In this concluding chapter of Pavement Pounders Shootout’s Norwalk Edition, High Performance Pontiac brings you back to our private invitational drag race at Summit Motorsports Park. We have two racers from the event who both drive Pontiacs from the same model year, but take entirely different approaches in their builds. The first, according to its owner, is a street-legal, 8-second scorcher that started with a $1 buy-in; the second is a 10-second-capable bracket racer that changed hands from father to son. Let’s meet the racers.
Jerry Lendzion is the first Shootout participant in the history of our event who lives in Pontiac, Michigan. His ’69 Firebird features an aftermarket 535, aluminum heads, a Turbo 400, and 4.11 gears.
Ron Beach Jr. of Troy, Illinois, is the younger of the father-son team that raced the Shootout. His ’69 GTO looks like his dad’s (HPP, Apr. ’12) and features a 455, aluminum heads, Turbo 400, and 4.10 gears.
The temperature at Summit Motorsports Park ranged from 77 to 81 degrees. Barometric pressure was 29.95 hg and the dew point was 70 degrees. The track is 853 feet above sea level and density altitude ranged from 2,504 to 2,741 feet, so we give each racer his own correction factor based upon the density altitude at the time of his best pass. Jerry’s best pass occurred at 12:37 p.m. (DA 2,592); Ron’s best pass occurred at 3:06 p.m. (DA 2,741). 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.
Jerry’s goals at our Shootout were to evaluate the track and tire temperature, and correlate them to his launch rpm to prepare him for heads-up drag racing since he usually competes in the 9.00-index bracket class, and to test the performance of M/T E.T. Streets.
For his first pass, he launched at 3,500 rpm, flew by the 60-foot in 1.32 seconds, and recorded an 8.89 e.t. at 154.42 mph. Immediately after the burnout for his second pass, he measured a track temp of 101 degrees and a tire temp of 136 degrees F. “I strive to have the tire temp as close as possible to 30-degrees-F hotter than the track temperature,” he says. He raised his launch 500 rpm, and stormed the traps in 8.82 seconds at 154.53 mph, earning his best pass of the day. His subsequent passes slightly fell off his best. Jerry says the track conditions were “very good” and he was “surprised about [his] new tires’ performance.”
Ron Beach Jr.
Ron says his goal was to “make a 10-second pass for the best Pontiac magazine in the world.” After setting a baseline of 11.13 e.t. at 118.04 mph, he proceeded to click off six consecutive e.t.’s, each one better than the previous run.
His best pass came on Run 7, when he earned an 11.02 e.t. at 118.81 mph. “I had always been a 5,000 to 5,200 rpm shift-point racer until I saw how the GTO performed at 6,200 rpm at the Shootout,” he says. Ron says he enjoyed the fun factor of the event, and his GTO “went straight seven passes back to back.”
This month’s Shootout participants came to the track to try out new parts and track techniques to lower their e.t.’s. Jerry earned his best eighth-mile e.t. ever and learned he made a good choice with his new tires; Ron learned he can go 1,000-rpm higher on his shifts than he previously thought was the upper limit. Like them, you may have parts and/or different launch and shift points you’re hoping will improve your e.t.’s too. 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.