$10K Drag Shootout Episode 4: The Middle Of The Build

On last week’s episode of the $10K Drag Shootout things got a little tense in the shop as Team Boddie received a 50-pound weight penalty and had to pay the full price for the ported cylinder heads they received. The teams continued to work on finishing their cars with Team Bigun completing their chassis, while Stinky Pinky fell behind. Team Boddie also bounced back from the cylinder head controversy to win the Taco Eating contest, scoring a free nitrous kit from Nitrous Oxide Systems. Meanwhile, the Dream Team came in last in the feeding frenzy and had to be chained together for two hours, with the larger storyline of Big Daddy Dwayne Gutridge’s trash-talking.

After spending a week thrashing on their cars and participating in various competitions, the contestants of the $10K Drag Shootout decided to kick back and relax a bit in the shop with a nice razzing session to help lighten the mood. There had been plenty of friendly banter going on between them over the course of their builds, but Gutridge seemed to be taking it all to a higher level as part of his strategy to gain an edge. All of that talk began to wear thin on the other teams and may have even begun to cause some friction between he and the other Dream Team members.

All of that led to a closed-door team meeting to resolve all of the internal issues. The team spent the evening hashing out their differences to make sure they would be able to function as a unit for the remainder of the competition. By the end of the night, the Dream Team was a united front and ready to push toward their goal of winning the $10K Drag Shootout.

The electricity in the air grew inside the shop because the next challenge in the $10K Drag Shootout was coming at the teams. This time it wasn’t trays of tacos greeting each team — it was the E3 Spark Plug Wire Challenge, with plenty of blank wires ready to be made. Each team had to assemble a set of E3 spark plug wires in the shortest amount of time, then they had to be installed using the proper firing order on the PRW engine test stand. Each team also had to keep their wires as short as possible since two seconds of time was added for each inch of wire length.

Having the quickest time in this challenge would net the winning team a lightweight PRW harmonic balancer, an extra $250 towards their build budget, and a killer PRW engine test stand. The team who clocked the slowest time had to dawn inflatable T-Rex suites for a full hour in their bay as they worked. When the dust settled and the competition was over Team Bigun picked up their second challenge win , while Team Boddie never finished as the engine never started, and had to become dinosaurs for a full 60 minutes.

 Team Boddie

To power the G-Boddie, Team Boddie decided to stick with their old-school grudge racing roots and go with a big-block Chevy on a bit hit of nitrous. The ProMaxx remained as part of the build along with a set of used aluminum connecting rods and new big block Chevy Mahle pistons. The camshaft ended up being slightly bent, so the team summoned some of their garage-built racing experience to straighten it out before it was installed. To inject all of the NOS nitrous into the intake, team leader Russ Wullenwaber plumbed up the custom fogger kit that will give the G-Boddie some serious kick.

Team Stinky Pinky

Team Stinky Pinky is filled with big personalities, so it’s no surprise they’re stuffing a big-block Chevy into their Camaro with a set of ProMaxx 317cc big-block heads that are held in place by a set of ARP fasteners. Sitting on top of that big old American engine is an equally big 8-71 Littlefield blower and Holley carburetor. Rotating inside the engine is an Eagle crankshaft and connecting rods, along with a set of new Mahle slugs. A custom COMP Cams camshaft will give the blown beast its own unique idle.

Team Bigun

Unlike Team Boddie and Team Stinky Pinky, the guys on Team Bigun decided to skip the big cubic-inch approach and use a 5.3-liter LS-based engine to power their Mustang. To get creative they filled the stock block with Home Depot-bought concrete to seal up the water passages. The team used stock LS LM7 heads that were ported by engine builder Pete Harrell, and mostly stock internals (aside from the Mahle pistons, pins and rings) that have been outfitted with ARP studs, fasteners, and rod bolts to add serious strength. A gently-used BorgWarner S475 is providing the boost through a turbo system the team fabricated, and a dry shot of nitrous is being used in place of an intercooler to chill the incoming air charge.

Dream Team

The Dream Team jumped on the LS train with Team Bigun, using their own 5.3-liter engine. For their build, the Dream Team opted to upgrade the rods and pistons in their LSX engine with a set of used Scat H-beams and (of course) Mahle pistons. New Clevite bearings and Mahle gaskets help seal the engine. The heads are factory LS 317 castings with Comp valvesprings. For boost, the Dream Team used a new BorgWarner S475 turbo and scored a ton of great stainless steel tubing from CX Racing to build the turbo system. Besides getting the tubing from CX Racing, the Dream Team also picked up a high-quality CX air-to-air intercooler to keep the atmosphere coming into the engine nice and cool.

Royal Purple

With all of the engines coming together, making sure everything was lubricated properly became something that needed to be addressed by the builders. As each team assembled their engine Royal Purple Max-Tuff assembly lube was used as needed to make sure all the parts would function correctly when the engine was fired the first time.

