Project BlownZ06 Drag Radial Corvette Build Updates

Project BlownZ06 is Dragzine’s most ambitious build to date, centering around the ground-up construction of a C7 Z06 Corvette by PMR Race Cars for Outlaw Drag Radial, Pro 275, Radial vs The World, and other radial eliminators with the NMCA, NMCA West, and Outlaw venues.

We’ve partnered with the world-renowned team at Pro Line Racing for a unique new partnership, in conjunction with ProCharger, to assemble a first-of-its-kind supercharged 548 cubic-inch Hemi engine package for the build that we hope will have the same world record-setting result as other Pro Line and ProCharger customers.

March 13, 2018 – Gotta’ Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Given all of the world-class ingredients that have gone into the build-up of BlownZ06 and all of the talent involved, we certainly hoped — and to some degree, expected — that at some point we’d have the opportunity to park the car in a winner’s circle. But to do it this quickly … that came as a surprise.

We entered the NMCA’s season opener in Bradenton on a high note, having run in the three-second zone in our debut race a couple of months earlier, also in Bradenton. And while we didn’t get the win there, we were elated with the early performance to say, the least. Right away at the NMCA event, we improved upon those numbers in testing, going a new best of 3.86 to set the centrifugal supercharger drag radial record. While that run came in Radial vs The World trim (bout 60 pounds lighter than Radial Wars would permit) we knew were on to something.

Throughout qualifying and testing, we were working to get the convertor optimized. The rearend ratio has also been a big challenge with the new combination we tackled. Out 60-foot is not where it needs to be
and as the weather got worse we struggled with the convertor and gear ratios, but after tow days of qualifying, we were fortunate to qualify second for the show with a 3.90 — just behind DeWayne Mills at 3.88 — putting us in a good position for raceday.

We ran Ronald Fisher in the opening round and advanced with a 3.95 and earned a competition single in the semi-finals. We tried something new on the solo pass and it knocked the tire off. For the final round against small-block runner Marty Stinnett, we knew about the best we had was a 3.93 or 3.94, and we wanted to stay conservative so we’d know we would go down the track. We felt we would get outrun by Marty but wanted to play the odds rather than try to make a ‘hail mary.’ In the end, Marty went red on the tree and we went a 3.94 for the win.

It was great racing with some big names like DeWayne Mills, Marty Stinnett and Kevin Fiscus. We are currently number one in the points heading in to NMCA Atlanta. A special thanks to everyone that helped us this year with the car!

January 30, 2018 – The Debut

Following months of preparation taking place on both ends of the country — from the chassis in California to the engine in Georgia — BlownZ06 made its long-awaited debut at the annual U.S. Street Nationals at Bradenon, Florida this weekend. And needless to say, the debut race exceeded even our own expectations.

After its cross-country, 2,535-mile trek to Florida, we spent the days leading up to qualifying for the U.S. Street Nationals shaking the new car down while ProLine Racing tuner Steve Petty dug his claws into the ProCharger-HEMI combination. By the time the event rolled around, the car was steadily chipping its way through the low four-second range, making quicker laps each time it took to the track. Ultimately, we qualified No. 5 in the 19-car Radial vs The World field with a 3.97 194.4 mph — a number we knew the car was fully capable of but perhaps a few more runs away from being reality.

After scoring the first round win with the car, a minor electrical gremlin got us in the second round.

We set out to — and achieved — our goals of running in the 3-second range in the eighth-mile. This project is by far the quickest and fastest magazine project vehicle in drag racing history, breaking our previous mark with the BlownZ Camaro project (4.35/171).
We receive a great deal of tuning support from our partners at the track and they were an invaluable part of the equation of helping us achieve these numbers. 

Keep an eye out for BlownZ06 as it returns to the track at the NMCA season opener in March at Bradenton before moving on to the Outlaw Street Car Reunion in Kentucky in April.

A key part of the suspension on a car like BlownZ06 is the strut placement. Having the struts laid out correctly helps the car transfer weight correctly and allows for adjustments based on track conditions that will work.

In this update, we move to the front half of the car, focusing on the chassis work at PMR Race Cars, the shocks, springs, and brakes, while diving into the intricate details of the build and the theory behind many of the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of the front end of BlownZ06.

Since things are so tight in the front of the Corvette, PMR had to use the mid plate as part of the firewall.

