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Turning on Win Lights

I have been drag racing Mopars since 1978 and I am lucky to be located in an area where there are a lot of competitive Mopars at the track every weekend. I don’t know if it is that way at your local drag strip or not. I have also observed a trend that drives me crazy.

The initial part of this trend I can blame on the track owners. They see car counts dwindling and instead of trying to figure out why they just decide to do away with ET breaks and have their brackets be “all-run” as far ET’s go. Around most of the country this means you will see everything from a 7-second dragster to a Duster dialed-in at 12.90 running a lot of throttle stop running in S/Pro (or Electronics or Bracket One or Box or whatever they call the “fastest bracket with delay boxes.” That alone makes me nuts. But then I see the cars on Pro (No E. or No-Box, Modified, Bracket Two or whatever they call cars with no delay boxes in your area) come to staging. There are more and more dragsters, tube chassis cars and in general a lot of cars faster than 10.00 seconds starting to run in the No Electronics brackets.

First, let me talk about the bracket I will call S/Pro, the class that allows delay boxes and is usually understood to be the fastest bracket. Around here (I’m in Iowa) that usually meant an ET break of 10.99 and faster. I am most familiar with this bracket and over the last 10 years or so the car quality has improved in leaps and bounds. The speed of these cars has reached a point where, in my opinion, they are too fast for most local tracks that host bracket racing as far as safety is concerned. The entire engine/converter and chassis packages have made them very consistent and a very reliable way to race at speeds over 160 mph. This means that winning is very tough as 85% of the cars are capable of winning at any time.

Second, I want to talk about the bracket I will call No E (for NO Electronics). In my area that usually meant an ET break of 10.50 to 13.99. Around the Midwest the No E. bracket was thriving and was quite a bit stronger in car counts than S/Pro. There were several reasons, the S/Pro racers lost a lot of cars to the Super Class points races and S/Pro cars are expensive to run every week. No E was the money-maker for the tracks and it all looked good. . .actually it was probably looking too good.

No E in this area was made up of racers who were gaining experience to either move up to the bigger purses of S/Pro or just racing in No E because they liked the idea of no delay boxes and more “basic” racecars they competed against. When I speak of more basic racecars it is not saying their preparation, quality or repeatability is not good; I am saying they are basically a car that a racer can build and modify himself. No chassis builders, no four-links and coil-overs to deal with. Engines are possibly a little less expensive and easier to maintain as compared to a 950 hp seven or eight-second engine found in faster S/Pro cars.


The No E class is where I see a majority of the Mopar racers in my area participating. I think it is because the Mopar racers are very brand loyal. I know I am (with the exception of the Powerglide in my dragster). The Mopar racers like their Torqueflites for their superb durability and easy maintenance. The rear leaf springs have been a proven performer for Mopars for decades and are easy to work with to get the car to hook. The Mopars did not lend themselves well to transbrakes when delay boxes first came out so a lot of Mopar racers simply stayed in No E. The first Torqueflite transbrakes were not very good and having a 2.50 to 2.70:1 low gear ratio in the Torqueflite made consistent traction a problem. Big cubic inch engine development has been slow coming for Mopar racers as well, not to mention it is about 40% more expensive to build a big cubic inch with Mopar than it is with a Chevy. [Watch the MoparMax tech series on the 541”/E85 Project Engine we are building, I think the final costs will be much lower than you might expect.]


When track operators were trying to get more cars into S/Pro to cover the higher payouts, they simply raised the ET breaks to let about any race-only car into that bracket and we saw ET breaks of 12.99 and faster as typical. In return they took the ET minimum breaks off No E and made ET breaks 13.99 and faster and sometimes it was listed as “all run,” no ET limits fast or slow.

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