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EDITOR’S RANT -- Got Nitrous? You Bet! The high performance and drag race world has gone forced induction crazy the past number of years, and rightly so. Let’s face it, even in the early days of turbochargers and centrifugal superchargers being applied in fast street cars and Outlaw Drag Racing, the writing was on the wall, and it said… when we get a handle on these things they will be a force to be reckoned with… and they are! It took a few years of trial and error, R&D and all that stuff, but the ingenuity of the manufacturers, enthusiasts and racers prevailed, and before long the boosted cars were getting it all done from end to end. No more starting line problems and boost control issues, but instead the main question became, do these things have any limits whatsoever? Nitrous oxide as a power adder took a huge beating during the rise of the boosted machines, and rise they did. Things got out of hand pretty fast. One my fondest memories was Jim Filipowski moving from his cool supercharged Chevy II to his just plain nasty new turbocharged Camaro. The class was Drag Radial in the now defunked NSCA, and Jim made the unfortunate mistake of showing all his cards as soon as he got his boost under control. Whether it was excitement for getting a good grip on the power of his turbo combination (when so many said it couldn’t be done), or Jim being Jim and throwing down the mark for others to try and beat, but when he did run the number all hell broke lose and the class seemed almost destined to implode. But not before Jim became a pincushion for extra weight, rule changes and anything else that could be stuck into him. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but the fact remains that this is just one example of how the world of nitrous oxide in drag racing took an enormous hit, and I won’t even get started on Pro Modified! Nitrous was down, but not out, and would surely one day rise again to the challenge. Things just have a way of going full circle. Remember when nitrous oxide was “it”. How couldn’t it be, nitrous brought us bigtime horsepower on the cheap! In my late teens NOS (the company) was the end all and be all, and nobody called it “NOZ”, or they would probably catch a slap

upside the head! In the beginning many people said using nitrous was “cheating”. But hey, the way I looked at it was if you got it, bring it! Unfortunately though, those “outlaw” style rules don’t go very far in class drag racing, and the examples of that have been experienced time after time. Usually it becomes a money game and those who have the most, win the most. We bought nitrous kit after nitrous kit for car after car. We bought more kits, took them apart and adapted them to stuff that they didn’t make a kit for! Heck, we even made our own plates and spray bars a time or two. The big deal was finding where you could get your bottles filled for Friday night, and knowing who had “juice” on their car and who didn’t, so you knew when to play your card and open the bottle. Along came bigger plate kits, more manufacturers, fogger nozzles, guys running two and three kits, remote bottle openers, timers, warmers etc. And before long came more smashed pistons, blown off hoods and people scratching their heads saying, there must be a better way to use this stuff. You can bet that all through the years of forced induction domination the nitrous gurus were putting their brains into high gear to answer that question, and the result is the new age of nitrous oxide. These guys got this stuff figured out again, it’s back and it’s badder then ever. The new equipment, new tuners and new rules of nitrous oxide have sent a shock wave through the world of fast cars, so much so that the nitrous cars are setting records and winning races. And in some organizations where nitrous cars have chased down their forced induction nemesis, classes that were once separated are again being merged together. In this issue of RPM, for the most part, we’re going to look at some pretty cool nitrous cars of both the street and strip. We’ll also talk to some of the go-to people with regards to their take on nitrous oxide “then and now”. I’d like thank one of our readers, Leon T, who’s building his own nitrous combination and just wants to see a few more nitrous cars in RPM, after all, one thing has never changed — nitrous oxide is still the most budget friendly way to make big-time horsepower! Chris Biro, Editor In Chief, RPM MAGAZINE

ADVERTISER INDEX Advertiser Name Page # Accufab Inc. 29 AJPE - Alan Johnson Perf. 23 ARC - Applied Racing Components 50 ATI Performance Products 74 Autoglym 37 Bad Attitude Engines 34 Baer Brakes 10, 60 BES Racing Engines 50 Bill Mitchell Products 21 Blower Shop 5 Boteler Racing 35 Browell Bellhousing 73 BTE Racing 68 Calvert Racing Suspensions 26 Coan Engineering 76 CN Blocks 13 Crower 69 CVR Products 63 DART 11 Design Engineering 22 DIY Auto Tune 75 Dynotech Engineering 8 Ed Quay Race Cars 45 EFI University 21 Engine Research & Development ERD 47 Fast Eddie Racewear 62 F.A.S.T. - Fuel Air Spark Technology 51 FastMotorsports 9 FORD Racing 41 Frankenstein Racing Heads 46 G Force Racing Transmissions 70 GZ Motorsports 64 Harland Sharp 8 4

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Holcomb Motorsports HoleShot Wheels Holley Ultra Dominator Holley Ultra Double Pumper Holley Ultra Street Avenger Induction Solutions JB’s Power Centre JE Pistons Jesel JET Performance Joe Gibbs Racing Oil K&N Fiiters Leash Electronics Lokar Performance Products LUCAS Oil Products Lunati M&M Transmission Mahle Clevite Inc. Manton Pushrods Meziere Precision Manufacturing Mickey Thompson Tires Midwest Converters Mile High Crankshafts MSD Ignition Neal Chance Converters New Century Performance Nitrous Pro-Flow Nitrous Supply NOS - Nitrous Oxide Systems OASIS by Corlor Ohsweken Speedway Outlaw 10.5 Racing Association Parts Pro Performance Centers Performance2Way Racing Communications

14 45 40 10 76 27 70 77 17 64 48 80 22 44 2 72 20 9 78 80 7 34 12 19 16 47 23 38 33 46 18 17 84 79

Performance Improvements Performance Plus Connection Powermaster Performance Proformance Racing Transmissions PROLITE Batteries Pro Systems Carburetors Pro-Werks PRP - Philadelphia Racing Products Racequip Race Shop Converters Racing Radios Randy’s Ring & Pinion Rev-X Oil Products RJ Pro Fab Ross Racing Pistons RPM MAGAZINE EXTREME EVENTS RPM MAGAZINE SUBSCRIBE NOW! S&W Racecars Scotty’s Racing Engines Shafiroff Racing Engines Smith Racecraft Steve Morris Engines Summit Racing Equipment Taylor Cable Products Ti64 Toronto Motorsports Park Trailer-Alarms.com Trend Performance Trick Flow Valvoline VP Racing Fuels WC Enterprises Weldon High Performance

35 40 19 28 71 71 78 32 27 65 7 12 62 32 5 24 82 39 28 25 81 49 83 63 13 61 79 30 31 67 75 60 39

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Who’s In This Issue of Often Imitated, Never Duplicated-- RPM Mag IS The ORIGINAL Voice Of Extreme Drag Racing & Wild Street Machines WORLDWIDE... Don’t Settle For Less! We DELIVER Insane Fast Cars And Bring You NO POLITICS... JUST ACTION! Your ONLY “Real Time” “Real World” Car Mag... PERIOD! May 2013

So Much Horsepower Packed Into One Place... That Place IS RPM Magazine!


If He Catches You You’re Through!” ...Yeah Right!

John Hunkins’ 1968 Plymouth Road Runner “Coyote Duster” Even during our photo shoot, with snow still on the ground, John was eager to get behind the wheel for a cruise. We heard there were reports that day of a “bright red hot rod” in the area cruising the streets while being filmed... wasn’t us!

8 TENNESSEE TERROR Bo Simpson’s Low Slung Nitrous Nova Is A Heavy Hitter First impressions mean a lot in the world of high horsepower drag racing, and it’s hard to ignore a candy orange ’69 Nova, especially when it makes lots of noise and has plenty of power to back it up.

20 BLUE OVAL JUG ADDICTS The Ford Mustang is arguably the most popular platform for Outlaw Drag Racing today... and the Nitrous guys are flying in them!

70 STAY THE COURSE Seven years ago, after a tough inaugural event, the Southern Outlaw Tour seemed destined to fade into the night, yet today support is growing at a record pace due to the vision and tenacity of the Tour founder, Jim Howard.

PLUS: Deuces Wild

Read COMPLeTe RPM MaGaZINe baCk Issues O N L I N e F R e e a T www.RPM-MaG.COM 6

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GOT NITROUS? YOU BET! RPM Asks The Experts -


RPM Project Green Machine


Project 4 Lug Thug - Laundry Day 78 RPM Magazine, THE Voice Of Fast Cars WORLDWIDE

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TENNESSEE TERROR Bo Simpson’s Low Slung Nitrous Nova Is A Heavy Hitter

Story & Photography By Tommy Lee Byrd


irst impressions mean a lot in the world of high horsepower drag racing, and it’s hard to ignore a candy orange ’69 Nova, especially when it makes lots of noise and has plenty of power to back it up. Bo Simpson’s Nova makes a lasting impression, and the car has certainly come a long way since its days as a street machine in the late ‘80s. Bo bought it from a friend, and spent the past two decades making it quicker and faster. The result is a low slung Chevy that runs in the 4.70 index class (eighth-mile), along with the occasional grudge race. Bo’s Nova works well for the eighth-mile index racing, and he’s a regular at local tracks such as Knoxville Drag Strip and Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip, both of which are fairly close to his home in Maryville, Tennessee. He also travels to Montgomery Motorsports Park and he’s made a few appearances at the House of Hook (Carolina Dragway) through the years. And though the car has had numerous paint jobs in


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Right: Smokey burnouts are a treat for spectators! A beautiful ’69 Nova packed with 762 inches of big block Chevy turns its rear tires into a plume of white smoke... who wouldn’t enjoy that? Above: The low center of gravity and a fine-tuned rear suspension result in hard launches with very little rotation. On the 4.70 tune-up, it simply hits the tires and goes straight. We’re betting it’s a little wilder when all three kits are in full force!

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The massive Hoosier slicks measure 34.5/17-16 and wrap around a set of double beadlocked Alumastar wheels. The chassis, along with custom strut front and four-link rear suspension, allow Bo’s Nova to sit very low, which is always a good thing on a car with this much power. Between those steam rollers is a stout 9-inch rear end and Strange disc brakes.


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the past, the candy orange makes a big statement, and Bo plans to keep it around for a while. Underneath, Bo’s Nova is set up to get the classic Chevy body as close to the pavement as possible. A David Monday Race Cars chassis is responsible for the super low stance, and the car’s ability to put big time power to use. It all started with a pile of tubing that was turned into the backbone for a consistent combination. Originally, Bo built the car to compete in the Outlaw 10.5 class, but he felt like he was being priced out of competition, so he decided on the 4.70 class. It’s the quickest index class in all of eighth-mile doorslammer racing, so he has a blast with it. Occasionally, Bo will put the Nova on kill for an exhibition pass or grudge race, and he puts on quite the show. The car’s first configuration in Outlaw 10.5 trim retained the original-style front suspension, but David Monday built a brand new front frame section when Bo made the switch to 4.70 racing. This conversion saved lots of weight by going with a strut-style suspension, utilizing coilovers and lightweight rack and pinion steering. The weight savings continue with a set of Strange disc brakes on all four corners. The Nova is hunkered down over a set of massive Hoosier 34.5/17-16 slicks and 16x16-inch Weld Alumastar double beadlock wheels. Matching Alumastars and skinny Hoosiers ride up front. A Fab 9 rear end housing is packed with high-end parts including a 4.56 gear set and Strange 40-spline axles to get the

Dart’s LS Next™ Block Unleashes the Potential of the LS Engine Platform! • • • • •

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By utilizing conventional style main caps and oil pans with LS rotating assemblies and related components, Dart has addressed the windage and oil control problems which result from the LS engine’s separated crankcase bays.

It’s super clean, but all business inside, and the car is set up specifically for Bo, thanks to David Monday Race Cars. Bo spared no expense to save weight, installing fiberglass doors and front end, as well as carbon fiber wheel tubs out back.


For more information or to locate a dealer contact us at:

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Boasting nearly 1,500 horsepower, this 762ci big block is packed with high end parts, and comes from TRE Racing Engines. It’s a bulletproof combination that features a Brodix block and cylinder heads, topped with a custom sheet metal intake and dual Dominators. The big block features three stages of nitrous, two of which are visible here. The 762 has enough grunt to run in the 4.70 index class without breaking a sweat, but Bo likes to turn it up every once in a while.


