We're back in the Lone Star state to continue with our Pavement Pounders Shootout Series, which focuses on late-model Pontiacs and the excitement that they can bring when they crank up their nasty street combinations and prepare to assault the quarter-mile.
Our venue is Lonestar Motorsports Park in Sealy, Texas, situated alongside I-10 outside of Houston. The diversity of the engine combinations offered up is quite impressive, and being located in one of the most competitive LS series markets in the country certainly helps up the ante. Although things aren't always bigger in Texas, the racers' appetite for horsepower and fast cars is well earned.
Let's meet the racer.
Eddie Hixson of Houston showed up for the Shootout in his bright red '98 Trans Am WS6. Originally equipped with a 320hp LS1 and six-speed transmission, it's undergone a metamorphosis from a mildly cammed LS1 with a few bolt-ons to a well-sorted-out combination that packs 408 ci of bored-and-stroked fury. High-flow cathedral-port AFR 225 heads and a raucous hydraulic-roller combo provide the power, which is then transmitted back to a Turbo 400 transmission and a built 12-bolt. Will his combination allow him to crack into the 10s or will he forever languish poised on the precipice?
The temperature at Lonestar Motorsports Park during our Shootout ranged from 90.5 degrees to a blistering 100.7 degrees. Barometric pressure was measured at 29.96 hg and the dew point was 70.2 degrees. This track is 185 feet above sea level and density altitude ranged from 2,500-3,172 feet, so we'll use a factor of 0.9640 for e.t. and 1.0381 for mph for 3,000 feet to chart the theoretical best performance at sea level. This will be applied to the best pass only, based on e.t.
|Strip Tuning Log
|1. Slicks: 12.0 psi
|Best Pass Corrected
Run Notes: Front shocks set at 2 clicks from full soft and rear shocks set at 5; 1) Let off too early before crossing finish line; 2) Shifter stuck on 1-2 shift; 3) Clean run.
Owner Bio: Eddie Hixson
Eddie, a 42-year-old mechanical engineer, bought his Trans Am in 2005 because he was attracted to the styling of the WS6 T/A and was impressed by the power of the mildly modified LS1. He has used his four years of racing experience wisely, choosing to make it more satisfying with his first Pontiac. The T/A is special to him because "I was able to use my engineering background to spec out the combination that I wanted, and then do as much work as possible on my own. It has retained its fantastic overall driveability, and in addition to taking it to the track with the family, we also enjoy an occasional outing cruising around town or going to a show." His favorite moments in the Bird come every time that he beats a "race car" with his street car, which runs much faster than people expect.
Year/Model: '98 Pontiac Trans Am WS6
Race Weight with Driver: 3,680 lbs
Curb Weight: 3,460 lbs
Fuel Level When Weighed: 1/4-tank
Engine Built By: HKE Racing Engines (Erik Koenig)
Engine: Code LQ9, 6.0-litre iron-block
Cubic Inches Before/After: 364/408
Airbox: WS6 lower, Speed-Inc. lid with custom TB elbow
MAF: N/A, Speed Density tuned
Throttle Body: Nick Williams 90mm
Injectors: Ford Racing SVO 44 lb-hr
Intake Manifold: F.A.S.T. LSX 90mm
ECU: GM '98 ECU (24x reluctor)
Custom Programming: Owner, HP Tuners VCM Suite
Pump: Stock in-tank, Walbro 255-lph inline electric fuel pump
Lines: Stock from tank to engine compartment, AN 6 to fuel rails
Regulator: None, Aeromotive gauge on DS fuel rail
Fuel Rails: Nasty Performance, billet-aluminum
Casting: Air Flow Research (AFR) 225cc LSX Mongoose, 65cc chambers, milled 0.030-in
Head Porting: As cast by AFR
Flow Numbers: Intake 315/237 cfm at 0.600-in lift
Valves: Rev to AFR specifications, 2.08/1.60-in
Pistons: Wiseco Performance Products, 2618 alloy with 8cc dish, 4.030-in bore
Rings: Clevite Perfect-Circle, 1/16-in, 1/16-in, 3.0mm
Rods: Scat Pro-Comp, 4340 forged-steel I-beam, 6.125-in
Compression Ratio: 11.3:1
Crankshaft: Scat LS Series, 4340 forged, 4.00-in stroke
Rotating Assembly Balanced: Yes, HK Enterprises
Brand: HKE Racing Engines, hydraulic-roller
Duration at 0.050: 246/252-deg
Advertised Duration: 295/305-deg
Lift With Specified Rocker Arms: 0.614/0.595-in
Lobe Separation Angle: 112-deg
Installed Position: 110-deg
Rocker Arms: GM LS1 steel, roller, 1.7-ratio
Lifters: GMPP LS7
System: GM Coilpack, distributorless
Coil: GM Coilpack
Wires: MSD 8.5mm Super Conductor
Spark Plugs: NGK TR-55
Total Timing: 28-deg
Rpm that total timing is reached: 3,000 rpm
Headers: Dynatech Supermaxx, stainless steel
Crossover or Y-Pipe: None
Exhaust Pipes: Dynatech 3.00-in, dumped before axle
Mufflers: Dynatech Split Flow, 3.00-in
Transmission: Trans-King Turbo 400, TCI reverse manual valvebody, B&M SuperCooler, TCI trans-brake
Converter: Yank Performance, Eliminator 10-in, 4,000-rpm stall
