Tom Hemphill - Clarksburg, PA
’68 Plymouth Barracuda Top Sportsman
I began using Penn Grade 1 Racing Oils in 2002 for all the engines that I build. I was familiar with the old Kendall refinery and always have had success with the products coming out of Bradford. As soon as I began using Penn Grade 1 Partial Synthetic SAE 10W-30 in my engines, I noticed dramatic bearing wear reduction in our high horsepower drag race engines.
I am constantly putting Penn Grade 1 Racing Oils to the test. Just recently, while competing at the International Hot Rod Assn. Division 1 Pro Am race in Pittsburgh, I was entered in the top sportsman division, which is IHRA’s fastest and most powerful full bodied class. The engine began showing signs of water in the oil and I found that we had some sort of an internal water leak (later we discovered that this was due to the #7 cylinder wall splitting and allowing water into the crankcase). We went ahead with our first time trial at record speeds! We became optimistic that with our fast times, the water leak had to be minor. Once we took a look at the oil we realized that was not the case. The oil looked like a milkshake! Despite our better judgment, we changed the oil and continued to race figuring that we could repair any engine damage with the prize money we won. To make a long story short, we won all 4 rounds and in the fifth round we finished second due to a three fourths of a second foul start! Pretty good finish for an engine running with oil full of water!
The following week when we prepared to fix the engine, we prepared for the worst. We removed the oil pan expecting to find all sorts of damaged bearings since we had run five rounds and one time trial on a 1600 horsepower nitrous engine with the oil full of water. Surprisingly, not only were the bearings and crankshaft not damaged, but we reinstalled them when we repaired the cylinder and used them the rest of the season. This is the reason why only Penn Grade 1 will ever be in my Racing Engines!