the R&D costs and receives the cumulative results from all four. Additionally, they have a base of consulting customers like John Force Racing or Earnhardt Childress Racing. They also have a race engine-builder base. “If an engine builder is an existing valve spring customer,” says Hornick, “I’ll help them with any engine problem at no cost. That’s part of the service we provide as a spring supplier, because we have no consulting customers that compete against our valve spring customers.” “When first starting out and working long hours,” recalls Ernie Elliott, renowned NASCAR race engine tuner,...
How camshaft grinds go awry:

How camshaft grinds go awry:

Do not stray beyond the confines of the hard rim – By Titus Bloom:   Two months ago, I confronted an industry friend, Jack McInnis, about Erson, asking about their progress. He told me they always seem busy.  How so I wondered. They don’t rely much on publicizing their efforts. It’s managed by Russ Yoder, he told me. A former race engine builder, Yoder facilitated a useful custom cam grinding service that rapidly blossomed. This, incidentally, is in addition to their shelf-stock performance cams enterprise. But nothing blossoms rapidly without a competitive edge. What spurred development and growth in their custom cam sector; how was this accomplished? Raw, un-ground camshafts have a case-hardened rim on each lobe that penetrates this working surface by 0.200in to 0.250in. When finish-ground, the case-hardened surfaces must achieve a minimum depth of 0.100in. If less, the lobe will be impaired and likely fail. But the camshaft grinder has around 0.150in to work with, so where’s the problem? Even if the cam was originally designed with, say, a 106-degree lobe separation angle (LSA) but then altered to 105 degrees wouldn’t it still retain sufficient case hardening around its perimeter? To determine valve timing, camshaft lobes—intake or exhaust or both–can be advanced or retarded, which is frequently the case as race engineers seek an advantage. Consequently, whatever the lobe placement, they have to be accommodated within the real estate available—that is, within the case-hardened rim. If trouble strikes how is it noticeable and how soon? It’s noticeable after a few runs. The first tangible evidence is excessive valve lash. Commonly, a lobe ramp will yield to...