If anyone knows the inner workings of a torque converter, it’s Marty Chance. This is why with an incoming demand for torque converters to channel nitro-burning doorslammers, Chance is already working towards channelling the beast through the Neal Chance Racing Converters Brand.
“Nitro is a whole different animal,” Chance, the second-generation torque converter specialist, explained. “First of all, the nitro is load-dependent, you have to load it, for the thing to make power. If you don’t load it hard enough, fast enough, it just puts out holes. The second thing is, the amount of torque that blown nitro engines make is unlike anything.
“Right now, we deal with, you know, 960 cubic inch nitrous motor that has six stages of nitrous on it and a six-inch stroke crank and they make crazy torque. But it ain’t nothing like a nitromethane motor. So obviously everything has to be beefed up. That’s why when we decided to do the nitro converter, we weren’t going to try to base it off of anything that we’ve ever done before. Because you know, a Top Fuel style torque converter has never been accomplished.
“It’s a lockup converter. It has to be a lockup converter to hold nitromethane. If you tried to run a non-lockup converter, you’d never be able to load the motor and that they can just be putting holes out all over the place. A nitro motor in a door slammer is a crazy ride.
“This’ll be something we’ll design to come off the launch, have it slingshot the engine speed up a little bit, and then load the motor instantly and then we’ll start turning the lockup on shortly thereafter to start pulsing that lockup on.”
To begin creating a torque converter specifically for nitro, Chance and his team started from square one, designing it on a CAD cam.
“Everything is designed and engineered in the computer and to give us everything that’s optimum for that power source so that we can have the dependability, reliability that we have in all the promo applications, whether it’s turbo or nitrous or blower,” Chance explained. “We want to build that into the nitro deal. Well, nitro makes so much torque, it’s going to be so much harder on everything that we’ve just got to over-engineer everything we do for the nitro.”
Chance is preparing for engines capable of cranking out a lot more power than the average Pro Modified combination.
“The kind of power you’re dealing with is going to be dictated by the size of a fuel pump,” Chance said. “If you’ve got a hundred-gallon pump as the NHRA guys do, you’re dealing with something around 9,000 horsepower. If you’ve got a 65-gallon pump, you’re going to do with something around 5,000 horsepower. If you got a 50-gallon pump, you get the picture.
“But the deal is it isn’t the horsepower; the horsepower is misleading. Nitro motors make earth rotating torque. I mean torque that breaks hard parts, breaks well-known chassis that it just makes torque that’s just unseen.”
Chance says the difference between two of the leading Pro Modified combinations, supercharged and turbocharged, is the torque. He predicts the torque levels on the nitro engines will be on a whole different level.
“We’re dealing with torque numbers that just has never been used been used with a torque converter or a Pro Modified application for that matter,” Chance said.
Chance believes the Nitro Doorslammers like the one fielded by Top Fuel fan favorite Scott Palmer and his own personal one would be optimum with a 65-gallon fuel pump.
“The concept is we want cars that can go out and run the eighth-mile in the 3.40 range and not hurt parts,” Chance said. “If you’re on a hundred-gallon pump, you have to have an NHRA budget, and that has seven figures in it. And not too many racers have that. That’s a good way to kill the class before it even gets started. So I’d like to see, a 65-gallon pump as the max on, on these things.”
Chance admits ever since he saw Palmer’s Studezilla, he’s been on a mission of his own to have a Nitro Doorslammer. He’s got a late model Corvette ready to race with him.
“I was like a kid at Christmas,” Chance admitted. “I couldn’t think about anything but that, and I thought this is the future. When you hear a nitro car at the track, you know what it is. Everybody goes running for the stand. But to see a doorslammer with flames five feet above the hood, above the roof of this thing and, and just, you know, shaking the ground, I can’t help but think this is going to be the coolest thing that ever happened to drag racing.
“I think it’s going to be what it takes to fill the stands. I’m also a drag strip owner, and I know what the problems are. In the year 2020, you just can’t fill the stands as we did back in the 1970s. In the 1970s when an announcer came on the radio and said, ‘Sunday, Sunday, Sunday,” that place was packed out.
Chance had some mock prototypes at the PRI Show last December, and says the drawing are closer than ever to becoming 3-D models.
“You develop the functionality on the computer,” Chance said. “You make 3-D models that you can; once the 3D model is made, you’ve got a better idea of how it’s going to work at that point. A lot of times it says, Oh, we got to re-engineer. We’ve got to redesign. Because now that I see this three-dimensionally, I can see whatever problem there might be.
“It’s a whole lot faster to design and find the problem on a computer than to go make it, you know, and, have a hundred hours of a CNC machine time making up a prototype to see flaws as you go on.
“We’ve got to start over. So there is a lot of hours on the computer, but it’s a fraction of the time. Back before making things in CAD cam, you fabricated things up, you fabbed up prototypes and the extremely time consuming, and that that just isn’t going to get it done in time. Not for the way technology is moving today. So we’re designing everything in the CAD. We’ve got much of it is already designed. I think in the next few weeks we’ll be making components on five-axis CNCs and start putting one of these together.
“It’s right around the corner. It’s coming.”