For the front suspension, we used a variety of parts from the Quarter-Max catalog to make sure the car would have the highest levels of adjustability. Working within the Quarter-Max suspension parts will be a set of JRi shocks and Hyperco springs to take care of the car’s dampening needs. Going fast is fun, but stopping is important too, so a killer set of Strange Engineering carbon fiber brakes were implemented on the front of BlownZ06.

These JRi struts are designed for the extra front end travel that’s needed on a radial tire car.

We also turn to the locating and mounting of the ProLine Racing HEMI powerplant and to the carbon fiber C7 Corvette nose, bth of which will play a pivotal role in the performance of the car.
Building a cutting-edge chassis for a racecar is more than just throwing some tubes on a jig and welding them together — a plan must be established with defined goals along with a roadmap to get you to the final destination. Our C7 Z06 Corvette Project BlownZ06 is a complex build with grand goals of racing dominance, so a well-thought-out chassis is required to make this happen.

Making the rearend of the Corvette function as needed required some serious planning from PMR Race Cars.

We started by picking a chassis/parts supplier for the build – and that was the team at RJ’s Race Cars/QuarterMax, with most of our dialog with Rickie Jones. RJ’s was to supply the vast majority of all of the chassis components and accessories for the build, including their custom 4-link system, front suspension pieces, and all kinds of parts big and small. PMR Race Cars has been working away on BlownZ06 and in this article, we’ll take a look at what has gone into the rear half of the Corvette to make it its best on race day.

Getting the OEM and aftermarket body panels to fit together was an interesting challenge for PMR on the BlownZ06 build.

Because BlownZ06 is going to be competing in the fastest radial tire classes, like Outlaw Drag Radial, Pro 275, and Radial versus The World, getting the chassis right is critical to being successful. Tony Mandella and his team at PMR have helped with our previous project cars like BlownZ, so he was our first call when we set sail on this project. He worked hand in hand with RJ’s Race Cars/QuarterMax to develop a complete plan on the car from end to end. This will be our first article in the series on the buildup of BlownZ06 and what goes into building a machine of this caliber.

November 14 – Ultimate Adjustability With RJ’s Extreme Billet 4-Link System

It takes a lot of fine-tuning to get a high-horsepower car down the racetrack — no matter if it’s running on radials or slicks — and we want to give ourselves every advantage in the tuning department that we possibly can. One of those advantages, which racers in Pro Stock, Pro Modified, and other high-horsepower categories have been making use of for over a decade is RJ Race Cars’ Extreme 4-Link system, which provides virtually five times the adjustability in the 4-link, and therefore in the instant center, than a traditional 4-link.

This 4-link system features billet weld-on chassis brackets that utilize a unique bolt-on 4-link plate system with a keyway that allows both top and bottom 4-link plates to move up and down in increments of 1/8-inch, allowing fine tune adjustments to be made to the instant center of the 4-link. With the adjustability on tap in this design, it was an obvious choice for our new BlownZ06 C7 Corvette drag radial car — we’ll be pairing it with JRi Shocks and a host of internals from Strange Engineering and US Gear in the center section to guide the car into (hopefully) the three-second zone at 200 mph.


October 31

There’s a lot of work yet to be done to get BlownZ06 race-ready — from wiring and plumbing to several odds and ends on the chassis and suspension side, but nevertheless, we made our anticipated and planned unveiling at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where the car was on display at the Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels booth in front of tens of thousands of attendees. Once the show wraps, the car will be whisked back to PMR Race Cars, where we’ll get back to work on the final items on the checklist in preparation for testing in the offseason.

October 30

We haven’t updated you guys nearly as much as we should have over the last month as we have been on a complete mad thrash to get the roller ready for the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. We are here and we are going to be flying through a significant amount of updates that have been done to the car. First off, we’re going to show you the last picture that you will be able to see online prior to the show. At the show, the car is going to be on display at the Mickey Thompson Tires SEMA show display. This is all you get until next week unless you check our Facebook page for updates!

It’s almost SEMA time. This is the last sneak peek you get before having to see it in person at Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels SEMA Booth.

With the chassis powder-coated, it was time to start fitting in the Pro Line/AJPE Hemi into the Corvette. The custom Chris Alston CDS Gear Drive Hemi brackets and stands are already installed.

