Your first racecar is always going to hold a special place in your heart…how far you take the build really depends on what level of modifications you’re willing to put the vehicle through. Tony McKinney originally built his 1985 S10 Blazer to tow his boat, but the scope of the project changed in a big way. These days, the Blazer rocks a big screw blower and runs with the fastest small-tire no-prep cars in the country.
Racing has been a big and important part of McKinney’s life for a long time — he makes his living working on cars and racing actually saved him from making some very poor life choices.
“When I was younger I got into a lot of trouble on a regular basis and racing actually helped straighten me out. There was a local bracket racer that I was introduced to and he took me under his wing when I was just 15 years old. He started taking me to the races, and it gave me a purpose and something to do. Racing is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I don’t know what I would do without it,” McKinney says.
McKinney’s Blazer was originally the tow rig for his boat, but he had modified it to make it a fun ride. A couple of McKinney’s friends talked him into taking the Blazer to the track, and he had a blast. That one trip to the track was all it took for McKinney to really dive into the Blazer as a drag racing project, and the rest is history.
McKinney built most of the Blazer’s chassis himself and got help from Tim Irwin and BRS Racing. The four-link rear suspension is a custom setup that McKinney fabricated to work with a set of Ron G shocks. The most prominent feature of the Blazer is the H-rotor screw blower that sits on top of a big-block Chevy and protrudes out of the hood. A Haltech engine management system controls the big rat motor.
Originally, McKinney didn’t have any plans to bring his Blazer to “No Prep Kings” events, but plans changed and the Blazer got a new lease on life.
“Back in 2019, I won the ”No Prep Kings (NPK) small-tire title in my Fox body Mustang named ‘Stepchild.’ I was contracted to drive another car, but we still wanted to race in the small-tire class at NPK events. The Blazer was just sitting there and we knew we had to step things up to compete in small-tire, so we pressed it into service. I was going to put a small-block with a pair of turbos in the Blazer, but the gentleman I drive for vetoed that and wanted us to use a screw blower with a big-block, since that’s what we already used on the other cars,” McKinney explains.
At the first NPK event this year McKinney made contact with the wall behind the wheel of his Blazer during a shakedown run, and he’s currently working on getting it put back together to race at more no-prep events in the near future.