Shifter: B&M Pro Stick with reverse pattern
Rear: Kenny Thomas Racing Enterprises (KTRE), 12-bolt
Rear Gear Ratio: 3.73:1
Posi: Detroit Locker
Axles: Moser, 35-spline
Driveshaft: Northwest Drivetrain Service of Houston, steel
Chassis and Suspension
Brakes: Stock 11.93-in disc/Stock 12-in disc
Wheels: Bogart D-10 15x3 / 15x9.75
Tires: Moroso DS-2 26x4.5x15 / Hoosier Drag Slicks 29x10.5x15
Tire Pressure F/R: 35 psi/12 psi
Springs: QA1, 300-lb
Control Arms: Stock
Stabilizer Bar: None
Shocks: QA1 R-series, 12-way adjustable
Other Features: BMR Fabrication tubular K-member
Control Arms: BMR adjustable street
Stabilizer Bar: Wolfe Racecraft, welded between framerails, 1.25-in
Shocks: QA1 R-series, 12-way adjustable
Other Features: BMR adjustable Panhard bar, BMR adjustable torque arm, BMR Panhard-bar relocation kit
Rollbar Design: Wolfe Racecraft, five-point rollbar w/swing-out bar
Tubing: 1.75 x 0.134-in-wall mild steel
Specs: Meets NHRA and IHRA requirements for 10.00-e.t. class
Interior Mods: RCI six-point harness, Auto Meter Pro-Shift light, triple-pillar gauge pod, Pro-Comp fuel pressure, Pro-Comp transmission temp gauge, Dyno Tune wideband A/F ratio gauge, GTechProSS performance meter
Exterior Mods: Reflective Concepts front license plate overlay, silver
Safety Mods: Lakewood driveshaft safety loop, fire extinguisher
Color: GM Bright Red
Launch Technique: Launch off trans-brake at 3,000 rpm, manually shift
Best 1/8-mile E.T./MPH prior to event: 7.11/95.78
Best 1/4-mile E.T./MPH prior to event: 11.13/123.19
At The Track
With the goal to finally break into the 10s for our Shootout, Eddie put some heat into the rear slicks and laid down a good 60-foot time of 1.606. Unfortunately, since this was his first time at the venue, he let out of the gas before the finish line, but still managed an 11.57 at a mere 91 miles per hour. For his second run, his ultra-reliable shifter stuck on the 1-2 shift, but he recovered fast enough to put down an 11.36 at 120.9 mph. As the brutal heat started to crescendo, Eddie finally got off a clean run and tripped the lights at 11.04 at 122.82 mph.
He relates, "After the first two runs I figured I had probably lost my best opportunity to have a shot of breaking into the 10s, but amazingly the Bird had its best 60-foot time and almost knocked down a 10-second run during the hottest part of the day. For the car to run a personal best with a heat index of nearly 120 degrees indicates that just breaking into the 10s shouldn't be a problem in better air and my goals should be revised into the 10.60s."
Of his Bird's outing at Lonestar Motorsports Park, he said, "The car hooked well on all of the passes, even though for some reason I seemed to have an issue with getting a consistent burnout coming out of the water box. There was no doubt in my mind that the track was well prepared. Even more impressive was how fast the Bird ran in the hottest part of the day. My only regret is not hurrying to make one last-ditch attempt to break into the 10s."
This combination had the oats to yank the wheels when launched at a legitimate street car weight just shy of 3,700 pounds. Cathedral port heads may not be the latest rage in head design for the LS series of engines, but when they are top-notch castings like the 225 AFRs combined with a custom cam and high-flowing intake, then it's all about what works.
Eddie demonstrated that he is adept at understanding the concept of the total package equaling more than the sum of the parts. The suspension components were indeed top-notch, but the level of refinement in how the car planted and transformed the power into forward motion was a sight to behold. Consistent 60-foot times in a blast furnace are sure-fire signs of many an hour tweaking this and that until it's just right.
Whether you plan on building a super-fast street car, a corner-carver, or a dragstrip warrior, it's all possible by setting your goals and then optimizing your combination. Be it a classic Pontiac or the latest generation of LS wonder car, it's possible to have race-car performance with a street car without breaking the bank. With the combos detailed in this Shootout series, your F-body, GTO, or G8 is patiently waiting for you to decide to turn up the wick and unleash its split personality.
HPP would like to thank the management and crew at Late Model Racecraft and Lonestar Motorsports Park and for their assistance in making this Shootout possible, and to local Houston Pontiac hobbyists Lloyd Coulson, Larry Navarro, Dan Barton, Jimmy Braud, John Chung, Jeff Gee, Paul Kenney, and Les Newton for volunteering at the track and making the event run much more smoothly. On the hottest day of the year in Houston, it pays to have great companies to partner with, and even better friends- especially ones that have ice-cold bottles of water.