Craig's 8-Second Nova


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2019 Update

There is hope! Enter Brian Tooley Racing (BTR) and the idea to go LS turbo. I had wanted to do it before, but the time was right now that I was starting over anyway. So there were no runs in 2019 but I had a blast crewing for the Warrens and Jeremy Lyons' NMCA Nitrous Pro Street car, which I helped tune into the 4.50s@153 mph. I did enter our '63 Chevy II in the Chevrolet Performance Street Challenge at the NMCA Indy race in September. Its a 3 pass average race with awards given for the averages closest to 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, etc. I averaged 14.13 and took the 14-second trophy home. That was fun. Anyway, the Death Nova is still being reworked into a LS turbo car for Xtreme Street competition. I fabbed the stainless hot side exhaust and had Bivins do the final TIG welding and all the aluminum piping for the cold side and down pipe. An AEM Infinity injection setup with Billet Atomizer injectors will fuel and fire the 388ci BTR LS on methanol. A Pro Torque converter will go in the RPM transmission and James Short of ShorTuning will be giving it all the initial tune-up on his dyno. So big things are to come in 2020.

2018 Update

I decided it was time to step up classes once again. I had been crewing for Warren Racing in NMCA competition for a few years, so I wanted to try my hand at Xtreme Street with a goal of running 4.90s in 2018. But I found many problems with the car after the disappointing 2017 season and it took all year to go through the car from one end to the other. I replaced or freshened up everything from the shocks to the motor, including a new RPM transmission, AEM carbon digital dash/data logger, fiberglass doors and fenders, 25.5 cage update by Bivins, RC Components wheels, beadlocks from Jessie's Garage, new fuel pump and hoses...the list was long! I only got in one pass that November and broke a piston in the #4 cylinder. That in turn broke that rod, windowed the block, trashed every chamber in the heads, ruined the oil pan and bent many titanium valves. So the motor was pretty much done for and it got sold off a piece at a time for penny's on the dollar.

2017 Update

I made very few changes to the car, which proved to be a mistake. The competition stepped up and my car got tired as the year wore on. Another 4th place finish in points but no wins. I was frustrated and decided to tear the car apart at the end of the year to find out what was making the car struggle to run 5.30s when it had gone 5.20s many times previously. 2017 was also the year that I finally pulled the tired old 307 from the '63 Chevy II. It was given to me by Bob Rowe way back in 2003 to get me through until I could build a fresh motor after hurting its 350 racing at G03. 14 years later I finally got around to building a 2004 5.3 LS and getting it in the car. Sure is nice having some HP in that car again and having modern fuel injection. But don't fear, its not an ugly LS. I dressed it up to look like a proper 60s V8.

2016 Update

2016 started off with my first NTS win and my first ETs in the 5.20s (5.29 and 5.27@130) at Lyon's Dragway in Indiana. It was a cold day and I was without crew but that didn't keep me out of the winner's circle. The rest of the year was very successful with many rounds won. Going into the last race of the year at Beech Bend, I was 2nd in points but only one round out of first place. The points leader lost early and I went to the finals, running best ever ETs of 5.23@131 in the quarters and semis. Unfortunately the track went away in the finals and it was a pedal fest against my good friend Doug Keen from Illinois. He got his Regal to recover faster than I did and he took the win, but I took the NTS championship! My 2nd championship was even sweeter than the first!

2015 Update

I was racing NTS once again and going rounds. ETs were again the in the 5.40s and progressed into the 5.30s by the end of the year. I finished 4th in points.

2014 Update

I finally returned to racing in 2014. OSCA was back to hosting events and a new class called Nostalgia True Street (NTS) had been formed. It was a limited power, 275 radial class with strict limits on nitrous jet, turbo/blower size and weights. My ETs started off in the 5.60s but progressed into the 5.40s by the end of the year. The competition was a number of KY, IN, IL, OH and TN racers who really know what they are doing. So it was tough going but fun. I finished 7th in points out of about 25 racers if memory serves correctly.

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!

2005-2008 Performance Updates

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 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.


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.

Early Death Nova History

To check out the early history of my Nova or if you're looking for my old webpage, click here.

Craig's '73 Nova is proudly sponsored by the following businesses:
  • Brian Tooley Racing - THE source for LS parts and expertise
  • AEM Electronics - Cutting-edge fuel injection, digital dashes and data loggers
  • Ididit - Street and strip steering components
  • RPM Transmissions - Ultra-high performance manual and automatic transmissions
  • Bivins Race Cars - Custom chassis work and fabrication in a timely, professional manner
  • Fast Shafts - Steel and carbon fiber driveshafts for all forms of racing
  • Knieriem Racing Engines - Proven winning engines in the Louisville, KY area
  • Warren Racing - Championship winning racers in the Kentucky area
  • Broken Crank Garage - Making 3rd generation Camaros cool again
  • CFM - Compression Fabrication and Machine - Industrial compressor service and repair
  • Street Rod Designs - Graphic Art and Design
  • Call them for all your racing needs; tell them Craig from 2QuickNovas sent ya!

    Feedback and questions are always welcome, please click the "Contact" links if you'd like to leave some.

    © 2020 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson