Well, our 500-inch Wedge looks impressive between the fenders of our '68 Cuda, but how will it run? We were shooting for some low-nine-second timeslips, so read on and find out if we achieved our goal.

In last month's "Wedged to the Max, Part one" article, we assembled the parts and built a 500ci race wedge to be installed in our '68 Barracuda drag car. We were shooting for some low-nine-second timeslips from our somewhat hefty A-Body and knew that it would take a well thought out combination to achieve our goal. Remember, the biggest limitation of this build is the stock, two-bolt main, 440 block. We toughened up the bottom end with a Chenoweth main girdle, but we're still going to limit our shift points to around 7,000 rpm and go through the traps in the quarter at around 7,300 rpm until we install the second feed line of our dual-line oil system. We plan to race this car nearly every weekend and plan to freshen the motor only once each season so our combination needs to be durable. we completed the engine build in last month's issue, but we were pressed for time to make Florida's winter bracket series so we planned to tune the motor where it would feel at home-the track. This is a somewhat old-school approach as engine dynos seem to be the way of the future, but in this issue we'll show how track tuning can be just as effective as dyno tuning and a lot more fun.

After final assembling and priming our long-block, it was time to drop our wedge into the engine bay. Once off the stand, we installed our SFI-approved flexplate and marked it to properly install the torque converter bolts. Remember the converter bolts only line up with the flexplate one way, so marking it with paint early will keep the trial and error down later. The center link of our car's steering system also needed to be removed to install the engine. This is a back-half car that still retains its stock suspension up front, so the only way to get a rear sump pan in is to have the steering link pass through it. Yes, this is a hassle when pulling the engine, but the advantage of a rear sump oil system in a drag car is well worth it. For exhaust, we're using Hooker's Super Competition fenderwell exit headers. The primary tubes of these headers are a little longer than we'd like, sacrificing some horsepower, but the only other option is to go to expensive custom-built units, and our budget won't allow that. The nice thing about the Hooker headers is the fit and finish are great. Even with Indy SR heads, which have raised exhaust ports, no modifications were required to install the headers.

With the long-block bolted to the transmission, and the motor plate mounted securely to the framerails, we had a couple of new items to fit into our engine bay. First, a Moroso crankcase vacuum pump and the associated hoses, hardware, and evacuation tank was installed. We mounted the pump on the driver-side motor plate, had our Indy valve covers welded up to eliminate the breathers, and had a dash 12 male AN-style fitting welded to the driver-side cover to feed our evacuation pump. The other side of the pump is routed to the evacuation tank, which we mounted to the driver-side inner fender. The evacuation pump kit comes with multiple V-belt pulleys that can be used to adjust the rpm that the pump turns; we will initially run ours at one-half crankshaft speed as the instructions with the kit suggest. We also installed Moroso's adjustable vacuum relief valve to regulate our crankcase to four inches of vacuum as a baseline. There are several advantages to running a vacuum pump on a motor like this, but the biggest advantage is it allows the use of low-tension compression rings. The crankcase vacuum helps seal the rings to the cylinder wall, freeing up horsepower through the reduced friction of the rings against the cylinder.