After driving his big, blue, and beautiful 1963 Impala SS to 4.20s and a top ten finish in NMCA Mickey Thompson Radial Wars last summer, David Adkins made the trip to No Mercy at South Georgia Motorsports Park in October, where he unloaded a 4.08 off the trailer.
He was ready to roll into eliminations and attempt to unleash even more power from his Baker Engineering, Inc.-built 400 cubic inch LS engine and twin 88mm Garrett turbos, but instead, a timing belt let go and allowed pistons to make contact with — and damage — the valves in his Baker-built billet inline LS heads.
Adkins sent the engine to Baker to be repaired and to have it freshened with new Diamond pistons, GRP connecting rods, Trend pushrods, Isky lifters and a Bryant crank. His heads received new Jesel rockers before the Thomsen Motorsports billet intake was placed back on top of it.
At the same time, he swapped his previous ProTorque converter with a ProTorque EV1 converter to complement his Rossler Turbo 400 transmission, and after TJ Grimes of Baker Engineering, Inc. laid a tune with Holley EFI, a date on the chassis dyno at Baker, revealed a solid 2,250 horsepower to the tires with 48 pounds of boost.
At that point content and ready to compete, Adkins loaded the car rolling on Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels 315 radials into his trailer and made the trip from his home in Michigan to jump into the Radial vs. the World class at Lights Out at South Georgia Motorsports Park in February. There, he ran 4.05, 4.02 and 4.01 before being rewarded with a personal best of 3.97, and while he was primed and poised to better that, he instead spun the tires of his high-horsepower car in the first round of eliminations and lost.
“We had a consistent car and we had made it down track every single pass, but after Saturday’s final qualifying session was canceled because of rain, we went right into eliminations, and unfortunately, that was the one time all weekend I didn’t get down track,” said Adkins. “The starting line was good, but I spun .7-seconds into the run, and the wheels were spinning so fast that I couldn’t get the car to recover.”
That set the stage for Adkins’ trip to the 15th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem, March 9-12 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
“My daughter, Meghan, had come to Florida to visit my mom, Virginia, who lives in Largo, and since my mom had never been to the dragstrip before, my daughter brought her to Bradenton Motorsports Park on Friday to watch,” said Adkins. “I made a 4.06 A-to-B pass at 184 mph, which was good considering how hot it was outside and that the track temperature had gotten up to 135 degrees.”
With slightly cooler air the following night, Adkins flew to a 3.99 to lead qualifying in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars going into Sunday’s first round of eliminations.
“I was the only radial-tired car that went threes,” said a proud Adkins.
He went on to trap a 4.01 to defeat the always-tough Josh Klugger and his 1993 Mustang in the first round of eliminations, a 4.08 to advance over Chris Bretz, who had issues and couldn’t complete his pass in his 2000 Camaro in the second round of eliminations, and a 4.00 to claim victory over Nick Agostino and his 2000 Camaro in the final round. The feat marked his first event win in NMCA competition.
“Normally at a race, I have two or three people helping me, but at this race, TJ Grimes was the only one there with me, and we did all of the work on the car, and he did all of the tuning,” said Adkins. “We didn’t have any major problems, and that’s what makes all of this even better.”
Now, Adkins, who previously was on the fence about whether to go to the 9th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, is indeed saddling up for the event April 6-9, 2017 at Atlanta Dragway. The Summit Racing Equipment Shakedown at the Summit 15 presented by Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, Sept. 14-17 at Summit Motorsports Park also is on his to-do list, and fans can catch all of the action from both events on SpeedVideo.
“I would really like to get into the 3.80s,” said Adkins, of the car which still sports a steel factory roof, quarter panels and rockers.
You can see Adkins try to uncork some big numbers at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals this April 6-9th right here on SpeedVideo.com. This live stream from Atlanta Dragway is brought to you by Mickey Thompson, TBM Brakes, UPR Products, E3 Sparkplugs, Edelbrock, Max-Fire, Moser Engineering, and GoodGuys Rod & Custom Association.