After the dismal season that I described in the last column we are finally starting to turn a corner and head in the right direction. One of our proudest achievements of 2010 has been to complete a brand new Stock Eliminator race car, Brutus. We've been bracket racing him locally for a few months now with a generic 440 but we finally managed to purchase and install our Dan Dvorak built 383. This motor makes Brutus legal for NHRA competition in H, I, or J/SA. Since we did such a great job building him for racing he is very light so we decided to debut him in "H/SA" trim, the lightest legal version at 3390 pounds with driver. To compete in I/SA we would have to add 140 more pounds of ballast, which we may end up doing when we learn more about the car.

The 383 isn't nearly as loud or "nasty" as the 426 Max Wedge that I run in the Savoy wagon. The Max Wedge was originally built as a race motor. It has dual 750 cfm carburetors on a huge cross ram intake manifold, a .528" lift cam with solid lifters, heads with intake ports you could stick your fist in, and over 12:1 compression ratio. It's a factory beast. The 1966 383 4 barrel mill in Brutus, on the other hand, was designed as a slightly hot option for muscle cars, cop cars or station wagons with a towing package. It has a single 525 cfm carburetor on a very tame dual plane intake manifold, a .424" lift cam with hydraulic lifters, tiny little heads that you used to be able to find stacked like cord wood in any bone yard, and a 10.2:1 compression ratio. The NHRA rates our 383 at 280 horsepower but it sounds like a bit more than that through our home built headers. After getting it running well we had to take it racing and see what it would do. We were going to shake it out at the Bremerton Raceway National Open but we got rained out. We were on the fence about going down to Medford Oregon the following weekend for the last NHRA Division 6 event of the season with an untested combination but then someone asked our favorite question:"Who was it that won Stock at Medford last year?" Answer: "WAGONS OF STEEL!" We made plans.

We unloaded the Savoy from the enclosed trailer and pushed it into the shop, where it sits waiting for the engine fairy. Then we loaded up for our first NHRA road trip of the season. We were all excited. I love my enclosed trailer. It smells like "new car" with a whiff of race gas and hot rubber. When I get done with making payments on it I want to get some kind of tow vehicle that's just as nice. For now, we hooked up "The Little Tow Rig That Could", our '91 GMC Suburban. It asked for nothing more than large quantities of low octane fuel and rolled easily for eight hours to Medford with no problems. We left Seattle in the morning and arrived in time for a late dinner with friends in Medford.