Joe Hornick and his unusual service:

Joe Hornick and his unusual service:

America’s first help line for race engine builders. By Victor Moore: “He’s been an absolute master at soaking up knowledge, which has been a great help to us. He applies it intelligently and explains it in simple terms,” says John Force’s Funny Car crew chief Jimmy Prock. In our racing world, from Sportsman level to F1, it is those with acutely sharp brain power that gain the decisive edge. Though not always recognized by the public at large, top teams know them, know their capacities and know they are indispensible. Joe Hornick is one such and like a rare trumpeter swan, when he’s in full flight his capabilities are something to see. “As an engineer, he is the best I’ve known,” says race engine builder Jack Cornett. “I first met him in 2011 and hired him initially as a consultant to unravel mysteries within our valve train assemblies. It didn’t take him long.”     Hornick, who grew up in Madison, Minnesota gained an aptitude for the skills required to develop advanced racing engines. His technique was mostly conventional: endless research and careful analyses. More unconventional, however, has been his embrace of all types of internal combustion engine development from nitro methane to alcohol, gasoline, to diesel, from drag racing to oval track—both asphalt and dirt, he even advises on and develops engine systems for marathon boat racing. He learns from them all. Says Richie Gilmore of ECR’s engine shop (Richard Childress Racing) in North Carolina: “It’s the extensiveness of his experience with racing engines that sets him apart. There are very few individuals like him. When NASCAR adopted...
How to add 5hp to the race engine throughout the rev range:

How to add 5hp to the race engine throughout the rev range:

Each generation of induction technology continually evolves; here is the latest. Measuring two inches deep, Mike Androwick of Mike’s Racing Heads has introduced a new lightweight four-hole tapered spacer to suit all 4150-style mounting flanges. It accommodates a wide range of competition engines. It is also said to fulfill the higher expectations of Dirt Late Model racers. Using the power of big-block modified racing engines as his datum, Androwick explains that this new tapered spacer generates a further five horsepower when tested against the most competitive spacers he could find. Importantly, the internal air flow surfaces are formed by pronounced small, sharp steps, giving the appearance of multiple tiny terraces. These terraces act as anti-reversion aids, resisting reverse airflow initiated when the valves close and fast-moving airflow is momentarily brought to an abrupt halt. At the spacer’s internal center, a further anti-reversion measure takes the form of a flat 1/2in square diamond-shaped pedestal. These one-way resistance measures attempt to limit the travel of reverse airflow—particularly its detrimental effects should it reach the carburetor boosters. Available at a price of $200 and immediate shipping completes the picture. Source Mike’s Racing Heads Concord, North Carolina (704) 654-6079...
Testing first small-block Ford Hemi

Testing first small-block Ford Hemi

By Alfie Bilk: If you were seeking a guidebook on how not to carve out a career in motor sport, Greg Brown’s story might be a good starting place. Following two years of studying numerous concepts and with a prototype partially complete, he undertook the daunting task of pioneering production Hemi cylinder heads for the small-block Ford engine in a scant period of just under four and a half months. The processes for developing the rare Hemi included complex scanning to gather CAD data, mobilizing a casting company to create the tangible form and developing a CNC program that would sculpt its final shape. Then, a head was urgently dispatched to Jesel to develop crucial rocker development. With an intuitive grasp of the technical and an eye for future opportunities, what had shaped Brown’s decision? “If I failed to display it at the 2016 PRI exhibition in Indianapolis, I could potentially squander a year,” he said. The performance-minded public, particularly those based in the Northeast is large and active and languishing for a further 52 weeks in obscurity was obviously not an attractive proposition. Even more astounding, word of the unique cylinder head would be released without any convincing proof of a single dyno test. There was simply no time. When the inaugural dynamometer test of the new heads, which were attached to a 427ci World Products block, was eventually undertaken in January 2017, the results were astounding: 604hp and 601lb-ft torque. Astounding because the initial set up was meant to deliver 10.5:1 compression ratio. However, final valve changes were made, which entailed moving the intake valve seats to...
Racing valve springs: Sound rules to remember

