Nobody was smiling wider at Maple Grove Raceway today than Paul Taylor when a screwcharger was finally placed back atop brother Frankie’s engine in his Pro Extreme Corvette.
In a bid for more horsepower, the 2010 PX champ, going against the wishes and advice of his crew chief—and brother—swapped out his tried-and-true, screw-blown set-up in favor of an experimental twin-turbocharged combination early this year. But a litany of aborted runs, broken parts and a pair of rare DNQs at both ADRL events contested so far this year convinced the Dickinson, TX, siblings to return to familiar territory.
“This is the same motor that we ran with the turbos, we just changed the rods and the cam in it,” Paul Taylor explained. “Larry Jeffers made up some new headers for us and he loaned us this blower and hat; these are the same ones that Wes Johnston went 211 (mph) with when we were teamed up with him in Richmond a couple of years ago.”
Still, it may be a relatively short-lived return to familiarity as Frankie has seen and felt from the driver’s seat the power-making potential of turbocharging.
“We just haven’t tapped into it yet. We found out we can’t come out and test these things in race conditions. These guys are brutal out here; they don’t give a damn if you’re trying something new,” Frankie Taylor said with a laugh as he prepared for this weekend’s (May 4-5), ADRL Northeast Drags II presented by Penske at the historic track near Reading, PA.
“So we made a deal with Richard Patterson to use one of his cars, a ’61 Chevy that’s a little heavier than what we run here, but good for us to test the turbos with so we can maybe bring them back out toward the end or maybe the middle of summer. We haven’t given up on this thing yet, not by a long shot.”
That’s fine with Paul, too, so long as the Taylor entry is competitive again after missing the race-day cut at their home track in Baytown, TX, and two weeks ago in Bristol, TN.
“I’m just not convinced that (turbo cars) will run in the eighth mile with the screwchargers that we’ve got now,” he said. “You know, if we were running quarter mile I could see being more amped up about the turbos, but what you give up in the first 60 feet I just don’t think you can make up, not in 660 feet; there’s not enough race track, you just run out of it too quick.
“We went to HMP (Houston Motorsports Park) on Monday after the Bristol race and it dropped another valve or something, so we had a team meeting, a little heart-to-heart talk, and decided to come back out here with the blower so maybe we can qualify and try to go some rounds.”
Frankie agreed completely with that mindset, recognizing the need for more immediate results than what the turbo experiment had offered so far.
“We want to contend for whatever’s left this season. We know this track is fast (he set the current Pro Extreme ET record of 3.581 seconds at Maple Grove last year), which is partly why we put the supercharger back on here. We need to at least qualify because even doing that helps out with the fuel costs,” he stated.
“Plus we’ve got a whole bunch of sponsors helping us out and we really want to do good for those guys. Process Manufacturing, they’ve been great to work with; they see us struggling but they’ve stuck with us, so I really want to do something good for them.”
And to keep peace in the family, no doubt.
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