Driving a turbocharged ‘70 Duster on Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Todd Tutterow made his usual solid pass to the eighth-mile.
This time, though, he didn’t have to pull the chutes.
Racing in the ¼-mile for the first time in what he estimated to be 10 years, Tutterow couldn’t shake the smile off his face after going 6.031 at 247.57, good enough for seventh after one qualifying pass in Pro Mod at the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
“It’s a good feeling looking up and knowing I’m just halfway there,” Tutterow said.
Tutterow, a current standout and former world champion in ADRL Pro Extreme, debuted the ’70 Duster – after multiple problems – for the first time at ADRL’s Dragstock at zMAX Dragway in early August.
Weeks later, Tutterow is making his NHRA debut at Indianapolis, running a ¼-mile pass in what is surely an uncharacteristic setting for the driver and tuner extraordinaire.
But it didn’t seem to bother Tutterow, who also clearly enjoyed his first U.S. Nationals experience.
“It’s not too hard. I’ve run so many different cars and combinations, and jumped from one thing to another, it just really comes natural. I guess I’m lucky for that,” Tutterow said.
“It was a thrill when I was sitting behind the waterbox and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Here I am, running the U.S. Nationals.’”
But Tutterow isn’t in Indianapolis just for nostalgia.
Like he has all year, he’s tuning Donnie Walsh’s turbo Mustang, and Tutterow has his own sights set on doing well at Lucas Oil Raceway.
He is certainly onto something with his tuning prowess when it comes to the turbo cars as well.
Walsh is having his best season ever in NHRA Pro Mod, winning for the first time in July and currently sitting as the No. 1 qualifier with a 5.869 at 252.52 mph.
Tutterow noticed some standout power in his turbo Duster in the back half of his run, which is where the turbo cars usually shine.
But his goal for the weekend to continue to improve the start.
“They do run well at the back and that’s what I’m here for, to make it run the front part of the run,” Tutterow said. “We’ve been testing the last three weeks, different combinations, transmissions, rear-ends and converters, trying to work on the 1/8-mile combination.”
That’s because Tutterow will take the Duster to the ADRL’s Memphis Drags next week.
His lightweight Mustang is still being repaired and put back together after a crash in St. Louis in June, but he’s hoping to have that completed and overhauled to a turbo set-up by the end of September.
If Tutterow gets the results he’s after this weekend in Indianapolis, the lightweight Mustang could be especially dangerous with a turbo combination.
“It’s going good. The (Duster) is just heavy. I’m planning on picking my car up on the way and then we’re going to put the turbos on it, and hopefully have it by (the ADRL Ohio Drags in Norwalk on Sept. 28-29),” Tutterow said.
“It’s going to be tough, but that’s the plan anyway. This car is 250 pounds heavier than my (Mustang), so that’s going to be a major deal.”
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