Written by Moore Good Ink
Robesonia, PA: On August 16th during this year’s Bonneville Speed Week, Lee Sicilio driving his 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, powered by a Ray Barton 498cu in Hemi, elevated the A/BGALT speed record from 257+mph to 273+mph.
Sicilio, from Fort Worth, Texas, said “Our fastest trap speed of 283+mph occurred at the 5-mile marker. Though the air was pretty bad with a density altitude in the 6,500 to 7,000ft range, I ran a 2.00 rear end ratio with a 1:1 fifth gear in the transmission on my last run. This was the only record we attempted this year.”
Lee Sicilio’s race engine was completed earlier this year. “Since about 2000, I’ve been running Ray Barton race motors and in that time we have succeeded in capturing 12 world land speed records.”
How to trace the airflow at 300mph…
“Twilight Zone” is Lee Sicilio’s 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, completed just before the 2012 Bonneville Speed Week. The car’s fabricator/engineer Ryan Fain (center) makes last-minute preparations at the starting line for a record qualifying run.
Not even 283mph at Bonneville will move an oil dot if the airflow is separated from the surface. The oil dots in the hood cove and behind the fender outlet scoop remained stationary. The stationary oil dots behind the fender outlet indicated that not much air flowed in or out, even though the outlets are open to the under-hood area.
These oil dots were applied moments before a record-breaking run at the Bonneville Salt Flats. New 2 stroke oil was used for the dots. Used engine oil would have made the dots and streaks easier to see.
Here is a best-case example of oil dot streaks on the roof. All of the streaks show that the airflow direction was almost exactly straight back along the direction of travel of the car. The streaks are all long and nearly the same length, indicating uniform, high speed airflow. This is desirable for low drag, but the high speed airflow here created some lift.