Ron Douglas Co-Crew Chief for the John Force Castrol GTX High Mil
About Preparation, Altitude, Building on Success
Tell us about your preparations for Denver and the “ Western Road Swing ”
A lot of preparation goes into Denver on it’s own, but a big part of what this week entails is the guys getting the trailers loaded with all the parts and pieces and assemblies and everything. These next few weeks we won’t have the luxury of getting back to the shop, so there’s a lot of planning, a lot of activity and lots to load; about three weeks worth.
For Denver, because of the thin air, it’s all about making horsepower, so the biggest challenge is trying to balance the amount of air with the fuel volume and make the engine “ happy “ even with a really different air-fuel mixture. You don’t want to have so much fuel that you drop a cylinder and you need to make your clutch work with the amount of horsepower that you have. You end up running a higher compression ratio and spinning your supercharger faster with different blower pulleys to compensate mechanically for what’s not there to begin with.
Apart from that you don’t have the same down-force as you would at sea level or lower altitude and some teams crank the spoiler up as far as they can and let it rip from there. It’s all kind of a fine line and that’s a big part of what me and Guido and everybody have been talking about, and about building on the success we’ve had here in the past.
That’s a good point. JFR has done well here a lot, from John being the first to break the 300MPH mark at altitude in 1998 to Robert Hight and John being in the finals last year. Any particular reason the team seems to do so well at Denver?
Well, I guess I’ll have to attribute it to the brain power ( ! ) of all those years with Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, Jimmy Prock, Guido, Me, Mike, just the balance of everybody getting together and talking about it. Really, every team has to deal with the same conditions so you just have to do your homework.
Your family have fun coming to some of the races. Are they joining you on this long road trip?
My 9 year-old wanted to come but he has football camp this week and he’s not missing that, so family stays at home this time. On this trip it’s nothing but business. The competition’s tough so it’s eyes on the prize and keep on going.
To learn more about Ron Douglas click on the link below.
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