Ron Shaver was raised right. His grandfather was a fabricator, his father a machinist. When his interest toward high-performance automotive powerplants began to grow, he had plenty of support to jump in and become the best he could be. After 20 years of building professional competition engines, he's got a polished crew of professionals working for him at his spacious Torrance, California-based shop. His equipment is top-notch. He doesn't believe in excuses, and his reputation is bolstered by a long list of race wins and championship titles in several different disciplines of racing.

Now, it's a new millennium and times are changing. Many of the top-notch racing teams Ron has worked with over the years have decided to take their engine development programs in-house, and Ron is looking toward a new frontier to conquer with his extensive expertise. Luckily for us, he's looking at the street.

"The street market is growing tremendously. I don't have to tell you magazine guys that. We've got plenty of full-race projects happening here, and I want to expand toward more streetable stuff. I'm developing a line of streetworthy parts and engines. I'm the American distributor of what I feel are the finest cylinder heads ever made for the small-block Chevy (Pro/Topline), and then I heard about your Engine Masters Challenge. This is a great way for me to showcase what we're after--absolutely killer performance engines for the street on pump gas."

After winning USAC sprint car championships, the World of Outlaws championship (3 times), off-road SCORE events (10 times), and NARC titles (15 times), we don't know how much of an honor the Engine Masters Challenge will be. But, unlike any previous competition Shaver has been associated with in the past, this time he's on his own. There's no driver, there's no vehicle, and there's no track. It's just engine versus engine here, flywheel to flywheel. So, maybe the Engine Masters Challenge title will hold some special, more personal meaning to Ron, but first he has to win it.

We were impressed by Shaver's entry, and it's not hard to see why. He's using many of the same tricks developed over his many years in competition, and we're quite sure these are the exact things you readers want to see. If you Chevy fans are playing favorites or laying down odds, this entry might be the one you're looking for. Naturally, the real results can't be published until we run all the entries against each other, but no one has any doubt Shaver will be a contender for the big cash. Pay attention here, fans.