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power to the ground. David Monday Race Cars built the four-link rear suspension, The TRE Racing Engines crew developed a special and used a pair of double adjustable coilover shocks to dial in the launch. solid roller camshaft for the 762ci monster, and ties it all together with a belt drive. Up top is a TRE-built sheet metal Bo’s Nova has no shortage of horsepower, and that’s due to a big-inch big intake, which is a must-have when dealing with a five-inch block built by Taylor Lastor and the crew at TRE Racing Engines in Cleveland, bore space block and 15-degree heads. A MagnaFlow pump Texas. It all starts with a Brodix block with five-inch bore spacing, which is a sends massive amounts of VP C-23 fuel into the dual 1,150cfm bulletproof chunk of A-356 aluminum, packed with an arsenal of forged and billet Dominators that top the big-inch big block. Bo’s combination components. The Callies crankshaft is a work of art, and slings a set of MGP includes three stages of nitrous, and puts down 1,453 horseconnecting rods and JE Pro Mod pistons. A dry sump oiling system keeps the sizeable 762 cubic inch big block lubricated. The short block is topped with a set RPM Quick Tech Sheet of Brodix 15-degree PB5000 cylinder heads, which have been extensively mas1969 Nova - 1/8-mile Drag Car saged by TRE Racing Engines to flow 550cfm. These cylinder heads are packed Owner/Driver: Bo Simpson with massive Victory titanium valves, PAC triple valve springs and Jesel rockers. Engine: 762 cubic inch 5-inch bore spacing block, Callies crank, MGP rods, JE Pro Mod pistons, 15:1 compression ratio. Heads: Brodix PB5000 15-degree, titanium valves Induction: Sheet metal intake by TRE Racing Engines, dual 1,150cfm Dominators Power Adder: Three stages of nitrous oxide Ignition: MSD 7531 Digital 7 Plus Transmission: Coan Powerglide with Coan converter Chassis/Suspension/Rear End: Round tube by David Monday Race Cars (Rockford, TN), strut-style front suspension, 4-link rear, Koni coilovers, Fab 9 rear differential with 4.56 gears Wheels/Tires: Weld Alumastar 15x3.5 and 16x16 double beadlock, Hoosier 26/4.5-15 and 34.5/17-16 Weight: 2,800 pounds Best ET and MPH: 4.37 at 171mph eighth-mile (regularly runs 4.70 Index) Special Thanks: David Monday, Bryan Walters, Jeff Byrd, Jim Warren, Walt Siler, William Bryant, Taylor Lastor (TRE Racing Engines)

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power and 1,300 lb-ft of torque on TRE’s dyno. Behind the fire-breathing big block is a Powerglide, which features a Coan converter and a host of indestructible, lightweight components. Although the candy orange paint doesn’t make it go faster, the slick body and paint sure makes Bo’s Nova stand out from the crowd. Bryan Walters from The Kandy Shop handled the body and paint work on the lowdown Nova, straightening the fiberglass panels, and blasting them with a slick coat of House of Kolors Candy Orange over a silver base. Silver stripes add a nice contrast to the killer paint job, and you won’t find a flaw in this clean and simple drag car. We snagged a few pictures of it with fresh paint, before any of the sponsor decals were applied, which sure made for a clean appearance. Inside, the car features a maze of roll cage tubing that surrounds Bo when it’s time to hit the track. Bo is a big guy, so fitting a tall man into a very low Nova was yet another task accomplished by the talented builder. Also inside is the MSD Digital 7 ignition box, and a bundle of wiring that runs neatly to all of the electronic items. Bo grips a lightweight, removable steering wheel and a Hurst shifter when it’s time to get down to business. Bo’s classic Chevy gets tons of attention at the track, whether it’s sitting in the pits between


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Pictured left to right: Walt Siler, Bo Simpson, Bryan Walters, William Bryant

rounds or motoring down the eighth-mile. There’s no doubt it makes serious horsepower with 762 cubic inches of nitrous-fed Chevy power under the hood. Bo plans to continue his 4.70 racing schedule throughout the year, but you can bet he’ll turn all three stages wide open just for the fun of it from time to time. Bo and his ‘69 Nova leave a lasting impression on racers and spectators alike, and at the end of the day, the boys from Tennessee have a great time, and that’s what it’s all about.

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Two Brothers, Two Deuces & Some Wild Times... The Story of QUIK II & GRIFF II


Story by

Dennis Demeyre


f cars were cards and you could pick the game, then you would want these two in your hand! Their faces read QUIK II and GRIFF II and their suit is Chevy. They are held by brothers Ray and Jeff Griffin. Ray’s QUIK II is the older (like Ray) and more muscular 1962 Deuce, whereas Jeff’s 1967 embodies the more recognizable mid 60’s styling. Both cars have that unmistakable Pro Street machine swagger though, and all the subtlety of a coiled snake. The Chevy II was first available in 1962 and initially came with 4 and 6 cylinder engines and top speeds of 70 and 80 mph, respectively. An 8 cylinder became available in 1964, and the model’s name would be replaced by Nova in 1972. Eventually, the Chevy II/Nova would pack not only a 350 hp small block, but also a 375 hp, big block. From these humble beginnings, enthusiasts would make this model a favorite because of its light weight and distinctive appearance. Just like in the song “Every Picture Tells A Story”, so it is with the evolution of the Griffin Brothers’ cars!


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Quik II and Griff II (pictured in back) sit quietly outside of Ray Griffin’s shop in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Below, Jeff enjoys a day of sunshine before going for a ride in GRIFF II. Now, with the new 406 mill which Jeff proudly displays in the dyno room (below), that ride around town will be a whole lot different!

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Picture this: Brothers who shared things growing up, even car engines! If one had a car (Ray, when he originally acquired the ’62 Chevy II in 1990), then Jeff had an engine – a 400 small block (but no suitable car). Ironically, this same engine block (now a 406), will find its way back into Jeff’s ’67 Deuce in its most recent “incarnation”. Ray in his youth had a roots style supercharger and twin carbs sitting on his bedroom dresser – that belonged to his brother. Word has it that back then Ray always seemed to have “something” fast to drive, whereas Jeff always drove “anything” fast. Ray wouldn’t be satisfied until he had a ride “that would rotate the earth”, while Jeff tried to literally tunnel into the earth. Something about an errant ride where the vehicle Jeff was driving tried to bury itself under the porch of a neighborhood house!

Every car guys (or girls) dream is the shop that Jeff built to house his Chevy II, and it looks right at home there.

RPM Quick Tech 1967 Chevy II (GRIFF II)

Rear End: 9” Ford back braced, RPS Machine lightened 4.88 Richmond gears, Strange center section and spool, Moser 35 spline axles.

Owner/Driver: Jeff Griffin, Blue Point, On, Can.

Chassis: Perimeter square tube, with race 8 point cage by Jeff.

Engine: 406 ci sbc, cast crank and Eagle rods, AFR 210 CNC heads, TRW pistons. Valve Train: Comp Cams .580 lift, Howard Cams valve train, Stainless 8 mm stemmed valves. Intake: Edelbrock Super Victor, plenum ported and port matched to heads, 830 cfm dual feed Holley.

Suspension: Front – Fabricated A arm/strut with rack & pinion Rear – 4 link coil-over, wishbone locator. Tires: Rear 32x17.5 M.T. ET Streets on 15” X 14” Weld Wheels. Vehicle Weight: 3000lbs with driver.

Power Adder: Jeff’s right foot!

Engine Dyno Results: 552 hp @ 6100 rpm, 498 lbs of torque @ 5000 rpm.

Headers/Exhaust: Hooker fenderwell, 1 ¾“ prim., 3” collector to 3” Flowmaster mufflers.

Best ET & MPH: To be determined with above engine June 1st -2nd 2013!

Transmission: Griffin built THM 350, TCI 3800 stall converter and trans brake.

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Boys grow up though, eventually, and Jeff first acquired his Chevy II as a “shell” in about 1988, only to have to get rid of it to go to college in 1990. With some luck, he would regain ownership again about 5 years ago, with the car having had a new chassis and being tubbed – the beginnings of Pro Street. Jeff would then install an interior, street duty drive train, roll cage and have the car painted in “arrest-me-red”. We now enter the world of Pro Street with the Griffin boys in pursuit of visual impact for the street, and maximum engineering for performance on the strip. These cars have had the deck stacked in their favor as they benefited from the facilities of Griffin Autotek Inc. in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. The shop does general automotive service and specializes in exhaust systems, performance transmissions, and differential service. Ray is also a ProCharger distributor and a performance parts supplier. Drag racing has always been in their blood, with Ray regularly being the “fastest street car” when the local track reopened, and Jeff

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winning a Street E.T. event the first time out with his ’67. Both cars have undergone several transformations over time, ultimately ending up with what we see here. The first rule of Pro Street is to begin with a rigid frame and appropriate cage. These cars have that in spades with full perimeter chassis and round tube roll cages – a funny car type for Ray’s, and basic 8-point for Jeff. The capable assistance of “Fat Dog Fabricating” is readily apparent in Ray’s chrome moly cage, and also in the welding of the aluminum tubing leading to and from the liquid/air intercooler. Steel floor pans were chosen in each case for their street duty, and both interiors are Spartan, yet functional. As previously mentioned, Jeff’s initial ownership time with GRIFF II was spent with a pretty basic running gear, along with body and paint. He immediately took it to the track and was rewarded with an event win in his class! This despite the woeful 700 R4 transmission’s inconsistency and its 1-2 gears’ wide ratio (it would later be changed out for a THM 350). Jeff said of the car, “Win on Sunday, get groceries on Monday”, and he would drive it everywhere. A ride this fine needed its own home and Jeff would build his Deuce a 24’ X 60’ shop with heated floor, a two post lift and a building interior in keeping with the quality of the car itself!

A fresh turbo 350 trans tricked-out by brother Ray with a TCI 3,800 rpm stall converter and trans-brake will back up the new 406. And of course, to take more power you need beefier parts out back. A braced 9” differential was assembled with new center section, 4.88 gears, 35 spline axles and spool.

Jeff then had to take a more conservative approach to the car’s further progress due to other responsibilities and impending health issues. Over time, a personal war raged, was seemingly won, only to come back again. Jeff is battling cancer. As life has a way of setting priorities, the time was now to complete Jeff’s dream ride. With some help from family and great friends that now nasty little 406 cubic inch small block sporting over 550 naturally aspirated horsepower, has found it’s way to the dyno room, and is soon to be installed in Jeff’s GRIFF II. And just in time for a very special event! From the Grand Bend Motorplex website “Forums”, under “Local Events”: “Griffin Autotek, Sarnia has the drag strip rented June 1st and 2nd. The track will be prepped the full ¼, ambulance on site as well as fire crew. We will be testing from about


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After assembly, the first “run-in” for Jeff’s new engine was a “public affair”, completed during a special day at Griffin Autotek.

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Fun in the dyno room with Jeff’s 406 as Tom Craig (left of photo), gives the newly dyno’d engine his stamp of approval. From left to right is: Tom Craig, Jeff, John Saunders and brothers Paul & Ray Griffin.

11 am til 2:30 pm or so. Then we will have a bracket or you can continue testing. No money just prizes. Cost per day is $50, plus a donation by your crew. This race is to benefit Jeff Griffin who is battling cancer. Come out and join us. If interested call 1-519-336-8493 and ask to talk to Tammy. I know its months away, but mark it on your calendar. Thanks, Tom Craig” Please come out and support Jeff along with GRIFF II, which will be ready for this race weekend. This event is also posted on the Grand Bend Motorplex website’s calendar schedule. You can also check the “Forums”, under “Local Events” for any updates. Special thanks go out to Ray and Tammy and the staff of Griffin Autotek, Tom Craig, Kelly Cooper of Fat Dog Fabricating, the complimentary services of John Saunders’ dyno facilities, Abram Heating and Cooling and to all of the many loyal friends that continue to support Jeff in his challenge.

