Well here’s my first blog on Speedhunters. Our beloved CRX was just inducted into the NHRA museum and it is quite an honor. Thank you to Tony Thacker and the NHRA for recognizing our efforts in Sport Compact Drag Racing. Tony Thacker created a display in the west wing of the museum entitled “The Two Brothers Exhibit”. There is another two-brother racecar right next to the CRX from the 40’s and 50’s that did innovative things with a racecar in the salt-flats.
I think the people who visit the exhibit will ask the same question over and over. “Why are there fat tires up front?” I think the CRX is the only front wheel drive car in the museum. “Those crazy kids draggin backwards.” The Sport Compact Drag circuit was built on individuality. We didn't want to do what the domestics did but do something entirely different.
Not only will the front drag slicks in the front throw them off but the wheelie bars out back will further increase the confusion. On our test days at the late Los Angeles County Raceway, domestic draggers were always confused. “If the drive tires are out front why do you have wheelie bars out back? It ain’t going to do a wheelie.” We always told them we have no idea what we are doing.
The wing and parachute say it all. These front wheel drives really moved on the top end and always got loose. The only way to calm it down was a nice tasty wing for downforce. With all the speed on the top end the only way to slow it down was a parachute. If you were to use the brakes the car would shift all the weight to front and the already light rear end would come off the ground. A parachute was the only way to go. In fact, Ed never really used the brakes. He always accelerated into the chute.
Inevitably, the wheelie bars created an artificial wheelbase. Anytime you slow down or limit the weight transfer of the car back, the FWD car is going to perform better. They were later addressed as “Traction Bars”.
In the beginnings, we would waste wheelie bar wheels like mad. They were blowing up and disintegrating on one run because some tracks had small separations on the ground. We were using shopping cart wheels, caster wheels, everything. Then a company called “Wheelez” solved all our problems.
It’s pretty cool that a lot of parts that go into a racecar come from the aircraft industry. Some of which are also “military grade parts”. The latch for the window above was actually used to keep the helicopter door and windows shut. Drag racers implemented them to the doors of drag cars. A lot of the parts we pick up for our racecars are from Aircraft stores. We happen to use Aircraft Spruce in Corona. In addition, Motec USA uses a lot of military spec connectors for their wiring harnesses.
You would push the big button to open the door and the small button to lock the window in place. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen photographs of drag cars not running these latches with the window flexing 6 inches out. There is so much cabin pressure at speed pushing the window out. These latches sure solve the problem.
Of course there is another handle on the inside so that you can open the door. These things are always time-consuming during the fabrication process.
Back in the day, there were not too many people fabricating fiberglass components for import drag cars. Jeremy Lookofsky of the Drag Cartel was able to provide these doors. We lost something like 300 pounds of weight when we first Jenny Craig’ed the CRX. It weighed approximately 1850lbs back in the day with Ed in it. That is one light drag car.
The interior was all show and go. I come from a background of Import Showoff and Hot Import Nights and so I was really stuck on chrome for a while. In fact, people used to call me “Ron Bunchachrome”.
Like drifting, the stage-brake was key in drag racing. Loading up the driveline properly at the launch was crucial in not breaking parts and producing a good 60 foot. Ed would yank on the ebrake and let out the clutch a bit to pre-load the driveline. The wire going to the top of the ebrake was used to engage the anti-lag “two-step” at the launch. Right when Ed would see the last yellow he would release the button and the e-brake at the same time.
What may appear to be a fuel cell is not a fuel cell at all. We carried 5 gallons of ice water and methanol mix down the track. We found that the air to air intercoolers were not providing enough cooling for the intake charge. The temp of the intake charge would roughly be the ambient temperature outside. With a lot of ice,water, and methanol, we were able to bring intake temperatures way down. It may be a lot of weight but we were already underweight per rules and regulations.
Here you can see the A’PEXi gauge cluster and Sparco steering wheel. A’PEXi and Sparco were one of our very first marketing partners with the CRX. We have been with them forever. It has been roughly 14 years we have been with both companies. Back in day both Sparco and A’PEXi were both side by side in their office complex. You simply walked 10 feet to get from one company to the other in Costa Mesa.
