TOP FUEL JET “SPIRIT OF AMERICA” RACE TEAM NEWS – 2014.
SPIRIT OF AMERICA TOP FUEL JET NEWS UPDATES.
Please see this page for the latest updates pertaining to this 2014 racing season.
Feb 2, 2014 Kingman AZ. We are pleased to announce Bryan Letterly will be our new driver beginning at the first race of 2014.
Nov. 3, 2013 Candler AZ. – Wild Horse Raceway. We arrived at the track 2 days late as we struggled to get the boat completed. The team decided to finish the boat at the track rather then miss the race. We ended up not getting the boat finished until Sunday late afternoon. We only got one shake down pass (Half Track) pass which also was a re-license pass for our temporary driver Rob Wiley. Rob is actually our Crew Chief and tuner! The boat ran well and we believe the new bottom design will improve performance.
In 2014 we will have a new Chew Chief and Driver. The Crew Chief will be Steve Hostetler of Kingman, AZ. Rob Wiley will be the tuner and help train Steve. The drivers name will be announced shortly as arrangements still are not finalized. We expect Doug Durnal will be helping train him after making some shakedown passes.
Our first Lucas race is on April 11-13 at Wild Horse Raceway. See ya there!
Oct.25,2013 Kingman,AZ. We finally got the new boat together, minus the capsule fairing. We will be heading to Wild Horse Raceway (Firebird Lake) next week!
Oct.16,2013 Kingman AZ. The new boat is just about ready! We are shooting for the last race a Firebird. The boat will
be there finished or not!
Above photo taken 10/16/2013 of the new hull.
We are pleased to announce a new crew member. Steve Hostetler of Kingman has joined our team. He is a great new asset and has been a big help getting the new boat finished!
Above photo is of the new boat taken 10/16/2013
June 26 ,2013 Kingman AZ. We have just obtained a Rogers Dragstar hull that will be updated with the latest bottom design and a new capsule. Construction has already begun and the team will return shortly with the new faster “Spirit Of America II”
The new design will have less parasitic drag for improved speed and will be producing a jet nozzle exit velocity of 187.2 MPH with a nozzle thrust of 7277.0 lbs. The changes will allow the boat to run at speeds up to 179 MPH with a 50% nitro motor. We will be running straight Methanol or Methanol with 10% Nitro.
June 7-9 Wheatland, MO. We had a hull failure at Wheatland. Our driver, Brad Parrack hurt his back and foot and is now at home and in good spirits.
On a positive note, the boat was handling perfectly and in the first round defeated Tony Scarlata,s flat. We had a leg on the MPH record in this round. In the final round, the boat left the line so hard, Brad had to pedal the boat, reset it, and slowly get back on the throttle to stop from red lighting. Near the 900 foot mark the boat was just going into the lead when the hull de-laminated. The boat was handling well and we would have won the race easily, while backing up the record, if it would not have disintegrated.
In the first round the boat ran the fastest pass recorded in the TAF class with a 148.544 mph which was a record leg for TFJ.
Preliminary investigations indicate the hull failure possibly can be attributed to the manufacturer, ARS Marine, who substituted pink hardware store Styrofoam insulation for the structural marine PVC foam we specified for the composite hull. This could not be seen by our team because it was hidden under black fiberglass cloth!
Photo’s of this pink Styrofoam can be seen on our team owners facebook page under the topfueljet group.
This composite was added to our hull to reinforce a weak spot found in the tunnels of original Rogers Dragstar hulls. Styrofoam has very weak mechanical strength and dissolves when exposed to fiberglass resin similar to the way gasoline eats through a Styrofoam cup!
We just purchased a used boat and are trying to get it together as quick as possible. Additionally, and are building a new, stronger, faster, hull from a new mold we are making. The layup work will be performed by a well known drag boat hull builder with many years experience.
We will never be purchasing anything made by ARS Marine in the future.
June 4, 2013 Kingman AZ. -The team is headed to the next Lucas Race in Wheatland, MO. June 7-9 We are currently in 2nd place in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series TAF Class. See ya there!
April 15,2013 Kingman AZ. – We would like to thank Lucas Oil Marine Products for a new product sponsorship.
