The Xtreme Division was about to live up to its name when Jon Kaase entered the dyno cell. The 537-cube Reher-Morrison Raptor-headed Chevy was sporting serious race hardware throughout; all eyes were fixed on the cell to witness the raw power about to be unleashed. Swinging well past the four-digit mark, the mighty Chevy cranked a peak of 1,133 hp, with an incredible 886 lb-ft of torque showing. The resulting score of 3,277.5 put Kaase in the lead. McKeown's SC-1-topped Cleveland was next, but a failure to start was ruled as an installation issue and the team was removed from the dyno to run at the end of the day. When the 402-cube SB2 from the School of Automotive Machinists moved into the cell, the results were nothing short of spectacular. If ever a team was all-in, it was SAM at the 2012 EMC. The engine was simply ready for battle, and when the numbers were ciphered, the team was solidly in First position with a score of 3,300.1.

The Xtreme Division was about to live up to its name when Jon Kaase entered the dyno cell.

Tony Bischoff and the multiyear EMC-winning BES Racing team entered the cell next. The team had experienced a broken crank just two days before coming to the competition, forcing a last-ditch effort to make the show. Plenty of groundwork had been done to the 465-cube engine, including developing the ports for the radical Profiler RDP heads, but the eleventh-hour engine carnage took a serious toll on the final pre-event testing program. Nonetheless, BES finished qualifying with a Third Place score of 3,214.3 points, with only McKeown left to run. McKeown's Ford sported an aluminum block of his own manufacture, with the Glidden SC-1 heads that had proven to be dominant in the EMC just a year before. Electrical problems continued to plague McKeown, with the engine again failing to start. As precious time in the qualifying period wound down, the engine finally came to life, however, McKeown's tuning effort was stunted when the tuning computer seemed to fail to communicate with the ignition. McKeown persevered, but the score in qualifying of 3,087.1 was short of the mark needed to make the finals.

Into The Finals

Final Eliminations in the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge are run with the score remaining silent throughout. Competitors know where their adversaries finished in qualifying, but have no idea how they scored in the Final Eliminations and what number they will need to beat to achieve victory. In the Street division we had Nagel's Bradley Built Engines with the Gen III Hemi showing a substantial lead, with Carroll's Power Shop Chevy and Hot Head's Gen I Hemi looking to make up ground. First to run was the modern Mopar from Bradley Built. Nagel was sharp in the cell, looking to maintain his lead. Tuning the EFI system looking for that little bit more proved elusive at first, but a few points were found between the second and third final elimination pulls for a final score of 2,487.1, a small gain over his qualifying numbers.

The Hot Heads team was next to run, having burned the midnight oil figuring how to coax more from the antique Gen I Hemi. Airflow man Nick Smithberg calculated that the header collector length was less than optimal, while Scott Clark and the tuning team poured over the extensive data logs from qualifying looking to find more power. With the collector change there would be a shift in tuning requirement, and whether the two would come together for more score was as much an educated guess as a gut call. Doubling down on intuition as much as hard data, the team picked up nearly 33 points. Carroll and the Power Shop team would be last up in Street. With the huge gains by Hot Heads unbeknownst to them, they were playing catch-up to the two previous competitors. The engine was really run to its maximum potential in qualifying and there just wasn't any magic left in the combo to improve the score. The Street Division finals ended with Bradley Built being the AMSOIL Engine Masters Champion, Hot Heads taking the runner-up position, and Power Shop finishing Third.

In the Xtreme Division, SAM was first up with a vulnerable lead. The team showed that they were playing to win in the qualifying session, and were not about to junk that spot with a reckless move in the Final Eliminations. SAM's Chris Bennett was not shy about looking to find some score in the tune, but with a solid lead going into the finals, this was no time for wild gambles. Methodical tuning changes brought the score up by over 13 points to finish final eliminations with a substantial buffer over the other finalist's qualifying scores. By sheer intuition, Kaase sensed that the SAM effort would be hard to beat, but he was unquestionably determined to find that little bit more from the massive Chevy. With a careful strategy of maximizing his advantage though the testing regime itself, and subtle tweaking of the timing curve, Kaase found a remarkable 21.3-point gain, but it wasn't enough to touch the SAM entry. Last to bat was Bischoff, a man who has captured more Engine Masters championships than any other. For the 2012 event the day was not to be his, as an apparent cam thrust problem dashed the Chevy's chances of victory with the BES team ending final eliminations with a DNF. The SAM team walked away with the Championship spot in Xtreme, with Kaase finishing Second, and Bischoff in Third with the unfortunate DNF.

The Hot Heads team was next to run, having burned the midnight oil figuring how to coax more from the antique Gen I Hemi.

Final Results 2012 AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge

Xtreme Street Division

Place: Team: Score:
First School of Automotive Machinists 3,313.4
Second Jon Kaase Racing 3,298.0
Third BES Racing Engines DNF

Street Division

Place: Team: Score:
First Bradley Built Engines 2,487.1
Second Dan Miller/Hot Heads/Gene Adams/Smithberg 2,456.1
Third Power Shop Racing Engines 2,424.9