By: Rob Kinnan
Photography: Wes Allison, Rob Kinnan, and David Freiburger
Reprint from Hot Rod Magazine, March 2008
> Terzich’s Camaro is a perfect example of astounding perfomance coupled with rock-solid reliability.
“I’ve built and driven ProStreet cars for years, but this was the ultimate time I’ve ever had.Drag Week™ is just so much fun.”—Steve Roth
Denny Terzich and crew weren’t happy after the ’06 Drag Week™. That’s because their ’67 Camaro only made it about four miles before overheating and forcing them to drop out. Frankly, we weren’t shocked, since the car was double-throw-down radical, with a monster 6-71 blower setup that reached higher than the roof of the car and show-car-like shine that that’s often a sign of impending doom for an event as punishing as Drag Week™. But boy, did they make up for it in 2007.
Terrzich originally bought the car to race himself and had it at Steve Roth Racecars to get some work done, but then he and Roth got all geeked up about Drag Week™ and that became the new goal. Steve, Denny, and Denny Sr. began the thrash to get it ready for the ’06 event, and Gary Pocratsky jumped into the fray to rewire the whole car. But it was such a thrash that they didn’t have any road miles on it before the event, hence the overheating problem. Over the next year, the 6-71 was replaced by a big ProCharger F3 reverse-mounted supercharger stuck dead-center in front of KMP Performance-built 580-inch big-block and blowing into a single four-barrel carburetor through a Steve Morris Racing Engines elbow. Not only would the new setup create less heat than the
big Roots, but driver Roth could finally see the road! The cooling system was updated with a vented Be Cool radiator, and they also changed to a Rossler two-speed Pro Mod-style transmission with a Neal Chance 10-inch converter and a Gear Vendors overdrive unit. The wheels were also upgraded-they are the very first set of Billet Specialties’ new Street Lite rims.
The crew would be Roth driving and Pocrastky riding shotgun, straddling the huge water-to-air intercooler the whole way. Because there are only two seats, and Drag Week™ rules prohibit support vehicles with crewmembers, Terzich was relegated to spectator status and was not allowed to work on the car or provide assistance in any way other than moral support. Roth and Pocratsky covered the entire 873 miles with only one problem: a flat rear tire between Union Grove, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin International Raceway (they put a new tube in it and kept going). They didn’t even change the oil, plugs, or check the valve lash until Thursday, at Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Know what’s even more impressive? The Camaro ran in the 7s all five days, with a best of 7.64 and an overall average of 7.801 at 175 mph. Roth said, “On Sunday [during tech inspection and test and tune], we put a mild tune-up on
the car because we didn’t really want to show everything we had until Monday. With the timing turned back and the launch turned down, we thought we would run an 8.0-something, but when the 7.79 came up, we were stunned. So we decided to leave the tune-up where it was at so as not to work the car any harder than we had to, so we would have a better chance to finish the week. That was the primary goal. Monday’s 7.64 was even more of a stunner because one of the tubes from the firewall to the carb blew off at about 1,100 feet, causing the mph to drop to only 167.”
With a 7.76 at 179 in the bag on Friday, they planned to turn the wick up and let it all hang out, but a leaky head gasket prevented that from happening. Roth speculates that the far has 7.40s in it on a full-tilt tune-up, but they haven’t taken it back to the track. Terzich said they’re too busy driving it in local car cruises and taking it to shows like SEMA, where it was displayed in the Gear Vendors booth.
So to all of you gunning for the Fastest Street Car in America title this year, here’s our bogey.
> Above:Kevin at KMP Performance built the 580-inch Rat motor with a 4.5-inch stroke Lunati crank with Lunati rods and 8.5:1 JE pistons. The heads are from Trick Flow and have a Holley intake with a CSU-built Holley Dominator set up for a blow-through application. An enormous Comp roller cam caused no valvetrain issues whatsoever during the week. The ProCharger is the moneymaker.
> Left: The secret to reliable, cool running down the road was removing the blower belt after the day’s passes. To save time, Pocratsky just cut the belt off and used a new one at the next track. They drove the car on pump gas, but at the track they drained the fuel cell and carb, refilled the cell with C-16 race gas, jetted the primaries up 10 sizes, installed the blower belt, swapped the front tires (which are only rated to 140 mph) to Mickey Thompson racing skinnies, and threw on the air-launcher parachute. Then they’d change it all back again and hit the first gas station to fill up with 87 octane.
> Top Right: How’d you like to cover nearly 900 miles in five days in here?
> Bottom Right: The trailer would sway a little bit but the 33×18.50 Mickey Thompson ET Street tires didn’t allow it to move the car around. With the Gear Vendors overdrive engaged, 60 mph required only 2,000 rpm, and Roth said they got about 6 mpg on the road.
WHAT IS DRAG WEEK™?In case you haven’t heard of it, HOT ROD Drag Week™, presented by TCI and sponsored by Comp Cams, is the ultimate test of the fastest, legit street cars in the country. There are 10 classes to allow pretty much any four-wheeled vehicle to compete, so the entries range from all-out Unlimited cars like the 7-second Terzich Camaro to 15-second Daily Drivers, and include everything in between. Every car must have all the normal street equipment, including current license, registration, and proof of insurance, functional headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, and rearview mirror. NHRA safety rules apply, and a car is not allowed to run faster than it is tech’d to.