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N2O... Forgotten Warrior Or Awakened Giant ? RPM Asks The Experts

When we first considered our “N2O... Forgotten Warrior Or Awakened Giant” themed issue of RPM, revolving around Nitrous Oxide, we definitely had our hands full. As you can tell, the past 5-10 years have been a battle for the once baddest power adder on the planet. To bring back the glory days of Nitrous, so to speak, the industry itself had to take the bull by the horns, overcome the skeptics and nay-sayers, and re-write “The Book Of Nitrous Oxide”. We are confident that, through the hard work of many dedicated companies such as those who contributed to this article, that goal has been achieved. We’ve made it through the tough times, now let’s focus on making some more badass horsepower on the “juice”! To introduce our piece, we asked Mike Thermos to give us a quick history lesson on the power adder whose existence (for use in performance automotive applications), and survival, he has been instrumental in over the past 35 years. The use of nitrous oxide (N20) as a performance enhancement has been traced back to World War II, where it was employed to give aircraft “emergency” boosts in both airspeed and altitude capabilities. However, with the advent of jet propulsion at the end of WWII, the government’s interest in pistonpowered aircraft waned, and for the most part, nitrous R&D was shelved. There were sporadic attempts at using nitrous oxide in race cars over the next few decades, but since for the most part it was a clandestine, closely-guarded secret, not too many people were aware of its existence.

Finally, in the 1970s, nitrous “came out of the closet”. It was the hot topic of conversation. Especially since a number of entrepreneurs brought systems to market that were highly erratic, at best. It was at this point in time when a couple of successful automotive technicians and racers, Mike Thermos and Dale Vaznaian, saw there was a potential for nitrous oxide done right. In 1978 Mike and Dale formed Nitrous Oxide Systems, Inc., and the rest is history. They didn’t invent nitrous oxide, they simply perfected its use and elevated it to a position of prominence in the automotive performance community. The company’s early years were largely spent demonstrating that nitrous oxide was an efficient, safe and reliable form of performance enhancement. NOS has always been known for thoroughly engineering each application, using only the best quality materials, and producing kits that were easy to install and built for long service. Perhaps the greatest boost to the popularity of nitrous oxide was the advent of drag racing’s Pro Modified (Pro Mod) class. Early pioneers like Charles Carpenter, Bill Kuhlmann and Robby Vandergriff captured the imagination of race fans with their impressive performances with stock-bodied cars. And NOS was there for every performance milestone; the first 200 mph run by a “doorslammer,” the first 6-second run, etc. In 1999 the NOS brand was sold to Holley but Mike continued to work for them as a consultant. Then, in 2004 he started “Nitrous Supply”.

In order to give our readers balance, RPM contacted a number of leaders in modern day Nitrous Oxide technology and gave them a collection of general questions regarding “Nitrous Oxide Then and Now” to address in their own words: Over the past 15 years what is the biggest difference about Nitrous Oxide systems then and now? Steve Johnson Induction Solutions 16121 Flight Path Dr Brooksville, FL 34604 352-593-5900 ph 352-593-5901 fax www.inductionsolutions.com


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Wow. A lot has changed over the last 15 years—for the nitrous kits themselves Induction Solutions has worked a lot on flow technology, Nitrous-toFuel ratios, materials in the systems, and flow-path design. On the engine side, the technology there is getting higher and higher with better piston designs, camshafts, cylinder heads, intake manifolds, and the list goes on. I’d say we definitely understand more about the engine and nitrous relationship today than 15 years ago. I think one of the biggest key factors is the Induction Solutions Tech Help. We work hard to support our customers and that translates into more people running quicker, faster, and without the

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associated breakage. Our phones are non-stop nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helping customers. And we cannot forget the excellent advancement in electronics from the digital ignitions systems to progressive controllers. The popularity in the past two or three years in water injection has also attributed to some really fast performances and consistency. Nitrous Plate technology has come a long way since the early plates. What advancements can you contribute to the crazy horsepower numbers that modern day plates can produce? It goes back to our previous answer with regards to the advancement in Nitrous-toFuel ratios and flowing the systems. Inductions Solutions has worked a lot on the solenoid side to get the flow through the solenoid to help support the big power from plate nitrous systems. We’ve also worked with a lot of different plates to get the cross sections consistent for flow patterns. Induction Solutions has had the chance to work with some awesome racers that are restricted to nitrous plates only, and those guys have went out and set all sorts of records. That sort of validates a lot of our work in the shop and theories when it comes to building badass plates. How have devices like Nitrous Timers and Progressive Systems impacted Nitrous use in drag racing? Progressive nitrous systems and timers have allowed us to add big capacity single unit systems. There are a lot of classes out there that are restricted to a single stage like several NMCA and NMRA categories and of course X275 big-block rules. The past few years we have worked with a lot of Top Dragster racers and the controllers and timers help us keep those combinations consistent. We tested a lot of different progressives on our computer controlled flow bench to see effects on tune-up and different aspects. We review tons of data logs trying different things out and we are currently working a lot with NMS-1000 controller. If a customer is not limited by class rules to run a plate or fogger system which one do you recommend most often and why? Like everything in this sport, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are some factors coming into play like the engine combination and what the goals are for the customer. We custom build every nitrous system to fit the customer’s goals, and that can be the budget we are working within to what the engine can handle. So there are a lot of factors that come into play on deciding between a plate or a fogger. Where do you see Nitrous technology going in the future? The technology seems to be heading to the quality of the nitrous delivered into the engine and that includes better solenoid technology and flow paths. We are working a lot with water injection and alternative fuels—specifically E85. Nitrous will always be a cost-effective modification so we will continue to refine its use for better results for our customers.

Mike Wood, CEO Nitrous Express Nitrous Express, Inc. 5411 Seymour Highway Wichita Falls, TX 940-767-7694 www.nitrousexpress.com

Over the past 15 years what is the biggest difference about Nitrous Oxide systems then and now? The biggest advancement in nitrous technology at Nitrous Express has been the development of increased laminar nitrous flow in bottle valves and solenoids. Our standard bottle today valve can flow over three times our original NX valve and our RPM Magazine, THE Voice Of Fast Cars WORLDWIDE

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.250 orifice Lightning 250 nitrous solenoids have 4.3 times more flow area that our original NX solenoids. Nitrous Plate technology has come a long way since the early plates. What advancements can you contribute to the crazy horsepower numbers that modern day plates can produce? NX plates have been capable of flowing the current “standard” horsepower numbers for over a decade. Others are just now realizing that a .156 outside diameter nitrous discharge tube is very restrictive, NX has used .150 diameter internal diameter tubes for over a decade. Nitrous Express plates feature an integrated billet divider that contains the nitrous and fuel discharge orifices. With this design the nitrous/fuel discharge orifices are drilled by the CNC machine during the plate manufacturing process ensuring better accuracy and flow consistency from one plate to another. This design also eliminates the possibility of rotated spray bars commonly associated with some round tube plates. How have devices like Nitrous Timers and Progressive Systems impacted Nitrous use in drag racing? These devices have made it possible to manage these huge power increases available today. The NX Maximizer 4 Progressive Controller can control nitrous flow by referencing time, RPM, MPH, or boost and in addition can monitor air/fuel ratio and make automatic air/fuel ratio adjustments on the fly. If a customer is not limited by class rules to run a plate or fogger system which one do you recommend most often and why? The individual nozzle system is superior in the fact that it gives better nitrous/fuel distribution and is not limited to one or two nitrous metering jets. With eight nitrous and fuel jets it is capable of producing an almost unlimited amount of gut wrenching torque and horsepower.


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Where do you see Nitrous technology going in the future? The latest big push is the combination of power adders, Superchargers/Turbochargers and nitrous are a match made in Heaven. The added oxygen and the extreme intercooling properties of nitrous are a great addition to these applications. The NX Maximizer 4 Progressive controller was designed specifically to manage the nitrous/supercharger/turbo applications. There are still many nitrous “secrets” to be unlocked by innovative engineers as well as power hungry racers themselves. The outlook for nitrous power is very bright at Nitrous Express!

Keith Wilson President Nitrous Pro-Flow 4700 N.E. 11 Ave. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334 Ph. 954-771-6216 Fx. 954-771-3413 www.nitrousproflow.com

Over the past 15 years what is the biggest difference about Nitrous Oxide systems then and now? It’s really not as much the system as it is the user. Today’s racer is fully equipped with state of the art electronics, custom flowed systems, data loggers, etc. But this racer doesn’t overlook any information that can be learned from these tools. Today’s successful racer methodically analyzes his data. He makes small changes and advances slowly. This is the simple recipe for a fast nitrous car.

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Nitrous Plate technology has come a long way since the early plates. What advancements can you contribute to the crazy horsepower numbers that modern day plates can produce? It started when class rules restricted racers to plate systems as an attempt to restrict them. Any open-minded racer will “push, break, repair, repeat” until they are on top. That determination combined with a company like Nitrous ProFlow that will aid any dedicated racer’s program with the wealth of information we have to offer has resulted in racers doing things with plates that were never thought to be possible. I’d also add that we haven’t seen all that plate systems have to offer. There are systems under development that can out perform today’s best so watch in the future for these advancements and technologies to appear. How have devices like Nitrous Timers and Progressive Systems impacted Nitrous use in drag racing? These devices have been around a long time. But, in recent years they really have gotten much more advanced and more reasonably priced. Now they have digital displays or are laptop programmable and have built in features such as data loggers, rpm/time based controls. A racer or street enthusiast can program his system to avoid mishaps that in previous years would lead to costly repairs or lost races. I’d also add that they have tremendously simplified the wiring systems where numerous mistakes were made. If a customer is not limited by class rules to run a plate or fogger system which one do you recommend most often and why? It really depends on the situation. A plate system will fill the intake plenum quickly and hit the tire much harder than a fogger system that will smoothly come up on power. A plate system is easier to install but doesn’t allow the racer to tune individual cylinders like a fogger system. Although a properly designed intake and a plate such as ours that has a 360deg spray pattern, rarely has much difference cylinder to cylinder. Where do you see Nitrous technology going in the future? A few years ago some thought the nitrous cars were on their way to nostalgia races and museums. The class rules of most sanction bodies were matching 1200hp nitrous combos with 2000+hp blower/turbo combos. As their car counts dropped, they narrowed the margins a little and boom the nitrous guys were back at the track. The future of nitrous technology will be a co-op of companies like ours that constantly strive to give our customers the tools they need to advance and the racers advancing each other through info sharing on internet forums. We have countless projects yielding advancements that could be made to todays systems. We just like to keep some of them under lock and key until our nitrous soldiers need them.

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Mike Thermos Nitrous Supply 15552 Producer Lane Huntington Beach, CA 92649 Ph. 714-373-1986 Fx. 714-373-5365 www.nitroussupply.com

If a customer is not limited by class rules to run a plate or fogger system which one do you recommend most often and why? A fogger system is probably the best choice. First, because you have a nozzle at each port, you can control a number of things for that one cylinder. The amount of nitrous for that one cylinder, the amount of fuel for that one cylinder, you can richen or lean that one cylinder, and good distribution throughout the engine can be obtained. The only disadvantage is that you must use 16 jets instead of 2 or 4. The hit is a little softer at the start (fill all the blocks and lines). A fogger is a little more expensive too, you need to drill, tap, and sometimes weld bungs on manifolds as well. But is has the potential to flow lots of nitrous. The criss cross plates offer good distribution and hit very hard as well.

Over the past 15 years what is the biggest difference about Nitrous Oxide systems then and now?

Where do you see Nitrous technology going in the future?

I would have to say there’s a lot more knowledge available, racers have learned to lean the systems down and really know where the timing needs to be retarded to. A lot has also been learned about how to build an engine that will take full advantage of the Nitrous.

