Welcome to Part 6 of High Performance Pontiac's Pavement Pounders Shootout, which we held at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, the day prior to the last year's Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals. As in the previous installments of this series, we handpicked Pontiac racers from across the United States, invited them to the track, and told them to go for their best e.t.'s ever.

This month we bring you another action-packed round of Pontiac versus Pontiac drag racing. Let's meet the racers.

Steve Hawkey of Elida, Ohio, is a rotary pressman, but watch him really put the ink to the page when it's time to tame the track in his '70 GTO. It features a 455/462 with cast-iron D-port heads, a Turbo 400, and 3.73 gears.

Brent Flynn of Middletown, Indiana, is a professional country-music guitarist for Flynnville Train and was signed to Toby Keith's record label. He's known for not missing a beat on the Nashville stage and the quarter-mile dragstrip. His '62 Catalina is powered by a 455/463 with cast-iron D-port heads, and 3.90 gears.

Weather Report

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 each racer his own correction factor based upon the density altitude at the time of his best pass. Steve's best pass occurred at 2:58 p.m. with a density altitude of 2,906 feet; Brent's best pass occurred at 3:36 p.m. with a density altitude of 3,073 feet. The correction factors are designed to chart the theoretical best performance at sea level and will be done on the best pass only, based on e.t.

Strip Specs
Year/Model: '70 GTO with Judge spoiler and graphics added
Race Weight With Driver: 3,920 lbs
Curb Weight: 3,700 lbs
Fuel Level When Weighed: 1⁄2-tank
Fuel: 110-octane
Engine: Bored 71 code-YC 455
Cubic Inches Before/After: 455/462
Induction System
Air Cleaner: K&N
Carburetor: Demon 850-cfm
Jets: #83/#89
Spacer Plate: 1-inch, Comp poly, open
Intake Manifold: Edelbrock Performer RPM
Fuel System
Pump: Holley Electric Blue
Lines: -AN 8 braided
Regulator: Holley, set to 7 psi
Casting: No. 62
Head Porting: Street port by owner
Flow Numbers: N/A
Valves: Ferrea 5000 stainless-steel, 2.11/1.77
Bottom End
Pistons: Speed Pro, forged flat-top, 0.030-over
Rings: Speed Pro cast file-to-fit; 1/16-, 1/16-, 3/16-in
Rods: Stock cast 6.625-in, resized
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Crankshaft: Stock nodular-iron, 4.210-in stroke
Rotating Assembly Balanced: Yes
Brand: Comp Cams hydraulic-roller
Duration at 0.050: 248/254-deg
Duration Advertised: 305/305-deg
Lift With Specified Rocker Arms: 0.563/0.581-in
Lobe Separation Angle: 110-deg
Installed Position: 4-deg advanced
Rocker Arms: Harland Sharp 1.5:1
Distributor: MSD Pro-Billet
Amplifier: MSD 6AL
Coil: MSD Blaster III
Wires: MSD 8.8mm
Spark Plugs: E3
Total Timing: 34-deg
RPM that total timing is reached: 4,400
Headers: Hedman Hustlers, tubular-steel, ceramic-coated
Primaries: 1.75-in
Collectors: 3.00-in
Exhaust Pipes: 3.00-in
Mufflers: Flowmaster Super 44
Crossover: None
Transmission: Turbo 400
Converter: TCI 11-in, 3,400-stall
Shifter: Stock
Rear: GM 12-bolt
Rear Gear Ratio: 3.73
Posi: Moser Detroit TruTrac
Axles: Moser, 33-spline
Chassis and Suspension
Brakes F/R: Stock 11-in disc / 9.5-in drum
Wheels F/R: Weld Superlite 15x5 / 15x9
Tires F/R: Pro Trac Street Fronts 215/75R15 / Mickey Thompson E.T. Drags 28x10.5x15
Tire Pressure F/R: 38 psi / 11 psi
Suspension Front
Springs: Eibach, 2-inch drop
Shocks: Monroe gas, non-adjustable
Control Arms: Stock with polyurethane bushings
Stabilizer Bar: 1.125-in
Other Features: None
Suspension Rear
Springs: BMR, 2-inch drop
Shocks: Monroe gas, non-adjustable
Control Arms: Polyurethane bushings, boxed lower control arms
Stabilizer Bar: 0.875-in
Other Features: Dragbags (2-psi left / 5-psi right)
Chassis Mods: None
The Rest
Interior Mods: Auto Meter gauges and shift light
Exterior Mods: Judge spoiler and stripes
Safety Mods: Driveshaft loop
Color: Orbit Orange (not original)
Launch Technique: Footbrake to 3,300 rpm
Best 1/8-mile ET/MPH Prior to Event: 7.82/87
Best 1/4-mile ET/MPH Prior to Event; 12.39/106

Steve Hawkey

Steve, 46 years old, is shown here with his son Chad (left) and nephew Kyle (middle), and has been racing for 25 years. He bought his '70 GTO in 2010 because he "wanted to build a street/strip GTO." It's special to him because he "loves the '70 GTO's exterior styling, especially when painted Orbit Orange." Steve's favorite moments with the car are driving up and down the pits at the dragstrips where he competes and counting how many thumbs-ups his car receives. Steve also owns a '65 GTO; a '69 Judge R/A-IV convertible tribute, which we featured in May '02; a '73 blown Pro-Street Formula, which we featured in in Aug. '93; a '78 Trans Am; and an '00 T/A WS6.

