After a win in March and a runner-up in May, NMCA Mickey Thompson Radial Wars driver David Adkins had his sights set on soaring to another final round in his impeccable 1963 Impala SS at the 12th Annual NMRA/NMCA Nitto Tire Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.
His efforts were thwarted, however, when the block from his Baker Engineering-built 400 cubic inch LS engine broke during qualifying, forcing the Michigan-based driver to watch the race from the sidelines.
“The engine had been running perfectly until it backfired at the stripe, and when I lifted, it went to idle and quit,” said Adkins. “Honestly, we were running too much horsepower and cylinder pressure for that compacted graphite iron Dart LS Next block, and we had more than 100 high-horsepower passes on it. The compacted graphite iron is a lot stronger than cast iron, but you have all this weight moving around and all these controlled explosions going on in the engine, and it’s a lot to ask of the block.”
Now, Adkins is having a new engine built by Baker Engineering featuring a Noonan LS Edge block — which is 100 pounds lighter than his previous block — a billet Bryant crank, GRP aluminum rods, Ross pistons and a Baker Engineering-designed Comp cam, and it will fronted by a Jesel belt drive.
The Baker-built billet inline LS heads with Jesel steel rockers, Trend pushrods and Isky keyway lifters from the previous engine are being used.
Thomsen Motorsports built a new billet aluminum intake for the engine, which will receive extra muscle from twin 88mm Garrett Gen II turbos, and Woolf Aircraft supplied new piping for the cold and hot sides.Adkins’ tried-and-true Rossler transmission and ProTorque converter will continue to do their part from under the very low-to-the-ground car.
“Because I’m going from a short deck block to a tall deck block, the heads will sit a half-inch taller on each side of the engine and the headers will be closer to the turbos,” said Adkins. “As a result, I may have to move the turbos around a little bit, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Adkins, who had gone as quick as 3.94 with his previous engine and is currently second in NMCA Mickey Thompson Radial Wars points, is aiming to be back in the driver’s seat for the 16th Annual Honeywell Garrett NMCA All-American Nationals, Aug. 24-27, at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio.