Hi everyone, and happy Fourth of July! While we have not been on the track lately, we have been staying busy and making progress to get the car ready by continuing the seemingly never-ending process of gathering the necessary pieces and parts to get our operation up-and-running. We ventured into uncharted territory and spent a little bit of time inside the NHRA announcer booth at the Houston and Norwalk national events. While we had a great time mixing it up with Mike English and the rest of the NHRA announcing team, we both agree fire suits are a better fit for us than microphones. Getting back to progress on the race car, this blog will focus on our recently completed chassis and safety updates.
As discussed in a previous blog, we took our chassis back to the team at Spitzer Enterprises for some updates after we stripped everything off the car. The guys at Spitzer’s did a great job thoroughly checking everything out, and completing the requested updates which included raising the roll cage (we both fit much better now that we have extra head room!), adjusting the engine angle, shortening the wheelie bar, and placing the car on the jig to make sure everything still lined up properly. In addition to the chassis updates, we made sure to utilize Spitzer’s other in house capabilities while the car was there to touch up the carbon fiber body, wings, and scoop. It is extra work to take the car literally down to the bare bones, but these updates will help ensure we have a solid platform to build upon as we begin reassembling the car.
Once we got the car back to our shop, we tackled the installation of a poured seat and three-piece head support kit from Innovative Safety Products (ISP). Both kits are “do it yourself” and we were able to get these completed over the course of a weekend with relative ease by taking our time and following the supplied directions (what a novel concept). It took several “revisions” to get the seat trimmed just right, but it was definitely worth the effort. If you have never raced with a poured seat that is fit to your EXACT profile, we highly recommend making the investment to improve safety and overall comfort in the car – it makes a huge difference.
The three-piece head support is another investment in improved overall safety and driver comfort that is also custom fit for our setup. We had to replace the previous head support pads when we upgraded the role cage so we opted to install the system that offers the best overall level of protection. The team at ISP did a great job quickly turning around our order and everything looks and fits great. The most difficult part of the process was wrestling the titanium roll cage shrouds back on the cage after the head pads were installed. Sometimes a few choice words of “encouragement” for the car are all that’s needed to get everything to go back in place. To top everything off we picked up a new set of 7-point belts from our partners at Simpson Performance Products which we think look pretty good, if we do say so ourselves.
Following the chassis and safety upgrades, we are in a much better position from a safety, drivability, and performance standpoint; we are pleased with the foundation we have to build upon. To say it is a large undertaking to start a Top Alcohol Dragster operation from the ground up would be a HUGE understatement. It has been said that with unlimited time and resources anything can be accomplished; since we currently have neither, we are doing our best to make steady progress each time we step into the shop. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog; we’ll be back soon with more updates on the reassembly process!
Kyle and Corey Michalek are the co-owners and co-drivers of the Michalek Brothers Racing A/Fuel Dragster. After outstanding early-career performances in the Dreher Motorsports A/Fuel car, the brothers decided to build their own Top Alcohol Dragster operation from the ground up. They’re chronicling the process in this exclusive DragIllustrated.com Driver Blog.