Earlier this year EngineLabs gave you a peek inside Ray Barton Racing Engines while they were working on Chip Hoynitski’s 2015 Drag Pak Challenger for competition in the NHRA Factory Showdown Series. Since then the Mopar rocket has laid some rubber down at the track. We caught up with David Barton last week and got the low-down on the final dyno results and its first showdown.
“It made 1,150,” says Barton. “We were trying to make more than that. We had this bigger number stuck in our head, but once we made 1,150 it was like, alright that’s respectable. If I beat on it on the dyno a little more, I think I could’ve got more out of it, but we decided it was more important to make the race.”
Since the car had not yet been to the track, Barton and driver Jonathan Allegrucci wanted to make some practice runs prior to the first Factory Showdown race at the Gatornationals. The trek from Barton’s shop in Pennsylvania to Gainesville, Florida, included a pit stop in Valdosta, Georgia to do just that. However, despite their best effort, the track just wasn’t ready for the Mopar Drag Pak.
“We couldn’t get the thing off the start line. Over and over again, just kept spinning and spinning and spinning,” explains Barton. “I tried everything I could possibly think of, within reason, and it just came to a point where I thought, you know what, I know cars pretty well and I’m sure it’s the track. And you just know when to pull the plug.”
The team decided to pack up and head to the Gatornationals where they knew the track would be solid. Video of the first pass confirms their suspicions.
“He did a decent burnout, rolled up to the line, and right away the thing dead-hooked and left. It barely pulled the wheels,” Barton observes. The first pass was an 8.633 at 158.93 miles per hour. After weigh in, they found the car to be 90-pounds overweight. “So right away we were 63 and 90-pounds heavy … it’s not really all that bad. Let’s get to work here,” says Barton.
After shedding 30-pounds, Allegrucci made an 8.568 second pass at 159.14 miles per hour solidifying their spot in the show before leaving the line too soon in first round eliminations and having to lift down-track.
“The car left nice, but then when he came down he kind of drifted a little bit out of the groove, not bad towards the wall, but drifted out of the groove, and when he shifted into third it broke the tires loose completely, and he ended up lifting. So I’m not really sure what he was going to run, but I’m pretty sure it would’ve been about a 50 looking at the time slips,” Barton said.
“But by then it was too late because he red lighted. He’s pretty upset about that,” Barton says. “Overall, considering going there with a new car, going through the new car blues…our main concern was to go there and qualify. And you know, he made the race, and made two solid passes, and we have the whole rest of the year to figure it out and go faster, right?”
Now that they have a race on the engine and beat it up for quite a few runs, Barton will tear the engine down completely for a thorough inspection. “We’ll try some more stuff. Try different cams and different stuff in the tune and keep plugging away at it. There is a lot there on the table,” states Barton.
We also mentioned that David was piloting a Ray Barton-powered 2015 Copo Camaro in the Factory Showdown Series as well. Pulling double duty as driver of the Camaro and tuner on both the Drag Pak and Camaro went very well for Barton. He ended up winning the event with an 8.390 pass at 162.78 miles per hour.
“It was a very cool experience,” he says. “I just wanted to go there, make a nice soft run, and get into the show. That was very important to me. You know, go there and at least qualify with the Pak. Every round I just wanted to try something — a little bit here, and a little bit there, kind of poked away at it.”
“No different than how I run the dyno. I see where there are opportunities to gain power and make it quicker, so I just kind of poked away at it and each run it got quicker and quicker right up to the final. In the end we walked away with a big national event Wally, which is my first big Wally, we get a national event jacket and a big Happy Gilmore check with some dollar signs on it. We’re psyched, you know,” Barton concluded.
The next Showdown race is in Englishtown, New Jersey, June 9-12.