BTW, as I understand, race fuel doesn't make "more" hp, race fuel eliminates the potential for hp robbing detonation. So those of you with bumped compression and aggresive ignition curves will need race fuel. I really think you're wasting your hard earned money running race fuel in a stock engine if you are looking for more power... (just my opinion)
Nope that's wrong, at least some of it is.
Race fuels make more power because the chemical components release more thermal energy when they are burned, simple as that. Oxygenation does mean that there are components in the blend that release free oxygen into the combustion process, but that only increases the power output compared to the same fuel blend without the oxygenating agent. In other words, if you oxygenate a junk fuel, it will make more power than it did, but not as much as a high energy, nomn-oxygenated fuel. Most pump gas these days is oxygenated to reduce emissions, but most are not high energy fuels.
Octane is unrelated to any of that. Octane has the same relationship to power output and combustion temperature that shape of an object has to its weight and color; none. Octane is a unit of measure used to quantify a fuels resistance to detonation. Fuel is supposed to burn in a wave, not detonate. Detonation is when fuel explodes spontaneously because it got hot, and octane indicates how well the fuel resists that. If the octane of a fuel is high enough to avoid pinging (the early stages of detonation), it's as high as it needs to be, and increasing octane number beyond that point has no effect on anything.
It IS true, though, that raising compression or using more ignition advance increases the chances of detonation, and may require a higher octane fuel, even though it might not need to be higher than pump premium anyway.
As far as a waste of money, I look at it like this. You really can just go down to the VP store and buy 2 hp and pour it right into your tank (you have to rejet to get the most from most race fuels). In that sense, it's the easiest 2 hp you can get. You could probably get an almost identical result from a good port job and a high compression piston on pump gas. Let's say the port work cost $800 altogether. For the price of a can of gas, you get the same thing. But that same $800 will only but 30-40 gallons of race gas, so your horsepower
bargain ends after the 6th or 8th can.