Craig's 8-Second Nova


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2012-2013 Updates
Its been a while since my last update. A lot has happened over the last couple of years. Things have changed a lot in Outlaw 8.5 so I'm in the middle of moving up to True Ten 5 (known as True Street in this area) and will be racing on 275 radials in 2014. This is partly due to rules changes that have lead the class to a limited format. My engine combo would need significant changes to be legal for 8.5 racing in this area and I'm not interested in doing that. I'm also not interested in slowing down at this point. so I'm making big changes that have taken all year but I'm very close to being out testing. Hopefully the car will be ready for shakedown runs in October 2013.

2012 started with a trip to a big race in Holly Springs, MS and a broken planetary gear set in the tranny. I had hoped to make some noise in Outlaw 8.5 at that race but ended up watching after the breakage. That's how it goes sometimes! The rest of 2012 was going well until July. I was leading points at US60 Dragway in Outlaw 8.5 but got the car into the wall on an extremely hot day and that ended my year. But things are on the mend.

2009-2011 Race Season Overviews
2009 was a fun year of racing at London Dragway and Lake Cumberland Dragway. This 8.5" tire racing is really taking off. I qualifed and ran well all year against very tough competition. Many rounds won. I finished the year with a win in the last race at Lake Cumberland and a new best ET of 5.48. So I was able to really step up from my 2008 performances.

2010 started off well with a runner-up in Outlaw 8.5 at London, KY and a new best of 5.48@127.9. I ran well all year but ended up hurting the motor in August and deciding to sell off most of the motor at that point. The Brodix 18X heads and HVH intake had served me well for 10 years but it was time to step up.

Most of 2011 was spent finishing the new motor. It dyno'd well and gave some promising performances late in the year. I had some issues with pushrods that I finally figured out with the help of Manton Pushrods, Rapp Racing and Grubb Motorsports. Huge thanks for the support guys! The year ended with a runner-up and a new personal best of 5.30@133.5. I have only begun to tune on this new setup. 5.20s here we come!

For the off-season, I'm looking for more fiberglass to help me get down to the class minimum weight. Trunk, fenders and maybe Lexan windows are in the works. I might be considering an Induction Solutions fogger as well. We'll see.

Again, a big thanks to my sponsors. Todd at TRZ Motorsports, Brad Ector of Bradco Engineering, Mark Rapp at Rapp Racing and Dennis Clark of Carnivore Performance. I really appreciate your continued support!



My '73 Nova

I'm getting help from a great group of people. Without their financial assistance, expert advise and skilled hands, this max-effort race program would not have been possible. So please give them a call next time you have needs for your race program. Whether it be a killer tranny and torque converter, a new set of slicks, a reliable nitrous bottle pressure system to give you that edge over the competition or the best race fuel in the business, these guys can meet all your needs and expectations!



  • Carnivore Performance--Cutting edge nitrous pressure management
  • Bradco Racing Transmission and Torque Converters--Louisville, KY
  • TRZ Motorsports--Kissimmee, FL--chassis parts
  • AEM Electronics--Outstanding value and performance
  • Street Rod Designs--World class graphic design
  • Rapp Racing--Championship-winning race engines and parts.

    The "OldsMopar" Engine Specs


      The Short Block:
    • 437 cubic inches
    • Olds Rocket block
    • splayed 4-bolt caps
    • ARP main studs/bolts
    • Eagle 4340 forged steel crank
    • Oliver billet I-beam rods
    • Diamond custom pistons with hard anodized coating
    • Total Seal file-fit rings
    • fully balanced and somewhat blueprinted
    • Moroso HV oil pump with steel driveshaft
    • Moroso 7-quart oil pan w\ windage tray
    • Moroso rear pan baffle
    • 13.0:1 static compression ratio


      The Heads:
    • Pro Action 12 degree high port heads--ported by BES--thanks to Uratchko Racing Engines for the hook-up
    • Manley double valvesprings
    • Jesel shaft rockers(1.9:1 intake and 1.8:1 exhaust)
    • Manton hardened pushrods


      Other Engine Stuff:
    • Solid roller cam custom ground by LSM (286/296 duration at .050", .813/.813" lift)
    • Isky Red Zone EZ Roll-X solid roller lifters
    • Xceldyne Belt Drive
    • Mopar "420" intake--fully ported by BES
    • Holley "black" 140 gph electric fuel pump--motor
    • Holley "blue" 110 gph electric fuel pump--nitrous
    • Holley 1050 cfm Dominator
    • MSD Pro-Billet distributor
    • MSD HVC coil
    • Moroso Ultra 40 plug wires
    • MSD Programmable-7 ignition box
    • MSD HVC coil
    • CSI electric water pump
    • 2-1/8" headers by Wildman Racing
    • 3.5" Schoenfeld mufflers
    • Double cross nitrous plate
    • Cometic NoxBox2 nitrous controller
    • AEM AQ-1 data logger
    • 1/2" aluminum and -8 braided fuel lines
    • dual Holley fuel pressure regulators

