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  • Writer's pictureDean Hempel

2022 Hot Rod Drag Week - Days 1&2

2022 Hot Rod Drag Week – St. Louis and Indianapolis

This year, we were able to help staff the AMSOIL booth at the Hot Rod Drag Week for two days. This was a special event for Dean. His home track was St. Louis International Raceway, the closest NHRA track to St. Louis. In 1971, Dean held the Top Eliminator position (for almost 2 months) for all street classes beginning on Mother’s Day. It took Dean’s parents by surprise to see their son’s name printed in the newspaper as the “Top Eliminator”. So, it took some explaining to do, but everything worked out well.

Seeing the pit area was a great reminder of the experiences getting the car race ready. A pre-dawn drive to the track with tools and parts in hand, our routine was at least 2 hours to be prepared for inspection. This always included jacking the car up; draining the gear lube, pulling the axles, driveshaft, and pumpkin (rear end gears) and put either the 4:11 or 4:88 gear in. Once this was done, we changed to our dual point distributor with advance spark for the track. Then it was all about fine tuning the timing and carb for racing. We saw a much more organized routine by many of the drivers in the Hot Rod Power Tour in 2022, 49 years later than Dean’s memories.

Drag racing has come a long way since 1971. Cars are faster, tires are better, safety equipment is much safer, and the tracks are cleaner. The big difference is the technical advances over the past 49 years. One example is the lubrication alone. Gear Lube is much more advanced, withstanding much wider temperature extremes and much higher pressures. Grease is much more efficient with substantially lower coefficients of friction and higher temperature extremes. Engine oils really top the charts with the technical advances. Synthetic oil now is engineered molecule by molecule for the most advanced performance for every application.

First involved with Amsoil in 1976, the differences were immediately noted when converting to synthetic oil, grease, and gear lube. But, the big money in sponsorships kept the little company in Superior Wisconsin from getting the notoriety. Then other companies got involved and did big promotions, but really they are chasing the higher standard that Amsoil continues to hold today. Most of it is an educational process. Everyone wants to invest in the finest for their investment, regardless of the motor sport, commercial, or everyday use.

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