Additionally, We have added 3 new crew members to our Race Team. Rob Wiley will be returning as our” Tuner” and fuel system expert, Chris Stine will be returning from our 2002 crew, as Crew Chief, and Cliff Smith of Kingman, AZ. will be helping drive our rig and assisting with various crew member duties.
We are now preparing for the Lucas Season Opener in Lake Irvine Ca. on May 3-5. We hope to see you there!
March 16-17, BAKERSFIELD, CA. – In 2013 we hope to race the entire Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series. In preparation we will be heading to NJBA for their first race at Lake Ming in Bakersfield, CA. on March 16-17th. Ralph Mills will is expected to be there there with Blown Fever!!!!!!!!!! Come see the action! See ya there!
Update. This race did not go well! We broke the blower drive shaft at 650 feet and coasted threw the 1000 ft. timers at 5.77 E.T. almost crashing the boat!
SUMMARY OF OUR FIRST FULL SEASON IN THE LUCAS OIL DRAG BOAT SERIES. This first year racing with the Lucas Drag Boat Series national circuit has been one of the most difficult and challenging seasons of racing we have every had! Our racing season consisted of 8 points races and 20,000 miles of traveling beginning in Wheatland MO. and ended at Chandler AZ. at the Firebird Raceway World Finals just outside of Phoenix.
We started the year with a new experimental boat hull, a host of untested newly designed hardware, a newly designed safety ratchet, developed to withstand 4000 horsepower, and 3 drivers that had ever been in this type of boat! Additionally, we had a new pit crew which had ever been involved in boat racing.
All said, the season went far better than expected considering all the experimental equipment, a new crew and 3 different drivers!
Our team managed to win the first race of the year by being No.1 qualifier at Wheatland in the weather shortened race. We had the only jet drive boat in the class racing against the prop driven Top Alcohol Flat bottom style boats which made the TAF/ Top Fuel Jet class one of the most interesting of Pro Classes. These boats are known as the Funny Cars of drag boat racing because of there difficulty to drive. We went thru 3 drivers in order to find one that could actually get enough time off work to get to all the races!
Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the race in Marble Falls, Texas because of the lack of a spare blower case which we damaged in Chouteau, OK. However, the first season went well considering the loss of points by missing the race and the crews in-experience. We finished this Second Runner Up and could of possible finished in first place if we had not missed that race. By years end the new crew became one of the best in our class.
Additionally, we set both ends of the World Record in the Top Fuel Jet Class for both Elapsed time and MPH and we finally found a full time driver for the boat! Brad Parrack will be our driver for 2013 and he has shown great potential!
Additionally, the TV coverage was great, particularly coverage of the second Wheatland Race filmed by NBC Sports. Altogether, the 8 races will air 42 times on NBC, CBS, Speed, and MAV TV.
We are currently looking for sponsors to allow us the spare parts required to not miss any races this upcoming season. Sponsorships are available for as little as $1000.00/race. Please see the pages on the left side of our home page for advertising potential of this rapidly developing nationally televised new professional sport made possible by Lucas Oil Products involvement in our sport.
The team will be heading to the points awards presentation Sat. Jan. 12, 2013 at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
This Season At A Glance. Highlights from our last race to the first race of the year.
Nov.3 2012 Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series, Firebird Lake, Chandler AZ. With Brad Parrack driving “Spirit Of America” ran it’s fastest M.P.H. to date @ 153.218 M.P.H. with a Elapsed Time of 5.516 seconds in the 1000 foot professional course. See above photo. This is the fastest speed ever recorded for a capsuled Top Fuel Jet on a 1000 Ft. course. Unfortunately, we snapped a blower belt, that only had one pass on it, on the starting line in the first round.
Sept. 15 2012 San Diego,Ca. We had to switch drivers again because George Pataki could not get off work to drive.
With Brad Parrack at the wheel, we ran our best E.T. to date of 5.42 seconds which is the quickest time ever recorded in a Top Fuel Jet boat.. We went to the final round but the boat would not start due to water in the hull when a newer crew member forgot to install the drain plug! We have a video added to our web pages of this pass.
On a more positive note we set the Lucas 1000 foot M.P.H. record at 146.313 M.P.H. in the Top Fuel Jet class! We will be heading to Firebird Raceway on Nov. 1 for the final race of the season. We look forward to seeing you at the track.
