Through the years, we’ve watched as Eric Kenward racked up wins while laying down 4.80s in the eighth-mile in his cool and colorful ’79 Malibu wagon, but within the next few weeks, he’ll be behind the wheel of his ’80 Malibu for testing and then for racing X275-style at Orlando Speed World and then in Stainless Works Street Outlaw at the 8th Annual Nitto Tire NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing event at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois July 11-14.
Packed neatly under the hood is a 420 cubic-inch Mike Moran-built small-block Chevy engine topped by SBX heads and a Mike Moran-built sheet-metal intake, and the extra power will come from a 94mm Garrett GTX turbo. A Chiseled Performance water tank and pump have been installed and Spaghetti Menders wiring runs throughout.
The car’s former chrome moly 8.50-certified cage has been upgraded to a 25.3 by TRZ Motorsports and TRZ suspension is in place, as are a TRZ floater nine-inch rear-end and AFCO shocks. The car’s body is outfitted in a fiberglass hood and bumpers by Heads-Up Composites and its Holeshot wheels are wrapped in Hoosier 275 drag radials.
VP Fuel will flow through the belt-driven MagnaFuel pump, Big Stuff 3 will be put to work for engine management and an FTI Powerglide and converter will help put the power to the ground.
“The fuel-injected turbo will be a learning curve for me since I’ve been running nitrous, but I’ll be getting tuning and other help from Mike Moran, Cal Hartline and Frank Mewshaw, ” said Kenward, who added that his cars have long been test-beds for TRZ and that this car’s floater nine-inch rear-end is TRZ’s first floater nine-inch rear-end.
While his focus is on the ’80 Malibu, Kenward’s toying with the idea of showing his nitrous-gulping small-block Chevy powered ‘79 Malibu wagon some NMCA Aeromotive Xtreme Street action at some point this season.
“There’s no way I could build a car of this caliber without TRZ’s help,” said Kenward, who’s aiming for 7.0s at 200 mph. “I also want to thank God for the opportunity to race and my wife, Lori, and my four children, Holley, Katie, Eric and Mallory, for being understanding about my racing.”