Two years ago, Jim Summers left his position at ASSC Racing and headedtoward a new life as the Director of Motorsport Operations at ProCharger(www.procharger.com) in Kansas. This followed a decorated presence in the heart of the5.0 wars at FFW, WFC, and NMRA with both 10-inch tired cars and his TimHuston-backed Pro 5.0 entry. Having established himself as one of theelite supercharger/fuel-injection tuners in the country, Jim wascertainly qualified for the job. But, he left behind him a competitivePro 5.0 car, a supportive hot-rod community in Chicago, and severalfriends.
It wasn't an easy move for Jim Bone, but his arrival atProCharger has brought a whole new level of customer support to itsracing clientele. We were curious, how the transition from top racer tocustomer liaison was working for Jim and if he missed the heads-up 5.0Mustang drag racing action that he had pioneered.
1.0 You have had many memorable achievements in 5.0 Mustang drag racing. Which ones stand out the most for you?
There are so many, I can hardly remember [laughs]. Probably when I setthe record [first Street Outlaw car into the 8-second zone in 1997] on10-inch tires. That was the one that was the most fun, with everybodysaying it couldn't be done. We knew we had enough stuff the year beforewhen we were getting ready to set the car up for it. We were inNorwalk, Ohio, when we finally got to set the record. The previous racebefore that, which was down in Bradenton, Florida, we had a transmissionfail on us so we couldn't even run the car there. Then, when we went 6sfor the first time--that was at Norwalk too. It was the first-generation400-inch motor that we built. It actually came out of Big Red One. Itwas Brodix-headed and Fox Lake ported. I'm trying to remember whatsupercharger that was--it was a small one. I think it was one of the oldF3s that we had. I can't remember what year that was--they've started torun together on me [laughs]. I can't even remember anymore. It was inBig Red Two, and of course the weight was heavy in that car, 2,750. Itwas a 6.95 at 201 or 202 mph.
2.0 What impresses you most about ProCharger as a company?
ProCharger is definitely a company that wants to stay on top oftechnology--doing whatever it takes to make power. The main thing is tobe head and shoulders above the competition. I enjoyed great customerservice when I was a racer, but I didn't see Dan doing anything for us[ASSC Racing] that he didn't do for any of his other customers. Ofcourse, we did do a lot of blazing the trail, but so did everyone else.I mean, if we got a supercharger, somebody else got it too. It wasn'tlike we got anything that anyone else couldn't get. That was one thingthat we made clear up front. I definitely didn't have an argument if webuilt something new and everybody got it. I may have gotten to the tracka couple of times before everyone else did, but they all had the sameequipment that I did. I am pretty much impressed with ProCharger all theway around as a whole. We've got owners going to the racetrack to seewhat their products are doing.
Definitely, we come back from the trackwith updates with making our products better, of course. That's themain thing--to make sure that when we go to the track, we don't havefailures. It's a mechanical part, but a lot of times we can't do thetesting here that we can in the field. So, we have to be there. Danwants his product to be nothing but the best. That's what makes it somuch better to work here. I'm just part of that team. When I come back,I've got everyone asking me how we did. I mean all the way down to ourfloor polisher--they all want to know if we won or what records we set.It's pretty much a half-day affair when I walk back into the building.Everyone is constantly asking me how we did. Everybody cares how ourracers do at the races, but we also care about our normal streetcustomers also. To put it point blank, that's where the bread andbutter is--there's no doubt about that. But, our racing equipmentdefinitely makes our street equipment better.
3.0 Can you tell us about the ProCharger supercharger kit for the '05Mustang?
That is definitely a nice piece that we've got. It's out and availableas we speak. It made real good power with it. I'm sure you're aware ofthe e.t. we ran with it? It went 11.70 right at 120 mph on a bone stock'05. The only thing that it had was a gear, and we were running it onET Streets. And, we weighed the car, and it weighed 3,805 pounds withme in the car. So, it's an impressive piece, and it makes big power. Weare so back-ordered on that kit right now, it's just unbelievable. We've got everybody working overtime on that. I go out on the [order]board and the 'ol board that they got out there is pretty big, and it'scovered. We've got guys going overtime, and it's going to be a nicepiece.
4.0 If you had complete control of the rule committees for both the NMRAand FFW, what classes would you change and how?
To be honest with you, I wouldn't want to be in any of their shoes. ForPro 5.0, I'd say basically a 2,550-pound weight rule, and go with apower adder of your choice. You can use nitrous, turbo, or asupercharger. Where do you go with the nitrous? Do you goconventional-headed big-block nitrous? Do you go big-block mountainmotor, 816 Hemi-headed motor? There's not enough data on that stuff tobe able to put it up against a small-block with a supercharger or aturbo. That's a tough one. I think that the [rules in the] classes arepretty good. You can always have arguments on either side or who doeswhat, when, and where as far as nitrous, turbo, and superchargercontroversy. It's going to be who makes the better power adder. I thinkthat the rules committees of both sanctioning bodies have done a goodjob with the best of what they had.
I don't believe in trying to make aturbocharger racer run a smaller turbocharger. I believe we want to raceeverybody heads-up, and the best man wins. And, if we don't outrunthem, then we'll come back here [ProCharger central] and build somethingthat's better. Getting back to the questions of why I'm here--that's it.It's not one of these things that we are on the phone, complaining tothe rules committees that we can't compete. We're out back here,working late hours, and Dan's staying up, because he can't sleep atnight, trying to figure out new designs to try to compete. That's whatmakes this company rock and roll. Our people are second to none. And,we find it. Take a look at Doug Mangrum [6.47/215] this weekend[Commerce, Georgia FFW]. That's comparable to any power adder on theplanet. And, I don't think that anybody can argue that point.
