The story of Kyle Brixey and his 2009 Trailblazer SS starts out like many others. He originally bought the truck as a tow rig— see where we’re going here? — but quickly realized that it not only had vast amounts of potential, there weren’t a lot of guys out there that were building them. And while Kyle’s story starts out like many before it, it quickly evolved into a one-of-a-kind journey that is on it’s way to concluding with his SS being the fastest of its kind in the nation.
We Have Ignition
Kyle started out with a 500 all-wheel horsepower 2007 Subaru WRX STi and initially bought the Trailblazer to tow the car to and from the track. It became his daily driver but his interest in making it go faster was quickly piqued. The first mod was a healthy dose of nitrous.
“We sprayed the crap out of it and never had any issue with it,” Kyle said. “So then we did long tubes and a cam and suspension mods, stuff like that, and still for like four years, I sprayed big shots of nitrous through it, like 200-250 hits and it still never gave us a problem.”
After running the truck for four years, Kyle picked up and moved to Texas for work. At this point, he had collected everything he needed to build a turbo kit for the Trailblazer, and set out to run as much boost as possible.
“I thought, ‘well, I’ll throw it together and see how long it will hold and build something new when it lets go,’” Kyle said. “But then it took 12 pounds of boost, then 14 pounds of boost, then 18 pounds of boost and eventually 22 pounds of boost and kept going. It eventually got to the point that it was the fastest stock-bottom-end Trailblazer in the world and the fastest all-wheel drive Trailblazer ever.”
The SS eventually went 9.98 at 140 mph on stock heads, block, crank, rods, rod bolts and even head gaskets. The only thing changed to handle the increased atmospheric pressures was the addition of ARP head studs to help the bullet cope with the excessive amounts of boost being thrown at it, and a custom-ground turbo cam that Kyle compared to a Brian Tooley Racing Stage II Turbo cam in specifications.
Not only was it seeing abuse from high boost levels and (previously) large doses of nitrous for over six years, Kyle was spinning it to 7,500 rpm in order to avoid letting the built RPM 4L70E transmission shift into fourth gear at the end of the quarter mile— which Kyle tells us would frequently smoke the 3-4 clutch pack. After all that nitrous, boost and high rpms, the engine was removed and sold— a testament to how stout LS engines are straight from the factory.
“The motor is still running to this day,” Kyle said. “I pulled it out and sold it to someone else.”
At speeds like those, most would guess that Kyle’s SS would be a gutted track-only car, however, it is anything but. It still plays host to its full interior and even its original A/C compressor. And, unlike most Trailblazer SSs we have come across, Kyle’s was running it into the 9s on its original all-wheel drive system.
But as Kyle crossed into the 9s he knew it was high time for a built motor and a switch to rear-wheel drive.
“I had been setting aside parts to convert it to rear-wheel drive, like an RPM Level 5 transmission and converter,” Kyle said. “But then I started making enough off of my turbo kits that I could afford buy a built 370.”
The New Mill
He turned to Thompson Motorsports to build the all-forged LS. They started with an LY6 6.0-liter iron block and fitted it with a 3.62-inch throw K1 forged steel crankshaft. K1 forged connecting rods pushing .030 over Diamond pistons were used. Aspiration duties were handled by a set of Trick Flow Gen X 220 heads fed by a Holley High Ram intake manifold and 90 mm throttle body. A Forced Inductions S485 turbo stuffed more than 20 psi down the mills throat. ARP head and main studs held everything together while a stage 4 turbo cam tickled stainless steel valves.
Once the 370 was up and running— on 23 pounds of boost no less— the SS was taken to AMP Performance to be tuned and hit the chassis dyno. With just seven miles on the clock, it laid down a whopping 1,107 horsepower. This still wasn’t enough for Kyle though, so a 50 horsepower shot of nitrous was added and made almost 1,200 at the wheels; but at this point the turbo was completely maxed out. Almost as soon as the build was done, Kyle decided that the build wouldn’t be enough.
“I drove it around for a while but never really took it to the track and decided that it wasn’t going to be enough,” Kyle said. “It would probably go low-9s but that wasn’t going to be fast enough.”
That’s when Kyle says he began speaking to Steve Zelma at Tial Sport. Tial decided that Kyle’s project was unique enough to warrant their backing. Their support arrived by way of a custom ceramic ball bearing Garrett GTX55-33R 98 mm turbo with a Tial turbine housing, waste gate and blow off valve— everything he would need to support up to 2,000 horsepower. Tial had only one request in return: they wanted all the data Kyle could provide from the new setup.
Everything from Kyle’s almost brand-new setup was sold in preparation of the new turbo and more cubes.
The Newest Build
In his search for more power, Kyle contacted Late Model Engines to build a brand-new 427 cubic inch powerplant for the SS. They started with an LSX Bowtie Block from Chevrolet Performance. A custom set of 4.125-inch forged Diamond Pistons slugs drive forged Callies connecting rods. A Callies Ultra Billet crankshaft keeps everything spinning on the bottom end. Mast Motorsports LS7 heads top the mill off and are fed by a Holley COPO Hi-Ram intake manifold. Injector Dynamics 2,000 cc injectors provide the mill with massive doses of E85 and are fed by three Walhbro 450lh fuel pumps through Holley EFI fuel rails.
A Nitrous Outlet plate system, that was custom made for Kyle’s Trailblazer to hide it under the Holley High Ram intake manifold, ensures that nothing will get in the way of the SS crossing the finish line first.
I’m not sure that 1,700 horsepower is going to be enough…
“If it doesn’t come up on the converter with enough boost coming off the line, I’ll probably spray it,” Kyle said. “Then, I’ll probably hit it with another 150-200 shot half way down the track for the added cooling, plus i’m not sure that 1,700 horsepower is going to be enough; it’s just going to kind of be my gap insurance.”
All that power makes its way through a Circle D torque converter and into a 4L80E built by Jake’s Performance. Power is transferred through a Wiles carbon fiber driveshaft, featuring billet yokes, and into the stock 9.5-inch 14-bolt rearend stuffed with 4.10 gears wrapped around a stock LSD. An MSD two step ensures Kyle is leaving the line at full boost.
Blazing New Trails
“I don’t know what it’s going to do, but I’m pretty positive it’s going 8s this year,” Kyle said. “I don’t want to hack it up and strip it all the way down; it’s still DOT legal and I want to keep it that way— it’s not a Pro Mod.”
Not only is it not an all-out racercar, Kyle says he daily drives it whenever it’s not being worked on. While it may not serve as a tow rig any more, it is still serving daily duties and setting its sights on the record for the world’s fastest Trailblazer SS. Check back here as we keep you posted on its progress.