Barry's previous life as product line manager for Federal Mogul's performance division for 12 years gave him the inside line on whose performance parts really worked. He literally wrote the book on bearings (he was responsible for the Speed-Pro and Fel-Pro catalogs that are still on shelves today) so it was no problem determining that Federal Mogul would be his choice of bearings for the build. A set of leftover Carillo rods was a perfect match for the combo. Don't you wish you had a set of "leftover" Carillos? They were built for him by Jack Sparks and are set up for Chevy 283 rod journals. On the end of the rods swing a set of JE pistons with an inverted spherical dome. Barry felt the design he used would more evenly distribute the combustion pressure down through the piston than a common dish piston design. "It's a spherical dish and then we moved the valve pockets because this set of cylinder heads has been relocated on the block quite a bit. We're approaching an eighth of an inch move on the block." Shifting the heads upward or side to side to more efficiently locate the valves over the cylinder bores is not uncommon in high-performance builds like this, and .015 and .030 offset dowels are available from suppliers like Moroso for various engines. Barry's massive relocation, however, required custom dowel pins and elongating the boltholes in the heads for clearance.

With the heads located properly, Barry and Tim made sure they had no clearance issues with the pistons and that the valve notches were not going to get too close to the ring grooves. As his past experience taught him the value of good rings, he naturally had Speed-Pro rings on those pistons. He was unable to gas-port the pistons per rules of the Challenge, so instead, he ordered his pistons designed for Dykes rings. Traditionally used in blown alcohol or nitro engines, the Dykes rings are L-shaped, using a fairly wide face to seat against the cylinder wall and a thin base sliding into the ring groove. The benefits of such a setup are that the hot combustion gasses can easily get behind the lip on the ring and shove it against the cylinder wall hard and fast while maintaining the lower tension of a thinner ring when not on the combustion cycle. When we asked how he felt about the rings, Barry says: "It was something I wanted to try a couple years ago. If I was going to build the motor now, I would probably put an .043 ring package in it, which is a more conventional race ring. The .043 rings tend to be machined better because they're flat on both sides. Now the Dykes, at least in theory, have an advantage in terms of sealing when you're not allowed to run a gas port. I thought the pressure loading of the Dykes ring would help seal it up." Running a conventional flat ring without gas ports, the builder doesn't have the opportunity to really tighten up the vertical clearance that keeps the rings from fluttering. Although it sounds like splitting hairs, getting the maximum from the rings is a trait that pro engine builders like Barry keep rattling around in their heads when designing a combination. Is it the end-all to get the ultra high-dollar ring package? "I think the differences between really decent ring packs are incremental. The differences between the rings are single-digit horsepower, maybe two at the very most. Anyone who thinks you are going to pick up 30 or 40 hp with a piston ring set is just kidding themselves. The big horsepower in Engine Masters, or anything else, is in the cylinder heads, camshaft, and intake manifold. It's airflow management."