Throughout the week’s competition, the action was nonstop at the University of Northwester
Surveying the dyno facilities at the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) the last Sunday of September, the scene was alight with activity. Inside the expansive receiving area a group of engine builders were busily unloading the crates containing their competition engines and essential parts. UNOH student team members selected to serve as assistants worked steadily prepping engines, carefully mating them to their assigned dyno docking carts. Stacked and ready for the festivities to begin were pallets of AMSOIL synthetic engine oil, and the necessary drums of VP 100 and VP Q-16 fuels. Down the hall, the adjacent dyno rooms were silent. The first of the competition engines for the morning start of the 2012 AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge had already been married to the SuperFlow/DTS Powermark engine dynos and were ready to run. Over the course of the next five days this would become the epicenter of horsepower, where a collection of 32 determined engine builders put their talent and reputations on the line in a battle of power supremacy to claim the title of "Engine Master" in their respective division.
As initiated for the 2011 event, the competition was separated into two divisions: Street and Xtreme Street. These two categories come with their own unique set of build specifications and rules, very different in hardware and power output, but are equally challenging within the confines of the competition rules. In order to outperform the competition in either division, an engine builder must excel at the craft, taking engine-building know-how, tuning ability, and power output to the limit.
Competitor Lynn Peterson brought the lone AMC, a production-based iron-headed piece for th
In the Street Division, the emphasis is making the most of the street-style parts, parts that a typical hot rodder might use. Here we employed restrictions on parts configurations, maintaining compatibility with production-based components. Compression ratio was limited to a street-friendly 10.5:1. Mechanical beltdrive water pumps were mandatory. Carburetor-equipped engines were restricted to a single four-barrel of a specified maximum dimension and a cast two-plane intake manifold, while EFI setups had to make use of a single throttle body and commercially available components. Hydraulic lifters were required, operating in conjunction with an OEM-style valvetrain. The engines would be tested in a 2,500- to 6,500-rpm range, with scoring based upon average horsepower and torque over the entire rpm range. This isn't simply a contest to see who can tag the biggest top end number, but rather a challenge to see who can produce the most grunt all the way through the engine's entire powerband. A cubic-inch factor takes into consideration the varying engine displacements to arrive at a final score.
As you may have guessed, the Xtreme class pulls out all the stops on what is allowed, opening the door for some truly serious parts and combinations, with even more radical specs than last year's Challenge. This is the venue for multi-carbs and tunnel-rams, serious "pure-race" cylinder heads, and big solid-roller camshafts spinning in giant roller-bearing equipped cam tunnels. In the Xtreme Division, compression ratio is only limited by what the builder is willing to run on the octane-rich VP Q-16 race fuel. Scored in the same way as in the Street Division, the Xtreme engines operate at a much higher rpm range, with scoring in the 4,000- to 8,000-rpm range-an engine speed unprecedented in the history of the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge.
Randy Malik has participated in every Engine Masters Challenge event since the inception i
With the first day of October came the first of four days of qualifying eliminations. Only the top three scoring competitors from each Division would advance to the Final Eliminations to be held Friday. Once an engine is at the ready on its assigned dyno, the engine builder must verify that the engine is ready to run, signing off on a detailed checklist to ensure nothing is overlooked. This is the point of no return, when what is often months of preparation comes down to delivering the goods in competition. The engine is fired and preliminary timing is set to the builder's satisfaction. A 27-minute clock then begins to countdown. In this period the builder is required to make three scored competition pulls. The builder can use the time period to make any legal mechanical changes, adjustments, and test dyno pulls. The only requirement is that the three official scored pulls are completed in the allotted time. To be considered a scored official pull, the builder must declare it as such prior to starting the dyno run.
Day one of qualifying would see only Street Division competitors scheduled for qualifying eliminations. The roster of seven competitors was widely varied, with engines as small as the 308ci Ford Boss 302 entry of Tony Bogovich and the TNT Engineering team, to the monster 545-cube Ford Shotgun Hemi from TM Enterprises. Other makes were well represented with a trio of small-block Chevrolets from Robert Peters, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Henderson Power Sports, at 363, 403, and 407 cubes, respectively. Rounding out the field were Kustom Kemps, on the schedule with the lone AMC in competition, and Ray's Dyno and Machine with the only Pontiac entry.
Tony Bischoff and the BES Racing team have been regulars at the winner’s circle at previou
As the first engine up in qualifying, the pressure and anticipation must have been high for the Peters team. The injected Chevy's tune was way off the map and no amount of input at the computer seemed to improve the situation. The team struggled to get the engine through the required three pulls of qualifying session; it was clearly not going to be their day. With the UNC Charlotte's high-tech fuel-injected Chevy at the ready in the adjacent test cell, things were looking good early in qualifying. A considerable power drop before the final qualifying run was indicative of a problem that dramatically compromised the score. The carbureted TNT Boss followed, working cleanly through the required qualifying session, but finishing with a modest score.