Fully electronic and programmable with each injector for each cylinder, to control both nitrous and fuel (amounts, ratios of n20 and fuel, when we want to inject, as well as pressure control). Also, direct injection into the cylinder I think will boost the power ratings, as well as provide better control from what we have now.

Nitrous Plate technology has come a long way since the early plates. What advancements can you contribute to the crazy horsepower numbers that modern day plates can produce? Flow demands have increased substantially. The original spray bars that have been used for the past 30 years were only 5/32". Now we’re putting 3/16" spray bars in our new Criss-Cross 2-stage plate that has the capability to produce over 500hp. Bigger and better solenoids and bottle valves have also played a big part in producing these kinds of horsepower numbers. The early solenoids only had .093 orifices and now we offer solenoid orifice sizes as big as .175 nitrous in our “Trash Can” Series. Also, modern day nitrous bottles have a ½” orifice and can flow 1,000hp worth of nitrous.


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Note: When we talk about making power, we need to note that we only make power (on a typical gasoline engine, even with nitrous) to about 20 degrees after top dead center (TDC), for the rest of the power stroke the piston is just on a ride down. This is a main reason a “NITRO” fueled motor makes so much more power. It is burning fuel all the way down the power stroke! When nitro burns it gives off oxygen so it can burn more fuel all the way down the power stroke and you make much more power. I think there’s a real possibility, by direct injection of fuel and nitrous further down the power stroke to make more power, but there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. Take a look at some of the new cars, like the Corvette with direct injection. It has fuel pressures over 2000 psi! Also, in racing, with 850-900 cubic inch engines a reality now, can you imagine putting a pair of turbos and Nitrous Oxide on one of those monsters?

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Monte Smith Motorports Technical Director Nitrous Oxide Systems 1801 Russellville Rd. Bowling Green, KY 42101 Ph. 270-782-2900 Fx. 270-781-9940 www.nosnitrous.com Over the past 15 years what is the biggest difference about Nitrous Oxide systems then and now? One of the largest advancements the industry has seen in respect to nitrous applications is through the controllers responsible for regulating how the nitrous is integrated into an engine. They can now input nitrous into a system in various ways, such as time/based or standalone RPM activation switches that will activate through TPS (throttle position sensor), and through full standalone engine management systems like Holley EFI. Parts are always improving and the understanding behind nitrous on the technical side has evolved also. Nitrous Plate technology has come a long way since the early plates. What advancements can you contribute to the crazy horsepower numbers that modern day plates can produce? The plates actually haven’t changed a great deal in their design, other than the spray bars that used to be made of brass and now they tend to be made from stainless. The higher power levels come from the re-tuning of jetting. It used to be overly rich, 20+ year old technology and through work with individuals (such as Monte Smith), those charts have been restructured for optimal power output. Through double bar setups you can administer more nitrous and fuel into an engine and the distribution is a lot better in cross plate setups, making the tuning window much larger. How have devices like Nitrous Timers and Progressive Systems impacted Nitrous use in drag racing? While there were analog systems in the past, these systems are now digital and easier to use which boasts infinitely adjustable tunability, and touchscreen interfacing for the racer. Power management is much easier to get a handle on through these electronic devices. If a customer is not limited by class rules to run a plate or fogger system which one do you recommend most often and why? If a racer isn’t limited by class rules, a fogger system would be preferable. This is due to the individual control you have with each cylinder. Typically a fogger is going to give a racer individual cylinder tuning, more equal distribution amongst said cylinders, and will make more power overall than a plate system. The only caveat to a fogger system is the greater involvement in installation, and the larger cost associated with purchase and installation. Where do you see Nitrous technology going in the future? With coil on plug setups using systems like Holley EFI, a racer can benefit from individual cylinder timing which will allow maximum power output without hurting an engine. Integrating nitrous into a car with a system such as Holley EFI gives a racer many options to choose from for nitrous delivery, offering maximum control and power output potential.

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Blue Oval Jug Addicts Story by Chuck Scott Photos by BC Petrie Photography bcpetriephotography.com &

Dalton Winfield


or a few years it really started to look like nitrous was going to fade into the archives as the outdated power adder. Turbo and blower technology was picking up steam and racers were dumping their old hateful destructive girlfriends (nitrous) and running with arms wide open to the hotter more submissive replacements. I mean who wouldn’t? Folks were tired of filling bottles and changing pistons like underwear just to look at the taillights of forced induction cars every weekend. While not much was changing in nitrous components and nothing in the juice itself, along came progressive controllers that would help to control the instant torque bomb of leaving on the bottle. While progressive technology stayed pretty much the same in principal since their debut, they did improve over time with more manipulative slopes and stronger drivers to handle bigger and


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You may remember the RPM double feature back in March 2012 of Eric McMillon’s 2 cars, Vader and Skywalker. Right after that photo shoot in October 2011, Eric switched to a sheet metal twin carb manifold and 3 stages of Induction Solutions nitrous on the Yates SC1 headed 465ci SBF. This picture was taken by Brian Petrie at SGMP at the Febuary 2012 Lights Out 3 race where Matt Mungal piloted McMillon’s Skywalker to a then record setting 4.71. Since then the car has been sold to Cory Swanstron and is driven by his 17 year old son Justin, and has been as quick as 4.686 @ 150.86 mph. Another small block Ford overachiever is Ronnie Wilson. His AFR 225 headed SBF has been 5.00 on a Wilson Manifolds 2 stage plate and 5.13 with the plate on one stage. Yep those are out of the box street heads and a plate system on that thing!

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more solenoids. Camshaft designers have changed a bit too, finding better grinds to get more power while keeping the motor happy. Piston manufacturers have developed more resilient slugs that can take more heat and abuse with hard anodizing, ring packages and piston top designs. Cylinder head castings have improved some, but nitrous specific port profiles and chamber design can make even older heads nitrous oxide friendly. Ignition boxes like the MSD 7531 and the Power Grid system have helped nitrous racers harness the spark with programmable timing control and individual cylinder timing. But the most significant savior of the spray was the understanding and knowledge of tuners and racers. In just a few short years folks are spraying bigger and bigger You can’t talk about Nitrous Powered Fords without mentioning Nick Yarber. He has an ORSCA EZ Street championship and two KOTS Street Race championships under his belt due to his success with nitrous inhaling Ford power plants. Nick recently pulled his championship winning Yates SC1 small block in his burgundy coupe and replaced it with a X275 legal 582ci big block Ford with IDT conventional heads. In just 16 passes Nick had broken a few 8.8” rear ends and also broke into the 4.80s. By 23 passes on the new combo he has switched to a Racecraft fabbed 9” rear, went 4.76 with a Kevin Neal tuned big single stage fogger and runner-upped in X275 to Justin Swanstron at the first King of the Streets event at the House of Hook. I’d bet my pinky toe Nick’s ET’s will continue to drop throughout the 2013 season.

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hits without fear of the catastrophes of the past. The jet spreads and timing numbers of today would be ridiculed by the much slower nitrous racers of just a few years back. Racers now are spraying more through one big single stage fogger than folks used to hose through three kits before. All of a sudden we are seeing forced induction guys switching to the giggle gas for performance reasons. You actually are hearing folks claiming nitrous big blocks are more maintenance free than a blower or turbo combo!

Look at that little tire! Kevin Robinson gets it done in his 4 eyed Mustang and is a great example of a nitrous powered Ford overachiever. Kevin was a pioneer of the Carolina Real Street classes where nitrous cars were limited to stock valve angle non raised runner heads and jet limits. Kevin’s Victor Jr. headed 427ci small block Ford ran a best of 5.40 with the class required twin .057 jets in his Applied Nitrous Technology cross bar plate at a minimum 3150lbs race weight. With a few pounds out and without the jet restrictions, Kevin has been 5.23 in Ultimate/Street Race trim.


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The fox body Mustang is no doubt the most popular platform in heads-up racing, and Ford engines have no problem running up front on the hose. Even the diehard Chevy guys have to respect a Ford powered Mustang with the candles lit from a mean nitrous tune. Our editor asked me to put together a few notable Ford powered heads-up stars but there are so many great ones, it was hard to pick. The trends are favoring the Ford nitrous combos at the moment and for good reason!

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Martin Connelley When I was tapped on the shoulder to prepare this piece on a few nitrous powered Ford hitters, I knew Martin and his wife Michelle’s big block moral killer would be at the top of my list. For the first couple years that big blocks were allowed in X275, they were lagging behind the other combos. Big block racers campaigned for a second kit so they could compete with the multiple stage small blocks and the huge MPH of the forced induction gangsters. Their hopes for a favorable rule change was flushed when Kevin Neal laid down some stellar numbers with his 275 radial big block Mustang. The Big Block Brigade hoped that since his motor was a few cubes too big, him not running X275 would keep his performances under the rug. That didn’t last long once he borrowed a smaller engine and showed up at South Georgia Motorsports Park in 2011. His borrowed nothing special conventional big block went 4.78 in the eighth-mile like it was easy. Soon, Kevin Neil tuned single gun big blocks started breaking hearts all over the east coast. Martin Connelley’s A460 580ci big block Ford powered coupe was one of those heart breakers. Suddenly the big blocks were in the cross hairs of the rule change lobbyist.

Then we get to the big dog. Martin Connelley’s big block Ford brute is a terror in X275. The Trick Flow backed coupe holds the nitrous X275 record with a 4.63 @ 155.9MPH. Below: Dalton Winfield catches this very unique shot as Connelley hits hyper warp speed at SGMP on the big stage.

Martin’s Coupe is one of those groundbreaking one gun killers. The Connelley Racing team has run their hot rod in the popular 8.5” tire races in the Kentucky/Ohio/Indiana area since 2004. The silver Mustang on tiny tires captured multiple championships before taking the 2011 season off to revamp their program and transform the car for X275 duty. They will still mount a set of the 26x8.5” slicks in a heartbeat


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Trick Flow Specialties Engine and Fuel Delivery Components Deliver the Power You Need to Get Ahead on the Street and on the Track. Trick Flow produces engine parts for GM LS and LT1, small and big block Chevy and Ford, Ford 4.6L/5.4L modular, and Ford Cleveland series engines.

TFX™ Nitrous Systems Trick Flow TFX nitrous systems are an affordable way to bolt on big power. TFX systems include everything you need. ➤

Adjustable from 50 to 200 horsepower in 50 horsepower increments

Includes spray bar plates, calibrated solenoids, jets, switches, lines, filter, 10 lb. unfilled bottle, bottle brackets, braided stainless steel line, hardware, and instructions (exact contents vary by application)

Systems available for Holley 4150 and 4500 Dominator carburetors plus 1986-95 5.0L Ford and 351 Windsor/Clevelandstyle engines with Trick Flow EFI intake manifolds

Plates and jets available separately for custom applications

Nitrous bottle blanket also available


whenever there is an opportunity. In 2012 they won 7 races in a row at 5 different tracks on 3 different size tires! Look for 4.50s this summer or maybe even by the time you read this. As of today April 6th the car has been converted to fuel injection and is being tested as I type. Martin is confident they can push the car to new levels with the added control and manners of fuel injection. Martin would like to thank, Tony Bischoff and BES Racing Engines. “Those guys are a huge part of the program,” explains Martin. “And a big thanks to Trick Flow Specialties for stepping up and helping this year, along with Kevin Neal of Neal Power Innovations for nitrous tuning and other tuning and set up help.” Martin also thanks his wife Michelle, as well as their son John Martin. Michelle takes care of feeding the crew all weekend and is a vital part of the team. Additional crew members are Eric Mitchell, who handles the majority of tuning decisions and chassis adjustments. Cory Brooks and Dalton Winfield who handle maintenance between rounds, and Pitt Connelley who takes care of routine maintenance between races.

Now that belongs between the rails of a Mustang! The 580ci BES Racing Engines BBF consists of a C&C aluminum block topped with a set of Trick Flow A460 heads and intake along with a Pro Systems Dominator. The nitrous system is a custom Induction Solutions direct port fogger, flowed and tuned by Martin’s close friend Kevin Neal. From left to right we have Eric Mitchell, Dalton Winfield, Cory Brooks, Michelle and Martin Connelley. A hard working team driven to be numero uno!

The Car 1990 Ford Mustang, SFI 25.5 Chromoly Chassis by Mike Adam’s Racecars of London, KY Stock suspension, Santhuff front struts, Afco rear shocks by Menscer Motorsports 580 big block Ford by BES Racing Engines, C&C aluminum block, Scat crank, GRP aluminum rods, Ross Pistons, Trick Flow A460 cylinder heads and intake, Pro Systems carb Induction Solutions Single Fogger tuned by Kevin Neal Rossler transmission, BradCo converter, PST carbon driveshaft, Ford 9” rear end MSD 7531 ignition, Racepak V300 data logger with IQ3 dash, Spaghetti Menders wiring Weld Alumastar wheels, M/T ET front runners, 275/60 M/T ET Radial PRO Best performance - 4.63 @ 155.9MPH (nitrous X275 record)


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r™ plate i a h s s o r C 350+ HP d d a s m e s syst ry EFI kit D w e N & ! 1300 HP r e v o d ad

on y based r e v i l e d e nitrous r ultimat o f t Control s o o or b time, rpm trol & safety! con

) d (P.O.D. n a m e D o with sure On The Pres a bottle heater t ssure! e controls of the target pr eans m i s in +/- 5 p t bottle pressure trols n n Consiste nt runs! Also co consiste ttle opener! bo

www.nosnitrous.com Techline: 270-781-9741



PART II The Fun Begins!!

Story & Photos By Brian Hansen

What’s Next?

The next step in getting our 1966 Chevy Bel Air closer to getting on the road is to install the Big Block Brawler 489 big block Chevy, Thompson’s Transmission TH400, Midwest Converters Ultra Damper torque converter and AEM Electronics Dyno-Shaft on-board dynamometer. Our “Green Machine” previously had a big block nestled between the frame rails, so installing our Brawler was a snap. With the help of the Nickey Chicago ace wrenches Cory Clayton and Tom Dietz we now have the engine, transmission and torque converter installed.

Midwest Converters- “Ultra Damper” With 1180hp and 1069 ft lbs of torque at our disposal, we knew that a custom made torque converter would be needed to harness the power. With over 40 years of experience in building torque converters , and transmissions, we reached out to our friends at Midwest Converters (located in Rockford, Illinois) to build one of their revolutionary Ultra Damper Converters for the Bel Air. The Ultra Damper is a new design specifically for drag racing applications and features a built-in viscous damper. This dampening system


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absorbs, and dissipates, torsional vibrations created in the drive train. Reduction in this undesirable energy increases horsepower to the rear wheels and reduces transmission wear. Midwest Converters has been developing the Ultra Damper Converter for over 2 ½ years and is now offering this revolutionary converter in 9”, 10” and 10.5” diameters with stall speeds ranging from 2,500-5,500 rpm. The CNC machined Ultra Damper Converters are also available with the Hydra Lock option that reduces converter slippage on the top end to near 0%. The converter that Midwest Converters owner Dennis Snead designed for our Bel Air is their top of the line “Annihilator” Series 10.5” diameter converter with a “Brute” sprag and aforementioned Hydra Lock option.

Thompson’s Transmission- Stage II TH400 Mike Thompson (who owns Thompson’s Transmission in Roscoe, Illinois) put his 32 years of transmission building experience into the Turbo Hydromatic 400 for the Green Machine. No stranger to big cars with lots of horsepower, Mike owns a 4,250 lb 1968 Impala (powered by a nasty 509 BBC) that has run 9.40’s through the mufflers! As Mike stated,” I chose the HD GM case for this application and put in the

Midwest Converters Annihilator 10.5” Ultra Damper Converter for the Green Machine can handle over 2,000hp and comes with a Lifetime Warranty from Midwest. The patent pending Hydra Lock option included in this converter has shown performance improvements of 1 to 1.5 seconds and 3-4 mph in testing on a 7 second drag car. This converter will be the first, and last, torque converter that this car will even need. Shown here is the the data broadcast device (controller housing) for the AEM Dyno-Shaft installed on the tailshaft of the TH400 transmission. Laboratory-grade strain gauges in the slip-yoke measure torque at the driveline and an optical sensor in the controller housing allow the rotational speed to be measured. The combination of real torque and RPM readings allows the Dyno-Shaft to output horsepower readings as accurately as any dynomometer.

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same parts that I’ve been using in heavy hi-powered cars for years. There are a lot of high dollar parts out there that could be used, but I’ve found that a TCI forward hub, 36 element 2 nd sprag, Hipster Valve Body and Red Line Clutches are reliable for these kinds of applications, so that’s what I use. ”

AEM Electronics Dyno-Shaft Whether you have a stout street machine or a 5 second Pro Modified, having the ability to monitor your vehicle’s performance is crucial to maximizing its performance. In the not so distant past data logging was something that only the “Pros” did. Gathering information was expensive and so complex that it required someone with an extensive computer background just to operate the system. AEM Electronics has released a real game changer with its Dyno-Shaft on-vehicle dynamometer that provides true onboard power measurement, and when combined with its AQ-1 data logger racers can log up to 8 channels (plus any other CAN AEM Performance Electronics DynoShaft is an on-vehicle dynamometer device that will deliver real-time horsepower and torque numbers while the Bel Air is being operated in real world conditions. The data can be stored on a data aquistion device like the AEM AQ-1 data logger or a number of other data logging devices.

Waiting patiently as we prepare the Green Machine! First we’ll unbolt the hood of the Impala, then unfasten the Brawler from it’s pallet, and it’s go time! 36

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Achieve perfect paintwork with teamwork. At Autoglym we’ve been developing car care products that work seamlessly for over 40 years so you could say we know a thing or two about paintwork. Your 3-step cleaning routine for bodywork combines Autoglym Bodywork Wash & Wax our award winning Super Resin Polish and Extra Gloss Protection. It’s a winning combination that provides a superior shine, is quick and easy to use and more durable than ever, which means you and your car get to look good for longer. Clean, Polish, Protect for perfect results. That’s the Autoglym way. Always has been. )))))

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enabled AEM devices) for about the entry price of most competitor’s data logging systems. Revolutionary is the first word that comes to mind… no pun intended! The Dyno-Shaft housing attaches to the transmission tail-shaft housing and a precision chrome moly slip-yoke replaces the factory yoke. As the driveshaft spins, the strain gauges in the calibrated slip-yoke measure the twist in the driveshaft before the rear wheels, and the optical sensor in the controller housing measures driveshaft RPM. This data is converted to the true horsepower numbers that are unaffected by factors like crosswinds, vehicle aerodynamics, uphill or downhill transitions, vehicle weight or a variety of other factors that affect GPS/Accelerometer-based products. In last month’s issue we published a photo taken in late 1966 of legendary drag racer Dick Harrell and ace Nickey mechanics Lou Anzelmo/Mike Terrofina installing the first 427 in a 1967 Camaro. Pictured here is the 2013 Nickey team (CEO Stefano Bimbi, and Nickey tech’s Corey Clayton/Tom Dietz) installing the Big Block Brawler 489BBC in the Bel Air.


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Information is POWER! Imagine being able to apply all of the power

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that you can muster and applying it to the ground. That’s the goal right? The Dyno-Shaft will allow us to see exactly how much power can be applied before the tires break loose on the Green Machine. Based on the data collected from a pass we’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments to the ignition timing, chassis, shift points, launch RPM, nitrous tuning, and ultimately maximize our vehicle performance. Whether you’re running an automatic (like our TH400), or manual,

Our big block fits, with plenty of room to spare! It’s amazing how big the engine compartment is in the BBody cars from the 1960’s. The Big Block Brawler is in place and ready to get a serious exhaust system in the form of Stainless Works 2 ¼” primary headers, a trick set of Dynatech mufflers and 3 1/2” X-Pipe.

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transmission the Dyno-Shaft can provide you invaluable data. For automatic applications torque converter stall speed, and slip in each gear, are logged for analysis. Manual transmission tuning can be rather challenging and this is where the Dyno-Shaft can take some of the guess work out of tuning a clutch. Launch RPM, changes in clutch slippage and RPM variances down track can be identified to make the necessary changes to reduce ET and increase MPH. Data acquisition made easy. In the next issue we will introduce you to the AEM Electronics AQ-1 data logger that is being installed in our 1966 Bel Air “Green Machine”. The AQ-1 is affordable no matter what your budget, and best of all it’s user-friendly enough that anyone can use it to get the data that they need to maximize their vehicle performance. Stay tuned…

Sources: Nickey Chicago (630) 377-1222 www.nickeychicagoinc.com AEM Electronics (310) 484-2322 www.aemelectronics.com Thompson’s Transmission (815) 877-2550 www.thompsonstransmissions.com Midwest Converters of Rockford Illinois www.raceconverters.com 800-554-2668 / 815-229-9874

Since we expect the Green Machine to exceed 150mph in the quarter-mile, a DJ Safety parachute was a must! Right: Just like in the 1960’s Nickey conversion cars received special emblems on the dash to remind lucky passengers that they were in a true high-performance car. Emblems, or decals, were often also located on the front fenders and trunk lid to warn would-be stoplight warriors that you meant business.


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Hilbish Motor Company Kannapolis, NC www.hilbishfordperformanceparts.com (800) 849-0233 Roush Yates Mooresville, NC www.roushyates.com (877) 798-RYPP Downs Ford Motorsport Toms River, NJ www.downsford.com (800) 378-3673 Team Ford Las Vegas, NV www.teamfordparts.com (800) 791-6436

Northcoast Performance Ontario, NY www.nthcoast.com (585) 216-1210 Tasca Automotive Group Cranston, RI www.tasca.com (888) 832-8272 Tommie Vaughn Motors Houston, TX www.tommievaughn.com (800) 944-4415

“ROAD RUNNER.... If He Catches You You’re Through!” ...Yeah Right! John Hunkins’ 1968 Plymouth Road Runner “Coyote Duster”

FYI... NOT A Trailer Queen!

Story & Photos By Brian Hansen Photography By Pete Ores

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John Hunkins’ 1968 Plymouth Road Runner “Coyote Duster”


hen the Pro Street movement began back in the 1970’s early pioneers were building cars that looked like they should have been fast, but in many cases just didn’t perform very well. Sure there were a few Pro Streeters out there that could run the number, but most ended up just being trailer queens dragged from show to show and put on display (some were probably never even fired up… now that’s just wrong!). John Hunkins’ Pro Street 1968 Road Runner is definitely NOT one of those Pro Street cars! With 605 cubic inches of Mopar Wedge under the hood he has already run 8.70’s in street trim. This car is Pro Street done right!

John’s Pentastar History Everyone has a different reason why they have the brand preference that they do. For John Hunkins it all started back when he was 10 years old and got a ride in his Uncle’s 1968 Road Runner with a 383 Magnum/four-speed. A few power shifts in the 383 powered Chrysler on the way back from the stock car races on the weekends and he was indoctrinated into the Mopar Fraternity. As John commented, “My Uncle Bob (with the Road Runner) used to take my Dad With 605 cubic inches of Mopar Wedge for motivation, John Hunkins’ has no problem hanging the hoops of his 3800 pound 1968 Road Runner. Below: John’s first Road Runner ran a stout 10.95 in street trim. Originally a number-matching 383/four-speed California car, he just didn’t have the heart to turn it into a Pro Streeter so he sold it to fund the current project.


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The wow factor of this mean Mopar comes through loud and clear right from first glance, but the “605 WEDGE” note on the six pack style hood scoop serves as clarification for those with any doubt. The huge 15x15 Weld Wheels are wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. The Big n’ Little theme looks flat out cool on this big Plymouth. Notice the snow... John Hunkins wasn’t shy to take the Runner out for a spin though!

