By the time you read this, the 2005 Jeg's Engines Masters Challenge will be right around the corner. But we're writing this in mid-May, so most of this year's 40 competitors are only less than halfway toward finishing their engines and making power to win. We quizzed them all and got responses back from most. We asked them all the same questions just to get a better idea of who they are, what they do, and why/how they think they can win The Challenge.
These are the six questions we asked, and we'll list everyone's responses for you to see. Like we said, not everyone responded, so if your favorite competitor is not here, that may just mean he doesn't want to give any of his secrets away before the battle begins! For more details regarding the 2005 Jeg's Engine Masters Challenge and all the rules/conditions of entry, visit: www.enginemasters.com.
* What is your shop's primary focus? i.e street, marine, drag, circle track, mud, off-road, RV?
* How long have you been building engines?
* Why are you entering the EMC?
* What will your entry be?
* How much power (peak hp) do you think you'll need to win?
* What do you think your winning score will be?
Mike and his partner have been building engines for over 35 years. They'll enter a Buick with a big-bore/short-stroke and will test it on their in-house DTS dyno.
"We are a full-service high-performance machine shop that builds and dynos engines for street, strip, circle track, and marine applications. Being in a small town, we also have to repair the occasional John Deere. The EMC is a great way to showcase our street/strip engine program for big-block Buicks. Our entry will be a 509-cid Buick utilizing cylinder heads, intake manifold, and other parts from T/A Performance. It'll have a 4.325 bore, a factory block, and a 4.235-stroke crank. It will take at least 760 hp and might be as much as 800hp, with a score around 1,300-1,325 to win."
TA Performance; Scottsdale, AZ
"We are a manufacturer of Buick Performance engine components for restoration and street/strip usage. We've been in business 31 years and have been manufacturing Buick Performance parts for over 22 years and truly believe that Buick has a place in this challenge. We have made some very good gains in the cylinder heads, which is all still within the stock Buick design configuration from over 35 years ago. I am very proud of this along with keeping the original looks of the cylinder head.
"Buick has been known for its low-rpm power output, which I feel is an opportunity for us. It should perform well. Buick chalked up wins in their early years. In 1970, the Stage 1 was named the fastest production car by Motor Trend over the 454 Chevelle SS. The '87 Buick Grand National was named quickest American production car over the Corvette. In the Indy 500, Buick still holds the fastest laps recorded. Myself, along with TA Performance, are proud of Buick and their performance background, and I would like to put Buick back in the winner's circle once again. We believe our 508-cid Buick Stage 2 will make 800-plus hp. As far as points go, that's a hard question to answer, being this is our first time entering this competition. We hope to finish in the top 5."
Bulldog Performance; Indianapolis, IN
"Our primary business is the manufacturing of cylinder heads, manifolds and blocks. I have been building engines off and on for over 25 years, as well as working closely with many other engine builders during our manufacturing process. Our competition entry will be a 508-cid Cadillac with 4.31 bore x 4.30 stroke, Bulldog heads, Bulldog headers, Bulldog manifold, and Bulldog oil pump. We don't have a dyno in-house, but we plan to do most of our testing on a dyno. We think we'll make in the area of 850 hp and need 1,400 to 1,450 points to win. Remember, it is average, not peak, that wins."
Cadillac Performance Parts; Chattanooga, TN
Richard's primary means of bringing in the dough are street, off-road, tractor pulling, and drag racing Cadillac powerplants. Why a Cadillac? "Basically to show people the capabilities of the long-forgotten Cadillac. We'll build a 508-cid, 4.475 stroke, 4.250-inch bore, 52mm roller cammed, saddled mains, 2.2-inch rod journal Caddy with re-worked Bulldog heads and a Bulldog single plane. We'll test it on our dyno and hope to make around 835 peak hp with a truckload down low!" What do you think your winning score will be? "Haven't given it much thought. Incorporating long-stroke, small runners to aid carb signal plus getting it to survive the rattle of 12.7-plus compression. It'll be interesting."
Torque Inc; Ashland, OH
Mr. Walker has 17 years of experience building street, strip, towing, and drag racing engines. "We entered the 2005 EMC to showcase our talent and bring Cadillac into the performance ring and show it can be competitive. I don't have a dyno, but will build a 508-cid Caddy making around 830 hp and hope to score about 1,210 points."
Autoshop Racing Engines Inc; Orlando, FL
With 25 years of engine building in its back pocket, ARE will show up with a 509-cid Chevy making close to 900 hp. It'll have a small-bore/big-stroke that everyone seems to be going for this year.
BES Racing Engines; W. Harrison, IN
Bischoff is a returning competitor who's done well in the past. He's been very busy building NSCA Super Street-winning engine combinations for guys like Kenny Bennett and that takes a lot of his time away from working on his Jeg's Engine Masters Challenge engine. This year he'll build a 509-cid Chevy and test it in-house on his engine dyno before the challenge. He hopes to make over 800 hp. We hope so too.
Bowers Racing Engines; Fort Collins, CO
Bret BowersWhat started as a mom and pop auto shop 20 years ago has grown into a very successful racing enterprise. Bowers believes a Chevy is the most economical to build, so that's what they're going to bring.
Mark is the self-proclaimed "Mad Bomber" of the hot rod world. He says, very simply, that once again he'll be bringing a good street motor with a 4.500 bore and 4.00 stroke for the low-budget guys and gals to see.
Bullet Machine; Medford, OR
Mark Stewart, Ted Richardson
After 37 years of building engines and racing all sorts of rides, Bullet Machine thinks it can build what it'll take to win. Mainly an 880-890hp big-block Chevy that the company will develop on its in-house dyno before bringing it to the show.
Clayton Performance; Hubbard, OH
"I've been building drag/street engines for 13 years. I'll keep entering the EMC because it's addictive. This year, my entry will be a Chevy; 4.310 bore, 4.350 stroke, with 6.135-inch rods.No, I don't have a dyno. I think I'll make 850 peak horsepower with a final score of 1,295 needed to win."
Crowerpower; San Diego, CA
For the man with perhaps the most legendary last name in the Jeg's Engine Masters Challenge, Dan's got his hands full. Returning again, this time Dan will revive his broken Rat from 2003.
"Crower is specializing in four-cylinder and small motorcycle engines. We have an in-house cylinder head department, cam department, and valvetrain manufacturing and are always testing on our chassis dyno. My engine-building career is in its 21st year. I was here at the start of the EMC and I vowed to win one of these things before I go out. The entry I had from 2003 is coming back. She was never given a fair shot. I scored 1,033 with her on seven cylinders and scored an 1,140 on my dyno before a crack in the number seven intake port and fouled a plug. It still made 732 hp at 6,500 before my problem."The redo is a 4.485 stroke by 4.270 bore with a 400cc oval-port head, 99cc chambers, and a steamy inverted intake lobe cam with .744 lift and 254 at .050, and a big smoothie exhaust lobe around 296 at .050 with very low lift at .580. Lobe centers are very unusual at 126 degrees because my new compression ratio is 15:1. I can make this thing crank 170 psi and it will need to keep pressure low until it gets up a little in the revs. I'm working with John Beck from Pro Machine this year and we are planning on kicking some ass. We are dynoing on his DTS and grinding the cams at my shop. Scores are going to be 1,294 with a 644 torque average and a 650 hp average."
Joe Sherman Racing Engines; Santa Ana, CA
Joe can make some of the biggest power and his engines are currently--and silently--smacking down the competition. He's struggled a bit since his win in '02 and has not finished up to his own high standards. But he's one man who can never be counted out of this race. He'll sneak up on you and, without saying a word, blow your doors off.
"About 75 percent of my engines are for street and the other 25 percent is drag-only. I've been doing this for about 35 to 40 years, and I love the EMC. I'll be bringing a big-block Chevy with a 4.500 stroke that I'll develop on an old dyno that I've had for about 20 years now. I think I'll make in the 810hp range and finish with 1,225 points to win."
Kidd Performance Inc; Twin Falls, ID
"Our primary business is a mix of all types of racing and street-performance engines because of the relatively small population base where we live.I have drag raced competitively for 22 years in NHRA Super classes, Fast Brackets, and Top Comp, so a big share of our racing engines and machine work are for fellow quarter-milers. I have been in the engine-building business pretty much my whole life having worked for my dad, Dennis Kidd, since I was old enough to push a broom. My wonderful wife Sharon and I purchased his business in 1998 and have since expanded to a new location and added a dyno facility to complement our fully equipped machine shop.