In the test cell as our next qualifier was the monster Ford Shotgun motor from TM Enterprises. Sporting what looked like an illegal dual-plug arrangement, the auxiliary plugs were actually a clever mock-up, showcasing the capabilities of these new heads from TM Enterprises, while remaining within the rules. The big injected Ford belted out over 750 hp at peak, with 707 lb-ft of torque on tap, but owing to the huge displacement, the score wouldn't be enough to put the team in contention. Running their very basic iron-headed AMC combination, Kustom Kemps completed the qualifying session with respectable output, but short on score. Ray's Dyno and Machine's carbureted Pontiac performed flawlessly, with strong output, showing a peak of 546 hp from 408 cubes, but not enough score to match the leaders. Our final engine of the day, Chris Henderson's AFR-headed Chevy proved to be the stoutest piece run in the first day of testing, delivering as much as 612 peak horsepower, and closing the first day of qualifying with the high score of 2,298.2 points.
This is the point of no return, when what is often months of preparation comes down to delivering the goods in competition.
VP Racing fuels play a vital role in the event, providing the needed fuel to power the com
The first day of qualifying eliminations was limited to engines in the Street Division. A
Keeping the flow of engines at the ready in the dyno cell was UNOH instructor Paul Higgins
Bradley Nagel of Bradley Built Engines brought a sledgehammer to Wednesday’s Street Divisi
As we entered our second day of qualifying, the sessions would be divided among four competitors in Xtreme Street, and four in Street. The Xtreme Division featured KMF Racing Engines with a 455ci SB2 Chevy, RCS Racing Engines fielding a radical Chevy big-block with the Pro Stock-style "Oldsmobile" cylinder heads, Mike Philips with a "real" Buick, and Dove Manufacturing running a conventional Ford FE big-block. Our Street competitors were represented by Dove Manufacturing running a vintage Ford SOHC big-block, a pair of big-block Mopars from RM Competition and Hinkle Performance Engines, and the lone Mopar small-block of the event from SKMFX Engines.
Randy Malik kicked off the day's qualifying in Street with his low-deck Mopar, based on a production 383 block topped with Procomp cylinder heads. The 403-cube Mopar produced as much as 573 hp in testing, but it wasn't enough to challenge the leaders from the previous day. Dove's exotic 493ci cammer Ford followed, and with over 650 peak horsepower showing, it was proving to be a stout piece, however, a component failure before completing the qualifying session torpedoed the team's score. Hinkle's 412-inch low-deck Mopar also showed promise, however, disaster struck when a freeze plug blew, flooding the dyno cell and leading to a DNF. Closing the field in Street was Jesse Robinson with an EngineQuest Magnum-headed Mopar small-block at 417 ci. The iron-headed Mopar performed admirably, but just didn't have the juice to pose a threat to the leaders. The second day competitors failed to meet the qualifying mark set the previous day.
Nagel shattered the competition in Street, posting a score of 2,485.8, and making peak numbers of 675 hp and 606 lb-ft
Excitement filled the air as our Xtreme Division competition kicked off with KMF Racing's SB2 Chevy. These guys were clearly ready, performing flawlessly while churning out peak numbers of 911 hp and 692 lb-ft of torque for a score of 3,066.7. RCS Racing Engine's big-block Chevy closed on the 1,000hp mark, with peak output of 993 hp, but was short of KMF's score due to the larger cubic-inch factor determined by the engine's 499-inch displacement. Automotive Machine's 466-cube Buick was a real crowd pleaser, being a conventional Buick in a field of purpose-built race engine types. Although Phillips' mighty Buick presented no threat to the dedicated race powerplants, it proved seriously impressive, revving to the required 8,000 rpm and belting out over 800 hp in the process. Dove Manufacturing's FE Ford was the last on deck in Xtreme, but the effort ended in a DNF when a mysterious problem prevented the engine from obtaining the required 8,000 rpm.
The action is always interesting inside the dyno cell during the competition period, as th
Wednesday's qualifying eliminations presented a full and varied field, with five engines competing in Street and four in Xtreme. In the Street Division, Malik, teaming with D&A Machine, brought a 331-cube Chevy small-block. The Ford camp was represented by Survival Motorsports running an FE big-block, and Raceheads/Dan McCullum running a Cleveland-headed Ford small-block. A pair of Hemi engines carried the Mopar banner, with Bradley Nagel competing with a rework of Bischoff's 2010 Engine Masters-winning Gen III Hemi, and Hot Heads running an incredible Gen I Hemi.
