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What a ride TX2K was for TopSpeed this year! As per usual the team and I supported a pit full of customers and their cars throughout both the roll race and drag racing portions of the event. We went into Thursday morning feeling good and well rested for once. One of the keys to our success this year we all felt was our preparation. As they say, “today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s success”. Just about every car was ready to go a solid two weeks before the event. There were some small things needed here and there, but all in all the cars were prepped and ready for the truck a week before we loaded. After years of doing these events I feel we are finally figuring out the time management portion leading up to the event. We’re also trying to wisely choose the projects we take on that “have to be ready”. The combination of the two have really played a key roll in setting us up for sound minded success when the rubber meets the road.
In the past year or so most of you know that we have been really focused on the development of our ELITE program. Both with the engine, head, cam combinations, and the turbos themselves to maximize what we feel is one of the most balanced and perfect street car build. More has gone into the success of that program than anyone outside of TSM’s walls could imagine. Testing has been constant trying to make sure that not only were our direct customers getting the best possible, but also learning precisely what does what in order to support our vendors and third party customers.
In 2018 however we turned our attention back slightly toward the higher horsepower development. I’m certainly not saying that we stopped pushing during the last year on higher HP builds and cars, however while it was an aspect of my focus, it wasn’t the central focus point of the shop and it’s resources. With the ELITE builds working incredibly well I gently decided to steer the ship in the direction of pushing the HP limits in some of our bigger builds.
The TSM shop car has been the test mule for a ton of the engine development for the past 10-12 months, though it hasn’t been in the limelight. If there was something to try that may or may not be the next best thing… well lets just put it in the shop car lol! This year however I decided it was time to push, develop, test, and most importantly learn at the 2000+++ HP levels. My car was fitted for the GT-R World Cup with what I considered our latest and greatest in the engine department. The car was left wet sump as our in house wet sump system has thousands of hours in development and performs amazingly. It was also left full interior, AC, air-to- air intercooler, cast block, and stock location turbos. Without exaggeration we had an injector plug come unplugged at 65psi of boost in third gear that we believe broke while one of our helpers was cleaning the engine bay. It instantly threw a code and shut the car down but not before it pushed the head gasket. I swear I couldn’t make that up if I tried, and I certainly wouldn’t admit it if it wasn’t true lol! Thankfully it didn’t hurt anything on the engine at all so we simply replaced one head gasket after the cup and put her back together.. never even took the engine off the cradle and she was ready for Texas!!!
On that note I’ll just explain something about my car and myself. Many of you that know me know… I do things methodically. I’m not interested in throwing a billet block on methanol, front mount turbos, and going for 6s. I want everyone to understand this because it is important. That would honestly be nearly effortless for me to do! Go for the glory of the fire breathing forward facing turbo monster that attracts a TON of attention. ETS would happily build me a turbo kit and intercooler, I have billet blocks in stock… in a matter of weeks I could put a record contender together. HOWEVER that is not what I feel will be the biggest advantage to my shop and certainly not my customers! Instead of throwing a catalog of parts at the car, I want to learn, understand, and push to do more with less. Where do you need a billet block? At what point is air-to-water realistically needed? Where does E98 get pissed and methanol end up necessary? When if ever, do you ACTUALLY need a dry sump? When do you need to go mechanical pump? These and more are the questions me and my team want to know DEFINITIVELY!!! The answers to these questions can help us build a more reliable, cheaper, and more practical car for our clients… that is our biggest goal! Our goal isn’t to be the biggest swinger at an event, shooting for the moon on a single 6 second pass. Will that come? Yes I am sure it will… but even if it takes years I am going to deeply understand the entire process of what is needed to achieve each level of performance.
With all that said, back to the event. We took a few bigger power cars to play with as well as some ELITE Plus cars. Obviously the TSM shop car was there and ready to rumble! The Christmas’ Pro2100 car driven by Coy’s wife Alex was ready to party! And, of course,… Spachman’s tried and true Pro1900, Willall billet block street monster was ready for the ball! Some other additions to the camp included Jan’s ELITE Plus, Coy’s ELITE Plus, Javid’s Pro1700 (roll raced only), my brother’s ELITE Plus, and then a small hand full of stock engine turbo upgraded cars that were there just to go out and have fun.
