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Streetside Classics

Some Images from the GilZone: by Gil Rebilas

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Drag Boats run the same Nitro burning engines on water as on asphalt. They are just as exciting as their asphalt counterparts. As the asphalt engines, year after year dig deep to find more and more horsepower. The Drag Boat guys always seem to steal this newly found horsepower and attempt to apply it to the water. Rarely do you plug it in and it goes straight or holds together. One thing’s for certain, it’s going to be entertaining, whatever happens!

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During the earliest tryouts of the newest concept of twin props, Ron McLelland also incorporated twin rudders. Although it was very spectacular, it was the last attempt for the rudder part of the equation.

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The rudders bent out of position and the boat took off like an airplane!

There are as many variables in Drag Boat racing as there are on the asphalt. It seems, however, that they are more drastic on the water. Steering a Top Fuel Hydro has everything to do pointing the boat in the right direction before you hit the throttle. Since the air passing both on top and under the boat’s hull, having the boat pointed in the correct direction is critical. Turning the steering wheel just a little causes one of the boat’s sponsons to raise up allowing air to lift that sponson up to the point where the boat wants to fly. Turning the wheel sharply will cause the boat to start rolling up on its side, causing a crash!

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Top Alcohol Hydro Driver Joel Weber starts driving left and over corrects causing the right sponson to lift, throwing the boat sideways and doing a snap roll going airbourne alongside Kebin Kinsley at the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series World Finals in Arizona!

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Above, Jim Faulkerson was the first to experiment his outrigger style hull. On his first pass in High Point, North Carolina, he suffered a massive blower explosion that literally ripped his boat apart. These aftermath photos show all of the destruction cause by the incident!

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These are just a few examples of the pain of trying something new!

Words and photos by Gil Rebilas.

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