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There were more than a few cool-looking engine bays at the 2022 Builder’s Brawl this past summer, but none in our opinion topped that of Cory Clemens of Clemens Motorsports Unlimited LLC. His Pro275 drag car, nicknamed King of the Jungle II, is a Trans Am featuring a gray, black, gold and burgundy red paint job, and his engine bay houses a massive, twin-turbo, 526 cubic inch Hemi engine. It stood out, even amongst a crowd of other super-clean, super stout drag cars, so we had to know more about the engine and the builder/driver behind it.
As it turned out, Cory started building this car when he was just 16 years old. His family owns and operates Clemens Motorsports Unlimited LLC out of Osage Beach, MO. The shop has been around for over 30 years, doing everything from running professorial race teams to working on major marketing projects for performance businesses.
“All my life you could find me at the drag strip,” Cory Clemens says. “Whether that was watching my dad race his Pro Mod, to making laps in my high school car, or even helping out on some of the pro teams. I’ve driven everything from Jr. Dragsters to Pro Street cars and even Super Comp dragsters, and I don’t plan on stopping there.”
Cory has aspirations of one day driving a Top Fuel dragster. His Pro275 Trans Am is a good stepping stone for sure. The car he had at the Builder’s Brawl was a four-year build.
“We debuted this car at PRI in 2019,” Clemens told us. “It’s a Pro275 car that we built for LDR (Limited Drag Radial), but we ended up getting bumped up. Currently, we’re doing more No Prep and No Time racing and that kind of thing.
“Pretty much anything you see on the car, I did it. It was a four-year project I did in high school. It involved a lot of tin work and bar bending. I learned how to weld and really got good at that. At our shop, I do a lot of roll cages for guys. I do a lot of sheet metal work and just help anywhere I can for customers. We also do some parts sales. I wired, plumbed and welded the car. If it was done, I did it. That’s what I love to do.”
The 526 cid Hemi engine features a billet Brad Anderson Enterprises block and cylinder heads, as well as a Bryant crankshaft, CP connecting rods, an LSM camshaft, Manton pushrods, Manton rockers, a Hogan’s sheet metal intake, custom valve covers, a Peterson oiling system, and twin 88mm Garrett turbos with TiAL wastegates.
“It’s got the best of the best that we could put in it,” Clemens says. “It’s billet everything. We did everything we could do to get an edge.”
Of course, helping the Hemi gain an edge are those sizable Garrett twin turbos, as well as ComSYNC EFI. According to Cory, he usually pumps about 50-lbs. of boost through them and starts a run somewhere in the 7-10-lb. range, depending on the track and application. All of that equates to a billet Hemi capable of making around 4,800-5,000 horsepower.
When Cory runs something like a Duck X Production race, he says the team shoots for a 3.80-4.00 pass. However, his expectations were a little different, he says, with the No Prep stuff.
“Here at Builder’s Brawl, we’re hoping to run 4.50-4.80,” he noted. “That’s what we’re kind of shooting for as our goal for the weekend. We’d be happy with that because this is one of our first No Prep races. If we can get anything under a 5.00 flat we’d be really stoked.”
This Pro275 Trans Am and its twin-turbo Hemi engine are definitely a killer combo, and we look forward to seeing many, many more years of Cory in the driver’s seat. Needless to say, we’re glad we stopped and found out a little bit more about Cory Clemens and his drag car. More photos below…
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].