Sept. 1-2 Wheatland Nationals, Wheatland Mo. We qualified well and went to the final round where a defective rocker arm broke just as we passed Dan Rogers TAF at half track, George heard the motor lay down, popped the “pop off “safety valve and we finished runner up.
August 5, 2012- The team just returned from Chouteau OK. and Augusta Georgia. Our new driver George Pataki did a excellent job driving!
The new hull is performing beyond all expectations. Our new crew chief ‘Spike” Gore of Gorr Fuel Systems in Lake Havasu has be doing a great job on our conservative engine tuning program. We ran our best pass to date at 149.521 M.P.H.in 1000 feet without 50% nitromethane. This is 1000 horsepower less than the typical Top Fuel Jet engine!
Onboard computer data indicates the hull will run approximately 6.65 seconds E.T. and high 165′s MPH at 1320 feet without using any nitromethane! The new stepped hull was still accelerating at a rate of 6 MPH per 100 feet between 900 and 1000 feet! The new stepped hull was designed to run at speeds exceeding 170 MPH by John Cost our team owner.
On the safety issue of Top Fuel Jet boats running at these high speeds, the new “Chi Town Tunnel Dragstar” has proved the new stepped hull, shallow tunnel, non-pickle fork design has greatly reduced the likely hood of Fuel Jets from hooking, barrel rolling or simply blowing over. Generally, when conventional jet boat hulls experience this sort of massive jet pump overcharge conditions at high speeds the boat will crash! During the race at Augusta, due to the problems getting a new in-experienced driver licensed and a sticking pop off valve, combined with the engine quiting at 149.5 MPH, the boat went straight as a arrow after landing from several 2 to 3 foot trips, off the lake, on two separate occasions, which definitely would have caused a crash with the older style tunnel hulls typically used in this class. Our experimental Safety Ratchet (Whirlaway) worked well and helped land the boat safely.
Our next race will be at Firebird Raceway in Chandler AZ. on Nov. 1st. We will not be able to attend the race at Marble Falls Tx. because with the short time between races we do not have time to have a new poured foam S.F.I. approved seat manufactured to fit George and have the repairs made to our cracked blower case.
We would like to thank our fans for all their help and support particularly at these last two races.
July 12 2012- The Team will be heading to Augusta Ga. for the next Lucas Race on July 20-22-2012. Doug Durnall could not continue driving. We will attempt to get George Pataki of ARS Marine licensed in our boat.
If you can make this race please stop by and say hello.
June 8-10 We went to our first Pro Race with Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series. Things went far better than expected with the new boat. We were No.1 Qualifier in The Top Alcohol Class, set the new World MPH Record for TFJ/ BFJ and finished in first place at the weather shortened race. . We left the race as the points leader in the National Series in Top Alcohol Flat Class..
The Race should be on CBS Sports on Sat. July 14th.
The following race at San Angelo, TX. we qualified #3 out of 5 and set the new 1000 foot E.T. record at 5.783 seconds in TFJ/BFJ Additionally we reset the MPH record at 143.8
The boat went much faster in a exhibition pass late Sunday.
We lost in the first round due to a delayed start off the holding rope.
April 2o 2012 -The team tested at the NJBA race in Bakersfield at Lake Ming ( above video). Doug did a great job of driving for the first time in the boat! The new ARS safety ratchet worked well and there were no problems with the carbon fiber ride plate. The boat ran a 6.51 E.T. at 1000 ft. as it de-accelerated from about 700 feet were we decided to back out of the throttle to make sure fuel distribution from the new experimental blower port nozzles was ok. The new hull seemed to work well and was very stable.
May 20, 2012- Testing was resumed at the NJBA Spring Nationals in preparation for the Lucas Oil Drag Boat race at Wheaton, Missouri in two weeks. The boat performed beyond all expectations as we ran the first full 1000 foot pass. Doug took it easy on the start trying to get a better feel for the new foot operated tunnel air plates on the boats tunnels. All went well and the boat ran a 5.87 E.T. at 138 MPH recording the quickest E.T. and MPH recorded for a capsuled fuel jet. During this run we used no fuel, just alcohol, and the motor was run fatter than a dog to allow us to get the injection nozzles equalized on the prototype supercharger.
We feel as we lean on the motor, even without the Nitro, we will be competitive with the Top Alcohol Flats. More info. to come.
We would like to thank all our fans for their unwavering support!