David Hearn Tells Us His Drag Racing Effort is a Family Affair

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We spent some time with NMCA Open Comp racer David Hearn discussing  drag racing and Fuelab

Q: When did you start racing?
A: In 1998 when I was sixteen. I had a fast car and started street racing when I got my drives license.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: My girlfriend, her dad and brothers all drag raced. So that got me into it.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: The first car I raced at a track was my 1980 Camaro Z28. When I started I was running the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat. I eventually got it to 10.9. From 2000 to 2010 I traveled around doing many bracket races with that car.

Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced and when?
A: Early on – before I got the Camaro, I had a ’69 Impala SS 396 convertible, a ’71 Chevy C10 pickup with a 402, and ’74 GMC pickup with a 454. In the mid 2000’s I drove a ’69 Camaro Sport Coupe for another guy. I had been racing the car for 3 or 4 years and then in 2010 he called and said he was selling it. Twenty four hours later I bought it, and I still race this car. It has a 355 small block Chevy that runs methanol. The transmission is a Powerglide. It’s a basic combination that makes a lot of power. Most people assume it’s a big block because of how fast it runs – my best ET is 10.29.

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: Well, I do a lot of big money bracket races, which are put on by different groups. I also do NHRA bracket racing in Division 3, and I race in NMCA Open Comp.

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the past five years?
A: In 2012 I won the NMCA Open Comp at the Indy World Finals. In 2014 I was the #1 Qualifier and won five consecutive races with NMCA Open Comp. Also in 2014, I won both the Pro ET Class and Super ET Class in one day at I-57 Dragway.

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: I like the competitiveness. I also like traveling. We have a good time traveling as a family. You go to places you wouldn’t normally go. Our vacation time is devoted to racing, and we make as much of it as we can.

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Absolutely. Since about 1999 or 2000 we have gone racing probably 20-30 weekends a year. In all that time my wife has only missed one race! Our six year old and one year old also travel with us. A funny story; When our youngest was born, within his first six weeks, he had already been to five different race tracks.

Q: How long have you used Fuelab?
A: I started using Fuelab in late 2010

Q: Why did you start using Fuelab?
A: I had heard about Fuelab, but didn’t know much about them. Then I saw one of their ads and that they had a local phone number. I called them out of curiosity and found they were only three miles from my house. I stopped by and struck a friendship with Brian (Paitz – the President of Fuelab). I liked their technology so I started using their parts.

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that Fuelab solved?
A: I had been running a competitors fuel pump, and didn’t know it wasn’t big enough. I was running out of fuel toward the end of the quarter mile. So, I put on bowl extensions on the carburetor. When I changed to the Fuelab fuel pump I never took off the bowl extensions. I didn’t realize the old pump was causing the fuel starvation problem. Then one day I put on another carb that didn’t have bowl extensions and tested it on the track. It didn’t run out of fuel during the run. I didn’t need the bowl extension “band aids” after all. Not only that, it picked up a couple mph and the fuel supply was more consistent with the Fuelab pump.

Q: How has Fuelab affected your racing success?
A: I had never really looked into the NMCA before I met Brian. Fuelab was very involved with the NMCA and so I learned more about it through them and joined. If it wasn’t for Fuelab I wouldn’t have started racing in the NMCA, and I would never have won NMCA Open Comp in 2012. As for the product itself – with the Fuelab set up I can count on the car running more consistently.

Q: What Fuelab parts do you use?
A: I run their Prodigy Fuel Pump #41404, a Fuelab pre-filter and post-filter, and their blocking style regulator.

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of Fuelab products and company? A: Fuelab is one-on-one with people. With other companies you sometimes get passed around to different people before you finally get one who wants to answer your question. Then it seems like they just give you some scripted answer and don’t really know what they are talking about. With Fuelab, you speak to the same person every time – Josh. He knows the products and he knows what he is talking about.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in five years?
A: I see myself doing the same thing. We enjoy what we do. I have a hectic work schedule, and my current race schedule works with it.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Right now I’m building my six year old a Junior Dragster. Also, we have an old truck that we like to work on.

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Race Car Build Series – Building a COPO Camaro Clone – Part 2

This is a progress report on the COPO Camaro Clone being built by Jesse Pierce Wilson. In case you missed it, here is the intro to the build: http://fuelab.com/building-a-copo-camaro-clone/ . The vehicle started as a white 2014 Camaro V6. It’s a theft recovery, parts were missing, but the needed basics were still there. After the humiliation of being stolen and violated this Phoenix will rise from the ashes as a drag strip hero. Kudos to you Camaro!

Below are progress shots of the car stripped down and being repainted to red. The reason for the color change? Jesse says it’s just because he has a thing for red Camaros. We aren’t going to cover this part of the build in detail, however, in upcoming posts we will be covering three project segments in depth. The first project will include:

  • Roll cage install
  • Removal of the factory IRS differential and factory rear cradle/ from the car
  • Weld in control arm mounts and install new solid axle assembly
  • Fill in rear deck with sheet metal (or aluminum) to seal off the trunk area (required by NHRA when a fuel cell is being used)

So stay tuned for future segments of the COPO Camaro Clone Build!  

JPW1

Stripped down and almost ready for paint

JPW3

Some un-needed components removed. Less weight = faster!

JPW4

Doesn’t get much lighter than this…

JPW5

Red paint makes the car go faster

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Starting to look like a COPO Camaro!

NMCA Racer Steve Cox Talks About Drag Racing and Fuelab

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NMCA drag racer and Fuelab user Steve Cox tells us his story.

Q: When did you start racing?
A: Well, I started racing go-karts at 8, and started drag racing motorcycles in 1965.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: My parents raced in the 1950’s, and my dad worked with Mickey Thompson and Pontiac Motor Division on their joint racing effort. That gave me the bug to start racing myself.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: In 1966 I ran motorcycles and also a 1955 Chevy street car with a 265. I’d put my motorcycle on the rear bumper of the Chevy and drive to the track and race both. I continued to race until 1968 when I went in the service. In 1977 I started drag racing motorcycles again, as well as drag racing street cars. In 1980 a friend and I built 1966 Chevy II and I drove it. At one point I was a track champ at Los Angeles County Raceway. I continued to race other cars and motorcycles. In 1986 I had a bad accident on a motorcycle, and decided that I needed to reduce the danger level as I was raising my daughter. So, I bought a ’64 Nova and raced that, and then also began racing the ’68 Camaro during the late ’90’s. I got rid of the Nova in 2000 and have raced the Camaro since.

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: I’ve raced in the NHRA, AHRA, IHRA, NMCA, SCEDA, and the NMRA (motorcycles)

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: My daughter and her two children go to races and help out, and my wife does too

Q: How long have you used Fuelab?
A: For the last three years

Q: Why did you start using Fuelab?
A: I started using Fuelab because of its state of the art technology – other manufacturers’ parts seem antiquated

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that Fuelab solved?
A: There wasn’t a specific problem. I run the car on alcohol, and I felt it was time to update the fuel system, and Fuelab is a much better product than that of other manufacturers

Q: How has Fuelab affected your racing success?
A: With Fuelab the car runs more consistently

Q: What Fuelab parts do you use?
A: I use a Fuelab fuel pump, a Fuelab fuel pressure regulator, and Fuelab fuel filters

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of Fuelab products and company?
A: Fuelab has excellent customer service, and they are very knowledgeable. These days some companies are just missing the boat when it comes to good service. To me customer service is the most important aspect of a business.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in 5 years?
A: I see myself still driving. My grandson is 11 now, and I hope to get him in the car in the coming years.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I’m retired now. So, I stay busy with racing and family