One of Canada’s most famous and skilled drag racers will have a familiar but also new focus for 2016…..
Al Kenny (who is a native on Kingston Ontario) and who has enjoyed enormous success during his career winning in both the 9.90 and 8.90 index classes (including winning the 2012 Lucas Oil NHRA World Championship for Super Comp) is shifting his priority to faster racing.
The veteran racer who had also raced in the Pro Comp category with a supercharged dragster in his early tenures — plans to focus more on his Top Dragster category car.
During 2015, Al debuted a very impressive and award winning new Dan Page-built Top Dragster, and is keen on that car and class for 2016.
“Top Dragster class racing had been on my mind for a few years,” Al explained. “I really liked some of the combinations out there that Gary Stinnett and Phil Unrah were running – so I started to experiment with the class in 2014. At that time I already had a car so I ordered up another motor and raced that with a carburtor.”
“That car was good for 6.6 secs — but the class was developing so fast and was so competitive that I soon ran into a roadblock performance wise,” he continued. “So at the beginning of 2015 I went with a different combination and that included an 6-71 blower, injector and port nozzles.”
Al admitted that even for himself, a wily veteran of the sport, the successful transition to a faster and different tech car was not without it’s hurdles.
“Going into it – I thought it would be similar to when I raced in Pro Comp,” he added. “But there is so much more electronics and technology now — it’s really quite a big difference. I think that learning how the car responds to different weather was the biggest adjustment. With the injector it’s a much different animal to tune compared to the carburators I’ve been used to – so I’m back to learning.”
Al revealed he also had to learn how to adjust his racing strategy due to the increased speed inherent with the TD category. While his car has initially been targeting the 6.4 secs zone – he realizes that a 6.3 or even 6.2 secs capable car for the future will be almost a necessity.
“Like any drag racer you want to do things to go faster — but your’e still driving for the stripe,” he said. “This car can run near 215 mph – so you have to be even more aware and careful. But it’s a great class and I’m up for the challenge.”
Al confirmed that last season he had sold his Super Gas Corvette — but was retaining his Super Comp 8.90 dragster — for at least the time being.
“This new 1700 HP car will require me to concentrate on it a lot more – so maybe racing two cars at this stage of my life might be a little bit too much,” he surmised. “But the bottom line is — I’ve gone back to my roots a bit. I think there is really something ascetically nice about a car with a roots blower and fuel injection. For me it’s both a modern and a familiar place.”
Post and Photos by: Bruce Biegler