Nitro in Norwalk
Norwalk, Ohio, May 17-19, 2013
Summit Motorsports Park’s Cavalcade of Stars
The 7th anniversary of the Mickey Mart Rewards Cavalcade of Stars started off with a boom in Norwalk, Ohio. Fireworks, family events, special access to the pits, and lots of autograph-signing kept the record-breaking attendance of 47,000+ fans revved up the whole weekend. Bill Litton and Crew Chief Anthony Dicero were also ready to roll right to the finish line and end the weekend with a bang.
Leading up to the event, Dicero made some changes to the tune-up to get full power out of the nitro dragster. He changed the intake and injector and adjusted the compression height and compression ratio in the motor. Data from the first run was promising and showed that the car was headed in the right direction.
But the tune-up proved to be a little too aggressive. In the first round Litton got a good light but the car shook the tires. It was a hard tire shake but Dicero saw the positive side. It proved that the car is more responsive and ready to perform at a higher level.
So hopes were high for the second qualifying run. The crew backed it down after shaking the tires the night before, but with the hot racetrack it was backed down too much. Litton ran 5.83 @249 mph. The tires shook again this time and it put out a cylinder but Litton drove through it.
Qualifying round 3 brought with it cooler track temperatures and better air which could give the dragster a lot more speed. Unfortunately, the run didn’t quite go as planned – the car smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle and Litton didn’t qualify to move up.
Despite the setback, Dicero and crew remain undeterred. “We’re back with a hot rod of a race car. This race car that wouldn’t respond earlier is now very, very aggressive.” That new way of thinking means the old tune-up style is out, and the new more conservative approach is in – because the engine makes a lot more power than it did before. “We just don’t know where over center is so we try to get close but we haven’t found it yet.”
Sometimes you don’t come home with a trophy but you do come home with a pocketful of practical wisdom to use next time around. The good news is, there’s always a next time. “Like Babe Ruth, we aimed for the fence but we swung and we missed. So, on to the next race.” The next race is the NHRA Division 3 LODRS in Chicago June 7 – 9.