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  • A WORST NIGHTMARE - Money shifting a 6 second H-pattern car!
  • Post author
    Joel Grannas

A WORST NIGHTMARE - Money shifting a 6 second H-pattern car!

At the Hail Mary Derby 2020, I ran a 6.84 resetting the H-Pattern record, but I also had a few passes that didn't go so well. The first 3-4 passes all where wheelie shows, too much power too late with not enough wheelspeed. After we figured that out we got the new record pass, but I wanted to try and get a better short track pass as the 6.84 pass was on a "soft" 1.20 sixty foot. Well, I got what I wanted with a 1.10 sixty foot wanted but ended up money shifting the car. The dreaded one-two-one shift. Ugh.

Money Shift supra h-pattern one two one stick car drag racing

So, in this video I will try to explain the difference between an H-Pattern "stick shift" car like mine versus a Liberty, Lenco, or other clutchless style "stick shift" transmission. 

For those that follow stick shift racing, we know the difference between clutchless cars and true h-pattern stick shift cars like Grubb Worm, Red Demon, and Minion. I wrote this up and made this video and blog article help clear up some of the differences.

The easiest way to describe the difference is an H-Pattern transmission is what you would find in any OEM manufactured "manual" car. You move the shifter back and forth and left to right in an H-Pattern to select the gears. You select the gears, you "interrupt power" (aka, use the clutch to remove the load) to get from one gear to the next.

A "clutchless" transmission like a Liberty, Lenco or some of the other sequential options allow you to FULL POWER shift from one gear to the next. There is no-pattern in the shifts other than back and forth. Another advantage is these cars never use the clutch other than the initial launch. On large displacement motor cars the full power upshifts would not make as big of a difference.

H-Pattern drag racing has disadvantages, you basically need to "lift" or interrupt power, OR depending on your transmission setup you may have to use the clutch. For example, if you are a REAL street car using a synchronized transmission, you have to clutch the car to keep the synchros alive. With an h-pattern shifter you can also make BIG MISTAKES. Shifting into the wrong gear, the dreaded "money shift" or 1-2-1 shift can happen to even the most experienced drivers. They call it "money shift", because it is going to cost you a lot of money. You can blow a motor, destroy a clutch or transmission, wreck the valvetrain, and i've seen it even send cars into the wall. It is not a good look!

The GR1000F Transmission kit in my car has some extra tricks to help it shift faster and live longer, but it is still a OEM T56 case, and the factory Tremec Magnum helical gearset (with Liberty faceplated 1st-4th gears)... It is in essence what you would find in a 2010 Camaro, with some trickery to make it stronger (cryo/rem) and shift quicker (faceplating). I can shift without the clutch, so I have taken my car one step closer towards "clutchless" but I still have to interrupt power to allow for a gear change.

I use a strain gauge which allows me to cut the power electronically and kill ignition on a shift. This is basically a load cell which can detect deflection in a shifter handle. So basically it can detect when I pull or push on the shifter. When I move the shifter, it does a split-second cut of power, allowing me to jam into the next gear. This is the same principal as "stabbing the clutch" which is just another way to interrupt power to allow the car to get into the next gear.

These little things improve shifting time, and on a small displacement motor with a big turbo any gains there can be substantial. All of these little tricks help make this car the world record holder with a best of 6.84 @ 213mph with "soft" 1.20 sixty foot. At the same event we cut a 1.1 sixty foot, so they say every tenth in the sixty foot equates to two tenths in the quarter, so this car has potential to run 6.60's

In the future, I do plan on going to a Liberty clutchless 5-speed. On a small 3.2L motor, BIG turbo car like mine this full power shifts would keep the car at full power the whole way down the track and also help keep RPM up and the clutch locked up on shifts. I would love to see the ET gains from one of these on my car and that is how "Orange Man Bad" will eventually evolve.

Hope you enjoy the video below! I am taking a much needed four month break from racing! See you all in Texas at TX2K21


  • Post author
    Joel Grannas