Welcome back to HPP's Pavement Pounders Shootout, which continues this month with two more racers who joined us at Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP) in Petersburg, Virginia, the day before the inaugural Performance Years Pontiac Nationals. As in past Shootouts, the racers were given the exclusive use of a quarter-mile track for the day, to test their engine combos, experiment with alternate tunings and techniques, troubleshoot any performance gremlins, and find the lowest e.t.'s.
This time down the track, we showcase two '60s-era GTOs that take decidedly different approaches to achieving their e.t.'s. The first is a fiberglass-body, tube-chassis powerhouse that tears through the traps in the high 8s and the second is a revitalized, vintage-'70s-style NHRA Super Pro retiree that runs in the mid-10s.
Let's meet the racers.
John Hill of Southside, West Virginia, drove 700 miles to be in our Shootout and test out his newest race car: a '64 GTO that's been lightened to 2,780 pounds (with driver) through the extensive use of fiberglass, aluminum, and a steel tube chassis. It features a 541ci IA II engine, Kauffman high-port heads, a two-speed Powerglide, and 4.56 rear gears. He has only raced it on eighth-mile tracks close to his home, so our event will introduce his go-fast GTO to the quarter-mile for the first time.
Gene Kinch of Fredricksburg, Virginia, grew up watching his uncle race a '68 GTO in the NHRA Super Pro class at Norfolk, Virginia-area tracks in the mid-'70s. Though the "Gallop•N•Goat," as it was campaigned, was sold in 1992, Gene found it 17 years later on a used car lot in Norfork. Back in the day, it ran a 455 with R/A-IV heads, but when Gene bought it back, he was stunned to find a big-block Chevy under the hood. He promptly yanked the orange-engine atrocity, and reinstalled Pure-Pontiac power-a 455/462 engine with No. 670 heads, a Turbo 400, and 4.11 rear gears.
The temperature at Virginia Motorsports Park during our Shootout ranged from 68.9 degrees to 91.9 degrees and the barometric pressure was 29.88 hg. The track is 170 feet above sea level and density altitude varied from 1,474 to 2,015 feet, so we will give each racer his own correction factor, based upon the density altitude at the time of his or her best pass. John's best pass occurred at 1:10 p.m. with a density altitude of 1,833 feet, so he will receive an altitude-correction factor of 0.9796 for e.t. and 1.0213 for mph. Gene's best pass occurred at 11:25 a.m. with a density altitude of 1,474 feet, so he'll receive an altitude-correction factor of 0.9835 for e.t. and 1.0171 for mph. 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.