First H-Pattern Manual Transmission to Break Into the 6s in Drag Racing
Don’t let Joel Grannas hear you say automatics are faster than stick shifts. He won’t shout at you or pound a fist on a table, though. Joel has been drag racing his manual-transmission equipped Toyota Supra for years, and he will just pull out a small slip of paper for you to read.
While drag racing during an event at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Florida, in May 2020, Joel fired off the first-ever 6-second pass by an H-pattern–shifted car: 6.90 e.t. at 194.77 mph.
“We have made such incredible progress over the past 18 months with this car. We got it all started by running 7.68 at 200 with a standard diaphragm clutch. Then about 6 months later, 7.20 at 206 and 7.17 at 207 in Florida. Then in March 2020, at TX2K, we ran 7.05 at 207 – twice – and 7.00 at 208. The 7.00 pass took the overall stick/H-pattern record from the Boostin Performance Eclipse, the infamous Red Demon,” Joel explained. “Now with this 6.90 at 194 pass under our belt, we have become the first ever H-pattern stick car to run in the 6-second zone. And at 194 mph! The car actually shut off at the 1,000-1,100-foot mark, so there was room for an even quicker elapsed time and mph on this pass. We are still investigating the cause, but for sure it’s something electrical.”
After his return from Florida, Joel gave us some time from his already hectic schedule to talk about the record-setting run and his TREMEC-equipped Supra. You can read the full details of the car here on the Grannis Racing website.
1. Why did you choose a TREMEC Magnum 6-speed transmission for your quest to be the fastest H-pattern stick car?
I raced on the factory 6-speed Toyota/Getrag for probably 6 years before they ended up discontinuing all parts for them. I ran a best of 8.17 at 186 on a synchro transmission, but once the parts couldn’t be found, racing on them was not tenable. So, I started looking for a strong replacement, and the TREMEC Magnum fit the bill and has exceededall my expectations. These are unbelievably strong transmissions.
2. Many racers would have looked at LS power for going after the record. You chose a Toyota 2JZ 3.0L inline-six on boost. Why?
The 2JZ is extremely reliable and strong. I made 1,700-rwhp through the OEM cast block on a 3.0L motor with a small shot of nitrous. I’ve run these engines for as long as I have been racing 6-speeds, so it was just a way of life for me. This new billet block I have makes the motor even more reliable, especially when running insane amounts of boost like the 75 psi I normally do.
3. On the quest to break the 6-second barrier, what have been some of the challenges faced while getting the car to run that quick in an H-pattern–shifted car?
Honestly, just a little over a year ago, I was only looking to get in the 7-second range. But our first 7-secon pass was a 7.68 at 200 mph – so not exactly a slow 7. That was on a standard diaphragm clutch, which caused us a lot of consistency issues. This gave me confidence that we could do even better on an adjustable-clutch setup. After switching to an adjustable clutch, we went from 7.68, to 7.20, to 7.00, to now 6.90 in the past year – it’s been a wild ride. We are used to obstacles with a stick car; nothing at all was easy. We have broken nearly everything that “should not break” on the car. The amazing thing is, we have not yet broken one of these transmissions. In fact, we now work with TREMEC Elite Distributor Liberty’s Gears who faceplates the transmissions and offers a few other customizations, and then we sell the race-ready TREMEC Magnum transmissions through Grannas Racing.
4. You and other racers are vying for the same accomplishment. Now that you’ve been first to the 6s, who do you think will be the first challenger to take the crown from you?
Tick Performance’s Grubb Worm is really close and chasing me, and Boostin Performance is building a new Red Demon V2, so I know he will want to take down my times. I think Minion [Yandro Ulloa’s Mustang Cobra] has more left also. I root for all of my fellow stick shift racers. If someone beats me, I’ll applaud them and will be cheering for them. Unless I was in the lane beside them, of course.
5. What’s your next event to see how much faster the car can go without the electrical gremlin that cut this record run short?
Not sure yet. We will probably do some private testing to figure out the electrical issue. As far as other events, FL2K in October and the World Cup Finals in November are both a sure thing. I’d love to do more races, but I am a bit overwhelmed with the business side of Grannas Racing right now.