There are just some tracks for drivers where no matter what, they can't seem to ever get out of first round and there are other tracks where the stars just seem to align no matter what, and one of those tracks for K&N Vice President of Research and Development, Steve Williams is Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho.
NHRA Super Gas Racer Steve Williams
Steve Williams' 1963 Dennis Sarmento built Corvette Roadster
"Man, it was really-really cold up there," said the Loma Linda, California resident. "It was so cold that it rained on Friday, then all of the sudden it stopped and the sun came out and we started doing time runs and then about half-way into time runs, it started snowing. I don't think it got about forty or forty-one and the track temp couldn't have been more than fifty-five or sixty. But amazingly enough, the New family prepped the track and kept it sprayed and it was great how many cars got down that track without any trouble."
Unlike Super Gas racers who run on the east coast whose quarter-mile index stays a steady 9.90, folks in the west deal with many different indexes due to the huge changes in track altitude from one facility to the next. "I think we actually have four or five indexes out here," said Williams. "You have the regular 9.90, then Vegas at 10.05, Boise is 10.20, Fallon is 10.30. Then I believe Tucson is 10.18 You just adjust your throttle stop timer numbers and usually have to adjust your low stall (what rpm the engine goes to during time on throttle stop).
Williams wheeled his faithful 1963 Dennis Sarmento built Corvette Roadster, loaded up with a 565 BBC, through the Super Gas rounds and met up with Dairld Wurtz in the final. And where he didn't have the advantage on the tree, Williams' being the veteran that he is trusted his car and played the stripe to push Wurtz to .016 under the 10.20 index for the NHRA Division 6 Super Gas Wally.
"It was just one of those races where it was kinda hard because there were a lot of redlights and you didn't want to go red, so you kinda had to live with lights that were maybe a little bit slower than they normally would be," explained Williams. "To be honest, I probably didn't drive that well, but the car was just awesome."
"Over the last five years going to this event, I have had five finals. Four wins and one runner-up," he said. "I think Boise will stay on our schedule each year for now."
"The really cool part again about this whole trip was having my wife Janet and daughter Shelby there," he noted. "They get to go to some races with me, but not all of them and My wife's mom and dad live in Boise. So we always go up there for the division race and they get to visit and I get to race. Everyone was there for Sunday and anytime my wife and Shelby are with me when I win, it just makes it extra special."
Being the Vice President of Research and Development for K&N Engineering, and an avid drag racer, allows Williams to test numerous new products, on the very cars he competes with, along with working closely with many of the racers he encounters at each of the events he participates in.
"Three weeks ago, we made some additional pieces of carbon for our hood scoops, so we were testing that," he said of the product testing on his race cars. "We are always messing around with something including using a little bit of a different throttle stop that we are working on with [Number] One stop."
Although K&N offers over six thousand different air filters, when it comes to drag or any type of racing, there are still numerous one-of-a-kind combinations and Steve Williams is the first to step up during an event to help the racers get the K&N protection that they need for their special application.
"At many events, I'll go into R&D mode," he explained. "In a lot of cases for different guys it needs to be a little bit smaller top, or maybe slightly shorter, or else it needs to be oblong. So it allows me to get a firsthand view of what the challenge is that the racer is experiencing that wants an air filter. Then I can take those dimensions back to the guys at our R&D shop and we can make them a one-off K&N filter."
Williams is planning on running a heavier race schedule for 2011, one that started with a runner-up at the NHRA WinterNationals in Pomona and only a few events later, a win in Boise.
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