Virginia's Ken Walsh is 27. The Super Chevy Show staff calls him a "Young Lion" for his championship-winning ways. As a result, this story is about Walsh Racing's 9.90-second '63 409 Impala and its '63 6.30-second/225 mph Nitro Coupe Corvette.
Thanks to Ken's super parents, Nancy and Jerry, he began competing in go-carts at age 6. Then at 9, he drove down a dragstrip in his dad's car show-winning 409 Chevy. At 16, he raced a Junior Dragster and a full-size Chevy, too.
The "Mr. 409" '63 Impala was purchased 37 years ago in 1972. For the record, the family owns over 40 legit 409 cars. To run in the high 9s, their 650 hp 409 was fitted with Ross 14.5:1 forged pistons, a Lunati cam, specially-prepped heads, an MSD crank-trigger ignition with an MSD 8AL amplifier. Claimed displacement is a mere 415 ci. Sending the massive power to the transmission and rear end is a special Ram clutch. The gearbox is a rugged Jerico DR-4 four-speed. It is capable of handling over 800 hp and lb-ft of torque.
The differential is a Mark Williams 9-inch unit packing hefty axles and 4.56:1 gears. The traction arrangement is similar to a factory Z-11 four-link (two upper and two lower control arms.) The slicks are 10.5-inches wide. The front fenders and hood are fiberglass. A Simpson shoulder harness and Simpson lap belts secure the driver. Weld wheels adorn the front and rear wheelwells while up front are Goodyear tires capable of handling the car's unbelievable 100-foot-long-plus wheelstands. Race weight is 3,400 pounds.
In 2008, Team Walsh entered its slick '63 Corvette in the Super Chevy Show's Aeromotive Nitro Coupe competition. With Ken at the controls, it ran 4.01 seconds at 180 mph in the eighth-mile and consistently in the 6.30s at 225 mph in the quarter. Ken Walsh and Walsh Racing won the 2008 SCS Aeromotive Nitro Coupe World Championship title in its first full year in competition.