In this picture you can see the raw down bars that connect to upper portions of the wheelie bar. Before people would attach their wheelie bars to the bottom of the chassis. We later found out, the optimum place to mount them were to the top of the cage for leverage and rigidity. So, in actuality the top of the wheelie bars extended all the way to the top of the cage. It was the only way to go.
I cannot thank Tony enough for giving us the privilege and honor to be inducted into the museum. The diorama really showcases history and the generation gap of how racers do things 50 years apart. I have always been a stickler of collecting everything we have accomplished so that I can show my children and grandchildren the heritage of Bergenholtz Racing.
All the magazines we graced were all sealed in hard wood to preserve them. There sure were a lot of them. So many years have moved so fast!
This was a feature Super Street did for us. From the photo Ed had the typical chiseled driver look. I on the other hand looked like I hadn’t slept in like days. We were used to doing those crazy hours before an event. Now, since we’re older, doing crazy straight through days of work really hurts.
This photo cover of Honda Tuning is really funny. At first glance, you would think Ed was standing in front of the car. But in actuality it was me. Ed had to work that day and I was the only person available to handle the photo shoot. Ed’s taller than me so you can tell the suit really didn’t fit that well. The pant legs near the shoes are all crunched up because I’m short.
This was one of my favorite covers. Jason Mulroney of Source Interlink did it before Turbo Magazine was sold to them. I think Kip Kington (former owner of Turbo) told me this last issue was the highest selling issue he ever did with Turbo. At that time, people though it was impossible to do 9’s in a unibody FWD car.
Super Street did a special insert in one of their issues on “How to Race and Win”. It was pretty cool to be picked for editorial on how to race and win. The car at that time was only doing mid 10’s.
Rodney Wills is an amazing guy. What he did with that magazine was so underground and grass roots. Everyone loved TMR. In fact, not many people know this but Formula D’s announcer Jerrod De Anda worked for Rodney Wills on this magazine. You wouldn’t believe where they produced this magazine. They did everything in a crammed extremely small one car garage at Rodney’s house. Amazing.
This is the time-slip that did it all. I’ve saved every time-slip we have ever run on all our drag cars. Amazingly enough, they don’t take up much space.
We got the “Dragon Idea” from Scotty Cannon (Oakley). We really liked how they would put the head of some character on the front of the car. In this case, a dragon exploding out of the old Bergenholtz paint job. I though it looked really exciting but unfortunately it really drowned out the marketing partners.
Ed and I did not know anything about this car until we got to the museum. After spending much time next to it and reading about them in the museum, the Pearson Brothers did innovative things in racing as well but 50 years ago. It is quite an honor to be alongside this 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe. I’ll put an excerpt from my speech about the “Two Brother Exhibit”.
“It is a great honor for Bergenholtz Racing CRX to be inducted into NHRA Museum. I thank Tony Thacker from the NHRA museum for recognizing the revolutionary accomplishments Bergenholtz Racing has made in Sport Compact Drag Racing. After reading about the Pearson brothers, it is truly a privilege to be in the company of their racecar. Like that brother team from 50 years ago, Bergenholtz Racing performed revolutionary techniques to push the envelope of speed. Despite the 50 year gap between brother teams the goal was simple. The passion to think outside the box and push the boundaries of performance. The utter fire to settle for nothing less and go where no racer has gone before. That’s what inspires revolutionaries. Pearson Brothers Racing, Bergenholtz Racing……..who’s next?
50 years from now there will be another brother team who will think the same way. Another team who has the inspiration, who has the passion, who has the excitement…………………….. who has the revolutionary thinking, to go quicker and faster because the fire for excellence burns from within their soul. It is truly a great honor to be among great company here at the NHRA museum. I thank all our family, friends, sponsors, the NHRA, and Tony Thacker for supporting us throughout the years and continue to support us in our motorsports endeavors. It is a great pleasure. Thank you. “