5.0 Will we ever see Jim Summers back in competition in a heads-up 5.0Mustang?
Anything is possible--I can tell you that. There have been some talkswith some people who were going to build a car, but nothing hasmaterialized. Of course, after you've been away from it for a while youdo miss it. It would definitely take me awhile to get back into it, butI've been staying on top of development on the engines, so I don't thinkwe'll have an issue of putting an engine together. You'll just have towait and see.
6.0 How did the deal with Procharger come about?
I had been talking with Dan [Jones of ProCharger] for a little while onthat. And, finally, we just worked out a deal on it. I love racing, butthere were so many people at the track that were always, constantlyneeding help, that I figured, what the heck. Everything was right, and Ifigured I'd take the job.
7.0 Can you comment, in detail, on the current state of the Pro 5.0class--where it's headed, and if we will ever see full fields anywhereother than WFC?
I've talked to a lot of the racers now. Being in the business positionthat I'm in, I'm not slingin' either way--you know what I mean? Idefinitely like the rules opened up like they are over at Fun Ford, butI can definitely see some of James Lawrence's reasoning why he wants tokeep the cars slowed down [at NMRA]. The problem is trying to keepparity in the class is really tough. We've had to build three customsuperchargers in that class to slow down the cars. And, Donnie [WalshJr.], he's superman. He comes out there, and he can go fast withwhatever we give him. I know that it's probably creating some problemsfor [the NMRA], and I think that if [the NMRA] would just open the classagain that it would get a larger car count. Now, are people going tospend the money to build these $100,000 cars? I just don't see it.
It'sa big-money operation to run one of those cars, and not a lot ofpayouts. Which isn't anyone's fault. The amount of the payout isn'tgoing to draw these guys. Until the sanctioning bodies start stepping upin payout--like this Fun Ford Weekend race this last weekend [Commerce,Georgia] that had 15 cars, but was paying money. Mountain-motor cars?Big-block cars? It's getting to the point of what happened to Pro 5.0?I'm not knocking anybody's deal here, but our whole deal was asmall-block with a power adder. And, now they're letting mountain-motorcars in and big-block nitrous cars in--you know, basically a Pro Modtype of car. And, it's going to be tougher to regulate, and it's goingto make a lot issues for guys who are running a true push-rod motor thatthey can go buy from Ford--or used to able to go buy from Ford--or thefans can buy something like they are driving now.
8.0 What are your daily duties at ProCharger?
It varies, everything from cleaning up to assembling superchargers if itcomes down to it. Mainly, I'm the Motorsport Director, so I take care ofall of our high-end customers. A lot of our stuff is geared around theracing market, and we get a ton of phone calls from those customers. So,I spend the majority of my time on the phone, which I should be on therenow, but ...[laughs]. We get a lot of high-end, like F2 big-blockChevys, small-block Chevys, and our racers, which do take quite a bit oftime. I've got a substantial list of people that run our stuff at NMRAand Fun Ford, and our Chevy stuff. And, I deal with all of them. I alsodeal with some R&D, and I help with the development of some projectsthat we have going here. A lot of dyno time. We've got our SuperFlow901 back there that I spend a bunch of time on dynoing to test ourlatest products. Of course, that's all under Dan's tutelage ...[laughs].
9.0 What ProCharger racers do you watch most closely and why?
We've got quite a few. A lot of racers like to do stuff on their own,and I'm all for that. But, I'm always there to support them. I don'tparticularly keep my eye on any one racer, nor do I give any more helpto one racer over the other. I'm there to help everybody. The onlyissue is that I'm only one person. So, sometimes, I get tied up with oneindividual for some bit of time. Of course, the faster classes aresomething that I lean toward--the Pro 5.0 or Super Street Outlawguys--but I'm there for everybody, and I try to make time for everybody.If somebody comes up and tells me that they need some help, I'll getthere as quickly as I can. A lot of times they don't understand that Ican get tied up with a car for two or three hours until I get a problemfigured out. It's not necessarily supercharger related, it's oftentuning or setup of the vehicle. It kind of bothers me that I can't getto everyone because they probably think I'm ignoring them. I always goup to them and explain to them that 'I'm sorry I didn't get over here,but it's just one of those things'. I like to see all [of my customers]do well, and we try to do all that we can for them. I've been taking anextra person with me to the races just to try to help out when thishappens.
10.0 Is ProCharger working on anything new for the 5.0 Mustang & SuperFords magazine Real Street class?
Basically, our hands are kind of tied on that right now. We have enoughpower to run with the Real Street class. But, due to the way that theytry to keep parity in the class--they throw weight on our one particularModular guy [Tim Matherly], it's creating some issue for him. I don'tthink that building a new impeller for him or building a new blower, ortrying to get it approved is going to help the situation due to theweight factor. The fuel is the factor there. He could live with theweight if we could run a little bit better fuel so that he could tune upto get around the weight. The thing is that [Tim] is a drag racer, he'sbeen around a long time, and he doesn't make many mistakes. Hisequipment comes to the track, it's usually ready to race. And, that'swhy he wins races--because he's prepared to get out there and race. He'snot always the fastest car, as you can tell by his qualifying times, buthe's always there, he's good on the Tree, he gets from A to B withouthaving to lift, and he doesn't break many parts. But, with everyonetrying to slow him down, they've put weight on him, and now it'screating some issues with the engine. And, so is the 100-octane that hehas to run with.
11.0 How heated is the rivalry that exists between Procharger andVortech?
As far as between Ricky [Best of Vortech] and I, I keep everything cool,and I've never had an issue with him. And, I just don't want to commenton any of that. All I can say is, 'Bring it on.' 5.0