My brother decided not to do the roll race with his car since it really doesn’t excite him much. When Friday night came around we got a couple lower 8 second passes in his car that we felt good about while dialing it back in for the 17” tire. Unfortunately on Saturday during one of the first launches the transmission went into limp mode and threw a pressure sensor code. That same exact trans has been in that car for almost two years and has performed flawlessly, but without warning decided to get upset lol! While we had a spare trans there we decided against swapping them. There was no noise from the trans which means the gears and diff were fine, just a sensor that wasn’t happy. JD made the call to just support the other customers and hang out rather than have us push to fix the car before qualifying. We were bummed but couldn’t be too upset given the minuscule nature of the failure.
Jan’s ELITE Plus build participated in both roll racing and drag racing. His car was thrashed on all weekend long and never skipped a beat! This is an ELITE Plus build done fully in house with our Race 3.8 engine. It has our highest level oiling modifications as well as a billet crank, HD rods, and custom designed billet CP pistons! This is one bad little engine! His fastest MPH in the roll was 186mph during testing and consistently ran 184-185mph. He qualified for the Super Sport class at the upper part of the pack. During eliminations it was pretty impressive to watch him take out some bigger turbo cars. He chiseled his way up to the finals against a 6466, 12 injector Motec car built by English Racing… and that was the end of his victory streak. The ER car and driver both did great! It was an awesome fair race but at the end of the day our Cobb, 6 injector, stock manifold car was simply no match for their much more powerful build. Hats off to the ER guys as they did a great job and it’s always amazing racing with their team! Jan continued to be competitive in the 58mm drag racing class. He ran consistent 8.4s at 167-169mph throughout the two days of drag racing. He worked his way to the quarter finals but got paired up against Mitch’s ELITE Plus car from T1 that is Motec equipped and runs an awesome consistent 8.0x and just wasn’t able to pull out the win. Both Jan and the team were however very happy with how the car performed over the 4 days of abuse! Congratulations for the great showing, Jan!
Javid’s car was being roll raced only since his trans isn’t up to the drag racing task from the previous build. (that will be rectified very soon) This being Javid’s first time roll racing we started off really gentle and sent him off for a pull on basically wastegate, which netted a mid 180s pull. During the first round of qualifying however we got a closed loop fueling warning which shut the car down mid pull. Thinking the car just needed a small tune adjustment we sent him back out for round two only to have the same issue… this time the Motec actually coded an 02 sensor fault. Well by the time we got the car in the air to try and change the 02 sensor Thursday qualifying was over! With no last chance qualifier Friday morning he was out of the running! We were really let down since his car would have been fast. While that car would have gone 200+ in the roll race, which would have been impressive for the build, it would have put him in a really crappy place for competition anyway.. but we were still bummed regardless!
Spachman being the wild man that he is, naturally did both the roll race, drag race, and some trips to Mexico through the course of the 4 day event. Many of you that know Spachman’s car, know that him and the car have been around for a very long time. The build is a Willall Racing billet block that we assembled with our 4.4 stroker kit. The heads are our Level 3s with all the trimmings from GSC, as well as our custom valve seats/porting work. Combined with that is the Pro1900 turbo kit from Extreme Turbo Systems, and of course a badass Shep Transmission! He qualified in the big boy class in the roll race with a best speed of 206mph, which we were all pleased with. The car wasn’t all-all in for the roll since we were pretty confident that a 230mph Lambo was going to be impossible to beat LOL!!! Those dang Lambo’s are so fast in the roll! Sure enough, I believe it was in the quarter finals we got paired up with one of the UGR Huracan that simply out gunned us. Spachman did get the hit, and put up a quality fight, but in the end the Lambo was able to drive around us. All in good fun as neither him or us were expecting to win the roll race anyway.
As usual Spachman’s car was as consistent as possible in the drags. This car never ceases to amaze me! The car literally weights 4000+lbs without him in it but just rides the hell out! It’s beyond full weight, with not one single creature comfort removed. We only ran the car one time for qualifying… off the top of my head I believe it was a 7.70@181 but don’t quote me on that exact number. Chiseling his way through a couple rounds he ran a best pass of a 7.66@184 which landed him against Mr. John Shephard himself in the semi finals. You guys ready for some drag racer excuses? Too bad because you are going to get some LOL! This was a great race and we are always happy to see John do well due to the massive amount of respect we have for him. However, during that pass Spachman got some massive tire shake going into and through 2nd gear. He cut an amazing light; actually within a thousandths of a second of Shep, but the car wouldn’t keep the tire tall into second. Later it was very enlightening talking to Jason Miller about why exactly that was. We had not changed the launch strategy on the Motec in 5 passes so I knew that wasn’t the variable. His car and mine did the same exact thing 1 car apart in the same lane. Even the he still managed a 7.9.. he was bested by Shep! On that note a big congratulations to John Shephard for winning Class 3 the second year in a row!!!
