$10K Drag Shootout Episode 1: “The Arrival”

After all the applications, interviews, and smack talk, the contestants of the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout finally made the trek to Horsepower Wars HQ in California for the start of the toughest 10 days of their racing lives. Team Boddie/Dow Brothers Race Cars, Team Stinky Pinky, Team Bigun, and the COMP Cams Dream Team made the journey with one goal in mind: to win the $10K Drag Shootout. Every one of these teams brings an ammo crate full of skills to build a race car, and they have just 10 days to fire it all off and win the $10K Drag Shootout.

Drag racing is all about raw competition, and that’s what is at the heart of the $10K Drag Shootout — but it’s more than just a race, it’s a true challenge of a racer’s skills. The four teams from across the country each had to bring their five members to a neutral location to build a racecar on a tight budget, and on an even tighter timeline. Every team was on equally unstable footing when they walked into the shop, and they used every ounce of the skills they offer to get their build started right.

Basics Of The 10K Drag Shootout

The $10,000 budget for each build is comprised of $7,000 in gift cards from Summit Racing Equipment, along with $3,000 in cold, hard cash. The gift cards are to be used at Summit Racing to help the teams build their machines with new parts from the retailer. Besides the gift cards, the $3,000 in cash has to be used to buy their car, any used parts they can find, and even parts from the junkyard to help round out the build.

Why would a team of talented individuals subject themselves to 10 grueling days in a hot shop with little sleep? They all want to prove they’re the best at building a wicked racecar under difficult conditions with the opportunity to bring that car home, along with $10,000 in cash.

Building a racecar in just 10 days is only part of the $10K Drag Shootout, as the cars must also be able to rocket down the quarter-mile quickly as part of the competition. Each team will be at Summit Motorsports Park to participate in the Shakedown At The Summit, held over Sept 14-16, 2018, as they’ll line up their builds head-to-head to see who created the fastest machine. They qualify to see where they stack up, and then race heads-up until there is only one team left standing.

The $10K Drag Shootout isn’t a free-for-all; teams had a set of rules they had to work with during the competition. From parts selection, to the build process, and the race itself, everything was monitored to make sure they were doing things by the book. You can check out the full rules to see just how tight things actually were during the 10-day build. You’ll be able to see all the teams throw down LIVE during the broadcast of the Shakedown on SpeedVideo.com right here.

$10K Drag Shootout Sponsors

To pull off something as epic as the $10K Drag Shootout, some help from great companies was needed. Summit Racing Equipment stepped up in spectacular fashion by supplying both the prize money and the funds to help each team with their builds. Each team plans to use every penny of that $10,000 from Summit to squeeze all the horsepower they can out of their car.

In addition to Summit Racing Equipment, there are a host of other sponsors that jumped onboard to help make the $10K Drag Shootout work. With companies like Royal Purple, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, E3 Spark Plugs, Fragola, Holley, Diablosport, Mahle Motorsports, Dyna-Batt, ProCharger, Weld Racing, ARP, BMR Suspension, QA1, PRW, and CoverCraft the teams are guaranteed to have what they need throughout the competition.

The $10K Drag Shootout Teams

When the $10K Drag Shootout was announced, applications started pouring in from every corner of the country to be a part of the show. It was a difficult process, but we were able to narrow the field down to three teams and, with your help, the COMP Cams Dream Team. These four teams represent some of the best builders in the industry, and they’re ready to have their skills pushed to the limits.

Team Bigun is chock-full of experienced racers and builders from different parts of the country. They all share a very similar mindset and are very focused on the task at hand. Members of this team have set multiple records in small-tire racing, and won some of the biggest races in the heads-up universe. Eric Yost is the captain of this squad and his crew includes Lyle Barnett, Peter Harrell, Jason Smith, Chad Reynolds, and Chris Bailey.

Team Boddie/Dow Brothers Racing has been working together as a unit for many years, so they know how each member thinks. They have some serious experience in the grudge racing world, and this has sharpened their competitive spirit to a fine edge. Having built cars from junkyard parts before, the $10K Drag Shootout is right up their alley, and they’re willing to put in the hard work to win at Norwalk. Running Team Boddie/Dow Brothers Racing is Russ Wullenwaber with builders Ben Boylan Jr., Nick Stewart, Cole and Cody Dow, along with driver Jay Boddie.

Team Stinky Pinky is comprised of the most hardcore drag racers you will ever find. These guys are willing to race any time, any place, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if its no-prep or big-money bracket racing, they’re willing to throw down. Spending so much time together has forged a family-like bond between the members of this team, and they’re more than capable of pulling together to get the job done. At the helm of Team Stinky Pinky is “Disco Dean” Karns and his crew consists of his father Dean Karns Sr., Jake Burton, Brian Sorells, and Jimmy Bowling.

Finally, the COMP Cams Dream Team is an extremely diverse group that has it all, from talented fabricators and engine builders to a world class driver. Every member of this team has experience racing at different levels and can perform every task needed to build a car for the $10K Drag Shootout. This group of racing professionals is here to show why they were selected to the Dream Team and will be a threat to the entire competition. The Dream Team is being coached by TCI‘s Jeff Reed who is working with “Big Daddy” Dwayne Gutridge, Jody Comer, Michael Rozman, Eric Kenward, and Jesse Adams.