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and I to the races on the weekends. It was pretty stock but man did it seem fast at the time! When I started driving I dreamed of owning a Road Runner someday, but it would be many years before it became a reality. After several years of searching, I finally found a numbers matching California “black plate” 1968 Road Runner that also had a four speed, just like Uncle Bob’s car.” John continued, “I pulled the original drive train and installed a Kilpatrick Racing Engines 496 Wedge, Dana 60 and a Keisler 5-speed transmission. It ran easy 10.90’s but I wanted to go faster. Since I didn’t want to cut up this car, I searched around until I found my current Road Runner for $12,000. It was close to home and pretty solid but had a trunk that was rusted out… a perfect candidate for a back-half car!”


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In 2010 John, and friends, started working on the Pro Street Road Runner project. With lots of help from good friend Mike Knoebel, they stretched the wheel wells and proceeded to get the body laser straight before laying down the DuPont ChromaOne single stage paint. Since John is in the paint business, he was a perfectionist when it came to the paint job, and it certainly shows. To handle the power John and Mike installed an Art Morrison back half and anti-roll. The beautiful 8.50 certified roll cage, frame connectors and interior tin work was done by Pat Spangenberg at Rod & Competition Specialties in Butler Wisconsin. A Strange Engineering 9” with 4.11 gears, 35 spline axles and a Detroit Locker puts the power to the ground.

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Left & Above: John’s Rootbeer has been a local hang out in John’s hometown of Waukesha Wisconsin since 1937. During the Summer the legendary rootbeer stand hosts a cruise night that brings out all of the local heavy hitters. Below: Ace Photographer Pete “Boomer” Ores captured this amazing shot of the Runner’s rollers! The chute definitely is not just for show. John’s Beep Beep has run well over 150 mph in the quarter mile. Right, from top: The toughened up 9” rear diff has 4.11 gears and a Detroit Locker. Mike Knoebel and Chris Didenko painted the under carriage at Nagle’s Auto Body in Waukesha Wisconsin. The “Beep Beep” horn says it all. Warner Brothers sold Plymouth the rights to use the Road Runner cartoon character in their commercials for $50,000.

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In the transmission department, John chose a PTC Converter and CRT (Cope Racing Transmission) Super Pro II Torque Flight. As John commented, “Having this much tire under a car that weighs 3,800 pounds, and hooking it, is really hard on the transmission and converter but this combination has proven to be bullet proof.”

Engine Under the hood of John’s Road Runner is a Mendez Motorsports 605 cubic inch B1-headed Wedge that has been known to give a few Chevy and Ford Owners some serious heartburn. The foundation for John’s 881hp engine is a Mopar Mega Block filled with a Callies 4.750 forged crankshaft, Oliver connecting rods and a set of JE 10.72:1 forged pistons. Feeding the pump gas friendly jumbo big block is a Pro Systems 1206 cfm Dominator, Indy Cylinder heads, Indy Intake manifold, and when he feels the need for speed, a Cold Fusion Fogger Nitrous System. A pair of TTI 2 ¼” headers get rid of the burnt gases through a 4” exhaust system that exits just before the rear wheels.


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RPM Quick Tech Sheet 1968 Plymouth Road Runner Street/Strip Owner/Driver: John Hunkins (Waukesha, Wisconsin) Engine: 605 cubic inch wedge, Callies 4.750 crankshaft, Oliver connecting rods, JE 10.72 compression forged pistons, Indy 572-13 aluminum heads, T&D Rockers, Howards solid roller camshaft, Crower solid roller lifters, Smith Brothers Push Rods, Milodon gear drive, Cometic head gaskets. Fuel System: Aeromotive A-2000 Pump, regulator, fuel log and fuel pump speed controller Power Adder: Cold Fusion Nitrous Fogger system Ignition: MSD 6AL-2 and MSD Billet distributor Carburetor: Pro Systems 1206 CFM Wheels/Tires: Weld RTS 15x15 (rear)/15x5 (front) wrapped in Mickey Thompson tires Transmission/Converter: CRT (Cope Racing Transmissions) Super Pro II Torque flight / PTC steel stator torque converter Weight: 3,800 lbs with driver Horsepower: 881hp/770 ft lbs of torque (without Nitrous) Best 60’ Time: 1.22 Best ET/MPH: 8.79 @ 153mph (1/4-mile)

Photos, from left: Use of the factory air cleaner is a nice touch. Even though the engine compartment looks like it is fresh from the paint booth, make no mistake this car gets driven, and driven hard! Crushin’ a tire… check out the sidewall as the jumbo slicks bite during testing at Great Lakes Dragaway! Here is a closeup of the tire... now that is punishment! A Pro Systems carb supplies over 1200 CFM to the 605 cube beast, and Cold Fusion is in charge of the nitrous oxide.

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1968 Beep Beep With the introduction of the Road Runner in 1968 Plymouth set their sights on the power hungry public who were looking for a relatively inexpensive musclecar that would hang with many of the much more expensive muscular models of the day. Based on Plymouth’s Belvedere model, the Road Runner was one step above a taxi cab when it came to the interior. Bench seats and rubber floor mats (no carpeting) were all that you got if you really wanted to keep the cost down. These base models started with a sticker price of just under $2,900! Where the Road Runner really shone was in the engine compartment. The base engine was a 383 Magnum (rated at 335hp) that borrowed the heads, camshaft, valve springs, crankcase windage tray and exhaust manifolds from the 440 Magnum. With a sharp tune these cars were capable of dipping in the 14’s and seeing nearly 100mph. The durable 8 ¾ rear differential, 11” drum brakes, F70 14” tires, A833 four-speed transmission, dual exhaust and HD suspension were standard equipment. For the more adventurous buyers with deeper pockets the legendary 426 Hemi (grossly under-rated at 425hp) was the only other available engine option for a whopping $714 CONTINUED ON PAGE 60

Factory dash and door panels, comfy touring bucket seats and a custom console that looks like it belongs there fabricated by the car’s owner. Now that is an ultra-clean trunk! Since this car sees a lot of street duty, having a large fuel cell is a must. The Cold Fusion nitrous system is added insurance that nobody can outrun this bird!


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Chassis Body Suspension Fabrication, Parts , Service



Engines & Cylinder Heads Parts, Service, Machine Work


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Exhaust ALL

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upcharge. Production of the Road Runner far exceeded the “Bean Counters” estimates with nearly 45,000 cars sold in the first year, and so a legend was born!

Special Thanks

John’s motto is like the song says; “...Just Runnin Down The Road Is His Idea Of Havin’ Fun!”

John was quick to point out that without support from his family and friends he would have never have been able to complete the Road Runner. “I need to especially thank my wife Gail, good friends Doug & Sharon Vanderhei (owners of Auto Paint & Supply in Waukesha, Wisconsin) for all they have done for me. I’d also like to thank Mike Knobel, Duffy Nagel, Scott Bauman, Jim Kilpatrick (technical help), Jim Tiler (machining specialty parts) and Mike Caler for designing the new camshaft and helping me put the motor together this year.” Mo-Power to ya! Photos, from top: Like we said, no trailer queen here… John built the 605 cubic inch Wedge to drink 93 octane Premium Unleaded so that he can enjoy cruising whenever he feels like it. John and Gail stand proudly with their “Coyote Duster”! If there is any question as to where John’s brand allegience lies, just have a look at the area where the back seat used to be!


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Getting Back on Track By Blake Robinson

Shifting Gears - Part 2


e went over the key components being used in our Powerglide transmission build in Vol 13 Issue 10 of RPM Magazine last year. With our BTE transmission case now back from being powder coated, we can move forward with the assembly of our tough-as-nails transmission. As mentioned in part one of “Shifting Gears”, all of our components were products from BTE, and the assembly would be completed by John Goebel, the owner of Goebel High Performance Transmissions in Waco, Texas. Instructions for the installation of these components can be found on BTE’s website, under the Tech Tab. Be sure if you are performing any of the modifications or upgrades below that you follow the manufacturers procedures and recommendations for the products you are using, the instructions may differ. While a powerglide was never a popular choice for a lot of performance street cars, it has several attributes that make it desirable for racing. Powerglides are lightweight, have a very low rotating mass (which in turn robs us of less horsepower), and the aftermarket world is flooded with upgraded parts and components that can allow us to build a product that will handle high horsepower applications. The absence of a sprag assembly/over running clutch is a plus as well, making the powerglide’s overall construction very simple.


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With over 35 years of experience and knowledge, John stresses that even when using quality parts, such as our components from BTE, as a builder he will always: disassemble, inspect, and adjust settings for each individual application to his specifications. This allows him to put his name on a quality product that he will stand behind 100%. John started by disassembling our new 7-bolt pump and inspecting the gears. The gear drop clearance was then measured. He found the gear drop to be closer to the minimum tolerance, which reflects the workmanship in our BTE components. This pump uses a redesigned fluid network, a new flanged boltedin 4340 steel stator support tube, and is designed for use with our ring-less input shaft. This pump is good for all entry level to 3000+ horsepower powerglide transmissions. Next up was our new valve body. John found a non-OEM assembly and was impressed with both the casting and tight valve clearance. This trans brake valve body is designed for racers running .400 tree classes or those looking for the fastest possible release. This fluid release design valve body also includes a trans brake solenoid and requires trans brake activation for reverse opera-

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tion. John drilled and tapped a hole in the valve body to provide a port for an external constant pump pressure gauge for us to monitor our transmission. The pressure regulator spring was then adjusted to accommodate for our horsepower range. The new trick BTE case (part # 24000) was then inspected and four holes were drilled for the pro brake in two locations. The case is a one piece design that provides a more rigid and stronger framework than a bolt-together two piece model. Every case includes a high quality IKO roller bearing in the tail shaft area to help reduce friction. The cases are certified for all the relevant SFI specifications so there is no need for any shields, blankets, or liners. John drilled and tapped the backside of the case for an exiting point for our constant pump pressure port. The case was cleaned and ready to be assembled. John continued to inspect and machine parts such as our solid control/selector lever. Two grooves were machined in the shaft of the lever to allow o-rings to seal between the shaft and the bore in the case. This eliminated the shift shaft seal which is prone to leaking after a period of time. Having access to a full machine shop

allows John to modify parts on-site without the hassle of sending them off. This came in handy when he had to modify the piston for the high clutch drum to obtain the proper clearance for our 10 clutch upgrade. The reverse piston was also modified to obtain the proper clearance for our application. Our assembly began with installing our billet rollerized governor support to the case. The output shaft is supported by this piece and it utilizes a roller bearing, which reduces friction. The two-ring servo was then installed into its bore. This billet aluminum servo provides for firmer and more efficient application and release of the low gear band. The billet servo cover was installed next followed by the solid control/selector shaft and our hardened band adjustment screw. John stood the case upright and installed the modified reverse piston. The case was placed on the clutch spring compressor; springs were installed, followed by the retainer, and the snap ring. The presoaked steels and frictions were installed followed by the pressure plate and snap ring. John installed the reverse ring gear while aligning the clutches. The Torrington Bearings (a roller thrust bearing used in place of a hardened steel or bronze thrust washer) were placed on the 1.80 straight

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cut planetary and the assembly was installed. This gear set features a forged 4340 output shaft, new steel carrier, and 9310 vacumelt steel gears. The 1.80 ratio is the closest straight cut gear set ratio BTE offers to the original OEM 1.76 ratio. BTE recommends going to a straight cut planetary in any application exceeding 600 horsepower. John turned the output shaft several times to ensure there was no binding and that the gears turned smoothly. The BTE high gear drum assembly was up next. This drum allowed us to run with ten high performance frictions and steels to provide more clamping force, which will enable us to handle more horsepower. This is the ultimate high gear drum, is manufactured inhouse at BTE and has been used in cars producing over 2500 horsepower. The assembly started with the installation of our modified piston, followed by the springs, and retainer. The drum was then placed on the spring compressor and the snap ring was installed. The small clutch hub thrust plate (fits between the hub and drum), clutch hub, presoaked frictions, and steels were placed in the drum. Followed by the large thrust plate (fits between the hub and the sun gear flange of the apply plate), apply plate, and snap ring. John checked for the proper clearance and the assembly was com-

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plete. The input shaft was inserted into the drum and a wedding band bushing was placed between the sun gear and the shaft to ensure a snug fit and help center the shaft. The hardened input shaft is constructed from Vasco 300 heat treated steel. Manufactured in-house at BTE, this shaft is not only strengthened for up to 2500 horsepower applications, but it also features a high efficiency cooling circuit to transfer fluid from the torque converter to the transmission cooler. The assembly was then installed into the case. The apply band was placed over the high gear drum and the two band struts were put in their positions. The Mega Band is more than 25% wider than factory style bands, giving the band much more holding power when engaged. This is a very important upgrade for every high performance application. This pro-

cedure at times can be a real pain, so while John was machining our pump housing to accept the Torrington Bearing that would be used between the pump housing and the drum, I tackled the task. John adjusted the band using the 4340 steel and heat treated adjustment screw to his specifications for our application.

ment by removing .030 off the valve itself to obtain the position he wanted. The tubing was cut, bent, and installed to complete our constant pump pressure port. The new filter spacer and filter were installed followed by the BTE deep aluminum pan. This pan is not only trick looking, but it helps strengthen our entire case.

