HiTech Motorsport - Ramsey, MN

Engine builder Bart Wells and his crew from HiTech Motorsport were new to the contest this year, and we looked forward to seeing what they could do. With a reputation for building strong engines, they had a lot to live up to. They didn't disappoint us as they were the first engine on the dyno, setting the standard high by making more power and torque than any of last year's Hemis. We knew the wedges in this year's contest would be impressive, but all of these big-blocks exceeded our expectations. By using a budget-conscious parts list, combined with professional building techniques, the crew from HiTech netted a third place finish.

The HiTech Motorsport entry was also ready to run when it was bolted to Comp's dyno, having already been dyno'd in-house before the contest. After their first pull, however, power was down slightly so some tuning was in order. Instead of using jetting to tune their engine, the crew from HiTech made changes to the high-speed air bleeds of their Dominator, netting additional power and torque on each pull. Minor ignition timing changes also helped them get the most from their engine, set at 36-degrees total advance for their final pull. This is a strong, economical engine, and would be a blast in any Mopar, able to propel a well-prepped car to sub-10-second timeslips with ease.

Best Machine - Warren, MI

Fourth place honors in our engine challenge go to Warren, Michigan's Best Machine, another newcomer to this year's challenge. Each having more than 20 years of automotive experience, engine builders Chuck Millen and Pete Costa impressed us by making 746 hp, the second highest power score of the contest. Chuck Millen noted that the Indy 440-1 cylinder heads, combined with proper cam selection, were the keys to making big power from their wedge. Another advantage stated by both Chuck and Pete is that they race what they build. Track time racing wedge-powered cars has given them valuable experience testing the limits of parts and trying new technologies that are adapted to the engines they build.

The Best Machine entry also had already been on a dyno when it came to our contest, so it was no surprise when it fired right up and sounded crisp. At 11.9:1 compression, this engine pushed the limits of the 93-octane fuel, but ran well without a hint of detonation. During the qualifying pulls, Chuck and Pete experimented with jetting and timing, netting additional power with each pull on the dyno. It was after the first scored run, however, that they really improved power by loosening the valve lash from .016-inch to .024-inch, netting nearly 20 additional horsepower. After loosening the lash, Chuck showed his experience with the big-block Chrysler engine by tweaking the timing "about that much" to improve power yet again. A timing light verified total ignition timing was at 41 degrees on the best pull. At 746 hp and 652 lb-ft. of torque, we'd love to try this engine in one of our cars!

Mopar Engines West - Newark, CA

Nobody really knew what to expect from the Mopar Engines West entry in this year's challenge. Though a newcomer to our challenge, we are certainly familiar with the work these guys can perform as we've covered several of their builds, including a 300-plus-horsepower Slant 6. Known for using exotic fuel-injection systems and electronics to tune their engine, we were all wondering how these guys would fare with a simple single carburetor and distributor setup. All questions were answered during their first pull on Comp's dyno when this engine quickly screamed to contest leading power. In fact, with each pull, this engine made more and more power until a best pull of 761.6 hp and 656.4 lb-ft of torque was attained. The combined power and torque score of Mopar Engines West was dominant at nearly 20 points ahead of the second highest power score and earned them a fifth place rating overall.

Engine builders Rich Nedbal and David Timmons were quick to optimize power from the Mopar Engines West entry by making timing and jetting changes. Already solidly in the lead in terms of raw power after their first pull, these guys had nothing to loose. After their first scored pull, they loosened the valve lash to .035 inch and reduced the total timing to a mere 34 degrees. Each change netted additional power until they attained their best numbers on their final pull of the contest. When asked how they made so much power, both Rich and David pointed their fingers at David's daughter, Angie, who was in charge of the cylinder heads for this engine. It turns out that Angie had been to Joe Mondelo's cylinder head porting school and had applied what she learned well, spending some 40 hours massaging the Indy 440-1 heads on their engine. Significant engineering also went into the oil system of the Mopar Engines West entry, freeing up additional power through reduced crankcase windage. This is one killer street wedge! Did we say street? Heck, we'd love to have this engine in our race car.

Engine BuilderHPTorqueCombined Score
Mopar Engines West761.6656.41418.0
Best Machine746.7652.21398.9
Mid America741.6644.61386.2
J.D. Engine and Machine718.8654.01372.8
HiTech Motorsport738.5627.61366.1
Speed-O-Motive716.7598.71315.4
ProMax/CFM*587.6595.61183.2
MRL*472.7507.3980.0
*These engines failed to qualify for the judged portion of the challenge; results are for comparison only.