DRO 2003 Magazine Projects

by Jeff Burk

roject's are a tradition in racing magazines. Sometimes the projects are successful for the manufacturers, racers and readers. The engine, car or components and verbiage concerning a project all work as envisioned. The parts are delivered on time, the project is finished on schedule, the magazine gets a story and everyone is happy.

Many times, though, projects turn out to be an editor's nightmare with nothing working as advertised or planned and everyone ends up P.O.'d at the editor and the magazine. But projects seem to something that readers, racers and manufacturers all like so editors including yours truly keep doing them.

DRO's second attempt at a magazine project (the first was the editor's '6 7 El Camino Nitrouso, but we aren't talking about that today) was our Super Comp dragster which we called "Project Four-Link." DRO's bracket racing editor and racer, Jok Nicholson, started the project in November 2001. We had a dragster built from scratch and a motor assembled and Jok took the car to the track for testing by the middle of February 2002. Jok eventually drove the dragster to an IHRA national event win and an NHRA points meet win during the 2002 season. His season-long series of tech articles about the dragster was one of DRO's most popular features. The manufacturers, Nicholson, and, most importantly, the readers thoroughly approved of Project Four-Link.


So over the winter, the staff got together one cold and dreary winter day and, flushed with the success of "Project Four-Link," decided we'd do some more projects. For some insane reason that no one can now remember we decided to take on not just one project but we'd try two or three more.


We reasoned that one of the reasons that maybe drag racing isn't getting as many new, young racers involved is the cost of building a competitive .90 class car. So we decided to put together a 10.90 car for less that $15,000 real money. We'd keep track of every dime spent and see if it could be done.

Nicholson borrowed the money to buy a Vega bracket car and yours truly dragged out the 350 c.i. four-bolt block and balanced rotating assembly that has been sitting in the garage and we are going from there. The basic idea is to build an entry level 10.90 car using as few electronic devices as possible and a budget small block Chevy engine. Since we will run both NHRA and IHRA with the car we're going use nitrous which is legal in IHRA 10.90 competition. For more information about this project see Jok's first installment of "Back-2-Basics" in this special tech section.


We're also going to do our first real engine project. Scott Walker of ASW racing engines in Gainesville, FL is an old friend of ours and one of two Canadians that contribute to Drag Racing Online Magazine. Before Scott opened his own engine shop in Florida he had a shop in Canada, worked in Jim Oddy's Elma, NY engine shop, was the shop foreman at Oddy Perfection Race Engines in Florida, and worked for the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School.

Our project engine is going to be a pump gas burning, supercharged rat motor that we want to run in Top Sportsman and Quick Eight competition. We're aiming to make around 1600 hp. Scott built a blown big block with carburetion at Oddy Perfection that made 944 on pump gas, so itís do-able. The object here is to build the baddest blown pump gas engine ever.

We've already got commitments from Darren Mayer at Kobelco for a trick supercharger, Pro Top Line for cylinder heads, and Crane for the valve train. The engine will go into Port Charlotte, FL racer Tommy D'Aprile's '63 'Vette Top Sportsman/Quick Eight when it is finished. So, this project has a good chance of being completed and track tested by the middle of the year. We're looking for a mid six-second, gasoline burner.


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