Now our customer Coy… well he “technically” brought three cars! He can’t really go anyplace these days without his fully TSM built billet block R34 that I’m sure many of you have seen. That car is absolutely wondrous and we are very proud of it! We built it from the ground up with a billet block, new head completely done in house, as well as custom turbo kit with a Precision 72mm turbo in it! He pretty much uses that car as his back and forth hotel cruiser.
His R35 however is no joke. It’s an almost 2 year old build, but features the first version of our TSM ELITE Plus turbos. It has run countless 1/4 mile passes over the course of those two years. It is fully 8.5 NHRA caged and legal, which is one of the few GT-Rs that can say that. It’s a TSM 3.8 stock crank engine with our Level 1 heads and a Shep ONE-K transmission. He did both roll racing, drag racing, AND let his son test and tune the car in between. So yes… this car got a work out LOL! In the roll racing he qualified with a 179mph pass around the middle of the Super Sport class and made it through a couple of rounds. He took out a couple bigger turbo cars but couldn’t pull out the win against what ended up being the class winner; a much larger 6466 build from ER. Congrats to the guys from ER for taking #1 in the roll race for the Super Sport class.
The drag portion of the event was a slight let down. Coy got paired up with one of our most recent ELITE Plus builds first round! Jan’s car is a good bit faster and lighter so Coy was down to reaction time in order to win it! Unfortunately for him and fortunately for Jan, Coy red lit anxiously trying to take him down! Thankfully our customers honestly see one other as a team/family so Coy wasn’t upset at all. Keep it in the family he said! If I’m telling the truth, Coy has drag raced his car SO much that the thrill really is more in seeing his family enjoy the event for him. Watching his 16 year old son roll down the track running a 10 second flat pass and then watching his wife wheel her car brought a way bigger smile to the man’s face than a win for himself would have. So all in all the weekend was BEYOND a winner for him.. which you’ll learn from the next paragraph about his wife….
Alex Christmas … this woman completely stole our hearts at this event. Her TSM built R35 is something we are really proud of. We completed the car before the Ocala half mile this past year where we fielded the to get her used to it. She ran 210+mph passes over and over during that event but her intake air temps were simply unacceptable. In January we installed an air-to-water intercooler setup for the anticipation of the GT-R World Cup. The car performed flawlessly there, however we were fighting some Motec BETA/Tuning hurdles that we were having a hard time getting around. Weather moved in Saturday at the World Cup event and we never got the chance to run the car even close to full tilt. This is a 72mm turbo car and one of our first BIG turbo cars along with the TSM Shop car… let me tell you that the learning curve is steep!!! We were up for the challenge come TX however!!!
Alex didn’t roll race as drag racing is really the focus of that car, but come Saturday she was ready to rumble! It still took us a couple of shake down passes in order to dial the car in. It honestly is very interesting what it takes to graduate levels in this field. Three years ago we were on the hunt for 7s and there was so much to learn to get there. Now running a high seven second pass over and over again is a walk in the park, but it takes so much more to get to that 7.5 and under level. It’s challenging and so rewarding for the select teams that have the skillset to achieve it. That said, Saturday morning we sent Alex’s car out for qualifying after two test passes. We had been working both on the launch strategy and driver coaching Alex since WC so the anticipation to watch her cut a solid mid 7 second pass was through the roof!
I’m decent with words, but this one is honestly hard to express! First off, my emotional attachment to her achieving goals is very high since I’ve coached Alex all the way from when she was running low 9s almost 3 years ago. Her dedication to continuing to ask questions and become a better driver has been so consistent through the years, and it shows. She is one of the better students I have ever taught in the fact that when you tell her to do something, or tell her why she needs to break a certain habit, she doesn’t question, argue, or fuss… she just does it! Well in the first round of qualifications it happened! For any of you who have not seen the video, it’s definitely worth watching. The car sat on the hit very well but then stood the tire up a little on the 1-2 shift causing it to yaw left. Without hesitation, Alex kept her foot pinned to the boards and wheeled the 4000lb car back to the center of the track like an absolute pro! Crossing through the 1/4 mile mark it seemed like it took forever for the boards to pop up! When they did though… 7.61@185mph!!! The other thing you will see in the videos is my team going crazy as soon as the boards popped up! Each and every one of them was so invested in pushing Alex through to meet her goal that they went wild when it happened!
