With almost 20 classes to choose from, it seems drag racing has definitely taken a hold of the driver’s consciousness. Whether burning rubber at midnight back in the 1960s or calculating an index at the track in search of a win at the final qualifier, the smell of race fuel has intoxicated many a fan, turn driver.
Larry Geddes and fellow Open Comp competitor talk strategy in the pits
Open Comp "style" of drag racing, is an exciting, pro tree hybrid version of bracket racing for non delay box equipped drag racing vehicles that run faster than 13.99 in the 1/4 Mile or 9.0 in the 1/8th Mile. In Open Comp, the drivers leave off of a pro tree start as opposed to a sportsman tree forcing the drivers to really test their driving skills and reaction times. Another big difference is that instead of dialing in like at a typical bracket race, they will be given an index that is based upon their car’s performance during qualifying. The index forces the driver to have to react quickly at the starting line, and then race their car all out full throttle to the finish line, and removes the "comfort zone" that a typical bracket race has to offer.
For Geddes, who owns his own company and sells racing products Burnout Guard and Dial-In, racing Mustangs has always been a serious passion. In fact, you may recognize the Geddes name. Congenial and dapper, AIRAID team driver, Larry Geddes, also known as Mr. Open Comp, has been competing in organized drag racing since 1970. He took a thirteen year sabbatical from 1977 to 1990 to pursue career and business interests, returning to motorsports in a hobbyist, sportsman level to this day. As long as Larry can remember he has had the desire to race and learn about the motorsports industry.
Mr. Open Comp's AIRAID swag looks real good with his AIRAID decal on that Fox Body Mustang
The Mr. Open Comp nickname goes back to around 2004. Don Creason did a story in the Race Pages on Larry’s program around that time. He had won back to back championships in the NMRA, (2003 and again in 2004). Don Creason is a talented guy who wears many hats and currently works for James Lawrence, who owns Dragzine and Speed Video. Larry guessed that maybe then and now, because he’s a little older than most of his competition in the NMRA Open Comp class the name just stuck with him!
Here is a quick and interesting guide to the basic rules of Index Racing:
- Sport compact/import cars only
- Heads-up drag race
- All-Run field
Geddes on the throttle and launching off the line at an NMRA event in 2016
- Any combination allowed at any weight
- No throttle stops or delay boxes allowed in car
- No deep staging
- Sandbagging not encouraged
- .400 Pro tree
- Two or three qualifying rounds
- All racers required to make at least one qualifying pass
- Lane choice goes to quicker car
- If double breakout - car breaking out the least wins
- Courtesy staging is in effect
- Safety rules of the track enforced
This is the massive powerplant that gets Mr. Open Comp down the lane in the mid 10s
Geddes purchased his 1990 Ford Foxbody Mustang LX new with the first modification being fuel injection along with the addition of a panel filter. That soon to be bad ass little pony came stock with a 5.0-liter motor and 5-speed manual transmission. It had A/C, power windows and door locks, power steering, cruise control, and a six speaker stereo system. Back in the day, the Ford Motor Company called this the 201A package. Time went by and the building of this car has been a constant work in progress. Because of such a long period of ownership, there have been engine, clutch, transmission, and suspension upgrades done to keep up with, and always working to stay competitive in the Index Style of racing. Think old school heads-up drag racing. Fast forward to present day and this is what Larry’s setup looks like these days. With this engine combination, his best ET is 10.57 @ 126 mph with a car that weighs 3025 at the water box.
- Ford Racing Boss 363ci crate short block
- Roush cylinder heads
- Z303 Ford Racing camshaft
- Comp Cams 1.6 Ultra Gold rocker arms
- Edelbrock Airgap intake manifold with AIRAID intake
- Demon 775 cfm carburetor
Index style drag racing tests the drivers reaction time on a pro tree
- Kooks stainless headers
- Denso Iridium spark plugs
- G-Force GF5R transmission with long shifter
- ACT clutch
- Quicktime bellhousing
- MSD distributor with a Digital 6 box
- Flexalite fan and radiator combo
- Weldon fuel pump and regulator
- Team Z front and rear suspension
- Strange 9" housing with 35 spline axles
- 4.57 Motive Gear set
- Strange brakes front and rear
- Mickey Thompson 28X10.5 tires
- HO fiberglass hood
Hard on the throttle, pulling up the front wheels, who wouldn't love drag racing?
For the 2016 race season, Geddes competed in the Open Comp class with the NMRA, along with a couple of events with NMCA. Mr. Open Comp’s primary focus with his Mustang has included chassis tuning and of course consistency on the track. The challenge of having the chassis and set up right on the money is always important in index racing. Track conditions and the weather are always changing. He believes every event can be a learning experience. Because he has quite a bit of "seat time", he has learned to stay calm and focused for each round of competition. Geddes has some close competitors, as well as some past champions in the NMRA that he looks up to and it’s these competitors that additionally help him push a little more each round. One pearl of wisdom he would share with his younger self would be to pay attention to those with much experience in things that interested him. To put effort into finding a mentor. Through asking questions, listening and observing he has learned invaluable lessons.
Geddes is what he calls a "one man band", with the exception of his amazing sponsors. He feels blessed to have such great support. But after work or on the weekend, he’s the guy doing all of the work on the car and always has. He said he’s pretty particular while at an event and said if he does anything in the pits to the car, good or bad, he’s the guy responsible, win or lose, no one else.
He has two NMRA Open Comp World Championships to his credit with multiple runner up positions in the same class through the years. Geddes was named Ambassador of the Year in 2003 for the NMRA and is a brand ambassador for a number of nationally recognized companies, including AIRAID. He’s proud to be affiliated with the folks at AIRAID and says it is important to understand the products and provide professional representation of the brand. For the 2017 race season Larry says, “My focus for the 2017 season is on winning the NMRA Open Comp championship one round at a time.” He’s is also that guy that is eager to welcome new racers and competitors to the Open Comp group. Rest assured that with his track record he can capably share the rules, policies, and even a story or two on how to have success on race day.
One of the most important parts to a successful pass is the strength and ease of a transmission