Drag Week™ is held in early September; we visit four tracks in five days, and every car has to drive the distance between the tracks wholly unassisted by any support vehicle of any kind. The only support they can have is what they can carry either in the car or in a small trailer pulled by the car. Remember, these are supposed to be street cars, and a real street car doesn’t have a truck and trailer full of tools and spares follow it everywhere. The total distances range from ’06’s brutal 1,300-plus miles to ’07’s more gentle 873 miles. Every car has to at least take a green light at every track. When it’s all over, we average the e.t’s and the quickest vehicle in each class wins. The overall quickest e.t. average, regardless of class, earns the title Fastest Street Car in America for the rest of the year. Our sponsors throw in some killer prizes, but the real kick is the glory of finishing at the top of your class. Just to finish is reward enough.
The ’07 Drag Week™ started on Sunday, September 9 at Cordova Dragway Park in Cordova, Illinois. The racers filled in, went through registration and tech inspection, and then the track was open for test-and-tune runs. On Monday, morning we had the driver’s meeting, at which point Drag Week™ officially started. We raced at Cordova until 2 pm, at which point each racer was required to turn in a timeslip to a HOT ROD staffer in the tower. Then they hit the road and drove through a pretty decent rain-storm all the way to Union Grove Dragway in Union Grove, Wisconsin. Racing took place on Tuesday morning at Union Grove, and once the timeslips were handed in, the racers took off for Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, followed by a 360-mile drive to Cedar Falls (Iowa) Raceway, then back to Cordova on Friday, September 14. Between each track were mandatory checkpoints that every competitor had to hit and take a photo of their car in front of to ensure that they followed the mandatory route. Once the dragstrip closed at 2 pm Friday, we compiled the data and held the awards ceremony, which is always a good time.
You need to come play with us this year. Check out www.HOTROD.com for complete rules, venues, and updates as they become available.
The Unlimited class has almost no rules. As long as you have the required street equipment, you can run any chassis, engine, transmission, or fuel you want. If you could make a Funny Car street-legal and fit the basic street equipment rules, then it could probably run. Most of the cars in this class have full tube chassis, huge tires, and big motors with a power adder.
BRIAN LEE HAVLIK
’62 CHEVY II
Brian Havlik and his ’62 Nova ran in the 9s to finish Third in the Unlimited class with a 9.01 at 150 average. It’s a small-block of undisclosed size, with Dart Pro 1 heads, a 256-at-0.050 Comp solid roller cam, and two stages of NOS spray. He built the entire car himself (except for the Gear Vendorsâ€”equipped Powerglide) and ran on 295/65-15 M/T drag radials. Sweet car.
ACTON, ONTARIO, CANADA
’83 PLYMOUTH RELIANT
Yup, it’s an ’83 Plymouth Reliant, but this one runs a 440 with Indy cylinder heads and a ladder bar back half. Jason Roberts borrowed the car from his wife (it’s said to be a daily diver registered in her name) and entered it in Unlimited. It has run as quick as 10.39 but was held to low-11s on Drag Week™. Kinda makes you look at these crap-can K-cars with a different eye, huh? Dig the plate. Gear Vendors equipped TF727 transmission.
Street Race cars must have 11.25-inch or narrower rear tires and stock-type suspension front and rear. Bolt-on aftermarket suspension parts are allowed so long as they are stock type for the car and bolt to the stock pickup points. Street Race is broken down into four different classes based on engine size and whether the car has a power adder. Those classes are Big-Block Power Adder, Big-Block N/A, Small-Block Power Adder, and Small-Block N/A. The cubic-inch cutoff is 430—431ci engines run in Big-Block.
’69 FORD MUSTANG
This was Jay Brown’s third Drag Week™, the second with his incredible Mach 1. In 2005, the car had a 511-inch FE and ran mid-10s, but after that event he started work on another FE with a blower. It wasn’t finished in time for Drag Week™ 06, so Jay brought his new Ford GT and won the Daily Driver class. While that car was cool, we were much happier when he showed up at Cordova with the Mustang packing the new blower motor. This combo is a 490-incher with Blue Thunder heads, a Comp solid roller, and a Shelby intake with an 850-cfm blower carb set up by CSU. A Vortech V7-YSi supercharger pressurizes it, and an NOS Big Shot plate is there to help. With a set of CalTracs bars this thing launches like a rocket and ran as quick as 9.32 at 147 mph. Note how Jay incorporated the Shaker scoop to work with the blower. That’s just one reason why this car is one our all-time favorites.
As long as it has four wheels, the necessary street equipment and paperwork, and is no quicker than 10.80, you can run pretty much anything you want in Daily Driver. Delay boxes and other bracket racing electronics are not allowed, however. After five days, each car’s average e.t. is used to determine its qualifying position on a 32-car bracket racing ladder, and that average e.t. also becomes the index for that car. The bracket race is held Friday afternoon, and the winner of the final round is the overall Daily Driver champion.
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, CANADA
’76 FORD GRAN TORINO
The 600hp Roush 588ci big-block combined with a curb weight of 4,840 pounds, tore stuff up in Kirwin’s Starky and Hutch clone. They were working on it pretty much nonstop during Drag Week™ trying to keep it in one piece and had the transmission out of it every single day. The car was in the Daily Driver Class and, with a 12.93-second average, was a few tenths too slow to make the bracket race ladder, but they kept on keeping on all week. They’d get the car fixed, hit the siren and roof-mounted cherries, strobes, and flashing headlights, and head on down the road. The work ethic and attitude won Kirwin the Spirit of Drag Week™ award.
P.S. Gear Vendors overdrive in foreground was about the only thing this car did not break.
’03 DODGE 2500
It weighs 8,000 pounds and ran a best of 11.45 at 123 mph. Holy crap. Greg Hogue’s Ram runs a hot-rodded 5.9L Cummins turbodiesel with a hit of Nitrous Express sauce, and an NADP 48R trans from North American Diesel Performance. He came out with our sister mag, Diesel Power. If you’re hot into these oil-burners, check out a copy.
“Gear Vendors equipped”