Baseline Power

Baseline Power
By Don Terrill (c)2006

At the core of every racer is a deep desire to constantly improve performance. This desire, while responsible for many successes, can also lead to unnecessary failures.

Sometimes the application just doesn't call for the most power - In that case, fall back on what you know works:
  • YOUR baseline Combination
  • YOUR baseline Camshaft
  • YOUR baseline Cylinder Head
  • YOUR baseline Carburetor
  • YOUR baseline Tuneup
I know what you're going to say, if I don't try new things, how will I ever make more power? Well, for many/most applications you don't need more power, for example:
  • Bracket Racing - There are advantages to leaving last and chasing, but in the end, it's the driver with the best package that wins, and that has nothing to do with how fast the car is.
  • Short Track Stock Car Racing - The majority of local stock cars have more power than they'll ever need - Read my article on getting back to the throttle.
These two applications combine to make up 90% of engines built.

I did some port work for a bracket guy recently - on a combination I hadn't work on in years. I did the port work and then talked him into letting me pick out the cam. I selected a cam that has been around for decades - a cam that has worked in everything I've put it in. Everything I know about cams tells me I can do better, but the majority of times I veered away from it, I lost power. After running all season the engine finally made it to the dyno - It beat expectations.

I'm a real believer in combinations. Like I've always said, there are a 1,000 ways to make (x) horsepower, choose one - Choose one YOU know works.

If you haven't been at it long enough to have baselines, keep at it, you will. And remember, sometimes we just need to leave a good thing alone.

Think I'm out to lunch? Fine, write your own article