Westcott Resets National Record
Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:24

and takes a moment to answer of few questions from HSO

Thanksgiving weekend five competitors of the SS/AH class were at Southern Georgia Motorsport Park (SGMP) deep in Division 2 territory to flex their muscles in the Georgia sunshine.  Bill Brooks, Jim Daniels, Wendell Howes, Charlie Westcott Jr., and Gary Wolkwitz.

SGMP was holding a National Open that weekend.  Not a national meet and not a divisional points meet.  However, driver points are awarded to allow attendance at national events and NHRA tech personnel are there to certify record runs.

SGMP, at 240 feet of elevation is known as a fast track.  East coast racers know they can be rewarded in their time slip to show up for this event because the weather usually cooperates and produces really good air density this time of year.

Last year Jim Daniels, who had previously set the SS/AH record at the Pennsylvania Dutch Classic at an 8.331 second E.T. at 157 mph on October 22, 2009, then traveled to Georgia and reset the record again at an 8.29 at 160 mph.

This year after the Pennsylvania Dutch Classic (Daniels eleven month old record still standing), Charlie Westcott Jr. and his dad brought the Warfish (# 3651) with one goal and that was to bump the national record.  A few other SS/AH drivers had similar intentions, but by the end of the weekend Westcott had it at 8.22 seconds at 162.72 mph, which makes Charlie “the man to beat” again.

HSO recently had a visit with Charlie and as always he was forth coming and completely open with his opinions.

HSO: With respect to the perfect schedule…..

Charlie: I think 5 races spread out are about perfect.  When you have them back to back, it’s tough on the racers who might not have spares.  It seems like everyone centers their schedule around Indy, for me it’s just about having it pay descent money.  I love Vegas, but when you tow 3,000 miles out to try and win $5,000 and only get 4,000 because there weren’t enough cars there it’s tough. 

HSO: So weigh the risk vs. reward for us…..

Charlie: Motors now are far more reliable at 10,000 rpm than they were two years ago at 8800.  Last year at Indy, the breakage we had were both flukes.  Dad’s piston developed some cracks that I just didn’t find, but part of running these cars, is doing so until you find the weak link and then you fix it.  So we’ve made changes for that.  The same is true for my car; I spun a bearing. And broke a rod and that hadn’t happened before – so again, we’ve fixed that.  The same with the valves breaking that we had for a while.  We learned a lot and have solved that problem too.

HSO: How do you feel about wheel stands vs. a less dramatic ride? Clearly the fans love the wheel stands…..

Charlie: Traditionally, sticks don’t stand much – it’s just how it works.  And it depends on the set up.  But wheel stands, just aren’t safe.  You have 3200 lbs, 4 feet up in the air.  When that comes down there can be all sorts of damage, it’s just not a safe way to make a pass.  I think the trend is moving that way and I think fans will be okay with that.  They are fans of the cars, the Hemi, the Barracuda, the Dart – I think you could have polka dots on the cars and they’ll still be fans.

HSO: About the recent record run….

Charlie:  I would have liked to have a little bit of a wheelie there, but on that run, my tires spun.  My 60’ time was .040 off for that day.  So I know that it could have been better.  I think my 8.22 pass could have been an 8.18.  When I set my record the altitude was at 0, for the old record we were at 1200’ below.  I think the 8.0’s are possible.  Some of the things that I learned this season had more to do with car set up – like the engine for that run had been in my car since Columbus and had 3 races on it.

HSO: So if you could take the best segment from each pass, how good could it be?

Charlie:  I always thought it would be interesting to take the best piece from each engine (in the field) and every car and see what would happen.  But of course that’s all theory.  All of us are just shooting for the moon.  Perfection can never really happen so you just get to give it your best.  And that’s what’s interesting for me.  We are doing things today that we didn’t even dream of 5 to 10 years ago.  And you really don’t know what that’s going to be until you start down that path.

HSO:  So where do see the series, the technology heading…..

Charlie:  Some people are saying that this is becoming Pro Stock technology; I think it’s just high-end technology.  We are certainly moving to the next level with more reliability.  For me, I can’t believe that I can make a living working at this.  I figured I would be doing drywall until I died, but to be able to make a living is great.  However as a living, I certainly have to look down the road.  This past season, Barton’s group certainly got me motivated, I was in cruise mode, so going faster is a part of it, but building a better part is what’s interesting for me.  I now have a camshaft grinder, CNC capability, a mill.  I mean when I first got my mill, I didn’t even know how to run it, but now I can do just about anything.  I love that I can dream it up in bed at night and then come out to the computer, draw it up and make it.  Would I love to try and build a Pro Stock engine, yes!  The fact that I can do the development work myself makes it possible for me to financially try it and of course building it is the interesting part.  I think that would be interesting to see if I could excel at that.  But Hemi is my core business and that’s not likely to change.

HSO: It sounds like as much as you love the race, it’s about building the parts for you.

Charlie:  Yeah, taking time out to prepare for a race, get there, do a couple of passes and get back can take two weeks out of your shop.  I like my shop.  I have a long time customer base and I’m surprised at how much work I have right now.  I’m now even making parts here for Jesel.  That’s just incredible to me.


It’s incredible to us as well.  Watching guys continue to be passionate about these cars, continue to wake up in the morning with the great idea that will make them better, faster.. is in itself impressive.  Our thanks to Charlie for taking the time to speak with us and for making the weekends something to look forward to! - HSO




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