DRAG ILLUSTRATED ROUNDTABLE
FROM THE HEYDAYS OF THE MID-2000S TO THE MOST
MMPS RECENT RACES , JOHN MONTECALVO HAS BEEN IN THE THICK OF IT . WITH CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THREE DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS ,
HE ’ S DONE ALMOST ALL THERE IS TO DO IN THE CLASS . exhibition at Indy , it was incredible the responses that we got back . Let ’ s face it , they have big motors , hood scoops , they have carburetors , they have fuel injection , and they ’ re a handful to drive . They move around , they ’ re not on a string . We get great fan response no matter where we run with NHRA .
The other thing is , let ’ s face it , NHRA is still the big show . People can say what they want , but I enjoy running over there . Quite frankly , it ’ s like being on vacation . We make two runs one day , we make two runs another day , we go out to dinner , which we very rarely get to do anywhere , and we race on Sunday . It ’ s kind of like the old IHRA days when we raced quarter mile .
The 3-second barrier has been a topic of discussion for quite a few years now . Several guys have come close , but no one has done it in competition . Is this the year it finally happens ? What will it mean for the class when that happens ?
Pluchino : This is the year , last year was the year , the last two years were the year . We need the conditions and we need the run . We all have the stuff to do it . You have to put the conditions and the run together . JR is leading that hunt right now . He ’ s showing that he has the performance advantage over everybody in the class . We feel like we can be right with him , and we have been extremely close at times . It would mean a lot to me to be able to get it done first , but there ’ s a number of competitors who can get that done .
Unfortunately , when you ’ re racing the majority of your races in warm weather , you only have one or two races where you can potentially see that weather . You need the conditions to line up . We don ’ t race 20 times a year . If we race 10 times a year it ’ s a lot , and most of them are in the heat of the summer . No one is going to do it then . Ma Nature needs to work with us .
Carr : I think it will happen this year . Just a little bit of weather and we ’ re there . Everybody has stepped up their programs and everybody is running better . I think this is the year it does happen . For any racer in any class , to be the first to do something , it ’ s huge . Who can ’ t remember Kenny Bernstein , first to 300 ? You just don ’ t forget those things . It would mean a lot for the class . It would be tremendous .
Kirk : If it happens , it will happen at either PDRA Virginia at the end of the year or at ADRL St . Louis in the fall . It just depends on conditions . What will it do for the class ? I don ’ t know that it will change much . There ’ s just not much R & D anymore . There ’ s not enough cars out there for the likes of Sonny ’ s or Kaase to try new things . Everybody in the class , working people , they have to be back to work on Monday . They don ’ t have the time to try to find every little thing . As far as what it ’ ll do for the class , it ’ ll blow it up for a while . I just don ’ t know that it ’ ll happen this year . I don ’ t think it ’ s the year .
Montecalvo : It ’ s positively going to happen this year . If I had to put a favorite out there , it ’ s a white car with black stripes on it . I think we ’ re all nipping at JR ’ s heels right now . I think there ’ s probably five cars that can do it , it ’ s just a matter of the right day and the right conditions . We ’ ve all got pretty good power . You have Mike Allen power , Jon Kaase , Sonny [ Leonard ], Frank [ Gugliotta ]. I think every one of those are doing a great job . I don ’ t think power is our issue . I think the way we run our cars is the issue .
What ’ s it going to do to the class ? I think that ’ s the last milestone . I don ’ t see anything topping that for a while . JR ran in the teens last year . I think that was a big deal to run quarter mile in the teens . That was definitely a milestone . But I think it ’ s going to bring a lot more excitement . I think it ’ s going to attract more people to the class . We really need to run in the 3s .
Powers : I don ’ t know if it will mean much for the class . I think it will be set this year . We plan on doing it . But I don ’ t know if it will mean anything for the class . I think it ’ s a stretch for some guys to get there . But I think it would mean a lot to the guy who put the motor together in that car and the driver and the team itself . That ’ s what it would mean the world to . I don ’ t think it will have any effect on the class whatsoever .
The class has been running in the 4.00s for the last 10 years or so and using basically the same technology , whereas
86 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 169