At the Track

Doug Garrity

Doug and his brother Mike came to our Shootout to experiment with the Trans Am's induction system. They hypothesized the Trans Am's stock Shaker was preventing the car from scoring lower e.t.'s.

For the first pass, he launched at 1,850 rpm, crossed the 60-foot in 1.59 seconds, and made it down 1,320 feet in 11.74 seconds at 112.73 mph. "It felt good and right in line with what it usually runs," Doug says.

Prior to his fourth pass, Mike removed the Shaker scoop and paper air filter, and installed a K&N XStream Air Flow assembly and 14x4-inch filter. The result was nearly a 0.10-second improvement over his baseline run.

Hoping the new induction system had even lower e.t.'s in store for the Trans Am, he retained it for the rest of his runs. It was a good thing he did, as his sixth pass put him down the track in 11.55 seconds at 114.58 mph, earning him his best pass of the day.

"I then made a pass with the Shaker back on, and the e.t's suffered by more than 0.10 second," Doug says. "That proved to Mike and me that the Shaker was restricting airflow and power."

Doug says our Shootout "was a great experience, and great fun" for his family. He says the Trans Am "went straight on the track," but was prone to wheel spinning at the starting line.

Bret Blankemeyer

Bret spent the months prior to our Shootout building a new stroker motor for his GTO. "My goal was to break into the 10s," he said. For his first pass, he launched at 1,100 rpm, crossed the 60-foot in 1.65 seconds, and laid down an 11.22-second e.t. at 120.20 mph. "I wasn't used to my GTO launching that fast, as it previously ran in the low 13s," he said.

Prior to his third pass, he removed his air cleaner in an attempt to improve his performance. His plan worked, as he clicked off an 11.10-second e.t. at 119.9 mph. "I was surprised it shaved 0.1 second off my time," he said.

Regardless of the improvement, Bret had to wait until that weekend to see his 10-second e.t. goal realized. "I think the engine wasn't broken in yet," he said. "Two days after the Shootout, I ran an 11.00 and a 10.98 e.t. back-to-back." Bret also observed that his 3,500-rpm stall converter was holding back his 60-foot times. "They were soft," he said. "I think a 4,400-rpm converter will put my GTO firmly in the 10s.

When asked about the event, Bret said, "I think the opportunity to make multiple passes with no stress helped me break in the new engine and acclimate myself to its new power."


This month's Shootout participants came to our event to reach new plateaus with their race cars, and each discovered what it takes to get there. Both Doug and Bret learned that air cleaner differences can affect e.t.'s by as much as 0.1 second, and it's one of the least expensive horsepower mods you can add to your Pontiac.

Like Bret and Doug, lower e.t.'s may be waiting for you and extracting them may be as simple as eliminating restrictions in your intake airflow. We're sure the cars and combos detailed in this story will give you plenty of ideas for your project.

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.