The Horsepower Wars $10K Shootout is a competition where teams square off to see who can build the fastest drag car in 10 days with only $3,000 in cash and $7,000 in Summit Racing credit. We’ve had applicants from ALL over the country vying to see who would make it into the final list. And that has now happened.
This interesting and innovative competition has been made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry: Royal Purple, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, E3 Spark Plugs, Fragola, Diablosport, Mahle Motorsports, DynaBatt, ProCharger, Weld Racing, ARP, BMR Suspension, QA1, and of course, Summit Racing.
Without further adieu, we present the 10 finalists for the Horsepower Wars $10K Shootout, beginning with our first team:
Team Name: Stinky Pinky Racing
Driver: “Disco Dean” Karns
Hometown: Fairborn, Ohio
Crew: Dean Karns, Sr., Dan Davies, Brian Sorells, Jimmy Bowling
Anything that Ohio’s “Disco Dean” Karns and his Stinky Pinky squad lack in mechanical prowess, they more than make up for with excitement and charisma. Except they don’t lack in the mechanical department, making them a definitive challenger for the final three in the $10K Drag Shootout.
Karns, known for his bracket and no prep racing exploits — and his affectionately named racecars like Stinky Pinky and the Pink Taco — has a larger-than-life personality that he isn’t afraid to bring to life. Not just a drag racer, Karns has done it all in his years, from remote-controlled racing on a national scale, to earning Lowrider car-jumping national titles. Now a drag racer through and through who makes his hobby go-round by way of his Tint King business in Fairborn, his crew, which includes his father, Dean, Sr., Jimmy Bowling, Dan Davies, and Brian Sorells, have all the talent and knowledge to pull off a racing build in a matter of days and on a strict budget.
If you want to learn more about Disco Dean and his team, here’s some of the goods they shared with us during the application process:
HW: Tell us a little more about your racing background?
I’m the driver of Stinky Pinky, Pink Taco and Candy Crush. I have been at the drag strip since I was in my mom’s womb. By the time I was 14 I was a professional R/C car racer traveling North America and overseas, netting state, regional and national championships. Following that I was a three-time Lowrider Magazine World Champion Hydraulic Car Dancer. During those days I dabbled in rapping and even released an album. After my best friend and partner in car dancing, Gabe Torch, passed away unexpectedly, my dad asked me if I wanted to go drag racing with him. Growing up at the drag strip I jumped at the chance. He helped me acquire an old dragster that we called the Shirley Muldowney special. Since then drag racing has been my life! The little bit of the time I spend away from the drag strip, my window tinting and race shops, I love to play poker, gamble and play golf.
Since I started drag racing I qualified number one and won every race of the 2008 Nopi Season in Extreme Dragster and I have won many races from practice tree, high dollar bracket, NHRA divisonal, No Prep and supposedly the first ever “tie” on Street Outlaws against Big Chief. I’ve driven back-halved and tube chassis cars to dragster and Funny Cars. I have even won a school bus figure-8 race! In addition to that I have crewed on Jeff Wilson’s Top Alcohol Funny Car and Pat Dakin’s NHRA Top Fuel teams. I have always prepared and worked on all of my cars with the help of my team/sponsors and good friends.
HW: Who is part of your team?
Everyone on our team is either multi talented or specializes in specific fields such as engine and chassis building.
Dean Karns Sr (Papa Disco) has been a drag racer for 50-plus years, including working for NHRA and record setting engine shops, was an E/Modified national record holder, and of course helps me at the track. Dad fills the role of the Patriarch quite well. He is loud, unapologetic, full of experience in life and drag racing, but most of all he is a father that is dedicated to helping his kids achieve their goals. Our nickname of Disco is not the only thing we share. He is also a golfer and a gambler!
