Returning to Active Duty—Packing a 1,700hp GEN III HEMI, Geoff Turk’s Blackbird Challenger Drag Pak set to compete in Edelbrock Xtreme Street

After driving his 2015 Dodge // Mopar Challenger Drag Pak to the first 7-second run in Factory Super Cars competition and taking the 2018 NMCA championship in the same class, Geoff Turk has re-enlisted the Blackbird for a new mission during the 2021 NMCA Drag Racing campaign—Edelbrock Xtreme Street.

Turk had put the Blackbird on hiatus while he concentrated efforts on his X-15 Cobra Jet Mustang, a car that collected a Holley EFI Factory Super Cars event win during its debut race. But several life-changing events after that set him on a different path.

That path led him to Holley, where he was hired on as Chief Operating Officer in August of 2019. With a relocation to Kentucky, a new job, and a new outlook, Turk realized it would be a conflict of interest if he continued racing in the class that his employer sponsored.

“As soon as I became the COO at Holley, I saw we had many employees that were racing at events, so rather than run Holley EFI Factory Super Cars due to the conflict of interest, I started thinking about Pro Mod,” Turk told us.

Turk consulted with his engine builder, Tony Bischoff of BES Racing Engines, who is partners on Jim Widener’s Pro Mod Corvette, and Bischoff explained that Pro Mod required several crewmembers to field the car competitively, and Turk was usually a one-man show at events.

Additional conversations with Holley EFI engineer Matthew Lunsford, as well as Edelbrock Xtreme Street champion Jessie Coulter, turned Turk’s focus toward small-tire racing. And while he was somewhat familiar with small tires as it applied to the Factory Super Cars class with its 9-inch slick tire requirement, what he was looking at was small-tire radial racing, in particular the NMCA’s Edelbrock Xtreme Street class.

“Bischoff and I started talking about what we could do and I talked to Mr. Whipple and he wanted to have one of his Gen V Whipple superchargers in the class,” Turk explained. “I’m working with a team of people that I’ve missed greatly working with, the same usual suspects that I won the FSC championship with.” In addition to Bischoff and Whipple, Turk will continue his racing relationships with Mike Roth on the chassis and Coan Engineering on the transmission combination.

With the move to Xtreme Street, Turk was able to open up his GEN III HEMI powerplant and make a few tweaks that he couldn’t under Factory Super Car rules.

“We made some changes to make it more durable. The rules allow you to run up to a 4-liter blower and 440 cubes, but we’re running the 3.0-liter and 426 cubes.” In addition to the increase in displacement and bigger supercharger that he now can employ, Turk is using Thitek GEN III HEMI cylinder heads on top of the Dodge // Mopar SRT block.

It’s making 400 hp more than the Drag Pak motor and torque is up 300-400 lb-ft!” In fact, Turk’s engine just made over 1,700 horsepower on the BES Racing Engines dyno.

Despite picking up additional power, Turk’s Blackbird faces an uphill battle with weight reduction.

“I think we can weigh 3,300lbs with that combination instead of the 3,600 we were at with the car. I don’t think I’ll be able to get it there, though. We’re adding Kevlar body parts from Anderson Composites, which saves around 80 lbs. No wheelie bars is another 40 lbs., and I’ve lost 30-40, but I like ice cream,” Turk quipped. “Hopefully it’ll end up around 3,400 lbs.”

Something else Turk was able to change is the Holley Dominator EFI system he was running, with the new version now equipped with a number of options that weren’t permitted under the Factory Super Car rules.

Turk plans to have the bullet between the frame rails and running during the next two weeks and hopefully in time for Holley’s MoParty event at Beech Bend Raceway Park, September 18-20. He plans to test after that and while he noted that it’s probably a pipe dream to have the Blackbird ready for the NMCA World Street Finals at Lucas Oil Raceway the weekend after MoParty, we wouldn’t rule the champ out completely as he was the first Factory Super Car to break into the 7s, with a Dodge, when no one was going quick with them.

Whatever happens, he’ll be ready for the 2021 season and will be a formidable opponent in the Edebrock Xtreme Street ranks when the season opener in Bradenton kicks off in March.