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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 package.

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 curly cords.”

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.

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