Racing valve springs: Sound rules to remember

By Archie Bosman: Before starting this valve spring story, I thought I had a grasp of its mechanics, but then as it developed it became ever more complicated until it reached a point where I doubted if I had any intuitive understanding of how valve springs and their attendant valve gear function! Conveniently, the accumulated reams of research data were simplified when Dick Boyer entered the picture. Here, courtesy of Erson Cams, are several sound rules to remember. It’s a brief insight developed for those interested in high-performance engine technology that explains the severity of the environment in which the valve spring operates, and some of its relationships with the various functions of the valve train. Erson suggests that the primary factors considered when selecting valve springs in a racing engine are, first, the amount of valve lift and, second, engine speeds. As engine speed increases so does inertia, which refers to valve train resistance to changes in speed and direction.   With regard to the valve when fully open—at maximum valve lift—most engine builders desire the valve spring to be almost coil bound. Usually, the spring’s top and bottom coils will be touching with a few coils in the middle presenting a tiny gap that cumulatively amounts to 0.050in to 0.060in. This almost coil-bound condition returns the coil spring to a uniform, stable shape on every closing cycle. If not, the spring exhibits excessive space between the coils and it never relaxes—it constantly shakes and wiggles. Therefore, it could be argued that a valve spring operating at moderate lift that doesn’t close properly is more inclined to ail with...
Mistakes that weaken a supercharger’s performance

Mistakes that weaken a supercharger’s performance

Bertie S. Brown: Though they don’t cater to the Corvette market or late-model Ford Mustangs—none from 1994 to present due to congested engine bays—TorqStorm Superchargers’s product manager, Rick Lewis, has dealt with hundreds of incoming queries in the first eight years of the firm’s history. Here are five of the most common: 1) Compression ratios and intercoolers “The compression ratio for pump-gas engines is crucial,” says Rick Lewis. “TorqStorm recommends ratios of 9.1 to 9.5:1.” Higher ratios usually require an intercooler. “But if you are running less than 12psi of boost and under 10:1 compression ratio with a blow-through carburetor or venturi-style throttle body fuel injection,” insists Lewis, “ you can still achieve significant power increases without an intercooler, even on pump gas. Blow-through carburetors do a very good job of controlling intake charge temps.” 2) What increases in power can I expect? “Our single centrifugal supercharger, which supports 700+hp and generates boost of 6-8psi., increases engine power by about 40 percent over stock performance,” claims Lewis. “Add a second unit, which collectively generate 12-15psi., and the engine’s power output potentially doubles.” Note that the fuel pump must support 21psi of fuel pressure and it relies on a return line to the tank. 3) Carburetors and regulators The fuel delivered to a carburetor on a normally aspirated engine operates at 6 or 7psi. But the blow-through carburetor is designed to operate from 5psi to boosted pressures that can reach 18psi on a forced-induction engine. This task is achieved by the introduction of a boost-referenced fuel pressure regulator. Via a small-bore hose, the regulator is connected to a port on the...
Harmonic balancers: Free advice on selecting them

Harmonic balancers: Free advice on selecting them

By Archie Bosman:  It’s easy to underestimate the cost of a deficient harmonic balancer. But they can have a profound effect on the fortunes of the able race engine—a natural enemy of crank and bearings. With the engine running, camshafts and crankshafts vibrate torsionally (in twist) and, as the saying goes, for every action there’s a reaction. Camshafts are affected by the forces related to the opening and closing of the valves while crankshafts by the combustion events. Each time the cylinders fire, torque is imparted to the crank, causing deflections—twisting it as much as 2 degrees. All of this partially complicates the timing of the valve openings as well as the cam and ignition timing to say nothing of the oppressive conditions in which the crank operates. As a result of the vibrations and deflections in both shafts, a harmonic balancer or damper is connected to the crank to absorb them. Vibrations are at their highest when furthest from the flywheel. Hence dampers are mounted on the front of the crank. Yet, on historic and vintage race engines often there was no provision at the front of the crank to mount a damper. