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Rocko Khoury and His New Engine Ready for NMRA/NMCA Power Festival

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA and courtesy of Rocko Khoury
Rocko Khoury grew up watching some of the best naturally aspirated racing in the country.
His father, Vince Khoury, was an NHRA Pro Stock racer, and he and his family went with him to as many races as possible. 
Rocko learned a lot from his father and his father’s fellow racers along the way, especially about coaxing as much horsepower as possible from a combination without a power adder, and his knowledge and know-how helped when he, too, started racing.
Propelled by passion, Rocko has been very competitive through the years, most recently in NMCA Dart NA 10.5 and in Milan Dragway’s All Motor. In 2022, he earned a win in NMCA Dart NA 10.5 at the Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, where he took home the coveted Nitto Diamond Tree Ring. He also earned two wins in Milan Dragway’s All Motor, and went as quick and fast as 7.76 and 183 mph in his Mustang motivated by an Olds DRCE big-block engine which he built with his father and backed with a 5-speed from Liberty’s Gears, which is owned by his uncle, Craig Liberty.

Over winter, Rocko focused on his combination to be sure he would come out swinging in 2023 in his Mustang which has Strange suspension components and rolls on Mickey Thompson tires. 
“To update the combination we had last year, we went with a different design on our Diamond pistons, and we went with smaller MGP connecting rods,” said Rocko, whose brother, Vince, and cousin, Nicole Liberty, hold their own in NMCA ARP Nitrous Pro Street. “We revamped and changed the dome on the pistons, and lightened up the rotating assembly to get the car off the line more quickly and to pick up in the short track.”
Rocko, who lives in Harrison Township, Michigan, also had his engine on the dyno at his dad’s shop, Khoury Racing in Kalkaska, Michigan, and spent a lot of time researching and developing various components of his combination to be certain he was going in the right direction.
He also took his five-speed transmission to Liberty’s Gears and worked on it.
“Honestly, we don’t take vacations,” said Rocko, who has had chassis help from Jerry Bickel Race Cars through the years. “We spend all of our time going over our race programs.”

Rocko’s hard work is paying off in 2023, as he has earned a runner-up finish and two wins in All Motor at Milan Dragway, and is now leading points in that category. The runner-up was against fellow NMCA Dart NA 10.5 racer Kevin Cody, and the wins were against Cody and another fellow NMCA Dart NA 10.5 racer, Dan Ostgen.
“For the first two races, I ran last year’s Olds DRCE big-block engine, and for the third race, I ran my new Chevy-based DRCE engine that we just finished with Dart heads and an HRE Induction Specialties intake,” said Rocko. “I ran a 7.78 on the first pass with the new engine, and that was the best pass of the year. I thought I would ease into it with the new engine, but that didn’t happen. We had been running 7.80s, so the new engine looks very promising.”
Rocko, who missed the first three NMCA races on this year’s tour, is now preparing to dive back into Dart NA 10.5 at the TorqStorm NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by Paul’s High Performance, July 20-23 at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
“The Dart NA 10.5 competitors are among the best you will find in the country, and what we are doing in these cars on these small tires is pretty incredible,” said Rocko. “I’m hoping for a good weekend, and I’m grateful for the help from my parents, Vince and Teresa, my fiancé, MacKenzie, my brother, Vince and cousin, Nicole, among others.”


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