409ci Small-Block Chevy, 1,035 HP
Tim Vnuk, Elk River, MN
Among the horsepower-with-a-comma heroes at the DynoMax Power to the Wheels Dyno Tour finals in Las Vegas covered in the Mar. '08, Tim Vnuk was conspicuously absent. As the No. 3 qualifier, Tim's blow-through carbureted small-block Chevy should have been right there in the middle of it all, dukin' it out. When Tim's teenage son ended up in the hospital after a car accident, Tim understandably stayed home to be with his family as his son recovered from his injuries. This doesn't take away from Tim's effort as the tuner/builder of a 1,000-plus-horsepower small-block Chevy. Tim has owned the Nova for eight years and the plans for this latest engine conveniently coincided with the announcement of the DynoMax Challenge, so Tim decided this would be an excellent reason to try E85 instead of straight pump gas. After a pair of non-DOT-legal front tires and no passenger front seat prevented his qualifying at the Car Craft Summer Nationals in St. Paul, Tim towed to Springfield, Illinois, to qualify the Nova with its 1,035-rwhp shot. This package is still so new that the car hasn't run a full pass down the quarter, yet has already knocked down an 8.77 at 156 mph lifting at half track due to tuning issues. Tim says we'll see him next year on the DynoMax Tour with a blow-through carbureted small-block, but you can bet it will be a lot stronger. That's a given.
1. The Foundation
What you can't see is a Dart Little M iron block with a 4.165-inch bore, a Cola 4340 billet steel 3.75-inch stroke crank, and JE forged-aluminum pistons set at a streetable 8.2:1 compression. The heads are AFR 227 CNC fully ported alloy castings with 2.10/1.60-inch stainless steel valves. Actuating the valves is a Cam Motion mechanical roller with roughly 260 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift and 0.750-inch lift all held together with a T&D shaft rocker system hidden under a pair of Moroso fabricated aluminum valve covers.
T&T Specialties, a speed shop in Blaine, Minnesota, built the custom 21/8-inch headers that feed into twin 4-inch exhaust pipes topped off with a pair of DynoMax Bullet mufflers. Note the straight transition from the exhaust ports before the headers make their first turn under the car. This is a great way to reduce restriction in the exhaust system.
3. The Drivetrain
Tim runs a simple Powerglide behind the small-block with a TCI converter that stalls somewhere around 6,000 rpm. The rearend is another T&T component with 3.73:1 gears and a spool. The rear tires are only 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson drag radials.
4. Blower Hat
That's an Extreme Velocity air hat (superiorairflow.com) with a 4-inch inlet tube feeding the C&S Carburetor. From what we hear, this is the hot ticket for blow-through carburetors. Underneath the carburetor is a completely Wilson-ported Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold.
That's a C&S 4150-style carburetor designed specifically for E85 blow-through applications. Besides the fact that this C&S Aerosol Billet carb uses a single-fuel discharge tube rather than a booster, also note the trick float bowls. To flow the massive amount of E85 necessary to feed 1,000-plus horsepower, that's an electronic needle and seat assembly for both the primary and secondary float bowls. Sensors in the float bowl signal a drop in level and the needle opens to deliver more fuel. Delivering all of this liquid horsepower is accomplished by a mechanical Aeromotive pump and boost-referenced pressure regulator. To ensure an accurate fuel load, Tim mixes his own version of E85 using E98 or pure ethanol base stock.
6. The Chassis
From the photo it might appear that this is a full tube chassis car, but appearances can be deceiving. "I built this car backwards," Tim says. "I had T&T Specialties do a complete tube front clip for the car while leaving the back half stock, including the leaf springs. I don't know why I wanted to do that." With some changes, Tim recently had the chassis certified to run 7.50s, and that's his goal at the car's current 3,050-pound weight.
Dan Schoneck of Schoneck Composites is an NMRA Mustang racer and responsible for fabricating the above-the-crank ProCharger F2 reverse-rotation supercharger mount. The idea was to minimize the distance between the blower and the crankshaft pulley to decrease power loss from the belt. You may notice how close the blower inlet is to the radiator. "I wrecked the first radiator when the air going into the blower deflected the electric fan blades," Tim says. "When they rebounded, they hit the radiator and chewed up the fins." Since then, Tim has removed the fins close to the inlet to create a 5-inch opening in the radiator to eliminate that problem. The ProCharger has made as much as 33 psi of boost.