Bradshaw looking for fresh start with new changes
Atlanta, pre-race: The most obvious change for Top Fuel driver Alan Bradshaw at this weekend's 28th running of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals will be the return of his traditional Vis Viva Energy drink colors on the race car. However a more important change will also debut for the Dexter Tuttle owned team this weekend. For the first time this season, Bradshaw and Team Vis Viva will run the thicker walled tubing on the "back-half" of his Top Fuel dragster as part of the rule changes set forth by NHRA for the 2008 season. Even though many other Top Fuel teams had already made the change earlier this year, Team Vis Viva elected to wait until later in the season before changing to the new chassis specification. It's a change that Bradshaw hopes will bring a fresh start to his first full season in Top Fuel after two partial seasons with the Bill Miller Engineering team.
"We had so many changes at the beginning of the year with me as the team's new driver, new crew members, a new sponsor and all that goes along with that," Bradshaw said. "Dexter decided it just didn't make sense to change a car that had won races the year before. Plus it never hurts to let the other teams test the waters when you have a change like this."
Crew chief Tony Shortall agrees.
"With any chassis change you have to adjust the tune-up," Shortall said. "Sure the tubing is bigger in diameter and a thicker wall size, but it is also normalized instead of heat treated. That makes the tubing more flexible and that is something that should help us. We have an idea of what to do with the tune-up for the car, and we have seen how other teams have adapted, so it should give us an idea of where to start."
Bradshaw is enjoying unprecedented success with back-to-back no. 1 qualifying efforts at this year's earlier events in Gainesville, Florida and Houston, Texas. Bradshaw hopes to add a victory on Sunday in his pursuit of making the "Countdown to 1" later this year. Bradshaw currently sits no. 14 in the overall points chase and will need to make a move now to get his Vis Viva Energy Drink Top Fuel Dragster into the playoffs.
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