So you want to run alcohol?

Everyone seems to have their own ideas about running alcohol. Facts are facts and here are some about alcohol versus racing gasoline.


  1. Methanol makes less BTU's than gasoline per gallon but because you need to burn almost twice as much more horsepower and torque is produced. One reason is that the chemical structure of methanol contains oxygen molecules. Depending on the volumetric efficiency of your engine, you'll pickup anywhere from .3 to .7 of a second in ET just by switching to methanol.
  2. Overall, methanol is cheaper to run than racing gasoline. Methanol needs to run at a mixture of about 6.7 to 1 so you will burn about 2 to 2.7 times the volume of fuel. You must have a fuel system capable of flowing high volume. Methanol costs much less than racing gasoline and has a higher octane rating.
  3. Methanol is not affected as greatly by changes in atmospheric conditions as with gasoline. It is only affected about half as much as gasoline. If the air changes and your opponent running gasoline slows by .01 of a second, you will only slow about .005 of a second running methanol. Think about this the next time you're sitting in the staging lanes waiting to run.
  4. Methanol runs much cooler than gasoline so if you have overheating problems, converting to methanol can cure them very quickly. You can remove that huge aluminum or copper rad and install a tranny cooler or a small import car's radiator for a rad thus saving weight off the front of the car.


  1. Methanol is highly corrosive and has no lubricating qualities so you must use an additive that will protect your fuel system and cylinders from being eaten up. There are many additives more commonly preferred to as top lube. They also come in different scents so your exhaust can smell like cherry, chocolate, blueberry etc.
  2. The increase in horsepower comes low in the rpm range so your low end torque is increased dramatically. Over 7000 rpm the effect wears off. If your car is having traction problems with gasoline, you will have twice the problem when you switch to methanol. This is why most Super class racers run gasoline. If you spin a tire, you lose. A gasoline dragster with a heavy big block over the rear wheels is less likely to spin a tire in high gear or coming off the throttle stop than a methanol burning lightweight small block. There are ways to eliminate this problem and if you can, you will be twice as consistent as the other combination.
  3. Increased maintenance of the fuel system. Usually at the end of the race day you should lean out the engine and get it hot before shutting it down. This will help burn off any moisture in the crankcase. Then spray the carb down with WD-40. If the car is going to sit for longer than a couple of weeks, flush out the fuel system with gasoline.

Okay, the Pros out weigh the Cons but don't go out and spend too much money on parts you don't need. Do NOT buy a belt driven mechanical fuel pump. I don't care what you read in advertisements, you don't need or even want a gear pump of any kind unless you are running fuel injection (Ron's Toilet etc). A BG 280 electric pump and two Holley blue regulators, one for each bowl is all you'll need.You'll also want to add bowl extensions to increase the fuel capacity of the bowls. You don't need to buy bowls with more than one needle and seat. One needle and seat with an orifice of .150 per bowl is more than adequate. If your fuel cell is not located in the front of the car, you'll want to step up to a BG 400 or equivalent pump to compensate for the G force when leaving the line. Do the math. Based on your estimated horsepower output, figure out how many pounds of fuel you are going to use on the run then convert that to gallons per hour and then fractional gallons per second. Then do a fuel volume flow test to insure that your system will flow that much fuel.

The Holley carburetors are getting much better out of the box, are still not perfect, but are the best deal on the planet. Don't waste your money on some exotic highly modified carburetor. You don't need it. Most of what you're paying for is all cosmetic. Get a Holley HP 950 alcohol carb. Add bowl extensions, secondary jet extensions, remove the power valves (install plugs) and start with a primary and secondary jet size of about .172. You may have to go leaner but it is better to start rich than lean. Buy an EGT kit and use it every run that you make. Look for an EGT of about 1250 degrees as you cross the finish line. The engine should idle around 450 to 550 degrees. Also install an engine oil temperature gauge. Since the coolant never gets very hot, the only way to tell if the engine is hot enough to run is from the oil temperature. If you do it right, you'll never look back. I guarantee it!