Route 66 Nationals 2023: HOT ROD Drag-Weekers Invade NHRA Event

August 17, 2023

Bryant Goldstone (pictured) took the win over Alex Taylor in an anticlimactic finale; the Javelin shook the tires while Taylor's car shut off before the green light. Goldstone not only qualified on top but managed to run low e.t. of the event as well, with a 6.62 at 212 mph, besting Tom Bailey in the process during the semifinals. The classic AMC is powered by a 2,500-plus-hp, twin-turbocharged 572-inch big-block Chevy.

Alex Taylor and her family had a few weeks they would rather forget. The Arkansas-based racing family took their patina'd 1955 Chevy to Tulsa Raceway Park for testing just a few weeks prior to the NHRA event. They scored a new top speed of 212 mph, but it wasn't all high-fives and celebrations—the high speed resulted in blown-out front and rear windshields, and the lightweight driver-side doorskin was ripped off when the cabin pressure changed. It sent the group into thrash-mode with less than two weeks of prep time until the NHRA event.

The family patriarch, Dennis Taylor, quickly began repairs on the door while Alex organized parts and fixed the windows. The road to Joliet didn't get easier—in the process of their valiant body-repair effort, the Taylors discovered an engine problem as they buttoned up the car. Low on time, they began calling in favors, most notably from Wiseco, which built a set of pistons in record time for the turbocharged 509-inch big-block Chevy engine. Steve Morris Racing helped the family rebuild the engine and get it back in the car in time for the NHRA exhibition. On track, Taylor ran consistent low 7s at over 200 mph, but was eliminated by Bryant Goldstone when her car shut off in the finals.

Clark Rosenstengel is a veteran Drag Week racer, driving his 2010 Camaro SS in most of his appearances. Today, the Camaro runs deep into the 7s thanks to a unique engine combination from his longtime engine builder, Steve Morris. The SML small-block is an all-billet engine that is based on the LS7 architecture, with twin turbochargers fastened to the front of it. He ran a best of 7.848 at 190 mph in the opening round of eliminations, but it wasn't enough to beat Rick Trunket, who posted a 7.666 at 174 mph. Rosenstengel was one of three small-tire cars invited to the shootout.

Steve Morris keeps the concept of dare-to-be-different alive and well with his "Boost Master" wagon, a 1993 Chevy Caprice complete with woodgrain graphics. The wagon has dropped into the 6.60 zone, however Morris fought a lot of little problems in Joliet and ultimately pulled out of eliminations. The Boost Master has gone through several iterations over the last decade, from a Radial vs. the World entry with a supercharged engine during the infancy of that class to its current setup as a big-tire machine with one of his SMX billet engine combinations that makes over 4,000 hp. He missed Drag Week last year but we hope to see him at this year's event.

The Amber Sherwood F3-painted 1972 Plymouth Duster of Rick Trunkett also runs out of the Big 3 Racing camp, and on small tires. The two-door sedan relies on a traditional small-block Mopar engine with a pair of turbochargers providing unnatural aspiration. Trunkett isn't a stranger to the endurance event scene, and he raced in Sick Week a few months earlier in the Super Street category, a fast-paced small-tire class. His final average 10.319 is not indicative of the car's performance; he posted a 7-second run every day but the final day, when he had trouble navigating the track and finished with a 20.00 elapsed time. Trunkett's quickest performance was a 7.780 at 178.12 mph on Day 2, held at Bradenton Motorsports Park. He ran a best of 7.66 during the PEAK shootout.

This content was originally published here.

Route 66 Nationals 2023: HOT ROD Drag-Weekers Invade NHRA Event