As the Street Division eliminations unfolded, Malik's little Chevy performed admirably, but the score posted would not be enough to menace the leaders. Always a serious contender, Barry Rabotnic and the Survival Motorsports team scored well with the 433-cube FE, briefly capturing the Third qualifying position with a score of 2,256.9. Coming next with the 417-cube Gen III Hemi Mopar, Nagel shattered the competition in Street, posting a score of 2,485.8, and making peak numbers of 675 hp and 606 lb-ft in the process. That performance clearly redefined the playing field in Street. Following the Nagel engine, the Raceheads/McCullum Ford had a tough act to follow, and it performed admirably, posting a score of 2,294.3 to put the engine in the Second qualifying position. That was not to last, however, as the Hot Heads team led by Bob Holmes entered the dyno. With a blistering score of 2,423, the early Hemi handily captured the Second qualifying position, arguably within striking distance of Nagel's Gen III Hemi.
The incredible Dan Miller/Hot Heads/Gene Adams/Smithberg Racing Gen I Hemi proved to be th
Larry Trefz, working with the Shelby Engine Company, opened the day's Xtreme lineup, competing with an Arias-developed Shelby Hemi conversion for the Ford small-block. Although the team completed the required qualifying pulls, the combination failed to perform to its potential due to a broken rocker arm. Shawn Voldberg followed in Xtreme, running a 532-cube Jon Kaase Racing-built Shotgun Ford, with Kaase on hand to crew. This impressive engine is one of Kaase's Boss '9 powerplants, and had actually run a full season in Voldberg's pulling truck before being prepped for the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge competition. Spinning to 8,000 rpm, the giant Ford was the first of our engines to top a peak of 1,000 hp, with 1,072 showing on the dyno printout, temporarily grabbing Second position in the standings with a score of 3,052. Racing Engine Design entered the test cell with an SB2 and was nearly washed out when a cooling system check resulted in flooding the engine's electronics. Overcoming this potential disaster and completing the eliminations, the team finished qualifying on the bump spot taking hold of the Third Place position. Last on the day's grid was Brad Wise with a "real" production-based Oldsmobile. Although no match for the outright race engine combinations, this outstanding 465-cube engine delivered a remarkable peak output of 876 hp.
Our final day of qualifying arrived and it was still anyone's game. In the Street Division we had Performance Crankshaft with a Chevy big-block, Power Shop Racing Engine's small-block Chevy, a Cleveland-headed Ford from MPG Head Service, and the Chevy LS from Racing Engine Design. In Xtreme, the heavy hitters were on deck: Kaase running a Reher-Morrison Raptor-headed Chevy big-block, the School of Automotive Machinists with an SB2 Chevy, BES Racing with a Profiler RDP splayed-valve Chevy small-block combo, and McKeown Motorsports with a Glidden SC-1-topped Cleveland Ford. Yes, this was some serious hardware!
Performance Crankshaft's 433-cube Chevy kicked things off in Street, with the team working nicely in the cell, but falling short of the qualifying mark with a score of 2,238. The modest-looking 403-cube Chevy of Joe Carroll and the Power Shop Racing team up next didn't break records in peak horsepower, but it packed a wickedly fat torque curve. It's heft across the entire power curve that piles on the points, as illustrated by Power Shop's 2,425.9-point tally-enough to grab the Second Place qualifying position. MPG Heads followed with their CHI-topped small-block Ford combo. These guys are always dangerous and a team to watch, but the deeply underdriven water pump pulley failed to circulate coolant. Scrambling to remedy that problem devoured most of the team's qualifying session, undoubtedly hampering their qualifying score. Racing Engine Design also encountered problems, with a failure to start killing most of their LS Chevy's qualifying session. The team finally had the engine lit, but a lack of time spelled curtains, resulting in a DNF. With the Street Division qualifying completed, we had Nagel's Gen III Hemi as top qualifier at 2,485.8 points, followed by Power Shop's Chevy small-block at 2,425.9, and Hot Heads Gen I Hemi at 2,423.4 going into the Street Division finals.
When multiple-event Engine Masters Challenge Champion Jon Kaase of Jon Kaase racing enters
Mike Philips of Automotive Machine and Performance came to the Xtreme Division competition
Handling the voluminous exhaust output of our competition engines is not a task left to ch
None of the results in Final Eliminations are considered official until the engines pass a
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.
A standout piece was the 465-cube “real” Oldsmobile competing against the dedicated race e
In the Street Division, Chevrolet fans had a team to cheer when Joe Carroll and Power Shop
The School of Automotive Machinists put on a stunning performance in the Xtreme Division w
Into The Finals
Jud Massingill of the School of Automotive Machinists had much to be proud of in winning t
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.
Bradley Nagel and the BES Racing crew had reason to celebrate with their Gen III Hemi, ach
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
||School of Automotive Machinists
||Jon Kaase Racing
||BES Racing Engines
||Bradley Built Engines
||Dan Miller/Hot Heads/Gene Adams/Smithberg
||Power Shop Racing Engines