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From mild to wild, how fast do you want to go? One engine shop that can offer you plenty of options is TyTech Performance in Lewisburg, TN. Owned by Tyree Smith, TyTech prides itself on ingenuity and redefining the standards of excellence within drag racing, which has allowed the shop’s clients to reach plenty of record times over the years.
The shop, which was established in 1992, has expertise in custom engine building, tuning, fabrication, wiring, engine restoration, and general repair. In short, there isn’t much TyTech Performance can’t do for customers. It’s a one-stop shop, performing most services in-house with the help of a state-of-the-art machine shop, which includes a Super Flow engine dyno and a Mainline hub dyno.
“We moved to the middle of Tennessee about 17 years ago,” Tyree Smith says. “We do full chassis, headers, titanium exhaust, engines, machining, engine assembly, and engine dynoing. We do pretty much anything you need with the exclusion of paint work. We wire and plumb them too. We do it all.”
We recently got to catch up with Tyree during the Summit Midwest Drags at Edgewater Motorsports Park where the drag-and-drive event kicked off. Tyree was there to support a few customers as well as compete with his own 1987 Chevy Camaro Berlinetta powered by a turbocharged 383 Gen II LT1 engine.
“I’ve got a ‘94 model Gen II LT1,” Smith told us. “It’s 383 cubic inches, which is pretty common. It has a single 88mm Pro Mod Gen II Precision turbo and it’s a dual fuel setup controlled by a Holley Dominator ECU. I’m also running a standard Turbo 400-style transmission with a Ford 9-inch rear and factory suspension.”
According to Tyree, he’s had the car for 26 years, which means he’s had time for a lot of fun, but also a lot of work and progress has been made on the car and engine over that time as well.
“What I use in this particular application is a custom set of billet rods that Crower builds for me,” he says. “It’s the only thing that seems to hold up at these boost levels. I use a full counterweighted Callies Magnum-style crankshaft, custom Ross pistons with a dykes-style ring package, and a custom ground camshaft that Bullet Race Cams does for me. The heads are pretty much as they come – AFR 210 23-degree cylinder heads. I use a stainless shaft-mount rocker system from T&D Machine and Smith Brothers does the pushrods. I hand ported the intake manifold and we made the headers and the old turbo kit in-house. The injection system is controlled by a Holley Dominator and PTC Torque Converters and Transmissions do all the trannys and torque converters for me.”
The Berlinetta Camaro and its LT1 engine actually doesn’t compete often in drag-and-drive events, but nonetheless, Tyree has this setup equipped to handle dual fuel thanks to the use of different injectors.
“I use a modified factory LT1 fuel rail with a street injector,” Smith says. “We drive it on premium fuel, which gives us good gas mileage and great drivability. Then, I have a mechanical alcohol system that when it starts to make boost, it’s non-intercooled, so it switches over to pure M1 on its own fuel system and another set of injectors. We do that all with the Holley Dominator ECU. I get a ton of help from Doug Flynn and Ryan White over at Holley. That system makes it super simple. No bags of ice and no carrying race fuel. We get 17 mpg, so we can go anywhere we need to go.”
That gas mileage comes in handy when Tyree does enter the Berlinetta Camaro in events like the Summit Midwest Drags. However, the car’s limiting factor is an 8.50 cert cage.
“I brought this car because my Drag Week car, the one I’ve previously won with, isn’t prepared,” he told us. “I’m changing some gear sets in it. This car is something we can always break out and have fun with. It always runs fast. Being that it’s a true street car, it only has an 8.50 certification from NHRA, so they really limit us and we have to be careful not to go below 8.50, which is difficult.
“We have shut this car off at 6 seconds in the quarter and we still run 7.32. It’s hard to go 8.50. We hope to just have fun. I’m here with several customers and their cars and they usually win and do well. If we have a good time and we finish, we’re happy. We didn’t come out with any crazy expectations. That said, if we do get a good track, we will send it at least once – disqualification or not.”
While Tyree has to hold back a bit on the track, the LT1 engine makes 1,320 horsepower on the wheel dyno using 28-lbs. of boost.
“We have a high gear ratio in this for street driving, however, when I have the beans turned up, I have it at 40 psi, and this combo picks up 40 horse per pound to the tire,” he says. “You guys can do the math on what you think it makes.”
Doing that math, the LT1 engine on 40-lbs. of boost is in the neighborhood of 1,800 horsepower to the wheels. That’s pretty impressive for a street car.
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – 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]