Each team also filled their engines with Royal Purple’s XPR 20W-50 or 10W-40 weight oil. This particular oil – XPR – is designed to run in the very harsh conditions and high levels of heat that can be generated in drag racing. Since these budget-built engines are being pushed to the edge, it was important for each team to use a synthetic oil that had plenty of performance enhancers and protections built in to deal with the brutal beatings the engines would be subjected to.

Besides engine oil, teams had their pick of a variety of other Royal Purple products to assist with lubricating and assembling their $10K Drag Shootout cars. To keep things moving smoothly in their rearends, the teams added Max-Gear synthetic gear oil from Royal purple to their builds. This lubricant gives the gears extra protection under load while keeping them cool.

After each team had their engine buttoned up and ready, they began the process of shoehorning them into their car. Team Bigun was the first team to snuggle their boosted LS-based engine into its home using a set of used LS engine mounts. The Dream Team was right on their heels and had their 5.3 liter engine in place, but opted to use a new mid-mount motor plate from Summit Racing Equipment. Team Boddie also used motor mounts from Summit but had a foam engine they used for mock-up to speed up the process as they worked on finishing their mill. Team Stinky Pinky followed suit with Team Boddie, acquiring motor mounts from Summit, but they were behind the rest of the teams getting the engine in place.

Baer Brakes

Since each team is going to be pushing their $10K Drag Shootout car well past the limits of the stock front brakes, an upgrade to the brakes was required in the name of safety. Baer Brakes stepped up to provide each team with a Deep Stage Drag Racing front brake kit for their vehicle to make sure they could bring them to a stop at the end of each pass. With 11-inch, 2-piece rotors and 4-piston calipers they boast plenty of stopping power – designed specifically for heavier “street race” cars like our 3,200-pound contestants. These kits came complete with everything needed to finish the installation and be able to clear the wheels each team selected.

When all the cutting, welding, and smashing of metal was complete, each team had a rolling chassis that was ready to be completed. Mickey Thompson provided the spec tires for each team in the front with a set of 26x4x15 front-runners for reduced weight, and a pair of 275 Pro radial rear tires for some serious bite at the track. The 275 Pro uses Mickey Thompson’s ultra-sticky R2 compound and each team will push this tire to its absolute limits when racing begins at the Shakedown At The Summit next month.

Fragola

Even though these are budget builds making sure everything is plumbed properly is critical. To help all the 10K Drag Shootout teams get fuel, oil, and coolant where it needed to go safely Fragola stepped in. Each team was given an assortment of Fragola hose ends and fittings to work with their 3000 series stainless hose and nylon hose as well. The aerospace quality aluminum that’s used in all the fittings works great with the hoses that can stand temperatures up to 300 degrees and 1,500psi of pressure. The 10K Drag Shootout teams will benefit from Fragola products with their nitrous, blower, and turbo combinations.

Ron Francis

As each team worked towards completing their car, a big hurdle that needed to be addressed was the wiring. With two teams using EFI and two using a carburetor, the wiring needs would be different and would require a custom touch. Each team received their own Ron Francis Wiring Pro Race switch panel (PN SP-80) for the basic functions of their car along with a Bare Bonz wiring kit (PN BB-16) to help connect everything. All the teams had their own unique approach about how they wired the cars, but Team Bigun wins the award for most creative with their use of a pencil box, of all things, to house their switch panel.

With the build phase coming to an end, each team tried to maximize the amount of budget from Summit Racing Equipment they had left. The $7,000 from Summit in gift cards was able to carry most of the teams far and provide an amazing amount of parts for their builds. The Dream Team and Team Bigun each had a budget surplus that they can use to purchase additional parts for their car, or beverages to help them relax at the end of each build day. Team Stinky Pinky and Team Boddie both experienced some budget crunch, with Team Stinky Pinky running the lowest on funds as they try to finish their build.

Money wasn’t the only issue for Team Stinky Pinky as their big-block Chevy assembly wasn’t going as planned. The team ran into continued problems as they tried to put the engine together while the other teams were finishing up their powerplants. Eventually, Team Stinky Pinky was able to get their big cubic-inch Chevrolet assembled and topped it off with the intimidating roots blower.

On the other end of the spectrum, Team Bigun continued to lead the rest of the teams when it came to the assembly of their car. The team powered through various issues and got the engine buttoned up and plumbed with fittings from Fragola for the fluid systems. After they tested for leaks, Team Bigun was able to become the first team in the $10K Drag Shootout to fire their engine in preparation for the dyno session.

The Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout is comprised of four teams who have been given $10,000 — $3,000 in cash and $7,000 in Summit Racing Equipment gift cards — to build the quickest and fastest drag car possible. Once complete, they’ll race in front of a live audience at the Shakedown at the Summit in Norwalk, Ohio to see who keeps their car (and a $10,000 winner’s prize) and who goes home empty-handed. The $10K Drag Shootout has been made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry, including Royal Purple, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, E3 Spark Plugs, Fragola, Holley, Diablosport, Mahle Motorsports, Dyna-Batt, ProCharger, Weld Racing, ARP, BMR Suspension, QA1, PRW, Covercraft, and of course, Summit Racing.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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