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Driver and Crew Interviews

Justin Burcham Taring up Coyote Stock with a 3 Link!

August 27, 2012 by Chad Houghton
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When we think of the NMRA's newest class Coyote Stock we think of S197's pulling into the water box to do battle.  The view of the class is much different then was expected.  The car of choice is a Fox body or an SN95, throw a Coyote into it, set the four link up and let it eat.  At the MIR event Justin Burcham showed with a S197 owned by Joe Marini ready to do battle in the class.  Though not the fastest it was an impressive outing for the car running an 11.040@122.83mph.   At the NMRA Milan race we saw a milestone we thought would not come so soon, a 10 second pass in an S197 body.  10.88 is not easy to come by with the 3 link in these cars but when you have a veteran like Justin behind the build and wheel it should be no surprise.  Justin has be a pioneer of the 3 link from the start.  Picking up his 05 new in February and was running 10's one month later.  Fast forward to 2012 and Justin has quickly adapted his 7 years of knowledge with the 3 link and has quickly risin' to the top.  With only two races under his belt he posted a win at the Milan event.  We got a hold of Justin to to talk to him about running the S197 and his personal opinion on what direction the class will go.

Tell us a bit about the car your running now. It's kinda a wolf in sheep's clothing.  It appears to be a stock car but underneath we are running light weight race brakes with Strange coil overs up front and Strange shocks in the back.   Its got Metco lower control arms with instant center brackets and its got Race Craft upper control arm the relocation mount.   The heater has been taken out and all other related components under the dash we don't need have been removed as well.  Surprisingly we do still have the battery under the hood. Rear seat delete as well as front race seats sums up the car.

How tricky is it running the 3 link in this class? It's not easy most people think it's just bars and this and that but you know you don't see any S197 cars leaving on the bumper like you do the SN95 or the Fox Body cars.  With the limited power we have in the class it is a bit trickier to get all of it to the ground like it would be in the older four link setup.   You can ask anyone who has tried to race in heads up competition and I think there has only been a few people.   Robin Lawrence, Tim Matherly and I'm sure both of them could attest to how tricky it is to get it to work.

What is the most challenging aspect of this class for you? I think the 3 link is.  It's a bit more challenging as far as making the calls at the starting line because once you get off the line, you pretty much you have your shift points.  Then in a stick car you need to make all the gears.  With no tuning adjustments on the engine it's more so chassis and driver and cutting a good light so that the starting line is challenging and an important spot.  Just getting consistency out of the car, making sure round from round it's doing what it's supposed to do cause the track changes just like any other class.  If I had an older car I probably wouldn't be as concerned about it like a 4 link car that will pretty much hook on ice with that kind of power level.  With the 3 link suspension it's how is it going to 60 foot this time?  Is it going to spin?  Do I need to make changes?

The first time out with the car and Justin already had the suspension dialed in and was pulling the front wheels.

You seem to be having a lot of fun out there. It's definitely less stressful than the other classes. I have so much stress during the week with the business that I don't look forward to going to the track and being stressed out.  That's one of the reasons I've been on the side line for so many years.  I am so competitive.  I put so much pressure on myself to compete that when I go out there my brain just won't stop.  I'm always thinking I need a tuning adjustment or I need to adjust this and in my opinion this class takes out a lot of stress and adds a lot of fun because ultimately there really is not much you can do.  It's not like well, I need to bump up the timing and things like that, you pretty much set your air pressure and your tires and your suspension up.  You need to do a good job at the starting line and let the cards fall where they fall.

Justin went on to win the Milan event.  With only competing in two events so far Justin and the the 3 link set up looks to be promising against the 4 links.  With more legendary racers who may be looking to take a step back in the heads up classes this may be their new home.  With years of experience sure these racers will be at the forefront and will be the ones shining but where else can you race in a class that has the biggest cap of all.  The engine really helps to put everyone one on the same playing field, leaving only whoever gets off the line, to the 60ft and cross the line first.  I don't care if Bruce Henmminger, Brian Alsept or Tommy Godfrey is in the next lane.  I'd take those odds in this class and shoot to be a shining star!

Editors note: Bruce, Brian and Tommy where only used as a reference to the class and in know way are we starting rumors that they are entering the class.