In the semi finals Alex found herself against myself in the TSM Shop car … I’ll keep this short…. she won.. the end!
LMAO! I kid, she did win but neither of us had a good run. As I said earlier the shop car had such bad tire shake on the 1-2 I couldn’t keep my foot in it and her car bogged. She pulled by me when I lifted and I couldn’t catch her. While I was looking at her tail lights I certainly should have been happy for my customer that had just beat me … but I’m gonna be honest right here… I wasn’t! LOL
So on to the finals she went. This part of the story is sad so grab some tissues. She was racing against the 76mm T1 car driven by George (who by the way is the nicest guy ever) and I felt it was going to be a good race. Alex had been VERY consistent on the tree the entire weekend and we had put a little more sauce in the tune. She courtesy staged just like she had the whole weekend, barely lit the second bulb, immediately up on launch control she went, and then…. dang it all, the second bulb went out!!! The car coming up on launch moved it just enough to turn off the second bulb which is an automatic red light I have only seen this happen one other time. When I saw the light go out my heart sank! George went down the track to take the win with a 7.6 second pass.
There was one little piece of frosting on that final race however, Peter of TX2K felt bad for Alex and commissioned her to take an exhibition pass for the crowd, this time staging a little deeper. She cut the light… .047 reaction … down the track she went straight as an arrow! 7.52@191!!! Another new personal best! So while the loss was very bitter, the PB was certainly sweet!
Last but not least was the TSM shop car. Many people don’t know exactly how hard we have been pushing our engine program for the last year or so, but this car has been the focal point of all of our testing. We are currently using a different style engine program than anyone in the world on the R35 and it has not been an easy feat to accomplish. The path to creating a 2200+hp engine program out of not only a cast block, but a wet sumped setup was one with lots of trials and learning. We are however teamed up with one of the top tier engine builders in the world, and combining their 50+ years of engine experience with our dedication to becoming the best, it has proven to be a winning combination. I won’t go into too much detail on that here, as I have a thread planned for more details on the shop car and her engine soon and I don’t want to spoil it!
We struggled a little on the two qualifying pass attempts just dialing in the torque control specifics that the bigger turbos liked. Very similar to what we went through with Alex’s car. We got it completely ironed out after receiving a fresh Motec package right before the semifinals where I faced Alex. Like I previously mentioned above, the radial prep wasn’t quite pulled off the track during Spachman’s and my competition passes, which bogged the tire down a little and created a bunch of wheel hop leaving no option but to pull your foot out of it.
BUT, after coming back around from my loss to a girl (lol) my guys informed me that they opened the track for a 15-20 minute test and tune right before they were going to prep for the finals… that meant ole girl was getting hot lapped because I wasn’t leaving without trying my best to get a solid pass. I drove right back up to the lanes and right into the water box in the other lane this time that the sun wasn’t on. The car sat decent on the hit … it felt good… not great but good. Keep in mind the prep was from the beginning of the semifinal round that had already completely run through so it was by no means freshly prepped. I however was waiting for that 1-2 shift! IF the car pulled into second strong without any tire shake this time I knew it was going to be a pass! The one two hit… the car started spinning a little and pulled right through it … I started yelling in my helmet to myself The rest of the pull was glass smooth all the way to the chute pull. My goal for the car was a 7.3 … that is what I wanted coming into the event and when the nice lady handed me my slip I couldn’t have been more satisfied! 7.37@192mph. Goal achieved! Load her in the trailer!
So let’s just recap shall we? The TSM Shop car went 7.37@192, Alex went 7.51@191, Spachman ran 7.6 more times than I can count, Coy, Jan, Javid, JD and my entire staff were on an all time high by the end of the event … and every single car drove in the trailer at the end of a four day thrashing! I’ll call that a success!!!!
Until Next Year Texas!!!!
Thank you to the companies who have helped me and my team get where we are!
Extreme Turbo Systems
My Amazing Staff that give their passion and lives for the betterment of this company!!!