Getting to first place: Badge of the lone engine builder

By Alfie Bilk: Hanover, Pennsylvania: When you first meet successful race engine builders you expect fastidiousness and if you don’t see it you suspect they’re concealing it. Charlie Garrett’s wife of 50 years says, “It’s just as well we had a daughter and not a son for he would have left us—Charlie is just too particular.” Still, Garrett, 73, represents his one-man engine shop with some fine sporting credentials. And with a 50-year reputation for producing impressive and reliable racing power, he harbors no plans for retirement. In 2010 Garrett worked almost exclusively with Sprint car racer Jason Meyers and the Elite Racing team from Fresno, California. Together they won the World of Outlaws National Sprint car championship and did it again in 2011. In fact they missed winning it in 2009 by just 15 points, losing to Donny Schatz. It was then that Jason Meyers decided he wanted to follow the national tour in 2010 and eagerly pursued Garrett as the power producer. Who is Charlie Garrett? Back in the mid-nineteen-fifties he began drag racing, using his engine-building talents to provide the motive power; he remained in the sport for the next 40 years, retiring in 1996. In IHRA Pro Stock where he competed from 1983 to’96 he succeeded in running in the 6:80s @ 203mph, but eventually came to the conclusion that if he couldn’t find substantial sponsorship and didn’t devote his full time to it he couldn’t remain competitive. But Hanover, Pennsylvania is an avid Sprint car community with six or seven tracks within one-and-a-half hours of his race shop. Lincoln speedway is just over the...

Gearz film crew descend upon Winder, Georgia

Written by Moore Good Ink Stacey David, connoisseur of American V8 power and host of Speed Channel’s Gearz program, visited Jon Kaase Racing Engines recently. The film team had arrived in Winder, Georgia to record the assembly and dyno testing of Kaase’s new P-38 cross ram, the firm’s latest innovation for small-block Fords. Earlier, a 302 Windsor small block with over 100,000 miles of use had been retrieved from a junk yard. Kaase installed an upgraded camshaft, fly-cut valve reliefs in the existing pistons to allow the P-38’s canted valves to operate, installed the heads with 60cc combustion chambers and recorded 498hp with barely 9:1 compression ratio. On the day before the film crew arrived they removed the heads and machined them, reducing their combustion chamber volumes from 60 to 48cc. Now with 10:1 compression ratio they mounted the engine on the dynamometer for the benefit of Gearz. It recorded 560hp and Stacey David laughed and said, “Not bad for a junkyard dog.” Airing on the Speed channel and now entering its seventh season, the Gearz production team creates 13 to 15 episodes each year, which are broadcast nationwide. Interestingly, Gearz reaches enthusiastic audiences as distant as Russia and France. Watch online at Kaase Racing Engines Facebook→ Source Jon Kaase Racing Engines, Inc. 735 West Winder Ind. Parkway Winder, GA 30680 Telephone (770) 307-0241 E-mail:

Street Demon awarded patent on Goggle Valve

Written by Moore Good Ink Earlier this month, on March 6, the patent office notified Demon that its application for a patent on the Street Demon’s Goggle valve had succeeded. Patent #D677755 The Goggle valve is a mechanically operated secondary throttle plate with a unique goggle-like profile. Normally a carburetor’s secondary throttle arrangement would take the form of two round bores. But because the Street Demon is designed to fit intake manifolds of both spread-bore and the smaller square-bore patterns, air flow would have been severely restricted by a conventional two-bore secondary arrangement. To maximize the air flow Demon created the Goggle valve. “Without it,” declared its designer Larry Tipton, “generating air flow of up to 750cfm would have been almost impossible.” The Goggle valve’s unusual shape was conceived after investigating numerous OEM and aftermarket intake manifolds. By necessity its arc of travel from closed to fully open has to accommodate a variety of divider walls and, obviously, Demon was keen to avoid adding any unwanted spacers. These were the conditions that influenced the Goggle valve’s unusual shape. Connected to the primaries by a progressive linkage, the Goggle valve is timed to start opening approximately 30 degrees after the primaries. As expected, its faster ratio of movement brings it to the fully open position at the same time as the primaries. For further information contact: Demon Carburetion Telephone (270) 438-2039 E-mail
Beerhorst on boosted engines: the advantages of pressurized power

Beerhorst on boosted engines: the advantages of pressurized power

Written by Moore Good Ink Last month, in the February News Brief, engine builder Norm Beerhorst of Ultra Tech Racing Engines, Mishawaka, Indiana, discussed the following: • The advantage of the pressurized engine—centrifugally supercharged or turbocharged • Heat and its consequences • Preparing for the HOT ROD Drag Week™ • Testing valve train with a Spintron In this March issue Norm tackles two further issues: On the differences of the induction and combustion processes between the turbocharger and the naturally aspirated engine With pressurized engines you can achieve a more controlled combustion compared with the complexities of trying to manage reversion and detonation within the narrow RPM band of a maximum-effort naturally aspirated engine. Of course having access to the correct fuel ingredients can be helpful. Nonetheless, normally aspirated engines encounter reversion and pulsing and other complications. The column of air entering the cylinder is severely disrupted when the valve closes. Consequently, it bounces off the back of the valve head as it’s moving at full speed and then collides with the next incoming charge. Unavoidably, the engine is efficient only in a narrow rpm band In contrast everything in the induction tract of the boosted engine is under pressure. There is almost no reversion. As soon as the valve opens the mixture is pushed into the cylinder, the valve shuts, and the mixture is ignited. It burns smoothly and the spent gases are expelled completely from the cylinder, aided by the next incoming charge during valve overlap. In conclusion, with the naturally aspirated engine, it is crucial to find the rpm band where it runs best. The pressurized...

Courtney takes flight, survives 7.3Gs, accepts top Rookie honors

Written by Moore Good Ink Between this year’s Gainesville and Phoenix NHRA national drag racing events, Funny Car driver Courtney Force participated in an hour-long flight with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in an F18 jet. “I had met U.S. Navy service people at the drag races,” she said, “and somehow they convinced me to take the flight, even though I told them I was terrified. “When we took off we immediately hit 6.1 G’s vertically. We reached speeds in excess of 700 mph and generated 7.3 G’s, twice the speed and G-force I’m used to in my Traxxas Funny Car. We also succeeded in breaking the sound barrier and going Mach 1. It was crazy! I will never forget the experience and give a big thanks to my pilot, Lt. Ryan Chamberlain.” Courtney conceded she briefly lost consciousness. To some, it seemed a bit like inviting the girl into a boxing ring and felling her momentarily with a well-aimed punch to the head. Fun for some maybe… Nonetheless, top marks to the girl for succeeding as gracefully as anyone could in such an amazing whirlwind experience. Courtney was also named Rookie of the Year by Racer magazine. Indeed this is quite the honor as she was selected from top NASCAR, Indy Car and F1 drivers. She is the first person from the NHRA to win the award. See Courtney’s Blue Angels experience online at YouTube...