Piece by piece, the Corvette came together thanks to the hard work from PMR Race Cars

This it the lightweight RJ’s/QuarterMax low-profile steering wheel, complete with a PMR horn button. LOL. Don’t think we’re going to be making it functional.

More shots of the F3-143 supercharger with the Chris Alston Gear Drive.

Chris Alston at CDS Gear Drives innovated a new style gear drive mount working with the team at Pro Line that fully captures all of the bolts on the front drive of the Alan Johnson Performance Engineering billet hemi block. This prevents twisting and tearing of the block as the supercharger’s drive energy is transferred into it.

Greg from REF headers welding on the Burns stainless material.

The finished Burns stainless zoomies. Burns provided the header tubing and we utilized Pro Fabrication/Pro Line-spec header flanges that were CNC machined.

Another shot of the fit and finish on the optic armor windows.

Burns Stainless got the nod when it came to providing the header materials for the Hemi, and they did not disappoint providing 2-5/8″ stainless, 16-guage, for the Zoomies. This is a shot as we are assembling and fabricating the headers.

When the PLR (Pro Line Racing) 548ci hemi rolled in, the entire shop got quiet and admired the beauty. With AJPE billet heads and block, a Billet Bryant crankshaft, BME rods and Pistons, Ferrea Valves, Reid Rockers, ATI Dampner, a Visner intake manifold, Billet Atomizer Injectors, and a COMP billet camshaft — this all-billet bad boy is going to make some serious noise.

BlownZ06 will rely on Procharger’s F3-136 or F3-143X supercharger models depending on class and weights.

RJ’s exclusively provided all of the chassis, suspension and hardware for the build – including their lightweight pedal assembly, brakes, throttle and steering column goodies.

Our friends at Optic Armor got the call to supply the windows for the 2017 Corvette Z06. They fit perfectly and PMR trimmed them and installed them to size without a problem.

RJ Race Cars provided us with their lightweight carbon seat.

BlownZ06 looking mean with the carbon work on the inlet for the ProCharger F3-136 & 143.

9 days to SEMA. #wegotthis

Progress coming along with BlownZ06 in the SEMA Thrash 2017. PMR Race Cars has been working on this car non stop getting it ready for the Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels booth at SEMA.


August 5, 2017 – Ride Height Adjustment On The Fly With RJ’s Threaded Strut Mount

While much of the focus in drag racing suspension seems to rest on the rear of the car, what’s going on up front is every bit as important to producing a well-balanced, efficient chassis with solid driving characteristics. In an upcoming feature we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the JRi front strut that will be helping us to accomplish this on our Project BlownZ06 radial tire C7 Corvette, but before we can get to that, we first have to center in on the mechanisms for mounting the strut to our PMR Race Cars-built chassis. For that, we sourced one of Quarter-Max’s trick Threaded Adjustable Strut Mount kits.

(Left) PMR Race Cars tacks the outer mount and the fabricated gussets in place for mock-up purposes. To the left of the outer, you can see the bracket for the Racecraft strut extension limiter that we’ll be utilizing, as well. (Right) The finished product, with the supplied cover over the outer mount to give a nice, clean appearance.

What makes this strut mount kit different from your more traditional setup? It’s in the simplicity of adjustability. In the past, struts were mounted directly to the upper framerail and could not be located up and down in any fashion; in order to adjust ride height, you were forced to adjust your spring setting, therefore affecting the compression and travel of the strut. Other setups on the market employed the use of spacers that could be added or removed above the spring cup to provide some adjustability, but as Rickie Jones comments, such methods were time-consuming and rudimentary by comparison.

August 2, 2017 – Wheel Time: BlownZ06 Gets Weld’s Full Throttle And V-Series Wheels

The new Full Throttle wheels being mocked up recently on BlownZ06 at PMR Race Cars.

BlownZ06 is going to be packing a ton of horsepower, and it will need it to compete in the brutally competitive world of head-up radial racing, so we need to maximize every advantage possible, including in the wheel department. Using lightweight wheels like the Full Throttle and V-Series from WELD will allow us to swing weight to more crucial areas of the chassis.

(Left) The Full Throttle wheels are WELD's lightest in their front wheel lineup. (Right) If you're trying to make serious power, a beadlock style wheel like the V-series is a must to keep the tire from spinning on the wheel.

