Jon Kaase Part 2

» Check out part one of the interview here.

: What other classes do you build engines for?

Kaase: We’ve got some Top Dragster customers and right now we have a motor for an NHRA A/Altered going in the shop. You know, they run 6.50s at 213 or 214 mile an hour, but they’re almost 200 horsepower less than our Pro Stock motors.

: Do you have any involvement with engines for oval track cars?

Kaase: There’s one guy in Alabama, Johnny Brazier, that we do some stuff for in Super Late Model and he’s won a couple of championships and quite a few races over there.

: Are you involved in building engines for NASCAR teams?

Kaase: We don’t do any NASCAR stuff now, but in 1984 I worked for Kyle Petty and we’ve done stuff for Bill Elliott up the road in Dawsonville, Georgia. In fact, when he won the Daytona 500 in 1987 I had ported the manifold on that engine for him. And then after that we hung out with Bud Moore’s number-15 car for quite a bit and did some engines for them. We had an engine with them that Brett Bodine finished 11th with, I think, at Talladega, so we’ve built Cup engines and had guys finish races and do okay with.

We actually used to do work for quite an assortment of Cup guys, but those are all pretty much closed organizations now; you don’t help out a NASCAR team these days. So I haven’t really had any involvement with them for probably the last eight or 10 years. I really enjoyed it, too, I loved going to those races and just hanging out.

: What about the small-block Fords like some sprint cars use?

Kaase: We don’t really do any small-block stuff at all. We’re really busy with the projects we’ve got and there are already a lot of people who do good work with small blocks and not as many that focus on big block engines, so we try to be really good at just one or two things and not just okay at a lot of things.  

By 1980, though, he had left the professional racing circuit to set up shop in his adopted Atlanta, where he continues to crank out the mountain motors that now power up to half the field at most ADRL Extreme Pro Stock races and have been responsible for countless IHRA Pro Stock wins and world championships, in addition to wins in several other classes and series, such as boat drag racing and stock cars.
Additionally, Kaase is a four-time winner of the prestigious Popular Hot Rodding Engine Masters Challenge, including last year’s competition, which dyno tests motors from professional engine builders and through a complicated equation awards points for horsepower and torque after three consecutive dyno pulls.

Kaase recently hosted DragRacingOnline.com at his Winder, Georgia, shop, where he granted an extensive face-to-face interview in which he addressed his past, present and future in the high-horsepower world of elite engine building.