The Cars Of The $10K Drag Shootout

If we wanted to make the $10K Drag Shootout easy, we could have provided the teams with some cars that were the cleanest of blank slates to start with, but what kind of fun would that be? To make this event a true challenge, we scoured southern California for a rogue gallery of colorful cars that fit a low budget, and had just enough meat on their bones to still become racecars for $500 dollars.

Under Cover With CoverCraft

To help keep the identity of the cars secret before we unveiled them during the first day at the $10K Drag Shootout, we added some car covers from CoverCraft. Not only did these help to conceal the cars from prying eyes, they also provide protection for the cars. Since each of the $10K Shootout Cars will need to be stored before the Shakedown, a CoverCraft car cover will need to be used to protect them from UV damage and other potentially damaging situations in storage. The fiber construction and materials used by CoverCraft will be up to the task for each car.

The 1966 Ford Falcon has some serious “character” both inside and out, from the stylish seat covers, to the extra weight reduction, courtesy of random spots of rust. Being the lightest of all the offerings, it could have a lot of potential, if it wasn’t such a hot mess with its structural issues. Most of the teams viewed this car as better off in the junkyard, rather than on their lift.

It’s time to rock out to some 1980s hair metal with the 1988 Camaro RS that was presented to the teams as a choice for the competition. This third-generation F-body featured an engine with a rod knock along with a few spare engines, if the teams wanted to use them. The torque arm suspension is a nice plus for the track, and there’s tons of room under the hood for any engine combination one of the teams could dream up.

Following the mullet-infused 1988 Camaro is a 1995 Z28 Camaro that has tons to offer each team as their canvas for horsepower. A clean body, sweet T-tops, and torque arm suspension would help it be a beast on the track. The downside is the lack of space under the hood for big engines or power adders, a slightly smashed windshield, and no brakes. Needless to say, the teams were less than enthused at this choice for their $10K Drag Shootout ride.

The first of two Fox body Mustangs the teams had to choose from is a 1990 model that seems like a car time forgot. This ride came with a plethora of spare parts, including some nice aftermarket camber-caster plates. The downside to this amazing stallion of a car is the fact it was missing some parts, including both door windows. Even though it was in fairly rough shape, all the teams were drooling over the chance to use it as their $10K build car with the 8.8 rearend it offered.

One of the other popular choices among the teams was the minty-fresh 1984 Buick Regal Limited. This car brings style to the $10K Drag Shootout with its sweet replica Dayton wheels, white paint, and grandma-approved interior. The car is a great choice for drag racing with the longer wheelbase it provides and space under the hood for any combination of engine and power adder.

The final option for the $10K Drag Shootout teams was a 1986 Ford Mustang LX that has a whole bunch of character, from the aftermarket sunroof to the totally radical sticker package. This specimen has been sitting since 1997… like it was almost waiting to be selected for this competition. It features a questionable trunk latch, sketchy interior, and window tint that is missing in places. This ride is highly prized by all the teams because of its 8.8 rearend and the factory four-link style suspension that’s perfect for drag racing.

The Amazing Sports Spectacle Of The $10K Olympics

The $10K Drag Shootout is going to bring out the competitive spirit in every team, and what better way to kick things off than with an Olympic-type challenge. To make things interesting before a single wrench was turned, teams had to compete in the $10K Olympics to determine in what order the teams would choose their cars. As the teams went from one event to the other, they had to hand off the COMP Cams baton before they could begin the next event.

The first event in the $10K Olympics was the creeper push, where one team member had to push another on a shop creeper on a tight course inside the build center. After the competitors were done racing through the shop, the next teammate had to participate in the wheel mount challenge, where they had to mount a wheel and tire with a ratchet as quickly as possible. The wheel had to be tighter than finger tight or they would receive a hefty penalty.

Next, the teams had to grab a set of keys and head outside where they pushed the Ford Falcon 100 feet one direction, and then back the other direction with another teammate inside. After they were done pushing, a member of the team had to take a stack of tires and move them one at a time to a box several yards away. Finally, there was the cart push where two team members had to push a cart full of boxes around the building as quickly as possible, while keeping all of the boxes on the cart.

All of the teams came out swinging for this event and pushed themselves to the absolute limits. There were a few team members who went down in a blaze of glory, one who passed out, and some hurt feelings. In the end, Team Stinky Pinky finished fourth with a 5:07, Team Boddie/Dow Brothers Racing was third with a 4:27 (and had to pay out on some side bets), the Dream Team finished in the runner-up spot with a 4:10, and Team Bigun won the Olympics with a time of 4:02. With the win in hand, Team Bigun selected the four-eyed Fox body Mustang as their prize.

All of the teams have their cars, and it’s time to begin the grueling task of transforming them into purebred racing machines. The next 10 days are going to push every team to the limits, both physically and mentally as they try to get their cars done. It’s going to be a wild ride on the $10K Drag Shootout train, so take your seat now, and hold on as the build phase begins. With more surprises being thrown at the teams in episode two, you’ll never know what’s going to happen.

You’ll watch it all on HorsepowerWars.com with fresh episodes in HD every Thursday.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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