    The Rest of the Nova


      Driveline and Chassis:
    • TH400 transmission with pro transbrake by Bradco Engineering
    • Custom-built 4500rpm stall 10" nitrous converter by Bradco Engineering
    • Performance tranny mount
    • Lakewood driveshaft safety loop
    • Lincoln Versailles 9" Ford Housing
    • Strange 4.29:1 ring & pinion
    • Strange light weight spool
    • Strange 35 spline axles
    • 15x10 Billet Specialties Street Lites with M/T 275 Pro radials
    • 15X3.5 Billet Specialties Street Lites with M&H 26x4.5" on the front
    • CalTrac bars
    • CalTrac split mono-leaf springs
    • Competition Engineering subframe connectors--welded in
    • TRZ Motorsports tubular control arms
    • TRZ Motorsports steering arms
    • Wilwood Pinto manual rack and pinion steering
    • Custom 4130 tubular subframe crossmembers by 2QuickNovas Racing (me!)
    • Custom 4130 tubular steering linkage (by me again)
    • 10 pt. chrome-moly roll cage by P & P Racing
    • front sway bar removed
    • QA1-R drag shocks up front from D & D Race Technologies
    • AFCO by Mark Menscer double adjustable rear shocks
    • Aerospace pro street front disc brakes with 4-piston calipers
    • strange rear disc brakes with 4-piston calipers
    • Chrysler lightweight master cylinder--listed for '89 1/2 ton Dodge truck, 1-1/8" bore
    • Stroud parachute


    • VW Scirocco radiator
    • Cheapo Ebay electric fan
    • Nippondenso mini alternator
    • fiberglass bumpers from Bruis Glassworks
    • 4" cowl induction fiberglass hood by Harwood
    • fiberglass front fenders by VFN
    • fiberglass deck lid by VFN


    • Poly race seats
    • Autogage mechanical triple gauge set
    • Autometer tranny temp gauge
    • AEM wideband O2 gages
    • 5" Autometer playback tachometer w\ shift light
    • Hurst Promatic shifter
    • Remainder is factory black interior
    • battery is in trunk with a Ford solenoid


      Upcoming changes:
    • More nitrous!


    2005-2008 Performance Updates
    2008 Race Season Overview
    The 2008 year was a dream come true. 4 wins out of 5 races (with one runner-up) at the Bounty Race, 4 #1 qualifiers, 3 #2 qualifiers and the Outlaw 8.5 Championship! That's right, 2QuickNovas Racing brought home all the marbles this year in Outlaw 8.5 in the Bounty Race series. Best eighth-mile ET of the year was 5.67 and a new best speed of 124.9 mph. I found a few things at the end of the year that carried over to good things the next season.

    The 2007 race season started with great anticipation for 2QuickNova Racing. After a successful and competitive 2006, I felt that I'd find myself near the front of the pack early on in '07. Turns out that feeling was correct! In the first race of the season (OSCA at US60 Raceway), everything fell into place and I came away with the Mild Street win! The ETs all day were new bests. 5.83@120.4, 5.78@120.5 and 5.80@120.9. I had two goals for the win a race and run in the 5.70s. Needless to say, I'm extremely pleased with how the race went and now I need new goals...which are to win the championship and run a 5.69 or quicker. It won't be easy, that's for sure. The competition is tough and no one has been a .69 on 8.5s yet. But I'm confident it can be done and with enough hard work, I can get there.

    2007 End of season update--It was a good year overall. I started off with a win and new personal bests, suffered through some mid-season gremlins and ended the year by breaking the 8.5" tire record with a 5.66@122! I qualifed #1 at the October race as well. I didn't quite win the championship for the year, but finished a strong third. So that's a one spot improvement over 2006. Not too bad.

    For 2006, 2QuickNovas Racing (aka Craig) again campaigned the Nova in Outlaw 8.5 at Ohio Valley Dragway and Mild Street in OSCA. These classes are very similar from a rules stand point, which are very simple. In OVOS Outlaw 8.5, the car has to weigh 3200 lbs on nitrous or 2900 when I run it all motor. The nitrous weight is 3250 in OSCA. Then you have to run a 26x8.5" tire and that's about it! OSCA has a few more rules for Mild Street, but nothing out of the ordinary that would keep most cars from running the class. OVOS has no more rules, hence the name Outlaw 8.5. Pretty cool, huh!

    2006 Race Update--This year was a pretty good one. I finished 4th in points in OSCA Mild Street and 7th in OVOS Outlaw 8.5. I made every race at OSCA and ran half the OVOS schedule. Family considerations prevented a full season with OVOS, but luckily I was able to make all OSCA races and was in good position to compete for the #2 spot in points.
    I was number one qualifier twice, runner-up once and went rounds on a regular basis. A win eluded me, but I'm on the cusp of a break-thru win. The car's performance is there and my reaction times are good enough that I'm very rarely beat on the tree. With just a little bit of luck and things going my way, the winner's circle WILL happen! The best run of the year was 5.84@120.5 at US60 in Hardinsburg, KY with a 60' of 1.32. The best mph of the year was 122.7, so we are making some power!
    The real challenge right now is walking the fine line between tire spin and standing the car on the rear bumper. That's right, wheel stands on 8.5" slicks! That's how good those M&H tires are!

    I want to thank all my sponsors for their continued support. These are some of the finest people you'd ever want to deal with and their products have proven themselves to me as first rate.
    A big thanks goes to Brad Ector of Bradco Engineering for taking quick care of my converter needs and for a top notch tranny.
    To John at M&H, you're tires rock! They hook like no tomorrow and last 3 times longer than the competition. Best of all worlds!
    I also want to introduce Dennis Clark of Carnivore Performance. If you all are looking for the most advanced nitrous bottle heater/cooler, check out the Nitrousaurus-X. It takes all the hassle out of bottle pressure management, letting you worry about other things on race day.
    Another big thanks to Mike Stark at CFM for his awesome port work on my cylinder heads. He got 10 more cfm out of my 18X heads than Brodix says they can. That speaks volumes!
    And finally to rest of my sponsors...THANKS so much for your support and confidence in 2QuickNovas Racing!

    8/20/05--Getting the new engine done took longer than anticipated, so I didn't even getthe car out of the garage until late June. I knew the 8" converter was going to be too loose for the new motor, but it was all I had. In terrible air (5500 ft. density altitude),it went 10.56@127. That would have been a very low 10 in a cool fall air. In early August,I finally saved up enough for my new nitrous converter and also picked up a great deal on anawesome Powerglide. So that let me start spraying the motor. But rain has plagued me, even thoughmuch of the country is in the middle of a drought. So only three nitrous passes to report. Two wereless than noteworthy, but my only pass on August 20th was a lot better. It was at Ohio Valley Dragwayduring qualifying for their outlaw street car race. The track was well prepped and the car launch like never before. 1.41 60' and a 6.31@105. That would have been about a 9.90 in the 1/4 mile.Still, the tune-up was a tad off due to an oversight on my part and this slowed me down considerably.So I'm confident that I could have gotten it to run a couple tenths quicker and about 9-10 mph faster if the rain had stayed away. Plus, that was just a 125 hp shot. More to come.

    9/6/05--I finally avoided the rain and got some more test runs in last weekend while the Somernites Cruise had Lake Cumberland Dragway rented. I figured the track would be terrible all day due to all the street tires on it that morning, but the car hooked amazingly. The first run had a 1.37 60' and then it was 1.35 the rest of the day. The best ET of the day was 6.16 with a best mph of 112. That would be about a 9.67@140! So I'm well into the 9s now and still haven't sprayed it any harder than about 125 hp. Hard to believe a stock suspension, leaf spring car with 26x8.5" slicks can run a 1.35 60'! Eventually it'll do high 1.2s I think on its way to 5 second ETs. So I should be able to make some noise at the last few races of the season.

    10/17/05--My official races are over for the year. Overall I'm pleased with the progress I made this year, even though I didn't get to race enough to do well in the points of either OSCA or OVOS. But I did accomplish being the first leaf spring car in the 5s on 8.5" tires, so that's something pretty cool to ponder over the winter. Best pass of the year was 5.95@116.5. I've yet to put it on a 1/4 mile track to get an official 9 second timeslip, but that'll come soon as I plan on testing some more this fall. With some luck, maybe I can squeak out a 8.99 if my aging 29x9" slicks will work as well as the 26x8.5s have.

    11/17/05--I've been fighting some electrical gremlins for the past month and don't have any new best ETs or speeds to report, but I should make it to the track once more this year. Hopefully that'll yield some more progress with the tune-up and some good 1/4 mile timeslips.

    History of the Death Nova
    To read some of the history of my Nova or if you're looking for my old webpage, click here.


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    Copyright ? 2012 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson