Nerd’s Eye View — Inside 10,000 horsepower! (Part 2)


Here we see engine RPM vs clutch engagement.  Notice that for the first second (straight blue line) the clutch is operating with just the six primary pressure disc levers.  After that, the electronics take over, and twelve more levers start to grab the flywheel one by one, until it is fully engaged nearly 3 seconds into the run.

“When Antron stages, there's a load on the clutch with the six primary levers.  Once the gas is stomped, all of the other twelve levers apply one by one.  It's a relationship between the levers and how fast we're moving the throw-out bearings to how quick the car sees full clutch applied.  It all happens in a little over two and a half seconds, the track surface and tire being the limiting factors,” says Mason.

The front tires will last several passes and are inflated to about 90 PSI.  That should limit the frictional drag but also keep them from blowing up at speed from all the downforce up front.  The size difference between the front and rear tires makes one realize why a driver's steering input is so great when it looks like they're always going perfectly straight on TV.


A look at the rear aluminum wheels.  Now that's some dish!


Upon first glance, it may appear that this mechanic is inflating the tire, when he's actually bolting down the bead lock.


FACT #13: With so much torque and grip, without a tire bead lock on each side of the tire a top fueler's rear wheel can simply spin inside the tire.

As you can see, from the back of a Nitro car that it's all about grip.  It's not just the width, but also the overall circumference of each tire that gives the car grip.  And as the tire balloons down the track, it gets taller (thus, changing the gearing).  The weight of a mounted rear tire on wheel is around 80-lb.


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