We take a look inside King Racing's nitrous fuffing 580ci Mopar build that allows them to run consistent 4.5s in the 1/8th mile.
Brand allegiance is a potent force in motorsport, where rivalries run deep and familiarity with a manufacturer’s way of doing things often lends itself to a sense of loyalty among teams that campaign their hardware. “First and foremost, we’ve been a Mopar team forever,” says Terry King, primary owner of King Racing. “My brother Bob got me hooked on Mopars back in the 70s and we’ve been with them ever since.”
Primarily running in the Jegs Super Quick Series, a format that has a set minimum ET of 4.5 seconds in the eighth mile, King Racing’s dragster sports some potent – and above all reliably consistent – hardware. “To explain how competitive the series is, there is always at least one race each year that will have a 4.55 or 4.56 bump,” says King. “That means 32 teams have tuned their cars to within five hundredths of a second of one another.”
Adding to the competitiveness of the series is the fact essentially none of the teams involved are racing at their local track. “It is a traveling series in NHRA division 3 at tracks in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, consisting of two qualifying attempts and a race,” King explains. “2014 was our best year so far. We won our first race (in the series) which got us our first NHRA Wally, qualified #1 three times and finished third overall, losing the championship by only three rounds.”
Running with such razor-sharp margins of error at this level of drag racing requires power plants that are not only capable of delivering serious power, but can do so with predictability again and again.
King Racing’s recipe start with a 580ci Mopar block. “This engine started life as a 572 crate engine,” King tells us. “A few years ago we hurt a piston and cylinder wall. Wiseco's Vic Ellinger helped us spec out a 30 over piston to meet our needs, which bumped it up to 580 cubes.”
King’s combination includes a Callies 4.500 stroke crank, GRP 7.100 aluminum rods, and an .816 lift camshaft from Cam Motion, along with Comp Cams Elite lifters, Trend push rods and Jesel rockers. The cylinder heads are Indy 572-13 units with Indy valve covers and spray bars.
For induction, King Racing uses a Ron's Terminator on alcohol, while a Primer Plus on gas helps out with starting. Two Nitrous Express systems – one a rail system fogger capable of 600 horsepower and the other a 300 hp plate system – are also in the mix, and both use alcohol for enrichment.
While the current combination hasn’t been on the dyno, King says it’s likely in excess of 1200 horsepower all in. “We know it takes approximately 1200 hp to propel a 1900 pound car down the eighth mile in 4.5 seconds, and we’ve run in the 4.3-second range in the past at a quick 8 race.”
But beyond its performance, the mill has proven to be more than capable of handling the abuse. “Wiseco pistons have been great for us. I only went away from Wiseco once and that got us in trouble – I won't do that again. As long as we keep our nitrous tune in check the pistons last a long time – the ones we’re currently using have been in the car for at least three seasons now and have seen as much as 500 hp of nitrous.”
King Racing’s decision to go with a fledgling chassis builder for the construction of their car was a bit of a risk, but King says it was well worth it. “We put all of our faith in Dean McIlvain, who was new to the chassis building business at the time and he did not let us down. We think this is the best car on the planet, and the carbon fiber body from Riggeal looks as good today as it did when it was new.”
King Racing’s presence in Jegs Super Quick series as well as the Xtreme Outlaw Series (XOS) held at Kilkare Raceway in Xenia, Ohio has in turned provided more visibility to McIlvain’s chassis building as well. “Dean has gone on to build many more cars since then and his business is growing,” King tells us. “I like to think we helped at least a little.”