Petet made his first passes in the car at
Brainerd Optimist Dragway in June 1999.
So, after only three outings with the car,
an engine swap was in the works and a quick
search on the Internet turned up his current
engine for sale in Union City, PA, an all-aluminum,
400 c.i. small-block Chevy with Buick heads. “We
had to build new headers, but that’s
about it,” Petet recalls. “It’s
an extremely tight fit, though, even with a
small block. We have to change the spark plugs
from under the car because it’s so tight.
We probably couldn’t run a big block
even if we wanted; there isn’t a quarter
inch to spare in there.”
After the 8.71 blower Petet had on the 350,
his new engine arrived with a 14.71 bolted
up top. He then upgraded to a Whipple Charger,
and now runs a huge PSI screw-type blower. “They
keep making faster parts and better blowers,” he
says. “When you run a small block, you’ve
got to have something to keep up—and
that’s our blower.” Somewhere along
the line, he adds, the switch also was made
to a Bruno and three-speed Lenco transmission
|The engine in Petet’s Porsche originally
resided in a Pennsylvania-based Chevy S-10
running in NMCA competition.
||Petet’s ride also features an intricate
computer and wiring system put together
by crewman Larry Wagner.
In addition to shifting gears with custom-designed paddles, Petet can control
his line lock and trans brake without ever releasing the steering wheel.
He says the system has the added bonus of “eliminating all those
Two PLC (programmable logic control) computers
manage all shifting, timing management, and
throttle air solenoid functions, and could
even serve as a delay box, if desired. Additionally,
Wagner created a contact-and-brush system to
install two “paddles” behind the
steering wheel to handle gear shifting duties,
similar to what many Formula 1 cars use.
Petet primarily races at Brainerd, but makes
occasional trips to tracks like Silver Dollar
in Reynolds, GA, or Huntsville Dragway, over
in Alabama. Generally, though, he likes to
stay within about a two- to three-hour radius
of home, since he and his crew just race for
fun on the weekends. Still, they are die-hard
competitors always looking for that little
extra something, so next year, Petet says he’ll
make the switch to turbocharging.