[ originally published 06/30/10 | updated 02/15/18 ]
I’ve known Scott Glassbrook since before I knew he was Scott Glassbrook. He’s got an incredible, RWD-converted 1G DSM drag car. And he’s been building it since before I met him—well over a decade at this point.
Scott was the third guest on The Gearhead Project (coming soon, promise), so I thought it would be a good idea to polish up our original GBXM conversation from way, way back in 2010.
2010 was our first full year in operation, and the one year I decided to interview three epic DSM owners with red, white (silver), and blue 1Gs for Independence Day. I talked to Kevin Jewer, Kevin “Kiggly” Kwiatkowski, and Scott Glassbrook for that little campaign and it was awesome.
As you read this one, keep in mind this is a snapshot of Scott’s RWD drag Talon project from 2010—eight years ago. Even then, it was an amazing machine. But more importantly, he’s stayed with it all this time. Meticulously evaluating and improving things every step of the way.
And now he’s to the point where he’s making some of the custom parts he’s used on this beast of a DSM available to others through his startup, FTYracing.
Are you ready to go back in time?
In America, we celebrate the 4th of July. It’s a time of freedom, fireworks, and all things America. This article introduced THREE DAYS IN A ROW of drag racing 1G DSMs in red, white, and blue. We start with Scott’s impeccable red Talon. Are you ready to go fast with class?
Does your Mitsubishi race team have an official name?
Nope, I don’t have any sort of official name for the team that helps me out with the car. I wouldn’t be able to do all of it without them though. Thanks Christyn, Rick and Mark—all of you help me out so much—no way I’d be able to do this without you.
What Mitsubishi do you race? In what series?
I drag race my 1991 Eagle Talon TSi RWD. I don’t race in one particular series right now, although someday I would like to.
What’s your real name and role in the team? Where do you live? And what do you do for a living?
My name is Scott Glassbrook. My role in the team encompasses pretty much any role there is.
I own the car, drive the car, do any of the work that needs to be done, fabricate all the custom parts, maintain the car, foot the bill, come up with new ideas to try out—those sorts of things.
I live in Michigan—the land of muscle cars—and I’m a computer geek. More specifically, I’m a software developer.
How long have you been racing this car?
This car has been a work in progress since the end of 1999. In 2000 I started racing it and my first trip to the track netted a few 12.8x@108-ish mph passes. It’s come a long way since then, that’s for sure.
[And in episode 3 of The Gearhead Project, you’ll learn just how far it’s come since.]
Why did you choose this Talon to race?
I chose to race the Talon because it was the car I owned when I started racing and it was very respectable in stock form.
My first car was an F-body. My brother Jake had a Talon at the time and it was much faster than my bigger V8. Some kid I went to school with rear ended me and totaled my Camaro, so I replaced that car with a 1990 Eagle Talon TSi AWD to get with the times.
That’s when I started drag racing. That was in 1997. I ended up driving that car until 1999 and replaced it with the Talon I own now. I continued drag racing because I already knew that I wanted to.
The car itself features a lot of common items you’d see on a DSM, along with a lot of items you would almost never see on a DSM. The GT42 is pretty standard fare now, along with a 2.3L stroked 4G63 with JE pistons and Pauter rods. I’m currently running a set of FP3x cams and a set of Kiggly Racing springs. Additionally, I have pretty standard things like a Jay Racing alternator relocation kit, 1600cc injectors and a Haltech Sport 1000 that I just put in the car this year.
All of those items are pretty standard fare when talking about modded DSMs. The more generic parts on the car consist of things like a Powerglide transmission, aluminum driveshaft, Chevy 10-bolt rear end, Four-link, Competition Engineering shocks, QA1 springs and rod ends, CSR Water pump, Fluidyne radiator and Speedglass windows, just to name a few random items. These are the items that set the car apart from other DSMs and make it what it is.
The primary benefits of the car? Burnouts!
Seriously, though, the car is now a purpose-built drag car. The 4-link allows me to make changes to the way the car hooks and it’s the best suspension you can have on a door-car for drag racing. The rear end, the transmission and the chassis are overbuilt to withstand more power than I will need to make with them.
The chassis is certified to 8.50, and that’s all I ever planned on running with it. This car is built for fun, plain and simple.
Got a favorite story to tell about building or racing the Talon?
There are so many stories, it’s hard to pick just one. One of my favorites about building the car has to do with the conception of converting the car to RWD.
Back in 2003, I was basically stuck running 11.teens at 134mph. That sort of mile an hour will net low 10-second passes on a properly equipped suspension and driveline. I was having a hard time getting my transmission to agree with handling the power, as this was before dogboxes were widely available, and multi-plate clutch options didn’t even exist.
The only real option to improve my ET was changing the setup drastically.
Over dinner one night, Mark and I were talking about what to do since we both had very similar setups at the time. I think I mentioned something about rear wheel drive being the ultimate way to go. Mark prodded me, saying something like “why not make it RWD?” and we literally started sketching out ideas on napkins and scraps of paper. I still have some of those sketches.