"I love to compete; no matter what I do it is more fun if someone is keeping score. I don't necessarily have to win to have fun, as long as we are competitive, I would consider it a successful venture. The EMC makes you think hard about some areas of development that you might not normally investigate, so hopefully some learning will take place. The biggest reason I entered the EMC is that we had such a blast in '03 and met so many cool people that I couldn't help from getting involved again, and hey, maybe we can ring the bell this time around, we will certainly be giving it our all. As for a prediction on max power, I think you will see the top contenders in the area of 800 hp. The winning score should be 1,260 or so, but with the depth of talent involved in this contest you never know what might happen in October!"
Mile High Performance & Pro Built Engines; Englewood, CO
Jay Kidwell & Rich Martin
Jay Kidwell from Mile High is partnered this year with Rich Martin from Pro Built Engines and will be bringing back the big-block Chevy that Mile High entered 2 years ago, with a few refinements.
"I mainly work on musclecar tuning and do both race and street car tuning on my chassis dyno. Rich has the engine dyno that we'll be developing our EMC entry on this year. I also specialize in emission repairs, carburetors, fuel injection, forced induction, nitrous, and diesel powerplants, and I have been providing general auto repairs for 24 years. We're entering this year's EMC to show off and expect to make around 850 hp. I'll be happy with a final score of 1,527. "
Performance Crankshaft Inc; Roseville, MI
"Our primary focus is in crankshaft design, modification, and repair as well as selling balanced rotating assemblies and stroker cranks. I've been doing this since 1981, when I started a machine shop in Maine called A. W. Brown Engine Service. The EMC is a great way to advertise my business, plus I am very competitive, and once a year is more family friendly than every weekend at the track, plus no trailer or chassis to deal with. I will start with a factory two-bolt Chevy block bored to 4.320 and converted to aftermarket four-bolt caps. As a matter of fact ,it will be the same block I used in the 2003 EMC where I placed Fourth, so there may be some more luck left in it. Of course, I'll install one of my own custom 4.340-stroke cranks and test it all on my engine dyno. My best guess for peak horsepower right now is 849, and I'll be happy if we finish in the top 10."
Pro Machine; Placentia, CA
John BeckBeck is another who's been in this show a few times before. He took home Third Place in '02 and has done okay in years following, but he admitted to bringing a knife to a gunfight then and is tired of watching others pass him by when he knows what it'll take to win this darn thing!
"Pro Machine's focus is to get the most out of any project. It could be a Chevy, Ford, Mopar, or just about anything. We build a lot of land-speed racing, open-road racing, and drag-racing engines of all types. We also do a lot of restorations, flatheads, and marine engines. We specialize in not specializing. Pro Machine has been in business for 22 years. I have entered the EMC for the last four years because I like the competition and it forces me to try new things that eventually end up in my customer's engines. I am building a big-block Chevy because I think more of your readers will be able to benefit from what we learn. I will be using a pair of Bill Mitchell's new 16-degree heads. I am looking forward to developing these new pieces. I will be working closely with Dan Crower on both of our engines. I always run my engines on the DTS dyno in my next-door neighbor's shop (Dyno-Motive). I would think that the best 509s will make a peak hp around 850, but we all know that it is the average numbers that count! Scores should be in the 1,250 range; this competition gets tougher every year. Congrats to the top six from 2004, but the party's going to be in my dyno cell this year."
Pump Gas Performance; Newport News, VA
You may recognize his name as the son part of the father/son team who've chased Kaase's tail twice in a row. Now "The Don" has split off from dad--on good terms--to make his own go at the title. But watch out, 'cause dad's building his own Bow Tie and claims he might not have taught junior everything he knows yet.
"I really don't have a shop but do some consulting work for locals. I have been watching my dad build engines since I was six and built my first big-block when I was 17. I'm entering the contest again because we have done so well in the past. I had "Isabel" (their 2003 EMC big-block Chevy) in my car and thought, 'hey, let's yank it out, refine the heads, add a roller cam, and see what happens.' The combo is very close to the '03 set-up with just a 4.420-bore and a little headwork and a COMP roller cam around .730 lift. Also the squeeze will be raised to 12.5 to 1. We do testing at BE&R Machine in the Winston-Salem area. The company has a DTS dyno. I think it's important to test on the same dyno as in the contest. No surprises like the California crew had at Bill Mitchell's. I heard all sorts of excuses, but I think it's where the DTS shines over the others. I think peak numbers will be around the 820 to 830 range, which is incredible on pump gas. I feel the winning score will break 1,300 points."