Jimmy Bowling (J Boogie) is an engine builder, owner of All In Racing Engines and Buschur Racing. He’s also been going to the race track since he was in his mom’s womb. 20 years of professional engine building and pit crew experience ranging from Sport Compact, to Alcohol Funny Car and No Prep. Not your typical gearhead, being a chameleon, all in one story you may think he is an articulate engineer type, a good old boy, or he may finish a sentence with some 90’s gangster rap lyrics. Living up to his nickname J Boogie, If he isn’t at one of his shops, the track or a poker room he is probably on a dance floor somewhere.
Dan Davies has 30 years of drag racing and chassis building experience. He owns Diamond Race Cars and is known for building and perfecting the Cantilever Monoshock front suspended dragsters. We tend to think of him as a scientist. He is methodical and kind of quiet, but when he speaks he will do so in great detail. For instance, he loves an explosively hoppy double IPA with a smooth finish. He also loves snowmobiles and golf.
And Brian Sorells is an Army Mechanic, who serviced Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFV). He’s an Iraq vet with two tours and brings 15 years of drag strip experience. He is the epitome of what you would think of an army mechanic: rough around the edges, not quite as technical as some of us but a working machine.
HW: Why should you and you team make the top three finalists?
I am the Fat Brad Pitt! In addition to being on multiple episodes of Street Outlaws, I was the host of Lowrider Experience Volumes 1 and 2. As I mentioned I also make social media videos regularly that receive as many as 230,000 views.
My entire team and I are not only super competitive but we also like to have fun and live life. I think you will find that most of the fun that we have is highly entertaining. For morale, fun and to stay competitive we play a lot of games to keep each other on our toes. We are an eclectic group. Like most bands, teams or families we can all work well together at times, while at other times the verbal abuse is relentless. Sometimes this is all for a laugh and sometimes not so much. At the end of the day whether it is after the winner’s circle picture or a long depressing motorhome ride across the country, we all band back together and do what ever it takes to win the next one.
Being the driver, a lot of the attention is on me. One of the things that interests me the most about this is Horsepower Wars shines more of a light on the characters that build and support the cars. In which case they are often just as colorful and entertaining. Between a couple of us and our shops pages we have nearly 70,000 followers on social media. My social media videos regularly have tens of thousands of views and have had as many as 230,000 views. This not only backs up that we might be entertaining, but it is also a tool to help promote Horsepower Wars!
HW: What Makes You Qualified For The $10K Drag Shootout?
All we do is win win win, no matter what. While this is true, my team is the right mix of professionals that have helped me win across many classes of drag racing.
HW: Can you share some more details about some of the cars your team has built in the past?
Out of all of the cars I have prepared one of the most challenging was one of my current cars, Stinky Pinky Too. I bought the car out of Canada as a roller. It was a tube frame car with steel roof and quarters already. This was perfect for the no prep races we had been racing and doing well with Stinky Pinky. We thought it would be pretty easy to shoehorn the Alan Johnson Hemi into it. We thought wrong. It would have been easier to build a car from scratch. Every nut and bolt was touched on the whole vehicle. The chassis was well-built but the finish work on the body and other ancillary items were not quite up to par for the 3,000 horsepower Hemi.
In the end our team members made new billet aluminum 1/2-inch motor plates, overcame some issues with mating a Chevy starter and transmission to a Hemi and transformed the chassis to double framerail all the way to the front. Many things were modified, added or deleted to adapt the car from the old naturally-aspirated wedge engine to the 14-71 blown alcohol Hemi. New oil and fuel tanks, zoomie headers, undertrays and tin work were some of the new items that were fabricated from scratch. The entire car was wired from scratch to accommodate the Pro Mag, MSD grid, and the Racepak data acquisition and dash. All of the chassis and drive line was disassembled, inspected and serviced. The engine is an Alan Johnson Hemi meant for Nitromethane. Running methanol fuel as we do we had to make some changes to net the performance we were after such as having custom pistons made to raise the compression ratio. As you can see all of my race cars are pink, so of course we painted the entire car pink.
Keep an eye out as we release the ninth finalist and work our way through the entire lineup of teams that will vie for a shot at this rough-and-tumble build-off!