Through the next few months, we loosely threw together a game plan, and then I started acquiring parts for the project. I didn’t even have a shop—I had to borrow Rick’s garage to get started.
The chassis was built in a small, detached, old two-car garage in Lansing, Michigan, over the course of about five months. No heat, and there we were February of 2004 cutting up a perfectly good AWD DSM.
That first, RWD pass
My favorite story racing the Talon has to be my first full power pass after completing the RWD conversion. This was back in 2008. I had made a few partial passes at Milan to make sure everything on the chassis was straight, and then loaded the car up and went down to PINKS All Out in Norwalk, Ohio.
The event was largely a disaster—it was really freaking hot out, the event wasn’t the best-run event I’ve ever been to at NRP, and the car was out of sorts. I was having ignition issues. My wideband died on me. The fuel map was way rich and just not cooperating with me.
The first day of the event I didn’t even make a pass! To top it off, it was the first event, my whole family was there and it was my birthday.
Overnight, Mark and I worked on the fuel map, Kevin Kwiatkowski let me borrow an entire ignition setup, and we worked through the night getting things in order. The next morning, we uploaded the new map—completely pulling numbers out of thin air based on some math we had come up with and swapped over to Kevin’s borrowed ignition setup just in time to get the car ready for the first qualifying pass.
The net result was a 10.15@133mph. I was ecstatic—four years of work showed real promise immediately—that was an awesome pass in spite of all the difficulty I had in getting to that point.
What have you already accomplished with the Talon?
My best pass to date is a firstname.lastname@example.org. This was running between 22 and 29psi of boost—boost creeps a little up top. My best 60-foot time so far is a 1.38. I need to work on that. 1.2X’s should be in my future, but I guess that’s bench racing, isn’t it?
When giving the car the final once-over before a race, what sort of things are you looking at? What are your primary concerns at this point?
The main thing I do on the car are bolt checks between races. The one thing I would change if given the chance was the decision to solidly mount the engine.
Everything rattles loose. I have safety wire on almost all of the really important suspension bolts, but you simply can’t safety-wire everything. So, I put the car on jack stands and spend time under the car checking all the bolts. I guess it’s a good thing because I also get to examine all of the things under the car. I have bolts that have locking washers, with nylock nuts and lock-tite that still need to be re-tightened from time to time.
Other than that, I spend a lot of time obsessing over the ECU maps—I’m constantly making changes to them. Aside from that, I usually have a checklist. Ice, fuel, tire pressures, stuff like that.
What’s the stupidest thing that’s broken (or the stupidest reason why something broke)?
Without a doubt, my throttle body was the stupidest thing that broke.
I went to a gambler’s race and broke my throttle shaft on the burnout. I found out it broke about 30 feet out on my first qualifying pass when the car went from a decent launch to dying on the track.
That ended the day, right there. I was out $200 for that one race, not counting the time, effort and energy to get to the track. It was really disappointing.
The reason it broke was stupid—I had removed the intake manifold over the winter and didn’t remember to readjust my pedal stops after putting the throttle cable back on. That is now on my checklist of things to do.
Walk our readers through what happens between when you get into and out of the Talon for a run and your concerns each step of the way.
I think about everything—from tire pressures to track conditions—and try to account for all of it. I’m starting to get a rhythm down on some things, but get rusty over the winter. Sometimes I have to rethink things, because I’m thinking about other things.
When I get to the line, it’s all about the staging—when I’m actually racing (as opposed to test and tune,) I work on cutting a good light. I know by the end of the 60′ mark whether it will be a good pass or not.
I went racing last night, and the last pass I made I just knew it was going to be decent because I felt the front wheels touch back down further up the track than normal. Sure enough, I matched my best 60-foot and ran 9.64@122mph—I was making a moderate licensing pass.
When I’m done with my pass, I either immediately grin and celebrate on the return road, or start thinking about what was up with that pass and try to figure out how to improve it for the next pass.
And, when the car gets back to the pits? What then?
Fuel, ice, plugs, tire pressures, logs. Repeat.
It’s a little more involved than that when I’m testing and tuning, but those are the main items.
What does it take to go the distance? Mechanically? Mentally?
Mechanically, going the distance is done by having the right parts. If you’re half-assing things, you might end up with a reasonable run—once or twice—but in the end it’ll get you. You lose consistency and reliability when skimping on important parts for the car.
Mentally? I think you need to be a little bit obsessed with what you’re doing—maybe a little nutty, even.
How is that mechanical/mental prep different from other forms of racing?
I don’t think it’s all that different than other forms of racing. It comes down to getting your stuff together, and then doing the best that you can do.
Sometimes you end up short, and other times you end up on top.
How have you tuned the car for what kind of powerband? Flat torque curve? Peaky?
On a good pass, the car is always somewhere between 5700 and 8200rpm. With a 2500rpm powerband, I’m basically going for peak power at as high an RPM as I can get it. Of course, It’s also imperative I’m able to get it up on the converter, too, so I always try to tune for that as well.
What other expenses are involved when budgeting for season of drag racing?
