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2007 Snowbird Nationals - Shop Talk

Only The Beginning

Apr 19, 2007
Chp0706_01_z Drag_radial_winner Front_view 2/1

Back in the Jan. '06 issue, there was mention of building a big-inch big-block with then-cover-car man Artis Houston and his bottom-8-second '71 Nova. Since then, we've been burning the wick trying to piece this bullet together with C&O Automotive in Gardena, California.

Our original intention was to take off where the '05 season left off, which was a number-one plate on Houston's ride in the Pacific Street Car Association's Drag Radial class. Unfortunately, we missed the entire season trying to finish what we started. All said and done, we came extremely close to making the final race of the year, but testing the week before revealed a wet cylinder that prolonged us for another few months.

It wasn't until the weekend of February 2, 2007, during the debut of a new West Coast drag-racing series, dubbed West Coast Hot Rod Association, that we were able to make a run for the money at the Snowbird Nationals at Surprise, Arizona's Speedworld Raceway. The good news: Our initial shakedown runs proved to be healthy with a 9.47-at-153-mph pass on the motor-and between the gearing, camshaft, and the converter, this mill is set up to run on nitrous, not on nuts alone.

While we were expecting monumental gains on the small 300-shot, we ended up smoking the tires all throughout testing and qualifying, even with the progressive nitrous controller set at 10 percent from the launch and with an extremely lazy ramp time. With the first round of eliminations upon us, we didn't allow the nitrous to engage until halftrack, and for that weekend, it was enough to get the job done.

What we did learn is that with the added power, we need to rescale the chassis, switch to a smaller set of carbs, and soften the nitrous hit. We still managed to run 8.74 at 169 mph and take home our first win. There's much more to be done, but considering we're only 3 mph off from Houston's old mph record-with significantly less nitrous-this new powerplant has potential.

While there's a lot more to elaborate on, I'll leave that write-up to follow shortly. For now, I wanted to share a little bit of our most recent adventures and thank our partners at Team C&O, which includes Lonnie Patrick, John Fields, Artis Houston, Mark Washington, Mike Nelson, and Chuck Butler, with an extended thanks to Wes Hudgins for crewing with us in Arizona and for allowing us to crash at his pad. Special props go to Kelly Bluebaugh and Deborah Woodard from Pro Street Team WFO for taking the time to help us configure our dual Dominator setup.

Have you had a similar experience? I know you have, so get on the computer and e-mail me at the address listed below.

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