Scott Shafiroff Racing Enterprises; Bohemia, NY
Shafiroff, like his close competitor Kaase, makes his bones building bigger-than-big race engines and such. We can't wait to see what he's got up his sleeve. He doesn't play to lose. He's also a very busy man, with his shop turning out engines quicker than some cars ever get down the track. So, with that, his response to our questions was kept short. "Experience and extra effort. Extensive dyno testing. Work. Work. More work!"
Shaver Specialty Co; Torrance, CA
Shaver is very well known in the Sprint Car fields where his engines tend to dominate most races. This California engine builder has a very well-equipped shop and is capable of building just about anything you can think of, but focuses mainly on things like 480-plus-cid small-blocks. He's had some bad luck in past years' EMCs, and we hope he's able to pull it around this time and make a name for himself this year.
"Our shop's primary focus is circle track and off road. We have been building engines for 30 years. We are entering the EMC because it is great fun and is a challenge. Our entry will be a 509 big-block Chevy. Yes, we have two dynos in our shop and we think we will need 825 hp and 700 lb-ft to win. It is too early to tell what our winning score will be, maybe 1,200."
Speed & Power Development; Stuart, FL
"We just finished some NDA Department of Defense work. Our main work that we do is for marine, street, and drag as of this year. I've been doing cylinder head work for about 15 years. Just within the past three years I have been building my own engines for salt flats racing. I've entered to showcase the type of work that I can now give to the retail market. I am building a square-style big-block Chevrolet. I hope to show a broad torque/horsepower curve for the specific rpm limit. Yes, I have a dyno, but had to send it back to England for a retrofit and overhaul. At least 625 average horsepower this year. I am shooting for 1,300 points."
Traco Engineering Co., Inc; Los Angeles, CA
"Traco Engineering's primary focus is designing and building professional racing engines. Our sub-specialty is designing prototype factory purpose-built race engines for feasibility studies in different forms of racing. We do not build motors for drag racing. Our chief engine designer, Frank Schmidt, along with Jim Travers and Frank Coon, assembled and dyno tested the legendary Grand Sport motors for General Motors. Mr. Schmidt is the only Traco employee to go on and win Indy as an engine builder. Travers and Coon did it back-to-back as both chassis and engine builders in 1953-54 with Bill Vukovich, and Schmidt won in 1966 (his rookie year) as engine builder and dyno specialist for George Bignotti and the Red Ball special driven by Graham Hill. Mr. Schmidt also designed and built the radically exotic 200cid turbo small-block Chevy Indy motor that produced over 900 hp way back in 1968!
"We've entered the EMC to let people know we are back in the business of designing and building ultra-premium race engines with the same dedication to quality that brought us to the winner's circle countless times. Our 2005 EMC entry will be a tall-deck GMPP Bow Tie with a 4.500 bore and 4.000 stroke. Presently, we do not own a dyno. We're not sure what it's going to take to win this year's EMC. I think it will take a minimum of 1.5 hp per cubic inch to win. We hope to achieve between 1.5-1.75 to get the job done."
W. Enterprises; Newport News, VA
Returning to the ring vying for First Place and with a lot of new and close competitors, (i.e. his son and close friend, too) Charles is relying on his vast experience and quiet nature to move from Second place into the Winner's circle this time around.
"This is a hobby of mine. Most of my motors are for drag cars. I've been building engines since 1957. I enjoy the good times, the competitors, the vendors, and dyno sites of the EMC. Once again, I'm building a Chevrolet: 509-cid, small-bore, long-stroke. No dyno here. 845 hp. 1,300-plus points to win"
Weaver Brothers Racing; Newport News, VA
"I'm not a shop. In fact, I work in the medical field. I have been involved in cars and drag racing for the past 15 years. I will be building this thing in my one-car garage. I have built three or four engines over the years, including being involved in last year's competition with W. Enterprises. It has become a challenge for me because the rules are fairly strict regarding rpm range and pump gas.
"I hate to say it, but most of the pros out there build much different types of motors. Last year I heard one of them say, 'oh, that won't work,' I smiled because I know it does. Last year I was part of an amazing team that won Second Place. I had an incredible time and learned more than I ever imagined, but this year I wanted to try it on my own. Sink or swim. I can't wait to do it again. Peak power will probably be in the 850hp range but peak won't win the competition. No idea on my total points, but hopefully better than the rest."