PRI 2010: Champion Spark Plugs for the Street and Track

Multi-time Top Fuel champion Clay Millican talks about using Champion spark plugs in his race car!

A racing plug differs from a street plug typically by the heat range and expectation of durability. Also the long-life electrodes in the street plugs is designed for longevity.  The heat range is defined as the capability to conduct heat.  A naturally aspirated plug typically uses a hotter plug for the most efficient burn, while a forced induction or nitrous application will use a colder plug to help prevent pre-ignition, or detonation.

In endurance racing, the ground strap on a spark plug will be subjected to a lot of abuse and can lead to the ground strap breaking off.  Champion’s racing plug design eliminates the ground strap, called a surface gap-style plug, and uses the surrounding plug body as the ground strap.

Spark plugs with fine wire center and/or ground electrodes operate better for two reasons. First, a smaller center electrode requires less voltage to jump the gap. This means fewer misfires, which will be seen in higher mileage and more horsepower. The second reason is smaller center and ground electrodes reduce quenching.

Tapered center and ground electrodes operate on the same principles as fine wire electrodes. These will typically perform better than a traditional plug. There are two reasons for this, first is because a smaller center electrode requires less voltage to jump the gap. Some tapered cut plugs are available with platinum electrodes for extended life.

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About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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