Strip Tuning Log
Run/Tuning Launch RPM Shift Pt. 60-ft. 1/8-mile 1/4-mile
1. 32-deg timing, #83/#89 jets, 12 psi in rear tires 2,500 5,500 1.66 7.99/85.90 12.69/104.83
2. 34-deg 3,500 5,500 1.67 7.85/86.01 12.46/105.86
3. #86/#90 jets 3,500 5,500 1.67 7.86/86.28 12.44/106.58
4. Same 3,300 5,500 1.69 7.89/85.73 12.49//106.14
5. Same 3,300 5,500 1.69 7.88/86.25 12.43/106.68
Best Pass Corrected 11.99/110.60
Run Notes: 1) Shifted First to Third, popped in Neutral; 2) Good run; 3) Even better; 4) Slight tire spin; 5) Good run, hooked hard.

Strip Specs
Year/Model: '62 Catalina
Race Weight With Driver: 4,025 lbs
Curb Weight: 3,785 lbs
Fuel Level When Weighed: 10-gal
Fuel: 110-octane
Engine: 1970 code-YH 455
Cubic Inches Before/After: 455/463
Induction System
Air Cleaner: None
Carburetor: Holley Double Pumper, 800-cfm
Jets: #82/#84, blocked power valve
Spacer Plate: None
Intake Manifold: Performer RPM
Fuel System
Pump: Holley Blue
Lines: 1/2-in, aluminum
Regulator: Holley, set to 7 psi
Casting: '69 No. 48
Head Porting: None
Flow Numbers: N/A
Valves: Ferrea, stainless-steel, 2.11/1.77-in
Bottom End
Pistons: TRW, forged, flat-top, 4.185-in, 4-eyebrow
Rings: Manley file-to-fit, 1⁄16-, 1⁄16-, 3⁄16-in
Rods: Stock 6.625-inch
Compression Ratio: 11:1 approximately
Crankshaft: Factory nodular-iron, 4.210-in stroke
Rotating Assembly Balanced: Yes
Brand: Ultradyne hydraulic flat-tappet
Duration at 0.050: 231/239-deg
Duration Advertised: 288/296-deg
Lift With Specified Rocker Arms: 0.485/0.507-in
Lobe Separation Angle: 110-deg
Installed Position: 106-deg
Rocker Arms: Stock 1.5:1
Distributor: MSD Pro-Billet
Amplifier: MSD 6A
Coil: MSD Blaster
Wires: ACCEL 8.8mm
Spark Plugs: AC Delco R43S
Total Timing: 33-deg
RPM total timing is reached: 2,500
Headers: Cyclone three-tube
Primaries: 1.75-in
Collectors: 3.00-in
Exhaust Pipes: None
Mufflers: None
Crossover: None
Transmission: Turbo 400 built by Coan
Converter: Coan 10-in, 3,500-stall
Shifter: Hurst Auto Stick 3
Rear: Stock
Rear Gear Ratio: 3.90
Spool: Homemade by a machinist in the late '60s
Axles: Moser, 31-spline
Chassis and Suspension
Brakes F/R: Stock drum
Wheels F/R: Cragar Super Tricks 15x3.5 / Wheel Vintiques Rallye II 15x8
Tires F/R: . .Moroso 7.60x15 / Pheonix 28.5x9x15 slicks
Tire Pressure F/R: 36-psi / 16-psi
Suspension Front
Springs: Stock
Shocks: Lakewood 70/30
Control Arms: Stock
Stabilizer Bar: None
Other Features: None
Suspension Rear
Springs: Stock
Shocks: Competition Engineering 50/50
Control Arms: Stock, boxed
Stabilizer Bar: None
Other Features: Raised upper mounting points on axle housing, shortened upper control arms, homemade aluminum bushings with steel sleeves
Chassis Mods: None
The Rest
Interior Mods: Auto Meter tach, Hurst shifter
Exterior Mods: Super-Duty hoodscoop
Safety Mods: Driveshaft safety loop, fuel cell
Color: Black Laquer
Launch Technique: 2,000 rpm on footbrake
Best 1/8-mile ET/MPH Prior to Event: 7.64/87.50
Best 1/4-mile ET/MPH Prior to Event: 12.15/108.90

Brent Flynn

Brent, age 43, is a machinist for Bastin's Custom Fabricating when he's not gigging or racing. He started racing in 1986. His father, David, bought what is now Brent's '62 Catalina for $75 in 1973. "I still remember the day he pulled it home," Brent says. His favorite moments in it involve his father: driving it—with open headers and slicks—to his grandmother's house, when Brent was seven or eight years old; breaking into the 13s back in 1979 with a bone-stock 455; and running the NMCA series in 2005, where he finished Ninth in class. When David passed away in 2006, Brent inherited the car. Brent also owns a strip-only '68 Firebird and a '72 LeMans station wagon with the Endura nose option.

