Noonan Race Engineering is a company that made its name in drag racing, but its range of engines prove to be winners wherever there is a need for extreme horsepower.
Tractor pulling requires every last digit of horsepower and torque to be successful, so the supercharged Noonan 4.9 Hemi in Clay Chastain's truck came in very useful for his win in Wilmington, Ohio at the National Tractor Pull Association Nationals. Chastain was towing a 6,200lb weighted sled behind and managed a pull of 321 feet for his first ever victory.
Chastain said there was not too much difference between a drag racing motor and the ones teams like his use to haul huge amounts of weight over dirt.
“A lot of pullers like more torque because they think that is what it takes, but honestly you need a balance,” he said. “We like the Noonan set up because it gives us a perfect middle between RPM and torque. We like to run high RPMs but we still make a lot of torque there.”
Chastain's Modified Two Wheel Drive Truck class has a 10,000RPM limiter, but he said the team prefers to stay around the 9000RPM mark.
“The first two years we were running we were hitting that limiter all the time, we instead wanted to get that RPM lower and get more torque,” he said.
“What we love about our Noonan 4.9 Hemi is that the pushrods are in there at such a great angle, and everything is set up so nicely. We haven't broken any valve springs, any conrods or any pushrods in the last four years, which we are very thankful for. That is why we love the Noonan so much.
“Renee and Jamie Noonan are great people, they have been fantastic to work with and anything we have needed they have helped us out with. They even came down to Bowling Green with us and hung out in our pits. Their products are the best out there.”
As with all motorsports, tractor and truck pulling teams monitor track conditions closely. While it might look like just brute strength, each vehicle requires a precise set-up to get the maximum distance on a pull.
“You can have the best of everything and the most money and still never win a pull because there are so many factors,” Chastain said. “The track is constantly changing, if the sun goes down the moisture rises which makes the track better. You have to be precise on tire pressure, the gear you run, and the weight balance. You don't want the front end getting too high or spending all its time on the ground. So you need the horsepower to pull the gear but you definitely need everything else figured out.”
The key to winning Wilmington was in reading the track, according to Chastain, who followed his father Mike into the sport.
“We went into it saying the track would be better than people thought it was, it had good dirt and a lot of moisture in it,” he said. “We moved some weights around, and did our tire pressure differently, then we went out and got it done."
“It felt great, I have had multiple top five finishes, and gone top ten almost everywhere, we just couldn't get that number one, so now we are hoping to stay there.”
Noonan Ultimate Race Engineering is a premier race engine building and development facilities and a world leader in billet component innovation and boasts a growing presence in the US market. Offering engine components for motor racing, including drag racing, tractor pull, drag boat racing and the diehard enthusiast wanting the competitive edge over their opponents, Noonan Ultimate Race Engineering is committed to putting racers first.