Nerd’s Eye View – Inside 10,000 horsepower!


This is where I started geekin' out—checking out the data logs.  The red line represents RPM (which peaks at 8400), the green line vehicle speed (which crosses the finish line at 326 mph in this run), and the others represent exhaust gas temperature (EGT) in each cylinder, of which the average is 1475F. 

Lots of cool info can be extrapolated from this alone, and you might catch more than I did (if so, post a comment).  But first off, notice the start of the red line and how quick it goes from 2500 RPM to 8400 RPM, which appears to be around a tenth of a second.

Second, check out how linear the acceleration (green line) is.  It's pulling a consistent G-Force because the clutch doesn't fully grab–locking the motor and driveshaft to a 1:1 ratio–until the green and red lines cross each other, which happens at around 3 seconds into the run, or 280 mph.  When that happens, the car is truly at full bore (notice the EGTs start to climb right then), and this is where Antron was telling me that “you really feel the G's then!”

Third, when the car crosses the finish line (white vertical line), it still manages to accelerate another several MPH by the time it takes Antron to go from full-throttle to deploying the chutes.  In fact, it's still accelerating so hard that 1.49 G's are registering…at 326mph!

This is engine speed again (red) but plotted against fuel flow (blue) and boost (green).  One second into the run the fuel flow is really increased and, thus, so is the explosive power coming out of the headers (right where I was standing for photos).  The engine launches the car at 8400 RPM, goes down to 7000 RPM midway, and then quickly climbs back up to 8400 RPM by the finish line, all of which you can hear (so it's not just the Doppler effect you notice as they rocket away—the revs actually drop).  The boost stays constant around 54 PSI before beginning its climb to around 65 PSI by redline, shortly before the clutch fully engages. 


Check out the quick video I got from my seat.  Of course the camera does not do the sound any justice.  Excuse the finger, please.  After watching this I was rather surprised I managed the photo shot below.


A rear shot of another DSR racer, the Napa Auto Parts Funny Car driven by Ron Capps, a four-time Funny Car championship runner-up.  Check out the heat.  This shot is not out of focus, and it's one of the lucky ones I nailed as my face snapped out of its squinting, pepper-sprayed look as it passed.  


A very special thanks for the fascinating and informative tour to Matco Tools team's assistant crew chief, Brad Mason, who's been with Antron Brown from the start.


I also can't finish this piece without thanking the gentleman solely responsible for making this happen, DSR's communications manager, Jeff Wolf.  Jeff hooked me up with the Matco team and was the other key figure to the seamless weekend.  

FACT #11: If there's anything else that surprised me about this sport, it was this DSR/Matco Tools team.  While they're all business and there to win, they welcomed my presence, even during the crucial moments.  Mason and his crew seemed always available to patiently answer my questions, and they went above and beyond the call of duty to show me extra things that MotoIQ readers might enjoy.  I thank them not only for their hospitality, but also their enthusiasm in sharing with me these modern marvels, thus, making this “work” weekend one of the most enjoyable I've had. 

CHECK OUT PART 2 of this Top Fuel technical breakdown, where we dissect what all goes into putting 10,000 HP to the ground!


  1. Thanks for the kind words, Charlie! I had gobs of fun doing it. Assuming you have looked through all nine pages published here, this is the only place that I know of. Let us know what you think of part two, which is linked here as well!

    1. I’ve stood next to “Big Daddy” Don Garlits when his crew chief puffed on his cigar and before he tossed into the “bleach” he poured around the slicks, told me to take cover.
      Before anyone had time to react the night sky lit up from his infamous fire burnout. So cool!

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