With the Full Throttle wheel, WELD wanted to create something that would work for a larger percentage of their customers. To help accomplish this, the wheel is offered in 15×3.5 spindle and lug mount styles, along with 17×3.5 and 17×4.5 for late model cars with bigger front brakes. These choices go beyond the size for WELD, as they take other important factors into consideration, as well.

July 21, 2017 – M&M Transmission’s Billet Aluminum Shifter is Sturdy and Striking

M&M Transmission’s recently-released shifters are available in a two speed-specific version which works with Powerglides and two-speed Turbo 400s, a three speed-specific safe neutral version which works with Turbo 400s and a standard three speed-specific reverse pattern for Turbo 350s and Turbo 400s.

As an owner of M&M Transmission and a celebrated race car driver campaigning Jason Carter’s 1978 Malibu in heads-up classes across the country, Mark Micke consistently comes up with ways in which his customers — and he — can be even more competitive. His latest creation is a shifter which is as beautiful as it is buzzworthy, and we simply knew it had to be a part of our Project BlownZ06 Corvette build.

The shifters start out as billet 6061 T6 aluminum that is machined for two hours before M&M Transmission staffer Ryan Stegman cleans and polishes them. They’re then anodized and laser-etched, and stainless steel bracketry, fasteners, hardware and shifter arms are added, as is the cable, which is custom-made by Glendinning Products in South Carolina.

The shifters are available in a two speed-specific version which work with Powerglides and two-speed Turbo 400s, a three speed-specific safe neutral version which works with Turbo 400s and a standard three speed-specific reverse pattern for Turbo 350s and Turbo 400s.

July 16, 2017 – There has been a tremendous amount of work done by the team at PMR Race Cars on BlownZ06. We’re excited to share it all with you. This is a lot of pictures, with some captions telling you guys what is going on. With this project, we have about 10 different articles that we are going to be publishing on it, but in the mean time, we are testing you with our photo galleries of the updates!

You can see we have the Pro Line Hemi in place and we are starting to lay out the frame rails.. this is a critical part of the process.

The rear of the car, with the anti-roll bar and rear end in place. We are starting to work on the mid plate. The rear tree is under construction as well.

We are starting to get the engine in place and figuring out how to design the front frame rails.

Here we are setting up the front strut locations, and we have the front down bars roughed in.

You can start seeing some of the magic. We’ve got some VERY trick JRi front struts on this radial ride. This is a JRI 6-inch travel front strut in a Strange Ultra housing. Using the Strange spindle-mount system, the Weld wheels, and the RJ’s adjustable upper front strut cup.

Another angle of the front suspension.

Going to the rear of the car, we have mocked up the JRi 21.5-inch, 7-inch stroke rear shocks – 4 way adjustable. You can see the Carbon Strange 5 x 5 rear brakes, and the RJ’s 4-link.

The RJ’s Extreme 4-link brackets are works of art. This gives very precise 1/16-inch movement in the 4-link.

You can see the full rear of the car mocked up here with the RJ’s 4-link and RJ’s wishbone. Killer.

Reid supplied our Turbo 400 bell housing and case for the Hemi. We are mocking up the M&M Turbo 400 and you can see we have the double frame rails roughed in as well.

Front of the car is ready for the ProCharger 136/143 and the Chris Alston/CDS Gear Drive to get mocked up.

PMR’s fabricator’s doing their welding magic.

To comply with Limited Drag Radial and other rules, we must cut the factory rear quarter panels into the rear of the car and not use the lightweight ones that come with our kit. Oops. This isn’t a big issue as they are effectively identical.

RJ’s lightweight steering wheel, steering kit, and the rack from Stilleto.

With the Weld Wheels and the Mickey Thompson 315 radials, we have a roller.

Wow that looks stunning.

Bird’s eye view of BlownZ06.

Complete roller, angle 2.

One last thing that we can’t go without showing. The beautiful exhaust flanges from our friends at Pro Fabrication. These are absolutely beautiful and the guys at Pro Fab do these for Pro Line exclusively. Can’t wait to show more pictures of these CNC flanges when we do the exhaust article!

May 11, 2017


Look at what Santa dropped off: a Pro Line 548 Hemi mock-up engine. It was glorious … an all-billet block and heads with a Visner billet intake manifold topping it all off. We will be using the billet Pro Line engine to mock everything up within the frame rails and front suspension. Sadly, our sugar plum dreams of riding off into the sunset will need to wait for our “real” engine, not just a mock-up.

