A couple of months ago I wrote about our good friend Ian Smith from Australia’s adventure going to the Las Vegas Bracket Nationals with us. I got a phone call from Ian recently. He was right at home at the dragstrip, and even more so watching the McClelland family enjoy all that Las Vegas had to offer. He was also able to spend time with NHRA Division Director Mike Rice to learn the inner workings of one of our large bracket races.
During his visit he noticed that almost everyone that was racing the electronics, or Super Pro, bracket would run their cars wide open, or, if I could be so bold to say, all out! He runs their Beretta on the throttle stop in Super Gas, and they had never run the car wide open. The Beretta started life as a tube-chassis Competition Eliminator car with a blown small-block and a Lenco transmission. One of the strange things for me is that even their race cars are righthand drive. When Ian bought the car, he called Reher Morrison and purchased one of the early crate Super Series 509 big-block Chevys. This engine was one of the first crate Super class engines you could buy and it produced somewhere in the low 800hp range. After the weekend I had talked him into going to one of their local (five hours away) bracket tracks to get more seat time for his son, Warren. Also, he wanted to see what the old Beretta would do wide open.
Another thing Ian took away from his visit was a ton of parts. In the weeks leading up to his visit he ordered parts and had them shipped at the Mac home, saving him quite a few dollars in freight. He packed several bags for the return trip and we filled them right to the weight max limit. With all his new parts home and installed in the car they made the trek to test the car. Not only did he service the car with several new parts, I talked him into adjusting his four-link suspension to get the car to leave more aggressively. Between Friday and Saturday, they got six time runs in, but unfortunately, they were rained out on Sunday for eliminations. Ian was thrilled with a best 60-foot of 1.294, and an eighth-mile time of 5.79 seconds at 120 mph. This should put them right in the high 8.70s at 153 mph. This makes total sense to the car’s performance in Super Gas trim running 149 mph.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Australia, Santa Pod Raceway in England, or the new Qatar Racing Club, we all love drag racing. Car is a universal language that brings us all together. Until next month, have fun and be safe.
Q: I am planning a 496 big-block Chevy build for my ’97 Cavalier Pro Street project, and it will weigh around 3,000 pounds. I totally gutted the Cavalier and installed a Morrison tube frame with a strut front suspension and four-bar rear with a Strange 9-inch. It will have an automatic and run on 93-octane fuel. I have a ’77 454 engine, which is probably a two-bolt main. I plan on using a forged rotating assembly from Scat or Eagle and an Edelbrock Street Tunnel Ram manifold (PN 7115) with dual 4150 series carbs mounted sideways (for its look). It will have a COMP Cams mechanical roller. I plan to race it, but I want to build this as radical as I possibly can for occasional street cruising. After a little research on the head choices, I think the Air Flow Research CNC-ported 0-290 has the best flow across the board compared to others. The other components will match the limitations of what I have chosen so far. A couple of initial questions: Considering the two-bolt main (with ARP premium main bolts or studs) and 93-octane, what would be the compression ratio and max rpm? What do you think about this setup so far? I know more questions will come as this build plan proceeds. Thanks,