$10K Drag Shootout 2 Episode 6: The Scramble To The Finish

Last week on the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout 2 each team continued to work on each of their cars. Engines were being finished up, power-adders were being mocked up, and chassis work was completed. Team Midwest Mayhem was even able to get their car on the dyno well ahead of the rest of the teams.

For the last eight days, each team participating in the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout 2 has worked many hours to build their car. It has come down to the final two days of the build and that means the scramble to the finish has begun. Budgets are tight, patience is running thin, and time is ticking down to the zero hour for Team Bigun, Team Enemies Everywhere, and the COMP Cams Dream Team. Every team but Midwest Mayhem has entered full thrash mode to try and get these builds done in just two short days.

In season one of the $10K Drag Shootout Team Bigun navigated the build process with ease and had budget to spare, this season things are much different. The Granada tossed a curveball at Team Bigun they weren’t ready for and it has caused them a lot of problems. The team has fought through the multiple issues and is pushing hard to get the Moonshine Missile on the dyno.

Slow and steady has been the course for the COMP Cams Dream Team. Even as the team encountered setbacks they never panicked and continued to chip away at their build. With no budget left from Summit Racing Equipment, the COMP Cams Dream Team has been forced to think outside of the box and use every part at their disposal to wrap up the Mustang.

With all of the modifications happening to each car to increase power and make them faster the stock brake systems would need to be addressed. Each team got to upgrade their car’s front brakes with a set from Aerospace Components. These brakes will outperform the stock units in stopping power, save some weight, and make each of the $10K Drag Shootout cars safer at the track for the drivers when at the end of each pass.

Team Enemies Everywhere found themselves in the same boat as Team Bigun, and the COMP Cams Dream Team when it came to their build progress. The time crunch was really starting to be felt by the Australian contingent as the final two days of the build loomed. In true Team Enemies Everywhere fashion they soldiered along with smiles on their faces having a good time.

Since Team Bigun had to take on the challenge of building the Granada wagon K&N decided to help them out with getting plenty of air into their big Chevrolet engine. Not only did K&N give Team Bigun a lightweight carbon fiber hood scoop, they also provided a mounting tray that goes on top of the carburetor that helps to funnel air into the engine. With all of the new parts ready, Eric got to work cutting up the Moonshine Missile’s stock hood to accommodate the new hood scoop.

Feeding the $10K Drag Shootout beasts takes more than your typical pump gas that’s available at the corner gas station. VP Racing Fuels was used by the teams as it works so well in various high-performance applications. Teams had their choice of C16 or X85 for fuel, however, if they opted for X85, they weren’t allowed to have an intercooler as part of the turbo system.

C16 gets its name from its 116 Motor Octane — it has been an old stand-by in drag racing for years, as a potent leaded fuel capable of high cylinder pressure. X85 is relatively new by comparison, and is VP’s answer to the inconsistent E85 you’d find at a pump. Unlike the pump version, it is a consistent blend of 85-percent ethanol with 30-percent oxygen content and 95 Motor Octane. It’s stoichiometric air/fuel ratio is 9.8:1 versus C16’s 14.7:1, which means you’ll need a higher volume and richer mixture to make the same power [as C16].

Team Bigun selected C16 because it is designed to work with high compression engines like its nitrous-huffing big-block Chevy. The Dream Team went with X85 fuel because they felt the cooling properties of ethanol would make up for the lack of intercooler on the boosted LSX engine. For their junkyard engine, Team Midwest Mayhem decided to go with C16 fuel to stay under budget with the lower fuel system demands – despite the added cost of an intercooler. Team Enemies Everywhere selected X85 as its fuel of choice for its Camaro. To get the most out of the ethanol blend, Team Enemies Everywhere added an extra injector right at the discharge of its turbo to take advantage of X85, to remove some heat from the charged air and to feed the LS engine some extra fuel to keep it happy.

With everything done on the Moonshine Missile Team Bigun was ready to strap the wagon down and make some noise on the dyno. Pete had some baseline goals for the engine he created, but when it came time to make some pulls some serious transmission issues make an unwanted appearance. During the initial pull, the Moonshine Missile’s TH400 transmission began to hemorrhage fluid and not function as it should. This setback forced Team Bigun to pull the wagon off the dyno and search for answers to why the transmission was struggling.

With most of the work completed on their Mustang, the COMP Cams Dream Team was ready to try and fire up the car. Their attention to detail and slower pace strategy paid off as the car roared to life on the first attempt with Keith in the driver’s seat. The COMP Cams Dream Team was now ready to get the Mustang on the dyno and see what kind of power the car could make. Being able to just get some solid data and baseline numbers allowed them to hone in on what else they could tweak to make even more power when race day arrives.

