Project BlownZ had a fairly successful year of drag racing in 2012. While we fought our share of troubles, challenges, and breakage – we did achieve some impressive milestones with our 2002 F-Body Camaro. Our best e.t. of 8.24 @ 168 mph gave BlownZ the title of the quickest and fastest magazine drag racing project ‘car’ in history. We define project car simply as a car (full body with doors) and built/engineered and driven by a member of the staff of the magazine and designed to go down the quarter-mile. We were informed by Hot Rod Magazine’s David Freiburger that at one point in the 1960s there was a Hot Rod Top Fuel car. Since it doesn’t have doors, we’re going to side-step that debate for now.
2012’s power plant combination consisted of a LSX 388 cubic inch small block, 11.5 compression, with an F1R supercharger. We ran most of the year with a belt-drive, but switched to a Chris Alston Gear drive system after throwing belts with the elevated RPM levels. We made a tick over 1,100 rwhp with the combination at the end of the year, but didn’t make it down the track with the CDS/F1R combo. The crew consisting of Sean Goude (Crew Chief), Dean J. (Crew), and James Lawrence (Driver) worked hard in the off-season to try to go faster.
For 2013 – we had a slate of upgrades on tap:
- ProCharger F1X Supercharger
- Re-build the 388 with JE 9.5:1 compression pistons
- Aeromotive Belt-Driven Fuel Pump
- New TCI Transmission w/TCI 6-bolt Convertor
- Moser Gun-Drilled Axles, Aluminum Center Section
- Remove the Radiator for a Chiseled Water Tank/Rule Pump
Our plan was to compete in NMCA West 275 Drag Radial, and PSCA Wild Street. In order to do that, we were going to need to get closer to the mid 7s at 185 mph. That meant a big upgrade in horsepower, and plenty of testing.
You know what they say about the … best laid plans. Yeah, well.
We traveled to our local 1/8 mile track – Barona Dragway – in mid February to do some early testing. Unfortunately, we were quickly made aware of some gremlins in our combination. Namely in our ability to (A) Leave the starting line faster than a snail, and (B) To exceed 7,700 rpm. We made 3 passes and all were busts. While it’s true that we had a really soft initial tune-up with the F1X (extra fuel, reduced timing), there was no explaining the difficulty for us to launch. Essentially the new torque convertor we ordered was way too tight, not properly allowing the engine to spool. We knew almost from the first tune we were going to need to send the convertor back. We just guessed wrong. It’s part of racing.
Secondly, we had a “phantom” rev limiter we couldn’t figure out. Right after about 7,700 rpm the rev limiter was coming on, but we couldn’t find any rev limiter in the MSD software. Strange. We went home having not figured things out, but willing to try to figure out the issue.
Next up, we were off to Bakersfield for some testing for the upcoming NMCA West opener. WCHRA doesn’t have a 275 class anymore, but we made the tow up to get some test passes and figured we’d run the True Ten 5 class while we were there. Follow along with our exploits.