ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- After many successful years as a driver and tuner in the NHRA Nitro Funny Car ranks, and two IHRA Pro Mod World Championships as a tuner, Tom Anderson is gearing up to make an assault on the NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car category in 2003 with Meyers RV SuperStores as the major sponsor. The team plans to compete a full schedule with his partner and former Nitro Funny Car pilot Jim Sickles as the driver.
Anderson and Sickles debuted the car earlier this year at a Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Columbus, Ohio, and was an instant contender. The team hopes that success will put the Meyers RV SuperStores Camaro right in the thick of things from the start of next year.
"We're going to go after it right off the bat," said Anderson. "We're going to start at the Division 2 race in Gainesville. Our plan is to run 12 races. If we are in the position to make a run for the Championship at that point, then of course, we'll run more races."
"I would think that we should be able to be in the 5.60 [elapsed time] zone immediately," Anderson continued. "We ran .70's at the Columbus points meet in 2600 ft. of air, so just the difference in atmospheric conditions should put us in the .60's. Down in Florida, I'm sure we'll be somewhere under a 1000 ft. of air, so that should be more than a tenth. Since then, I've purchased a brand new blower since the other one was three years old, and the old ones aren't as good as the new ones. We've since upgraded some things in the engine department, but we still have the old engine combination if we need to go back to it. We also have a few things in the fuel system, which I'm not going to talk about right now until it's proven. I wouldn't expect it will take us very long to be right with the leaders in the 5.60's."
Despite spending most of his career in the NHRA fuel ranks, Anderson has quickly got a handle on the blown alcohol engine combination. In 2000, Anderson tuned Fred Hahn to the IHRA Pro Mod World Championship, and then tuned Mike Janis to the same feat in 2001. In 2001, Anderson also tuned IHRA TAFC pilot John Vouros to a fourth place finish.
"The alcohol ranks are quite a bit different than in the fuel ranks," stated Anderson. "It requires a whole different way to tune and run the cars, than a fuel car because of the absence of the fuel volume. In a fuel car, the additional fuel volume usually makes more power, but in an alcohol car, that's not necessarily the case. Winning Pro Mod Championships the past two out of three years has certainly helped me in adapting to the alcohol motor."
Anderson is eager to reenter the NHRA scene in TAFC, but notes the NHRA TAFC class requires more 'strategy' than any other class he has competed in.
"When you run a fuel funny car, there's not a lot of strategy involved," Anderson explained. "When you are running for a championship, all your competitors are running the same races every week. In the alcohol ranks, with the divisionals, you might not necessarily be racing everybody in the Championship picture. There's literally the possibility that you might not even race some of the top cars and end up higher than them. It's sort of a different strategic move. We haven't decided exactly which division we are going to run it yet. We're still thinking about that and what we want to do. We do have a couple of options. We live in Div. 1, but we're not that far from Div. 3."
"In addition to having a great sponsor behind us like Meyers RV SuperStores, we really have a great team assembled," Anderson added. "Jim can drive the wheels off anything, so I'm happy to have him in the seat as well as a partner. I've got my right-hand man from my fuel days Mike Kemnitz who has been with me since '97 on board as well as Don Van Arsdall (Divo). We also have a few new crewmembers like Steve McQuillen and Chris Ellis that are excited about coming on board this year. We want to put Meyers RV SuperStores in the limelight of the industry. They are the biggest RV dealer in the Northeast, with hopes of expanding into the Southeast. They are a huge dealer for most of the top brands of RV's."
Anderson and the Meyers RV Superstores team will debut at the NHRA Division 2 LODRS in Gainesville, Fla., Feb. 21-23.
For more information about Meyers RV Superstores, visit their website at www.MeyersCampers.com
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