John completed his ’56 Star Chief just in time to bring it to Norwalk in August 2010; he spent the year prior to our Shootout dialing in the car’s suspension and tuning. Despite confidence in his racecar’s ability, he had a hunch there was one mod that could earn him his best time ever. “The 800-cfm Holley is too small for the engine combo,” he says.
For his first pass, he launched at 1,500 rpm, shifted at 6,000 rpm, and tore up the tarmac with a 10.93 e.t. at 120.62 mph. His second pass was even more brutal—a 10.76 e.t. at 112.08 mph. Prior to his third pass, John installed a 1,050-cfm Dominator onto his 455. Using the same launch and shift techniques, he was rewarded with a 10.69 e.t. at 121.47 mph with a 1.44 60-foot—its best 60-foot and e.t. ever.
When asked about the track conditions, John said, “The track got better as the day went on but deteriorated in mid-afternoon.” He enjoyed “the opportunity to get together with other Pontiac people,” and “there was plenty of time to make as many passes as I wanted.”
Steven had never raced at Norwalk and wanted to get some seat time. He had also never sprayed his Trans Am and wanted to see how much a 100-shot would improve his e.t.
For his first three passes, he propelled his Trans Am down the quarter-mile on motor only; his best was an 11.99 e.t. at 111.07 mph. To prepare for nitrous runs, he lowered the timing to 24 degrees and installed NGK BR7 plugs, which are two heat ranges cooler than stock. Starting with a 50-shot, he shaved a half-second off his e.t. He skipped the 100-shot, lowered timing to 20 degrees, and returned to the starting line armed with a 150-shot. The result was an uncorrected 10.95 e.t. at 122.43 mph—his best pass ever. (There is usually a debate over whether or not to use a correction factor with a nitrous car, so as usual, we provide the uncorrected and corrected numbers)
Steven described the track conditions as “good in the morning, but it went away after lunch,” and his Trans Am “hooked good when the track was good. The Shootout really paid big dividends in preparing my Trans Am and me for the Pontiac-only race weekend that followed it,” Steven says. “It gave me the seat time I needed to go nine rounds [on motor only] that weekend and win the Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals Chief of the Pontiacs in a field of more than 400 racers.” Congratulations, Steven.
This month’s Shootout participants came to the track on a mission to go home with their best e.t.’s ever, and both of them did just that. Like them, you may have your goals clearly defined before you go to the racetrack, and bring the parts you need to accomplish them.
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 and Arnie Brewer who helped make the day go much more smoothly.