There are a few wear items on the car that are kind of part of the race-season budget. Spark plugs, race fuel, fluids, RTV, stuff like that. I tend to just get these when I need them. I don’t particularly set a budget for them. Then there are items that you just have to replace—O2 sensors, slicks, stuff like that.
The real expensive stuff just creeps up on you though—safety equipment. The harness and window net have to be replaced every two years. The chassis also needs to be certified every few years. The transmission needs re-certification every five years. This stuff adds up, so it can get expensive without even realizing it.
Aside from those items, I try to plan out events as far enough as possible to give myself time to ease myself into spending that money. Hotels are a big expense, but I don’t go to many races, so they’re not nearly as bad as they could be.
Diesel fuel for the tow rig is another item when I’m making trips out to tracks, too. My last trip to the track, I blew out two trailer tires that I had to replace *right then* in order to get home. (Thankfully, I was literally four miles to a trailer store and could leave my trailer where it was.)
It’s kind of crazy if you think about it too much—why exactly is it that I have this hobby that takes my money? Oh yeah, the burnouts!
What’s next for the Talon? Why?
More boost, more tuning. Why? So I can go faster. The goals are 8.50’s, and I’m not there yet.
Can people come and watch? Where and when?
People often ask this question. I always do everything I can to make it to the Shootout, so you can bet that I will be there. Otherwise, sometimes I will post on my site about when and where I will be running.
I usually do one or two other events throughout the year, so those are usually posted. Aside from that, you can find me at test and tune sessions at either Milan Dragway or Mid-Michigan Motorplex—I frequent both of those tracks.
What has been your favorite event? Why?
The DSM Shootout, for sure. I can’t give you a specific year that was my favorite, but I really enjoy talking to people I’ve met over the years. It’s great catching up, sharing experiences and spending the weekend immersed in DSM geekiness. I go every year.
Is it easy to get into this type of racing?
It’s really easy to get into, I think. They have all sorts of “run what you brung” and streetcar types of events around here. Getting good at it is another story. I’m still working on that.
Who has helped you the most along the way?
There have been so many people that have helped me. During the conversion into a RWD chassis, Mark Hessler and Rick Garnaat helped me with everything on the car.
Rick provided the shop and helped with ideas and helped with the labor of the car. Mark helped with the designs—we would challenge each other’s ideas and come up with the best solutions that we were able to implement—he also pushed me into starting the project in the first place.
I also have a friend, Jay Danhof who helped out quite a bit—from lending a hand to making food runs, Jay saved me tons of time and energy, for sure.
Since the project has been running, the biggest help is my wife Christyn.
I probably drive her crazy, but she helps get things packed and ready for events and helps me out with everything at the track. All the maintenance of the car and of me—I mean everything. I’m sure she’s learned a lot since we started this crazy stuff a few years ago (whether she wanted to or not!) and she really does a great job with making sure I have my act together at the track.
Rick also lends a hand a lot and does everything he can when we’re at the track. I couldn’t ask for a better team to have with me. And, when he’s able, Mark helps out too, but he lives on the other side of the country now so it’s usually through phone support.
Finally, I also have to thank Kevin Kwiatkowski of Kiggly Racing for all the help and advice.
He’s always willing to offer suggestions and is such a wealth of knowledge about DSMs that it’s kind of ridiculous. Kevin has helped me out in a pinch a countless number of times, and I don’t think anyone has ever had a conversation with him where they didn’t learn a thing or two. Kevin is crazy, in an absolutely fantastic way—it’s mind-boggling what he has accomplished with his own car.
[Check out our interview with Kiggly here.]
Who do you look up to in the Mitsubishi community?
There were so many influences early on that it’s hard to name all the people I look up to. I think most of them are pretty well known names.
I look up to the guys who’ve made their own way. Shep, Rau, Buschur, Passante, Kiggly, Frank & Serge—all of these guys went down their own paths and all kick ass in their own way. I respect them all for their contributions to the DSM community. We’ve all learned a lot from them. There are others, sure, but these are some of the original guys that I still remember from back when my car was stock-ish.
How do you encourage other enthusiasts to get involved in legitimate racing?
Well, I hope I encourage legit racing through posting about my car on my website. I think people should race if that’s one of their passions, but I’m kind of old school—I think street racing gives all of us a bad name.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Mitsubishi community today?
Drama. It happens in all cliques, but I think that’s the biggest challenge “we,” collectively, face as a group. The internet exacerbates this, but I think that’s the biggest challenge we have.
Do you spend time on any Mitsubishi sites? Which ones?
I’m on NABR from time to time. I also check out DSMtuners, MIDSM, and a few other boards.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
This interview originally ended with reminders to come back to GBXM the next day to see the next drag racing DSM in our “red, white, and blue” series. It didn’t make sense with this article being republished in February, eight years later, so here’s a more timeless closing thought for you.
Every epic machine you see has a story. And what you see is merely the latest installment. Most epic machines we see at this build and performance level are the result of blood, sweat, and tears invested over several years.
If there’s one lesson you might pick up from Scott’s story, it’s that success comes to those who stay the course. If you begin with a clear picture of the end in mind—and you don’t give up—you will be successful.
Keep going fast with class, and press on regardless.