Welcome to High Performance Pontiac’s Pavement Pounders Shootout, which we held at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, the day prior to last year’s Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals. As in the last seven installments of this series, we hand-picked Pontiac racers from across the United States, invited them to the track, and told them to go to for their best e.t.’s ever. This month we bring you another action-packed round of Pontiac power. Let’s meet the racer.
Roger Miller of Farmingdale, New York, is a tow truck fleet manager, but watch him really hook up when he takes to the track in his ’69 Firebird. It features a 455/467 with cast-iron D-port heads, a Turbo 400, and 4.10 gears.
The temperature at Summit Motorsports Park ranged from 73 to 87 degrees. Barometric pressure was measured at 29.93 hg and the dew point was 57.9 degrees. The track is 853 feet above sea level and density altitude ranged from 2,177 to 3,073 feet. We’ll give Roger a correction factor based upon the density altitude (DA) at the time of his best pass (12:30 p.m./2,673 DA). The correction factor is designed to chart the theoretical best performance at sea level and will be done on the best pass only, based on e.t.
Roger Miller Roger, 44 years old, (with crew member Carmine Tagliaferro, left) has been racing for 21 years. He bought his ’69 Firebird in 1990 because, “There were too many Camaros. I sold a ’69 Camaro to get it.” It’s special to him because he has owned it “for almost 23 years and built it up from a 14- second car to a high 10-/low-11-second car.” Roger’s favorite moment with the Bird was winning the NHRA King of the Track race at Englishtown in 2009. He also owns a ’67 GTO and a ’76 Trans Am.
|Strip Tuning Log |
|1. 33-deg timing, Holley 850-cfm Double Pumper, no air cleaner
|Best Pass Corrected
|5. Quick Fuel 830-cfm carb
|7. Holley 850-cfm carb
|*Run Notes: 1) Sluggish off the line; engine temperature, 160 degrees; 2) Smooth run; engine temperature, 180 degrees; 3) Left real hard; 5) Not pulling as hard on top end; 7) Pulled hard. *Best 5 Passes Listed
At the Track
Roger, a bracket racer at Englishtown, welcomed the opportunity to make changes to his Firebird and launch technique with the goal of determining various dial-ins. “I usually run an 850-cfm Holley, and brought a 830-cfm Quick Fuel to gauge its performance,” he says. He ran all of his passes with his air cleaner off.
For his first pass, he launched at 900 rpm, crossed the 60-foot in 1.61 seconds, and laid down an 11.28 e.t. at 119.15 mph. “I’ve used this setup at Norwalk before, and that’s exactly what I expected the Firebird to run,” he says.
He raised his launch rpm to 2,500 for his third trip down the 1,320, and clocked an 11.22 e.t. at 119.04 mph, marking his best pass of the day. On his fifth pass, he bolted up the Quick Fuel 830-cfm carb, but his e.t. suffered, dropping to 11.32. “It didn’t feel as strong as the larger carb,” he says.
We hand-picked Pontiac racers from across the United States
When asked about the event, Roger said, “It was a nice relaxed atmosphere.” He described the track conditions as “very good -- I had no problem with traction.”
Year/Model: ’69 Firebird 400
Race Weight With Driver: 3,505 lbs.
Curb Weight: 3,265 lbs.
