As the driver of a Nova that ran low sevens in NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street, Jeff Rudolf was in the spotlight, and when he rolled a new car out of his trailer at the 10th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in April at Atlanta Dragway, that spotlight became even brighter.
It was a Larry Jeffers Race Cars-built chassis topped with a carbon 1969 Camaro body painted black, and it was headed for NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod, where the current records are the 3.735 and 213.10 mph achieved by Don Walsh Jr.
Rudolf brought it to life with a 522 cubic-inch engine he purchased from 2017 NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod champion Steve Summers. It was built around a CFE block and topped with CFE heads, and it was paired with twin 94mm Garrett turbos….a departure for Rudolf, who had been running nitrous combinations. He backed it with a Liberty’s five-speed transmission, and is assisted by Summers, who performed the finishing work on the car, in slowly but surely dialing it in with a Haltech engine management system.
“There’s a lot of money involved in building one of these cars, and they can get away from you very quickly, so we want to take it one step at a time, get a handle on it and go from there,” said Rudolf.
When Rudolf was done talking with fans who had gathered in his pit area to see his new hot rod, he drove it to a best of 5.02 in qualifying, and while he didn’t make the all 3-second field, he and his small but strong and steadfast crew, consisting of Kelli Ulrey and Kieffer Simpson, were well on their way in the data-collecting and dialing-in process.
Later, Rudolf ripped off a best of 4.24 at the 17th Annual NMCA Quick Fuel Technology Bluegrass Nationals in May at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, and while he didn’t make the field, he proved that he and his car are packing a lot of punch. Since then, he has recorded an even quicker 3.89, as well as 211 mph, in testing.
“There’s definitely a big difference between my nitrous Nova and this turbo Camaro, and there’s definitely a big learning curve,” said Rudolf. “For one thing, in the nitrous car, I felt the g-force very early in the run, but in the turbo car, I feel the g-force much later in the run. But, I love it, and I can’t wait to go faster.”
Rudolf, who recently performed maintenance on his transmission with an assist from Summers, is now gearing up for the 13th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, July 26-29 at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.
“We’re getting the car more and more dialed in with each outing,” said Rudolf, who also has some Mid-West Pro Mod Series events circled on his calendar and whose team, Rudolf Motorsports, has a website and Facebook page. “We’re really looking forward to this race.”
Fans who can’t catch the action in person can catch it through a SpeedVideo broadcast via presenting sponsor Edelbrock, along with Strange Engineering, ProCharger, COMP Cams, E3 Spark Plugs, Mickey Thompson, Moser Engineering, Race Star Industries, Speedway Motors, Mahle Motorsports, Doorslammers.com, Champion Cooling, GForce Performance Engineering, Firestone, Chris Alston’s Chassisworks, McLeod Racing, Baer Brakes and D-A Lubricant.
(Photos by NMCA and courtesy of Kieffer Simpson and Rudolf Motorsports)