We can only guess how much...
We can only guess how much power Larry Shepard could have made had his engine not been damaged when the dyno's computer killed it after detecting an electrical short during his first qualifying pull. The Hemis Only entry actually dieseled backwards for several seconds, taking its toll on at least one piston dome. We didn't pull the other head, but there's a good chance there were more damaged pistons on the other bank.
J.D. Engine and Machine - Jeff Dickey
The only other engine in our competition sporting dual four-barrel induction happened to draw the second slot on the dyno. Everyone was eager to see if Jeff Dickey's entry would back up the impressive look of the tunnel-ram and dual Holley Dominator setup. Jeff has been building aggressive race motors in his Columbia, Missouri, shop for some time and has a reputation for finding power in his combinations. He and his team impressed us with their efficiency as they tuned their engine between each qualifying run, finding a little more power each time. You can definitely tell these guys are accustomed to working on a schedule. Our guess is they spend a lot of time at the track tuning between rounds. In addition to tunnel-ram induction, Jeff used Stage V cylinder heads and an aggressive cam profile in his combination. These guys didn't come to Memphis just to compete, they came to win.
Jeff Dickey (on right) and...
Jeff Dickey (on right) and his team were very efficient, tuning their engine to more power between each pull. Their teamwork was nearly as impressive as the power their engine made.
J.D.'s engine sounded strong during the dyno pulls and made impressive power each pull, but the engine's power fell dramatically above 6,700 rpm, and the sound of valve float was apparent. At least several of the valvesprings in this engine were weak or had given up. When their first judged pull put them solidly in contention, they had a dilemma: Make the two more pulls required and risk damaging the engine, or pull out of the competition. After some discussion among the team members, they decided to make the pulls and try to win the challenge. Making only minor adjustments between each pull, these guys made more and more power, finally netting a pull of 728.2 peak horsepower and 615.8 lb-ft of torque for a leading combined score of 1,344.0. Needless to say, these guys were glad they stayed in the competition. This engine certainly would have made more power if the valvesprings had let the engine pull all the way to 7,000 rpm. Power was rising rapidly during each pull, but peaked at 6,700, before falling dramatically due to valve float. J.D.'s only regret was that he didn't have time to change valvesprings between pulls so he could show us the real potential of his Hemi.
A blown freeze plug didn't...
A blown freeze plug didn't leave Russ and Ken from Indy Cylinder Head much time for tuning as they scrambled to make repairs. No doubt they would have rather used their time to maximize their combination for more power. A wiped cam was the culprit; this engine definitely had more potential than was shown during the challenge.'
Indy Cylinder Head - Russ Flagle And Ken Lazzeri
When high performance is spoken of in Mopar circles, the name Indy Cylinder Head is certain to come up. Indy is a name synonymous with power in the world of Mopar engines. Indy has been manufacturing cylinder heads, blocks, and engine components from their Indianapolis, Indiana, shop for more than thirty years, and they are known for their cutting-edge technology. Several competitors other than Indy used Indy heads for their builds, and Indy intakes were atop most engines in the competition. Indy's Hemi included their own heads and intake, and utilized the longest stroke/smallest bore combination of the challenge. Everyone was eager to see how much power this single four-barrel, 500-inch Hemi would produce as it was bolted to Comp's dyno.
David Bruns and his crew help...
David Bruns and his crew help Mike Bond from Comp prepare their engine for installation on the dyno. This engine was one of the smoothest and most streetable combinations tested.
When Indy's motor fired, it sounded strong, and all of its vital signs showed a healthy engine. During warm-up, the engine sounded smooth and powerful, but during the first qualifying pull, a freeze plug blew out dumping water into the dyno cell. This setback would cost the guys from Indy most of their tuning time as they repaired the freeze plug to make the remainder of their qualifying pulls. After a quick run through the valves, Indy's motor was ready for the judged portion of the competition. Only minor ignition timing changes were made during the judged pulls, and Indy netted a best pull of 649 hp and 600.8 lb-ft of torque, bringing their aggregate score to 1249.8. These numbers had everyone scratching their heads since we all expected Indy to be a contender. Upon the teardown of Indy's motor, the problem became apparent. They had been using their motor to experiment with some new camshaft technology, and a compatibility issue between the camshaft and lifter materials had caused all of the cam lobes to be scuffed badly, several to the point of a substantial loss of lobe lift. No doubt this engine would have made better numbers if the camshaft had lived through the test.
Ken and John from Superflow...
Ken and John from Superflow go over the numbers before Ken makes his tuning decisions. Tuning an engine on a dyno definitely expedites the process. We've tested different carburetors, distributors, and even cylinder head and cam swaps all in a single day's dyno time.
Mid America Racing Engines - David Bruns
If there is one thing we can say about David and Diane Bruns, it's these folks are a class act. David and Diane showed up with their motor at the Mopar Nationals and spent every minute of the event at our booth helping answer questions about their entry in the challenge, as well as the Hemi in general. They arrived early and stayed late each day helping us load and unload the engines from our trailer. Their help was much appreciated.
The Bruns' Mid America Racing Engines is located in Cedar, Minnesota, so we know that David and his crew have lots of time during the long, cold winters to develop powerful engine combinations. Dave told us that in the spirit of the contest he was using no special dyno tricks in his motor. He built this engine to thrive on the street. In fact, it ran so well on the dyno with no hint of detonation that we feel this engine would probably live a long life and make great power even on 89-or-lower octane fuel. To achieve this, David used Indy CNC ported heads and ended up with the lowest compression ratio of any of our competitors.
Mid America Racing Engines...
Mid America Racing Engines had definitely prepared for the competition. Their engine fired immediately, and required only minor timing and jet changes to optimize its power. This was one of the only engines in the competition that didn't push compression ratio to the limit, instead relying on cylinder head flow and well-matched parts to produce their power.
When Mid America's engine fired on the dyno, we could tell immediately this engine's tune-up was already very close. The engine was crisp and responsive, and its vital signs were great. The first qualifying pull was smooth, and the engine made respectable power. This was probably the happiest engine we ran on the 93-octane fuel, exhibiting no signs of detonation. This engine sounded as though you could run it for hours at 6,000-plus rpm without a hint of a problem. David made only minor jet and timing changes to his motor during his pulls, and netted additional power and torque on each pull. David's best pull of 666 hp and 576.6 lb-ft. of torque for a tally of 1242.6 didn't necessarily put him at the top of the field in terms of peak horsepower or torque, but the torque and power curves of this motor were very broad. This engine was making over 530 lb-ft of tire-frying torque at 3,000 rpm! Who says a Hemi is strictly a top end motor. We feel this engine would be a great street motor: docile, powerful, dependable, and able to be fueled at any station with no worries.