The pump housing was then put in place and the endplay was checked. We were looking for .010 - .020 of endplay, ours was at .015. John reassembled the pump, installed it to the case, and double checked our endplay. The high drum, servo band apply, and reverse clutch pack were air checked to ensure proper operation.

The transmission was placed on its pan and the final piece of our assembly was installed. This all-new aluminum casting replaces the factory tail housing on powerglide transmissions. Not only is the piece much stronger, but it also features a roller bearing where the yoke enters the housing on the shaft for a reduction in friction. With the tail housing now in place, our completed powerglide transmission will wait patiently for its date with the dyno. We will dyno the transmission after the converter is built, but until the engine is dynoed, the converter is on hold.

The valve body was reassembled, torqued to specifications, and installed. John installed the trans-brake solenoid to check the valve position and made a necessary adjust-

Photos, above, from left: The gear drop was measured on our new 7 bolt pump and the clearance found was adequate for our application. The valve body was disassembled and inspected. John was impressed with the over all non-OEM casting. The valve body was drilled and tapped to allow us to install a constant pressure port to monitor our pump pressure. The two holes pictured on the lower right were drilled in the case for our Pro Brake. Note the roller bearing in the case that helps reduce friction over the standard style bushing. Left: The rear of the case was drilled and tapped to allow an exit point for our constant pump pressure port.


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Above, from left: Two grooves were machined into the shaft of our control/selector lever. This modification allowed o-rings to be installed to seal our shaft and eliminate the shift shaft seal. Both the high gear drum piston and the reverse piston were machined to obtain proper clearance. The reverse piston is shown. The billet rollerized governor support was installed to the rear of the case. Our new two-ring servo was placed in its bore.

The billet servo cover was installed using the furnished hardware. The control/selector lever and hardened band adjustment screw were installed. The selector linkage and parking pawl assembly can be seen here. Note* the parking pawl assembly was furnished with the case. The modified reverse piston was installed, followed by the springs and retainer.

Using a spring compressor, John was able to install the snap ring to secure the reverse piston assembly in the case. The pre-soaked frictions and steels were installed, followed by the pressure plate and snap ring. The reverse ring gear was installed. Note* the straight cut teeth on the gear. This is one of the components that will make up our planetary assembly. The 1.80 planetary was installed and checked for binding.

The modified high drum piston, springs, and retainer were installed. John then used the spring compressor to allow him to install the snap ring. With the high drum clutch hub in place, John installed the pre-soaked frictions and steels in the drum. The apply plate and snap ring followed. The high gear drum was installed with the input shaft in place. Note* the wedding band bushing on the lower part of the shaft. The pre-soaked Mega Band was next to be installed.

The apply band struts can be seen here. The new 7 bolt pump was installed and John checked for proper end play clearance. The high drum clutch pack was air checked for proper operation. The servo band apply was air checked for proper operation. 66

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Introducing Valvoline NextGen. The first recycled oil formulated from a breakthrough process that combines the latest re-refining technology with Valvoline’s special additives to exceed industry standards. It’s the only recycled oil good enough to be called Valvoline, because we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Yours. Go to NextGenMotorOil.ca and find out why it is important to recycle your used oil and use recycled oil.

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The reverse clutch pack was air checked for proper operation. The two holes shown were part of the modifications to the case for our Pro Brake. John reassembled the valve body and torqued the bolts to specifications. With the valve body in place, John installed the tubing and fittings to complete our constant pump pressure port. Right: The deep aluminum pan was installed after the furnished filter spacer and filter were in place. With the tail shaft installed, our powerglide is now complete. You can see the dyno in the background waiting patiently.

Join us next time for some rear gear know how and the assembly of our third member.


BTE 1-800-626-1828 www.bteracing.com Goebel High Performance Transmissions 1-877-312-2649

800-626-1828 www.bteracing.com Bill Taylor Enterprises 2 Memphis Avenue • Mt. Pleasant, MS 38649 Some Parts Not Legal for Sale or Use on Pollution-Controlled Vehicles


Top Sportsman / Top Dragster FEATURES: New BTE Magnum SFI Approved Case, Ringless Vasco Turbo Spline Input Shaft, Mega Racing Band, Two Ring Servo, Performance Servo Spring, Coated Deep Aluminum Pan, BTE Straight Cut Gear set (Available in 1.80, 1.98, and 1.69 ratios), Roller Tail housing/Rear Cover, New BTE High Volume Pump, Roller Governor Support, 10 clutch drum, BTE Top Sportsman High Pressure Transbrake Valve body, Dyno-tested.

$359599 Bracket Powerglide FEATURES: 1.76 Gear set with 4340 forged output shaft and housing, Steel Clutch Hub w/ 5 clutch pack, Rebuilt Pump, Two ring servo, BTE Bracket Transbrake Valve body, Kevlar lined Band, Dyno-tested.

$84995 68

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9:20 @ 145 mph 2010 Ford Mustang, driven by Gary Richard

ZZZFURZHUFRP‡phone: (619) 661-6477‡fax: (619) 661-6466

Stay The Course S

Story by Tony Weber Photos by Tony & Logan Weber

even years ago, an idea formed in the minds of brothers Jim and George Howard, an idea to bring an outlaw racing series to the south that would span a couple states and provide fans and racers alike with an affordable and exciting avenue to satisfy their need for speed. Longtime friend and racer Steve Hall of Stateline Racing Apparel helped with naming the series, designed the logo, and the series came to life. Tracks in Bristol, Huntsville and Montgomery were all on board, the Southern Outlaw Tour was poised to set the racing world on fire. With record crowds both in

the pits and in the stands, the first event scheduled for Bristol became a monumental... failure. Rain swept in and completely devastated what could and should have been one for the record books. Instead of setting the aforementioned fire the Tour sputtered and fizzled, the death knell only moments from being sounded. Fortunately, the


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brothers were split on their vision and despite George’s desire to write it off as a bad dream, Jim had no intentions of allowing the infant series to just fade into obscurity. “George wanted to just end it, the Bristol race was so sickening for him,” Jim explained. “I felt otherwise and decided to stay the course.” The Southern Outlaw Tour would survive to see another day. In late 2007 Jim acquired Montgomery Motorsports Park from his brother George and began running the track as the new owner/operator. The Southern Outlaw Tour now had a permanent home to be nurtured into what Jim hoped would be a successful endeavor into the wild world of outlaw doorslammers. “What I envisioned was a series similar to that of the fledgling ADRL at the time,” Jim stated. “What I got was a serious case of pure Outlaw, a Fast 8 Show on steroids!” And for the next several years, Jim would conduct the Tour on his own, out of his pocket, refusing to give in when the series entered an age where raising it seemed near insanity. “It has been hard, but our die hard fans and race teams continued to support us, I owed it to them to keep the Tour alive.” And admittedly it has not been easy, with so many other series and leagues to choose from one might think a single track series would have long fallen by the wayside. It is obviPHOTOS: The new Big Money Racing Willys is truly a work of art (pictured on page 70). The Clanton family put in a lot of time over the off season to get this beauty ready for the Southern Outlaw Tour 2013 opener, and their fans were not disappointed. Above, Clanton and his team prepare to enter eliminations after Bil drove to the number 10 spot on the ladder in qualifying. The car received rave reviews from racers and fans alike all weekend long. This is the racers pit area early on Saturday morning... a far cry from where they would be by lunchtime. By the time eliminations began, there was nowhere left on the asphalt for any more rigs, the grass was full and the spectators were having to park outside the fence and walk in.

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This shot relives the early days of Pro Modified! Just an example of the type of Pro Mods that call the SOT home, in the right lane is Kevin Reed in his ’70 Cuda while the ever popular Pizza Joe Palmisano lines up in the left lane.

ous though, when you talk to Jim about the Tour, how deeply his passion and love for it is, even after all these years of fighting for survival. Although Jim is the face of the Tour, he acknowledges he has not done this on his own. With his wife Jackie by his side and his son Brandon firmly behind him, the family has endured joy and pain in raising their outlaw endeavor. Longtime friend Don Hill mans the microphone and has become the unmistakable voice of the South-


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ern Outlaw Tour. “My entire crew have to be thanked for what they do here week in and week out,” Howard said. “They are the ones that keep us what I feel is the number one racing facility in the State, if not the Southeast.” Despite all of the help from his family and staff, Jim knew it was only a matter of time before someone else would need to step up and help him. And step up they did. 2013 arrived and with it the support and sponsorship of MAC Tools. This is nothing to take lightly as MMP now owns the distinct

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The 526 cubic inch Hemi monster under the hood of Georgia native Paul Gibbs’ Cuda waits patiently between rounds. Although Gibbs missed the show at the season opener after battling traction issues and a couple of gremlins, you can rest assured the Blueridge Beast will be back for another shot at Southern Outlaw Tour Glory. The car is incredible, and unlike a lot of Pro Mods these days, this one retains its mean musclecar look, you can actually tell that it is a ‘70 Cuda! Gibbs and team are some of the nicest folks you will meet at the track and they love their Pro Modified racing, so it will take more than a few minor bugs to keep them away from it.

honor of being the only local sponsored track in the MAC Tools corporate family. Some may say this is a big risk for the tool giant, those who support and believe in the Tour know otherwise. “Being able to declare this the MAC Tools Southern Outlaw Tour has been nothing but excellent for me,” Jim says with a grin. “It opened the door for other sponsors to sit up and take notice of what we are doing. Having a nationally recognized title sponsor take a chance on you means a lot in this business.” Even though there have been sponsors in the past, mostly class sponsors, this is the first time a large corporate sponsor has been given title rights. Following in the

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footsteps of MAC Tools is Andy McCoy Race Cars who came on board as the presenting sponsor. Not to be outdone, each of the classes has its own sponsor as well with BTE, STT Safety Products, Nitroplate, FTI, Coker Tires and Racing Electronics, all stepping up to support those who support them. “We also have two brands of fuel available here at the track, VP and Renegade,” Jim explained. “Just one more way we give our racers a choice here at MMP.” This is an overwhelming show of support for a series that has stayed strong and survived. Also in 2013 comes the first time the classes have changed

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Florida native Josh Peel continues to work out the bugs in his massive twin turbo combination. There is little doubt that once Peel finds the sweet spot, his ’41 Willys will become a force to be reckoned with. Brandon Snider drove his Joey Martin Race Cars Corvette straight to the head of the pack with a blistering 3.69 at 204 mph. Snider would not relinquish the top spot but went down hard in the first round against local hero Edmund Hall after getting loose and having to pedal in what became the biggest upset of the night.

