By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Kieffer Simpson/Rudolf Motorsports
We have learned a lot about Jeff Rudolf through the years.
He is dedicated, determined and driven, and his fans are decidedly devoted to him, whether he’s racing in NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod or in another series.
He also has one of the best teams in the business, including Kelli Ulrey, Kieffer Simpson and other members of Rudolf Motorsports.
That’s why when his Larry Jeffers Race Cars-built and 1969 Camaro-bodied car wasn’t at any NMCA races this year, fans and fellow racers wondered why.
As it turns out, Rudolf wanted to make his strong program even stronger, and had turned to ProLine to put a plan in place.
“I had talked with fellow racer Daniel Pharris and Grant O’Rourke about how good the ProLine program is, and then I talked with Eric Dillard of ProLine, and he helped me put together a program for my car,” said Rudolf, who, along with Kelli Ulrey and Kieffer Simpson, lives mere minutes from Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.
That program involved replacing Rudolf’s big-block Chevy with a ProLine-designed and built 520 cubic-inch Hemi with a raised camshaft location and fronting it with both of the 94mm Garrett turbos from the previous engine. RK Racecraft, which is not far from ProLine in Georgia, handled the engine installation, as well as the related plumbing and wiring in the car which features shocks by Adam Lambert.
“The NHRA guys who are running ProLine have that engine,” said Rudolf, who relies on a Liberty’s four-speed transmission with a Bruno torque converter drive and an M&M Transmission lock-up converter. “We’ll be the first to run it in outlaw series, and I consider NMCA and PDRA to be outlaw series.”
When all of the work wrapped a few weeks ago, Steve Petty laid the initial tune on the engine using FuelTech, and Jamie Miller came on board as the lead tuner. Then, Rudolf and his equally committed crew headed with their hot rod to a test session at Virginia Motorsports Park with other drivers who have ProLine-powered cars.
“It went very well, and it was amazing how seamless it all seemed to be, and that had to do with ProLine and the combination they have put together,” said Rudolf. “We made two shakedown runs, and we went 3.81 at 208 mph on a 146-degree track. The heat index was 105, the water grains were 120 and we weren’t even getting after it yet.”
When we asked Rudolf to elaborate, he simply added “It’s going to be fast.”
Now, he, Ulrey and Simpson are ready — more than ready, actually — to roll into the final event on this year’s NMCA tour, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals, Sept. 19-22, at their home track, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. There, Jamie Miller will tune remotely, while Tim Davis will tune on-site.
“You know us,” said Rudolf. “We need to be at the track, especially because we had been away from it for too long, so we’ll probably be the first ones in line when the gates open.”
While Rudolf is focused on this NMCA event and next year’s NMCA events, he also plans to compete in the Pro Mod category at some NHRA events, as well as some Midwest Pro Mod events next year.
“We feel great,” said Rudolf. “We feel like we can move mountains with the guys we’re working with now. They have so much knowledge, and they gave us so much data before we even got to the track to test. I think we can get some low 3.70s. That’s our goal.”