In the past four issues, High Performance Pontiac saturated your senses with sharp-edged and sensational drag-racing coverage of our Pavement Pounders Shootout in Norwalk, Ohio. We selected racers from various parts of the country and different walks of life to come together at the Summit Motorsports dragstrip the day before the Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals, and then let them enjoy the closed-to-the public track, as they laid down burnouts and baselines, made tuning and driver-technique adjustments, and then hit the track again in search of their best e.t.’s ever.
For this final installment we don’t have an even number of cars, so we’ll feature one of Pontiac’s most popular-year F-bodies. Unlike the way it left the factory—with a plain-jane Pontiac 350 and a two-barrel—this one-year-only-style pony car has been set up to compete on the strip and cruise on the street.
Let’s meet the racer.
Robert Quintero of Brandon, Florida, raced his father Richard’s Bird. (Richard Quintero was featured in the April ’11 “Pavement Pounders Shootout” with a ’68 LeMans.) Dad’s ’69 Firebird features a 455/462 with Edelbrock heads, a Turbo 400, and 3.50 gears.
The temperature at Summit Motorsports Park during our Shootout ranged from 78.5 to 88.2 degrees. Barometric pressure was measured at 29.74 hg and the dew point was 72.6 degrees. The track is 853 feet above sea level and density altitude ranged from 2,424 to 3,245 feet, so we will give Robert a correction factor, based upon the density altitude at the time of his best pass. That occurred at 3:20 p.m. with a density altitude of 3,357 feet, so he will receive an altitude-correction factor of 0.9588 for e.t. and 1.0437 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.
|Strip Tuning Log
|1. 33-deg timing, #31 rear squirter, #72/78 jets
|2. 36-deg timing, #33 rear squirter
|3. #35 rear squirter, #76/81 jets
|Best Pass Corrected
Run Notes: 1) Stumble off line and at 1-2 shift; 2) Needs more accelerator pump, ran better on top end; 3) Still needs more accelerator pump, ran good on top end.
Driver Bio: Robert Quintero
Robert, 41-years-old, (shown here with his father and HPP Shootout alumnus Richard Quintero) was a U.S. Air Force aircraft mechanic, and is now a mechanical engineer. He’s been racing for 15 years. His wife found the ’69 Firebird in 1995 for $3,000, and his father bought it and turned it into a race car. “My dad wired the money to me and I bought the car for him. He flew down here to Florida and drove the car back to Indiana,” he says. It’s special to him because, “This car really got my dad involved with hot rodding and racing. I had already been doing it for quite some time. Now we do this together.” His favorite moment in it was “racing it at the Pontiac Nationals in 2009. I made it to the quarterfinals on Sunday.” In the past, Robert owned a ’91 and a ’97 Firebird Formula.
Year/Model: ’69 Firebird
Race Weight With Driver: 3,550 lbs
Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs
Fuel Level When Weighed: ½ tank
Fuel: 93 octane
Engine: ’75 code-YU 455
Cubic Inches Before/After: 455/462
Engine Built By: Owner (Richard Quintero)
Air Cleaner: None
Carburetor: Barry Grant Speed Demon w/mech. sec., 750-cfm
Spacer Plate: Open, 1-in
Intake Manifold: Edelbrock Performer RPM
Pump: Holley Blue
Regulator: Holley, set to 6 psi
Casting: Edelbrock Performer RPM, 87cc chambers
Head Porting: None
Flow Numbers: Approx. 280-cfm intake
Valves: Edelbrock, 2.11 / 1.66-in
Pistons: Speed Pro, forged-aluminum, 4.180-in four-valve relief
Rings: Speed Pro, file-to-fit, 1⁄16, 1⁄16, 3⁄16-in
Rods: Stock cast
Compression Ratio: 10:1
Crankshaft: Stock, 4.210-in stroke
Rotating Assembly Balanced: Yes