What do you do when your friends tell you that they have an 8-71 blower setup laying around that they’ll sell you for a good price? If you’re Jenny and Joe Zolper, you buy it and put a 512 wedge engine under your new blower.

Jenny’s street Duster is a nice place to spend quality time when driving on the street.

For serious work, Jenny’s office at the track is a little more to the point.

Jenny Zolper and her 1973 Plymouth Duster 8.60 index race car. Go get ‘em Jenny! 


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Jenny Zolper’s 1973 Plymouth Duster 8.60 Index Race Car


Words by Richard Kratz

Photos provided by Jenny Zolper

Jenny Zolper at the wheel of her 1973 Plymouth Duster race car.


In 1995 Jenny met Joe. Joe was a mechanic from a family of mechanics. And Joe was a drag racer. So, naturally Jenny went to the races with Joe. Girl meets boy, girl meets drag racing…and then wants a race car of her own. Jenny and Joe Zolper got married in 2000 and Jenny used their wedding money to purchase a car of her own, a 1971 Dodge Demon. It was a rough car and while it was rust free the paint was gone, the whole interior was even worse, it needed an engine, transmission, etc. In other words, Jenny had bought herself a project car.


Luckily for Jenny, she had a great resource to learn from in her husband Joe Zolper. Joe not only owns Prison City Choppers in Joliet, Illinois, but he is also lead mechanic on Velocity's Garage Squad TV show. Joe provided guidance on the Duster project and Jenny dug in and went to work. Over the next year Jenny restored the whole interior while building a 440 big block with a healthy shot of nitrous oxide.


“Go big or go home,” Jenny told us.


Backing up the engine is a beefed up 727 automatic transmission and an 8 ¾” rear. Jenny drives this car on the street still today and loves to go cruising and attend car shows with it. She has taken it to the drag strip a few times, but she says it was meant for the street and is more show than go.


Over the years, Jenny had a growing hankering for a fast race car; the racing bug had bitten and its addictive properties were as irresistible as they were progressive. In 2015 Jenny approached husband Joe and told him that she wanted to go faster and wanted a big tire full tube chassis car for the quarter mile. Jenny says that Joe just shook his head and said, "Oh boy," and then the search was on. In 2016 Jenny found another A-body, this time a 1973 Duster. The car, which already was built for the 8.50 certification, had been sitting in the garage of a family friend for 15 years. Jenny and Joe bought the car and took it home to the shop in March of 2016.


Jenny wanted to race and she wanted to race now. So, in one ass-busting month the car was painted and an engine and transmission were built. And what an engine! Continuing Jenny's, "Go big or go home," theme, this time a 512ci wedge engine was paired with a giant 8-71 blower to convert the '73 into an alcohol-fueled beast. Jenny was planning on another 440 with nitrous when some friends said that they had an 8-71 blower setup and would sell it to Jenny and Joe at a good price. We're guessing Joe was shaking his head again when Jenny said let's go for it, and they did. Another built 727 trans and racing rear end went in, and the cage and other safety features were re-certified.


The car was done in time and Jenny got her license in the car. She says just the sound of the blown alcohol engine makes her smile. But it's the power and speed that really gets her thrill on. Jenny's first full pass down the track was a 9.20 run. With a few more runs she was down to 8.66 seconds. Joe's fastest time in the quarter was 8.53 and Jenny was determined to be the family champion. Her next pass was 8.51 seconds and with that, Jenny was officially faster than her husband.


"Needless to say, Joe had a LONG ride home with me," says Jenny. "Even my daughter was giving him a hard time. About once a week I remind him, just in case he forgets, that I'm the fastest one in the house."


The car could run eight seconds flat but Jenny is focusing on 8.60 index racing. Prison City Customs is the car's prime sponsor, and Jenny wants to give special thanks to Joe Zolper, Ruby Zolper, Dennis Zolper and Joe Zdralevich II.


"The main point in our home is to be safe and have a great time," concludes Jenny. "If we cannot do both, then that's when it's time for me to park it. My husband makes sure that our daughter and I know that we are able to do anything we put our mind to. I am a business women, wife, mom, and a race car driver. Race cars can make or break a family but in our case it brings our family closer and is a great learning experience for us and our daughter, who is racing her Junior Dragster this year.


“Racing is a wonderful experience and this family lives its life to the fullest every day. Always remember, do what makes you happy, I know I do.”

Jenny’s first project car on the right, a 1971 Duster Demon. And her second project car on the left, a 1973 Duster. Jenny built herself a great Duster for the street and another one for the track.

Jenny, with guidance from husband Joe Zolper and other family and friends, built this 440ci engine with nitrous oxide for those moments when she needs a little more power under her right foot.


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