Behind the Scenes of the BoostLine LSX Drag Radial Class

September 22, 2017 / by Evan Perkins

The Boostline Connecting Rods Drag Radial class in the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series is one of the most action-packed classes in drag racing. 2,000-plus horsepower cars, blast down the eighth mile aided by nitrous, turbos, and superchargers and death-defying wheelmen– wheelie bars need not apply. 

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Anthony Manna of Elk Grove Village, IL is a top runner with his twin-turbo 427 Camaro. Manna has run as deep as 4.20s at 181 mph in the eighth.

It’s no secret, drag radial tires and General Motors’ LS engines have had a massive impact on drag racing. Since the late 1990s, LS engines have propelled enthusiasts to insane performance levels. If you’re into big-power LS engines and drag radial racing, you’ll want to check out the BoostLine Connecting Rods Drag Radial class in the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series.

Andy Essary is the original owner of this beautiful 2002 Firebird. Essary’s ride sports an LSX block displacing 427 cubic inches that makes well over 2,000 horsepower.

Held at select NMCA (National Muscle Car Association) events, BoostLine Connecting Rods Drag Radial is growing in popularity thanks to the strength of the LSX movement and a rules structure that allows a seemingly endless list of boosted and nitrous combinations contested on the eight-mile.

Having a stock suspension and drag radials is a huge challenge to racers who consistently show off the capabilities of the LSX engine with a power adders making upwards of 2,500 horsepower! “Boostline Connecting Rods Drag Radial is an outstanding class to showcase the big power capability of the LSX platform,” said ProMedia General Manager, Rollie Miller. 

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“I had a twin-turbo 2002 Pontiac Firebird that I bought new, it was just a fun street car,” said Andy Essaray, a multi-time race winner in the class. “I race everything I own, so I told myself I wouldn’t race it. I originally bought the Firebird because of the hood, the Ram Air hood, and I swore I wasn’t going to change anything. But I added nitrous, then I switched the six-speed to an auto then it progressed to twin turbos, and of course I started racing. It fit right in the LSX drag radial class, and I though it would be fun because it’s all LS cars. I like the speed that we’re at from a budget standpoint and I love heads-up racing. You have to bring your A-game. We went 7.23 at 202 in street-legal trim and I was able to drive it on the street, but now it’s built just for racing.

The limiting factor is not horsepower, it’s trying to harness upwards of 2,500 horsepower with a stock-type suspension and drag radial tires.

“The biggest challenge is traction,” he stated. “We run a torque arm, stock suspension with no wheelie bar and it weighs 3,300 lbs. The engine, which is a 385ci LSX, made 40 psi with the 76mm turbos. But recently we stepped up to 88mm turbos.” Essaray continued, “We tune with timing, boost, and suspension and our best 60-foot time is 1.14. If the car is too stiff it won’t work and if it’s too loose it won’t work. You have to have the chassis and the suspension set up perfect. We work with Eric Vicary at Midwest Chassis Inc. (North Pekin, IL) and we run a Turbo 400 from RPM Transmissions. The tire is a 29.5 Mickey Thompson Pro Drag Radial and it all works pretty good,” he added. Essaray has done well in the class, winning six races and finishing Second and Third in the points championship in previous years.”

Another top competitor is Ray Litz of Lexington, Ohio. Litz has consistently been low 4s at over 167 mph with his 1998 Camaro that has dipped in the 6s at nearly 200 mph in the quarter and consistently runs low 4s in the eighth.

Ray Litz enjoys both quarter- and eighth-mile action with his 1998 Camaro. Litz has dipped in the 6s in the 1,320 and he runs consistent low 4s in eighth-mile BoostLine Connecting Rods Drag Radial trim.

“It’s a fun class,” said Litz. “I prefer the eighth-mile, all the action is in the first eighth-mile. “I run Midwest Chassis suspension parts and they did the cage,” he added. “As for the engine, I run an aluminum truck block at 400 cubes with All Pro heads and intake, and a single Garrett 98mm, Gen 2 turbo.” The combination produces 35 psi. and makes over 2,300 horsepower on VP Q-16 fuel. Litz credited Carslile Racing for the turbo kit, piping, mounting and the radiator setup. Backing the mighty LS is a Turbo 400 from RPM Transmissions.

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“It’s all about power management,” Litz said. “It’s about applying the power and using the computer to control the introduction of power as quickly as the tire will take it. The quickest run we’ve made is a 4.37 at 167 mph.” And those wicked-quick 60-foot times are just one reason the class is so exciting. It’s awesome to watch these guys accelerate a full-bodied production cars to elapsed times in the low-4-second range at over 180 mph!

In 2017 CPCS was contested at four NMCA events with the final event taking place in Indianapolis this weekend:

  • NMCA Bluegrass Nationals – Beech Bend Raceway Park – Bowling Green, KY – May 18-21
  • All-American Nationals – Summit Motorsports Park – Norwalk, OH – August 24-27
  • Holley LS Fest – Beech Bend Raceway Park – Bowling Green, KY – September 8-10
  • NMCA World Street Finals – Lucas Oil Raceway – Indianapolis, IN – September 21-24

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Topics: FEATURES, CHEVY, featured, BOOSTLINE RODS

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