Fuel Level When Weighed: 6-gal
Engine: ’74 code-YY 455
Cubic Inches Before/After: 455/467
Built by: Richie Hoffman
Air Cleaner: None
Carburetor: Holley Double Pumper, 800-cfm
Spacer Plate: 1-in, wood
Intake Manifold: Performer RPM
Pump: Mallory 140 electric
Regulator: Mallory, set to 7 psi
Casting: No. 62 (original to the car)
Head Porting: By Frankie Ford
Flow Numbers: N/A
Valves: Ferrea stainless steel, 2.11/1.77
Pistons: Ross forged flat-top, 4.200-in bore
Rings: Hastings Racing
Rods: Crower forged, 6.625-in
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Crankshaft: Stock, 4.210-in stroke, turned 0.010 under
Rotating Assembly Balanced: Yes
Brand: Comp Cams hydraulic roller
Duration at 0.050: 248/254-deg
Duration Advertised: 299/305-deg
Lift With Specified Rocker Arms: 0.562/0.580-in
Lobe Separation Angle: 110-deg
Installed Position: Straight up
Rocker Arms: Harland Sharp, 1.5:1-ratio
Distributor: DUI (Davis Unified Ignition) stock-type HEI; no vacuum advance
Wires: MSD 8mm Helicore solid-suppression
Spark Plugs: NGK UR5
Total Timing: 33-deg
Rpm that total timing is reached: 3,000 rpm
Headers: Nunzi custom, ceramic-coated
Primaries 1.75-in to 1.875-in, stepped
Exhaust Pipes: 3.00-in
Mufflers: Dynamax Ultra Flo with 3.00-in turndowns
Crossover: 3.50-in into 3.00-in, custom-made by Hoffman Racing
Transmission: Turbo 400
Converter: Continental 10-inch, 2,800-rpm stall
Shifter: B&M Pro Stick (autographed by Jim Wangers, Arnie Beswick, and Don Garlits)
Rear: ’69 Camaro 12-bolt, welded tubes, LPW rearend cover
Rear Gear Ratio: 4.10:1
Spool: Strange mini-spool
Axles: Moser, 31-spline, C-clip eliminators
Chassis and Suspension
Brakes F/R: Stock 11-in disc / 9-in drum
Wheels F/R: Weld Super Lites 15x5 / 15x8
Tires F/R: Moroso Drag Special 7.10x15 / Hoosier Drag Slicks 29x10.5x15, D6 compound
Tire Pressure F/R: 39/14.5 psi
Springs: Moroso Drag
Shocks: Competition Engineering 90/10
Control Arms: Stock
Stabilizer Bar: None
Other Features: Flaming River manual-steering
Chassis Mods: Lakewood bolt-in frame connectors
Stabilizer Bar: None
Springs: Landrum monoleafs
Shocks: QA1 single-adjustable, set to 3 on each side
Other Features: CalTracs traction bars
Interior Mods: Sun Super Tach 2 tachometer; Auto Meter oil pressure, temp, and volt gauges; MSD shift light with 5,800-rpm chip; Grant GT steering wheel with removable mount
Exterior Mods: Open hoodscoops
Safety Mods: Driveshaft loop, six-point rollbar, RCI five-point harness, ATI Super Damper, 8-gal fuel cell, dual batteries in trunk with remote cutoff
Color: Liberty Blue with a black vinyl top
Launch Technique: Shallow stage, then leave off idle (around 800 rpm)
Best 1/8-mile ET/MPH Prior to Event: 6.87/99.11 mph
Best 1/4-mile ET/MPH Prior to Event: 10.85/123 mph
This month’s Shootout participant came to our event to test an alternate carburetor and modify his launch technique. Due to his home track’s popularity, our Shootout gave him the benefits of a private track rental. “I know now that if I ever need to qualify faster, I can bring the launch rpm up higher,” he says. “I’ll return to Englishtown with what I learned at the Shootout.”
Like Roger, you may find that your home track can get too congested for you to make more than a few passes in a single session. Traveling to a less-populated dragstrip may be just the answer to getting in all the runs you need to test and tune, and help you return to your home track prepared for lower e.t.’s and bigger wins. We’re sure the car and combo detailed in this story will give you plenty of ideas for your project.
This concludes our Pavement Pounders Shootout, Norwalk Edition, for this year.
HPP would like to thank the management and crew at Summit Motorsports Park for their assistance in making this Shootout possible, and John Labuda, Arnie Brewer, and Billy Farrell, who helped make the day go much more smoothly.