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Engine of the Week

Blown 540 cid Hemi Engine

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We met up with Jarrad Scott on the fourth day of Sick Week, when the drag-and-drive event competitors descended upon South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, GA. Jarrad is no stranger to the drag-and-drive scene. In fact, he’s been winning the A/Gas class for years at events like Hot Rod Drag Week, and Sick Week was no exception.

1962 Ford Ranchero

That success is thanks to his 1962 Ford Ranchero and the car’s impressive engine – an 8-71 blown, 540 cubic inch Hemi built by INDY Cylinder Heads. Originally, the ’62 Ranchero belonged to Dennis Taylor, a custom chassis builder, who built the chassis for the car and competed with it at the 2014 edition of Drag Week. Jarrad, who hails from Iowa originally and currently lives in the Washington DC area, took ownership of the Ranchero, which is nicknamed Bitchin’, in 2015. It was at this point that Jarrad revamped just about every aspect of the car and brought it back to its winning ways.

Prior to Jarrad getting the car, Bitchin was outfitted with a big block Chevy engine. In 2015, Jarrad changed that, along with a number of other upgrades, with the exception of the car’s body. The stance, the paint and the signage are all spot-on for a ‘60s-style, straight-axle-equipped gasser.

You’ll recognize this image from our March issue cover!

The 540 cubic inch engine features an aluminum block and aluminum heads, both from INDY Cylinder Heads. It has a Blower Shop 8-71 blower on it that is Hilborn injected using a Holley Dominator EFI set up. Behind the engine, Jarrad utilizes a manual 5-speed transmission from G-Force, as well as a Gear Vendors overdrive, specifically for drag-and-drive events.

INDY Cylinder Heads built the Hemi engine using top-of-the-line components to ensure Jarrad’s engine would last. The Hemi is 9.5:1 compression and features CP pistons, Crower rods, a Lunati DragonSlayer crank, and a custom COMP Cams camshaft. The INDY aluminum cylinder heads are 360cc, but they’ve been ported out to 425cc.

“I’ve maxed out just about everything within the rules to get every ounce of horsepower I can,” Scott says. “The restriction is the 8-71 blower. Running an 8.50 is our class limit and I bump right up against 8.60 at 160 mph when I’m putting everything to it.”

According to Jarrad, Bitchin’ is fairly consistent in the quarter mile with ETs between 8.60-8.70. However, at Sick Week, he admitted he was ‘having a heck of time.’

“I’ve spent a lot of time at Drag Week and those kinds of events, and I’m always consistently in the 8s and have won my class many years,” he told us. “I lost recently to Finnegan and his Blasphemi, which runs a very similar combination as me. This week, I’m averaging around a 9.00 at 155 mph, which is not good for my car.

“I have a rear main seal that’s starting to leak a little bit and is making my clutch grab and slip. If I need to, I have a spare clutch, so I can pull it off on the side of the road and replace it, but let’s hope I don’t need to with just one day left.”

When Jarrad arrives at the track, he says it takes just 30 minutes to switch from a street setup to a track setup, which is an enormous advantage over a lot of the other “bigger” competitors who might need a couple hours.

“I need one more good 9.00 pass and we will seal the win [at Sick Week],” he says. “These events are all about survival. The first day, we were all ready to go and run an 8.60. It bobbled a little bit. On day four, I want this car on the road and I want to be back in my hotel. By day five, we’re all tired. This has been a very nice week though, and might be better than Drag Week in my opinion. Tom Bailey did a great job, but we’re all starting to feel fatigued now.”

Competing at Sick Week in the Gasser vs Hot Rods vs Beetles class, Jarrad recorded passes of 9.212 @ 153.82 mph, 9.006 @ 156.48 mph, 9.377 @ 155.74 mph, and 9.871 @ 153.75 mph for an average of 9.367 @ 154.95 mph, which was enough to give him the Gasser/A win.

When the car is running its 8.60 setup, Bitchin’s Hemi engine cranks out about 1,200 horsepower. At Sick Week, Jarrad estimates the Hemi was putting out around 1,050 horsepower, and it did so in style!

It takes just 30 minutes for the car to go from its street to its track setup!

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc./NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]

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