We finally test DRO's Comp Eliminator Car Project.

By Jeff Burk
Photos by Ian Tocher and Jeff Burk

Okay, okay, we planned to run DRO's Comp Eliminator B/EA at Gainesville. The key word is planned and we'll call a spade a spade and admit that our plan failed. It looked good on paper, but we found that reality really bites when you're trying to screw together a professional class car in just three weeks. It wasn't because of our sponsors.

The guys at Tim McAmis Race Cars did jump through some major hoops trying to convert a bracket style car to a B/EA car -- even Tim himself was elbow deep in the work.

The folks at TCI, Barry Grant, Nicholson and Sons, MSD, and Scott McClay Engineering (TH-200 transmission) all busted their humps to get us the necessary parts on time. Still, we didn't make the first race. Kenny and I found out the hard way that preparing and racing a Competition Eliminator car just isn't as easy in real life as it sounds like when you're talking about it over a couple of adult beverages. In short, to quote my favorite baseball manager, Tommy Lasorda, "This ?&#! job ain't that $&$!!# easy."

So, while driver Kenny Nowling has been attending points races all over the country, driving a variety of borrowed cars, getting rained on and out, gathering those treasured grade points mandated by the High Sheriffs of Glendora so that we can enter the National Events and race as part of the Mike Ashley's InfiNet Pro Mod team, we leaned on a couple of Mike Ashley's crew, Allen Adkins and his brother Mark Adkins, to get the newly painted Firebird ready to take to the track.

The first outing for the car came at the IHRA race at Rockingham where once again the best-laid plans went askew. New car wiring gremlins kept the car from making any kind of lap at the Rock. It took a major effort by MSD tech Brandon Uhde to find and fix the problem. Thanks, Brandon. As a result, the best we could do there was a couple of launches. We knew that act wouldn't cut it at Houston, so we went back to basics. More testing was called for. Last weekend Kenny and I, thanks to Dave Koch and his wheelstanding '79 Nova S/ST car, were at the NHRA Sportsman Open at Gateway International getting yet one more valuable grade point by entering the S/ST class.

As you can see from the photo, Kenny put her on the bumper and ran a 10.20 on a 10.90 index. We were .70 under the index!

Meanwhile, Mike Ashley crewman Allen Adkins and his brother Mark took the car to Bristol, Tenn. for testing. They only made eighth-mile hits for this test session.

The first lap on the car Allen, who drove, left at with the Patterson small block at 6800 rpm. The 'bird had a 1.21 sixty-footer and ran a 5.37, which was just under the eighth-mile index for the class of 5.42. The next lap, Mark made a 4-link bar change, took a pound of air pressure out of the tires, and put a 7000-launch chip in. The car made two consecutive 5.33 passes and improved the sixty-foot time to 1.12.

On the final run he took off the carb that Patterson had on the engine when we bought it, and replaced it with the prototype Barry Grant 750cfm Comp Eliminator carb they built for this project. They changed nothing else and improved the sixty-footer to 1.09 and the elapsed time to a 5.27 with a speed of 131.27. It's not world beating, but it looks like we can be competitive.

Allen and Mark serviced the car, shoved it into the box, and headed for Houston, Texas.

Next installment we'll show you some photos of the engine and components and give you more information on the converter, transmissions, and our trick Barry Grant carb. Stay tuned -- we're going to have some fun this year and you're along for the ride.



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