Frankie “Madman� Taylor (left) was in the house assisting Tim Tindle with the Jeffers Corvette Tindle purchased earlier this year. The two have become good friends over the years, and share a never say die attitude on the track.

since inception. The Tour will now contest classes for 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 Indexes, Outlaw Bottom Bulb and Outlaw Super Pro. “Just a reminder though, there are NO buybacks at the SOT!� Howard states. The changes were made to accommodate the teams and cars that have supported the Tour, as well as giving the fans a fresh exciting feel. Making their debut on a grander stage this year is the 5.70 Real Street Racing Association. “We wanted our sophomore year to continue the momentum we achieved last year,� RSRA President Tom Clausen explained. “Jim saw what we brought to the table, liked what he saw and welcomed us with wide open arms.� And that welcome was met with a response of thirty one entries into the 5.70 Index class. “I am loving these guys,� Howard said. “They have brought in a freshness that only adds to the excitement.� Of course the showstoppers at the SOT con-














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Above: After purchasing the “Dozer Mustang from Tim Tindle late last year, Tom Ashley has retired the Glass Doctor Chevy II and brought out one of the sleekest machines of the new year. With a screw blown Hemi, Ashley turned the reigns of the Stang over to longtime pilot Michael Neal who powered his way to the top of the talent rich season opener field, taking the win home for team Glass Doctor. Right, from top: The MAC Tools Southern Outlaw Tour provides something for everyone! Here, Mark Mack prepares his Chevy pickup for some Outlaw Bottom Bulb competition. Keith Allen had his showroom quality ’40 Chevy Coupe washed, polished and wowing the crowd. Scott Danford waded through a tough field to claim his very first 5.70 RSRA win as well as the association’s very first SOT appearance victory. Scott and Mitch Danford spend as much time sponsoring local races and helping the sport as they do on their own racing program, and their hard work and dedication is beginning to pay off. Danford took out multi year ORSCA champ and new RSRA member Lebron Hill to take home the trophy and the money.

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tinue to be the wild and unpredictable warriors of Pro Modified. With a sixteen car qualified field, the teams that show up to wage war are a virtual who’s who of both up and comers to battle hardened outlaws from years gone by. “With a total $15,000 purse, these teams know we appreciate what they bring to the show,” Jim said. And that show was certainly brought, as nitrous combos shut down screws, and roots blowers blew turbos off the track in a wild melee that added one more bit of vindication for Howard. “The way a series is looked at nowadays, the numbers a team runs helps determine the series legitimacy. When you have cars ripping off a 3.69 at 204 miles per hour, that series is nothing to turn your nose up at.” One final thing, all the purses at the SOT are still guaranteed, something Jim refuses to change. Over the past few years, there have been many exciting moments and memories made at the MAC Tools Southern Outlaw Tour presented by Andy McCoy Race Cars. If you were to stop and think, what if Jim had listened to his brother George and allowed the SOT to die off all those years ago. Fortunately, one man had the wherewithal to not accept defeat; to not allow anyone or any circumstance to dictate his destiny; to not be denied his dream. Even more fortunately, the racers themselves recognize what happened that day and they continue to appreciate and support that dream, showcasing their talents and tenacity out on the lanes for the ever endearing fans who love the wild world of outlaw drag racing. If you are ever in Sweet Home Alabama grab a glass of ice cold sweet tea, spritz yourself with some sunblock and sit back (if you can stay sitting) and enjoy some Southern Outlaw Tour as only the stars of the Tour can bring it.


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David Armstrong made his return to the 5.70 RSRA ranks in the slime green Nova, and it was obvious he has not missed a beat as he toted the front end pass after pass, much to the delight of the fans. Passing out Moon Pies in his pits and purging the nitrous on the strip, Eric Gullett is proudly showing off his freshly redone Camaro currently competing in the 5.0 Index class.

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Project 4 Lug Thug By Chuck Scott

Laundry Day THUG Gets Some Extra Stopping Power Out Back


efore the RPM Magazine project car hits the track there are a few loose ends that need to be tied up and some safety equipment needed before a driver does the first burnout. In the March issue with the help of Speed 365, we installed a DJ Safety fire system. Now it’s time to put a parachute on the Thug, so we gave DJ Safety another call. DJ Safety has many different parachutes for any application all the way up to Top Fuel. Ben Ryan at DJ Safety recommended we use model 851067, which was intended for use on moderate weight door cars up to 220mph. The 4 Lug Thug will only be ran 1/8th-mile at nowhere close to that kind of MPH, but it will be running at weights as high as 3150lbs. Even if we later upgrade our cage for faster competition, this chute will get our ride slowed down with ease. If your car doesn’t run enough MPH to require a parachute, it can still be a good idea on any car that gets raced. A parachute has the obvious benefits like reduced brake wear and shorter stopping distances, but they can also save your bacon in the event of brake failure or sometimes help pull you straight when your car gets out of shape at high speed. It doesn’t always work but it has been known to help on many occasions. If I’m behind the wheel of a car that is swapping lanes on top end, you can bet I’m gonna push that lever. One common mistake racers make is leaving their parachute packed all the time and not deploying it until they are in a situation. It’s good practice to pop the chute after every race or track day and leave it out until the next time you run the car. Letting the chute breath and pilot chute spring relax will make your chute last longer and guarantee a fresh packed chute when you need it.


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Check out Thug’s new DJ Safety Equipment parachute and AA Performance bolt-on 79-93 Mustang parachute mount kit. Now that we have our parachute in-hand, we will need to mount it. At first I was going to get Mark Gongloff at Speed 365 to make one from scratch but with a couple big jobs in line ahead of me, there would be a wait. Then I found AA Performance’s new bolt-on 79-93 Mustang parachute mount. This thing is slicker than owl snot on a hand rail. It bolts up just like the factory steel bumper reinforcement. No fab skills or special tools are needed to install this first class custom looking chute mount. AA Performance isn’t a big manufacturer, it’s one master fabricator with a vision of how to make things better. Almost everyone in the small tire heads up community knows Attilio DeRosa by now. If you see Attilio at the track it’s a good chance he will be with the TRZ camp. Attilio sells TRZ parts and TRZ sells AA Performance parts, and he credits the guys at TRZ for helping with his designs and giving him advice and support. AA makes all kinds of higherend fabricated bolt-on parts for popular drag cars like Mustangs, Camaros and other GM platforms, along with chassis work from suspension tuning to building complete cars. Once the parts were in, the installation was an easy afternoon at Speed 365 and we are ready to dump the laundry.

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2 & 3. Attilio De Rosa of AA Performance is a master craftsman of metal. Not only do his parts fit perfectly, the extra attention to detail, like the tubing end caps, really make the difference. The AA Performance Mustang parachute mount also features a support rail to keep your bumper cover from sagging and flapping in the wind. 4. After the cast gray paint dried on our parachute mount, we began the installation of the DJ Safety chute. Take the parachute out of the pack and you will find the square support plate in the very back of the pack. I laid the AA Performance pack mount on the plate and marked the location of the bolt holes then drilled.




5 & 6. Place the support plate back in the bag and poke holes through the bag for your bolts. I punched through the material with a small phillips screwdriver. Run 4 small hardware store bolts through the support plate through to the pack mount sandwiching the pack bag in between. 7. To remove the Mustang rear bumper cover, you just remove all the cover retainer nuts from inside the trunk, behind the taillight and license plate area. If you haven’t already done so, remove the rear bumper steel rebar by removing the two large bolts that go through the frame rails about a foot from the rear body panel. See photo 12 for the bolt location. 8. The AA Performance parachute mount slides right back in the same place the OEM bumper reinforcement did. Each leg slides through the holes in the rear body panel and inside the rear frame rails.


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9. To make a nice small hole for the receiver tube to poke through without missing the spot or cutting an excessively large hole, this little trick works great. Although you won’t be able to put the cover all the way on because of the tube sticking out, you can push it up close enough to line up the cover retainer holes. While holding the cover in place, take a can of spray paint and mist a little around the receiver tube. When you pull the cover back off , the hole will be marked perfectly. I used the same spray paint that was used to paint the chute mount earlier so it won’t be noticeable on the mount.


10. Notice the nice lower cover support rail Attilio adds to his chute mounts to bolt the bottom of your bumper cover to. This is a great feature that will prevent the sagging cover bottom you sometimes see on cars that has the bumper support removed. If I would have seen the AA Performance mount sooner I wouldn’t have cut mine off. Now I will need to find another rear cover so I can do it right.


11. After the bumper cover is back on, you can slide in the tube with the bracket that holds the parachute tow line tether loop, and adjust the depth it goes into the receiver tube. Drill a hole through the receiver tube with the tether loop bracket tube in place and put in a good size grade 8 bolt. If you don’t have a butchered up bumper cover like this one, you won’t be able to drill it with the cover in place. You will simply mark the depth, pull the cover, drill the hole, reinstall the cover and install your bolt.


12. Here we have the new AA Performance parachute mount in place and bolted through the frame rails at the factory bumper reinforcement bolt holes. Hopefully you didn’t remove yours a year earlier, and since lost the OEM bolts like someone we know. Luckily I was doing this install at Speed 365 and Eric McMillon has more Mustang parts than Ford even manufactured since 1979.


(800) 208-1755


Crafted in the U.S.A.


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13. After surveying for a good spot to mount the release cable lever on the cage, we settled on making a mount for it on the console instead, approximately where the emergence brake lever used to be. I wanted it to be quick to locate without looking. We arranged it to release when pushed down and forward instead of pulled for the same reason. I made the mount from a section of flat stock and braced it inside the console with an aluminum plate. It is far enough out of the way to not get accidentally pushed during a shift but not so far back to lose accessibility.


14. The cable was run through the console and under the electronics rack, through a hole in the rear firewall, between the battery and fuel cell, through a hole drilled beside the license plate and to the parachute. You don’t even see the cable inside the car except where it connects to the lever. The AA Performance pack mount has a cable holder that can be moved to either side and at multiple positions. Once the cable is routed, put the lever to the release position pulling the inner wire inside the sheath and cut off the excess length. Move the lever back to the pre-deployed position and the wire sticks back out and can be threaded into the pilot chute loop that is pulled through the eyelets. Here you see the cable wire inserted and the safety flag in place to prevent accidental deployment. The yellow string is the packing cord that is used to thread the short pilot chute loop through the eyelets. This should be removed after the chute is packed and kept somewhere handy for repacking the parachute. If you loose it, someone will be sacrificing a shoe string at the track.



15. I had Mark weld the bracket for the AA Performance push bar underneath the tether loop bracket. When talking to Attilio later, he recommended mounting it on either side instead of underneath. He said the mount is stronger if pushed from the sides due to it’s bracing, than if pushed at the bottom. It will likely be fine like this as long as we don’t slam on the brakes while being pushed fast. Notice the pack is positioned perfectly for most common sheet metal wings. If you mount your pack too close to the car, it won’t catch the air stream properly if a Pro-Stock type wing is installed.

16. Now I just need to get my old heap of a golf cart started and mount the other bracket to the front of it. AA includes these heavy duty quick release pins for quick hook-up on the return road or in the pits.


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17 17. There you have it, one step closer to go time. I am saving you a surprise for when we dump the laundry for the first time at the track debut. I had our friends at DJ Safety put a cool design on the parachute canopy. DJ Safety has easy to follow, step by step parachute packing instructions on their website. Even if you have packed parachutes before, it is a good idea to check it out. Just go to djsafety.com, click on “parachutes” in the menu column, then look for the link to the PDF file on the left side of the page.

As you can see, the time is coming fast for our Thug to hit the track! Stay tuned as we continue to tie up all those loose ends as warmer weather approaches and we get ready to rumble!

Previous Project 4 Lug Thug Total =

$54,404.62 Sources:

DJ Safety / AA Performance parachute project breakdown DJ Safety 180-220mph door car parachute #851067 - DJ Safety -


AA Performance bumper bar with hitch - AA Performance -


AA Performance parachute pack mount - AA Performance -


AA Performance push bar kit - AA Performance -


Parachute release – Holcomb Motorsports -


Total cost of parachute set up


New Project 4 Lug Thug Total =


DJ Safety djsafety.com (323)221-0001

AA Performance (772)672-1164 doubleaaperformance.com Holcomb Motorsports (800)475-7223 holcombmotorsports.com

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