Strip Tuning Log
Run/Tuning Launch RPM Shift Pt. 60-ft. 1/8-mile 1/4-mile
1. 32-deg timing, #82/#84 jets, 16 psi in rear tires 2,000 5,300 1.64 7.78/86.18 12.40/105.33
2. 17 psi in rear tires 2,000 5,300 1.62 7.75/86.35 12.37/105.23
3. #79 primary jets 2,000 5,300 1.62 7.74/86.43 12.35/105.68
4. Same 2,000 5,300 1.63 7.77/86.25 12.38/105.95
5. Same 2,000 5,300 1.64 7.75/86.85 12.32/106.83
Best Pass CORRECTED 11.86/111.00
Run Notes: 1) Shake-out run, nice straight pass, hooked hard; 2) Even better run; 3) Engine liked the leaner jets on the hot day, picked up all the way through the pass; 4) Same, but lost some time on the 60-foot due to the heat; 5) Rolled in further to try to improve reaction time.

At the Track

Steve Hawkey

Steve recently changed out the cam in his '70 GTO from a hydraulic flat-tappet to a hydraulic roller, which he advanced 4 degrees. His prior best e.t. was 12.39, and he hoped the new bumpstick would be the guiding force to break him into the 11s. He also wanted to evaluate if his carb jetting was too lean for optimized performance.

For his first pass, he launched at 2,500 rpm, crossed the 60-foot in 1.66 seconds, and laid down a 12.69-second e.t. at 104.83 mph. "The shifter popped into Neutral, which made me lose time," he says.

His second pass produced a more accurate baseline of his GTO's performance. Raising his launch to 3,500 rpm, he clicked by the 60-foot in 1.67 seconds, and tamed the 1,320 in 12.46 seconds at 105.86 mph. "It was a good run, but no better than my old cam," he says.

For his third through fifth passes, he ran with #86/#90 jets in place of his #83/#89s. It brought his time down to 12.43 at 106.68 mph—his best pass of the day.

"The jets helped some, but I was disappointed that I didn't see more from the cam change. I expected it to put me at 11.99 or better," Steve says. "Next year, I'll run the same combo, and I'll experiment with the jets even more, and find the perfect ones for my combo in hot weather. After that, I'm considering building a different combo: a 455 stroked to 496, KRE High-Port heads, and a Holley 1,150-cfm Dominator. I'm hoping that my GTO will skip the 11s entirely and run in the high 10s."

Steve says the Shootout was "lots of fun," and that his GTO "ran good, except for a few tire spins."

Brent Flynn

Brent also came to make tuning changes to his carb to tackle the day's high temperatures. "I hadn't made any changes to [the carb] in the six years since I first set it up," he says.

After a solid shake-down run that earned him a 12.40/105.33 timeslip, he returned to the track for a baseline, launched at 2,000 rpm, crossed the 60-foot in 1.62 seconds, and tripped the beams in 12.37 seconds at 105.23 mph. "That's exactly what I'm used to the Big-Car running," he says.

Prior to his third pass, he leaned out his carb's primary jets (#79 versus #82). Then, using his same launch technique, he crossed the 60-foot in exactly 1.62 seconds again, and propelled the roaring Cat through the traps in 12.35 seconds at 105.68 mph. "The jet change lowered my e.t. and raised my mph," he says. He retained the leaner jets for the rest of our event.

Brent saved his best performance for the end of the day. Though he launched strong for this fifth time to the starting line, his 60-foot time increased to 1.64, but that only made the determined Catalina pull harder. He made it to the finish line in 12.32 seconds at 106.83 mph—his best e.t. of the day. "I learned that the jets I've used for six years are just too rich for a hot day at the dragstrip, and will use #79s in the future, when needed," he says.

When asked about what he liked about the Shootout, Brent said, "It was nice to tune on the car without the pressures of trying to get it done between normal-round time constraints. He described the track conditions as "pretty good overall, but slightly better before lunch."


This month's Shootout participants came to our event to fine-tune their carbs for hot summer day racing. Though they both already knew the carb-jet changes would effect their e.t.'s, our Shootout gave them the chance to convert that knowledge into real-world numbers.

Like Steve and Brent, you may choose to race on days with high-density altitudes. You may consider adding a full set of alternate-sized jets to your toolbox, just for the occasion. 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.

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