Since Team Midwest Mayhem has their car dialed in they began the process of checking off the final boxes for their build. They installed all the required safety gear that was provided by Summit Racing Equipment. This included a full five-point harness to keep the car legal for the track. Team Midwest Mayhem also put the final touches on the Cutlass’ new Holley EFI System. Having a system like the Holley Terminator on the Cutlass allowed Team Midwest Mayhem to really control all the important aspects of their tune up with ease.

Strong ignition components are a must-have for any high-performance build, so E3 hooked the $10K Drag Shootout teams with plenty of goodies. For Team Bigun a CDI ignition box worked perfectly with their big cubic-inch Chevy engine to provide spark to light off all the nitrous they plan on cramming into the mill. Team Midwest Mayhem, Team Enemies Everywhere, and the COMP Cams Dream Team added a set of the LS coils from E3 to provide the spark for their engines. All of the teams took advantage of a set of E3 spark plug wires to carry the juice to their E3 spark plugs as well.

The COMP Cams Dream Team wanted to put the Mustang back on the dyno to make sure everything worked as it should. The car was able to make some good power with a healthy 854.1 horsepower being laid down on the rollers. All of the hard work that Geo put into the tune paid off and now the Dream Team is confident in what their Mustang can do. With multi-time radial racing champion Keith Berry behind the wheel, the COMP Cams Dream Team could be hard to beat when eliminations begin.

Team Enemies Everywhere got their Camaro fired up finally and boy did it sound healthy. When it came time to make full pulls on dyno there was some type of transmission issue and the car wouldn’t shift into high gear at all. The team began to try and troubleshoot the issue while the car was still on the dyno hoping to salvage the session. With no obvious signs of what was causing the trouble, Team Enemies Everywhere was forced to pull their Camaro off the dyno and try to find out why it had no high gear.

There is going to be a lot of heat generated under the hood of $10K Drag Shootout cars, and with all of the electronics being used that could be a recipe for trouble. To protect the wiring, plug wires, and even fuel lines DEI provided each team with their heat-resistant wraps for different applications. Teams could make sure their spark plug wires wouldn’t get singed by headers, insulate wiring harnesses from heat, and wrap their fuel lines up so the fuel would stay cool to provide the most power possible.

Team Bigun struggled to solve their transmission issues with no real idea on how to fix it. Eric and the team exhausted all of their options to try and find out what the root cause of the problem was and it paid off. With the correct transmission pressure showing up the team tossed the car back on the dyno to make sure everything was ready. The team came through in the clutch and put down a stout 960.3 horsepower with their big-block combination.

Having all of the horsepower in the world is useless unless you can apply it to the track. Since all of the $10K Drag Shootout cars are going to be packing some big power Mickey Thompson stepped up to provide a set of 275 Pro drag radials. These tires may look small, but they have huge amounts of traction available. The special radial compound makes them a perfect fit for all of the teams builds.

With all the teams making successful dyno pulls Team Enemies Everywhere was ready to try and make a final attempt. The Camaro had no issues firing up, however, the transmission continued to not function as it should not reaching high gear. Team Enemies Everywhere must now rebuild the transmission at the race since they ran out of time during the build phase. This could put them at a huge disadvantage based on the amount of time they will have at the track to rebuild the transmission and the lack of budget to fix any issues they find.

The clock has reached zero for the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout: 2 and that means all work on the cars must stop. Team Bigun, Team Midwest Mayhem, Team Enemies Everywhere and The COMP Cams Dream Team have worked hard over the course of 10 days to build the fastest car they could on a shoestring budget. The only thing left for these teams to see who is the fastest at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Tune in to the next episode of the $10K Drag Shootout 2 and not only see who won, but what it took for them to park their car in the winner’s circle.

The $10K Drag Shootout: 2 is made possible with the support of a number of industry giants, including Summit RacingCOMP CamsMickey Thompson Performance Tires & WheelsTCIK&N Filters, MAHLE MotorsportsDyna-BattWeld RacingCorsa PerformanceFragolaHolleyDiabloSport, NOSE3 Spark PlugsTotal SealMoser EngineeringBMR SuspensionMiller ElectricAerospace ComponentsVictor ReinzMorosoUS GearHawk PerformanceLucas OilPRW IndustriesWeld RacingVP RacingProCharger, and ARP.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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