When we left off last week, the teams taking part in the $10K Drag Shootout were ripping apart their respective machines and getting their hands dirty fabricating roll cages, ordering parts, and preparing their engines for assembly. And while two teams were marching right along in their build-up, the other two combatants found themselves in hot water after the Horsepower Wars officials took issue with parts they had acquired under questionable circumstances, leaving their entire project in limbo.
The drama surrounded a set of not-as-described cylinder heads that Team Boddie/Dow Brothers had been hiding in the bathroom, and a rearend housing that Team Stinky Pinky had purported to have found on the internet at a price too good to be true. The entire premise of the $10K Drag Shootout, of course, is to build a car that could truly be built for $10,000 — and so if teams acquire parts that are worth far more at market value than they paid for them, then the whole spirit of the competition is lost. And so the possible efforts of these two teams to fudge the rules is cause for concern.
The Boddie/Dow team, adamant they had done no wrong, asked the officials to review their cylinder heads, the order, and the purchase price, with the understanding that penalties could exist — be it financial, weight, or both. In the end, it was ruled that the team had ended up with ported cylinder heads that were clearly as-cast, and there were consequences: they’d have to pay the actual cost of the cylinder heads (just over $1,700) and take a 50-pound weight hit penalty.
Disco Dean Karns and his Stinky Pinky bunch also were found in violation of the rules and were required to check-in their rearend housing at $500, versus the $250 they had initially recorded. However, because this occurred in the parts approval stage, there was no weight penalty levied.
It wasn’t all controversy and work and no play at this stage, though — we had another extracurricular activity in store for the teams that neither they they nor their stomachs saw coming.
The four teams were surprised to say the least when they were faced with a long table lined with tacos — because who doesn’t love tacos? The goal: eat as many, collectively, as possible in five minutes time. The team that consumes the most tacos, and keeps them all down, wins.
This one got, shall we say, messy…and keeping them down proved to be an important point. Avenging their struggles to that point, Jay Boddie, Russ Wullenwaber, and the Boddie/Dow Brothers team ate their way back into the race, emerging as the taco-eating champions. For their efforts — and in addition to a stomach-ache and unlimited trips to the restroom — they earned a nitrous oxide system from NOS and a 50-pound weight reduction, thus gaining back the weight penalty they took earlier in the cylinder head debacle.
The Big Shot NOS fogger nitrous system, delivering up to 300 horsepower, is a big addition to Team Boddie’s plans; with a nitrous system already in their plan, things worked to perfection for the California-based squad in saving the money they would have spent from their budget for the kit. Team Bigun, who finished second, won a Dyna-Batt lightweight battery for their four-eye Mustang, along with a 25-pound weight reduction. Weighing in at just 13.5-pounds, this Dyna-Batt battery offers impressive cranking power (capable of cranking engines up to 15:1 compression), giving Bigun a nice, two-fold drop in weight.
Not to be forgotten, the losers also earned a prize: the members of the team would be chained together for two hours and would be forced to listen to a Mariachi band for the entire duration, making progress on their build a challenge, at best. That honor went to none other than the Dream Team, who took it all in stride, and as we’ll later see, didn’t let it hinder their finished product in the least.
The teams have been burning up the Summit Racing Equipment website the last few days, using their $7,000 in gift cards to acquire the parts and pieces they need for their builds. Summit is providing expedited, overnight shipping for the Drag Shootout so the teams can keep making progress without delay.
Team Boddie decided to go with a Ford Explorer 8.8 rearend. Yes, a Ford Explorer….equipped with 31-spline factory axles, the team welded the spider gears in the differential, along with 3.73 gears. Combined with a unique 4-link made of tractor supply parts and a home-built rear anti-roll bar, this was pretty awesome to watch them put together. They finished off the suspension with a set of used QA1 shocks for the front and rear.
Stuck with the third-generation Camaro, Team Stinky Pinky was catching up, with Brian and Jake thrashing away. Welding, grinding and sweating, these dogs have no quit in them. They installed a used Moser 9-inch rear end, 35-spline axles, and 9-inch used third member with 3.73 gears. They added some BMR torque arm upgrades, Summit rear drag shocks, and an old-school inflatable air bag instead of a sway bar. Front suspension? Totally stock. Jake bolted in the Moroso battery mount and installation kit, and these guys were all ready to get working on their engine combinations.
Team Bigun was flying on their Rhodes roll cages, pushing ahead of the other teams in the race to get the chassis completed. In the rear, BMR Upper control arms were combined with some homemade lower control arms, and a used anti-roll bar that came out of a wrecked race car. Just like Boddie and the Dream Team, they used an 8.8 rear end, but with Strange’s 35-spline axle kit, 3.73 gears, and a Strange Spool — all from Summit. They added QA1 Front Springs…2-1/2 Coil Over, 12-inch…along with Strange single adjustable struts and Strange’s Fox-Body coilover kit. Moroso provided the Battery Box, On-off Switch and Battery Cable Kit. Finally, a Kirkey Seat made Lyle comfortable.
The Ford 8.8 rearend seems to be the name of the game here, as the Dream Team picked the same Strange 35-spline axle and spool kit from Summit to go along with the 3.73 gears. In the rear, new QA1 single adjustable rear shocks worked with BMR upper and lower control arms, and another used anti-roll bar. QA1 front springs on the front work with Strange struts and coilovers.
Finally, but certainly not least, Moroso’s NHRA-legal battery box, on-off switch, and battery installation kit got mounted. Each team got these items from Moroso to make sure that we were safe and legal.
Their bellies full, the four teams got right back to work as they focused on engine machining, fabrication, and transforming their cars back into rollers. Many turned to LKQ Pick Your Part, a local junkyard in Riverside, California, as they looked for diamonds in the rough — good, usable parts at dirt-cheap prices.
With a scheduled weekend off commencing, the teams, already well into the build-up of their engines and many with their cars rolling, made final in-roads to acquiring parts for week two as the lights went out fin the shop for a couple days of well-earned R&R in the Southern California sun.
Next week, the teams will be back at it as the clock ticks toward zero on the 10-day build-up, with engine-building, tuning, and the big test: the chassis dyno — all yet to come.
The Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout is comprised of four teams who have been given $10,000 — $3,000 in cash and $7,000 in Summit Racing Equipment gift cards — to build the quickest and fastest drag car possible. Once complete, they’ll race in front of a live audience at the Shakedown at the Summit in Norwalk, Ohio to see who keeps their car (and a $10,000 winner’s prize) and who goes home empty-handed. The $10K Drag Shootout has been made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry, including Royal Purple, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, E3 Spark Plugs, Fragola, Holley, Diablosport, Mahle Motorsports, Dyna-Batt, ProCharger, Weld Racing, ARP, BMR Suspension, QA1, PRW, Covercraft, and of course, Summit Racing.