PMR continued to make progress on the chassis. Right now, we’ve got the QuarterMax Extreme 4-link mocked up with the QuarterMax Extreme Adjustable Billet 4-Link Chassis Brackets which are extremely trick as part of the construction of our rear tree. This 4-link system gives you a great deal of flexibility.

This 4-link system features billet weld-on chassis brackets that utilize a unique bolt-on 4-link plate system with a keyway that allows both top and bottom 4-link plates to move up and down in increments of 1/8-inch, allowing fine tune adjustments to be made to the instant center of the 4-link.

May 5, 2017

Well, BlownZ06 is no longer merely a rendering. The guys at PMR Race Cars in Rancho Cucamonga, California are already bending pipe and laying welds, and they’ve made some significant progress in a short time. With the help of Quarter-Max Chassis & Racing Components and Strange Engineering they’re pretty far along with getting the chassis mocked up. We have an extensive quantity of Quarter-Max and RJ’s parts on the chassis side, and we’ve got some beautiful new Strange Carbon fiber brakes.

Building a class-legal C7 Corvette drag car is not a simple or cheap endeavor. It required a lot of extensive dialog with rules makers and with our chassis partners to figure out how to handle and interpret the variety of rules that existed out there in some of these classes. Unlike a Mustang or a 1969 Camaro, the rules simply aren’t written with an all plastic/composite body shell road racing beast in mind.


The biggest challenges lay in a few simple areas:

  • The C7 Z06 body is compromised of composite panels bolted to a plastic inner structure, which is bolted to a combination of outer framerails and various aluminum supporting brackets and stiffeners.
  • The framerails run front to back, bumper to bumper, but are large, bulky, and on the outer perimeter of the frame bonded to the rocker panels.
  • The firewall and window “box frame” area is plastic and aluminum and does not comply with NHRA requirements.
  • The roof is a removable “T-top” type roof that snaps in to the non-NHRA compliant “box-frame” for Pro Mod and/or supercharged methanol combinations.
  • The biggest challenge – the front suspension is a large mono-leaf that does not either lend itself to drag racing or have any available aftermarket options.

In speaking to many rulesmakers, it was determined that we would need to gain clarification from both others that had built Corvettes, but also talk hand-in-hand to figure out how to build a class-legal car that still met NHRA legality and was comparable to other class category cars. What we were eventually able to work out was a set of common rules variables:

  • Use of factory OEM Corvette frame rails from the center of the spindle through the rear of the main body in the OEM location
  • Factory Corvette wheelbase
  • Factory Corvette lights, tail lights, side marker lights, etc.
  • Stock body length, appearance, and profile is needed for all body components
  • The use of OEM Chevrolet rocker panels, inner door jambs, and inner-door structure
  • Utilizing factory OEM C7 “Z06” rear quarter panels, aka “real glass”. This will require joining together the OE factory quarter panels into the rear Skinny Kid race cars hatch/bumper. Luckily, we found some Z06 fenders on eBay for a reasonable price!
  • A “strut” retrofit was acceptable/legal so long as we retained the factory subframe/framerails

Here's the progression of the first few days of construction, from fitting the body to the OEM framerails, to actually laying pipe.

Because the rules many of the categories we’re planning to compete in require the factory framerails, we purchased a set of OEM framerails and body panels to build the car from the ground-up, rather than cut apart a valuable Z06 and waste both time and money. With this in mind, PMR had to start from the outside in, rather than the other way around, to incorporate the factory framerails into the build.

Here's Tony Mandella and the gang at PMR checking out the position of the containment seat as they progress along on construction of the roll cage.

Here’s Tony Mandella and the gang at PMR checking out the position of the containment seat as they progress along on construction of the roll cage.

They began by mocking the body up on the frame rails, since the placement and positioning, in regarding to the OEM door jams, rockers, will be dictated by the frame rails. They’ve since mocked up and partially tacked much of the roll cage, and by the next few weeks we will be finalizing much of the welding on the chassis.

BlownZ06 will be rolling on these beauties from Weld Racing: Full Throttle Fronts combined with 15x15 double beadlock rears. We'll have an in-depth look at Weld's newest all-out race wheel in the coming weeks.

Here's a look at the trick rearend housing fabricated by Skinny Kid Race Cars for the build.

Here’s a look at the trick rearend housing fabricated by Skinny Kid Race Cars for the build.

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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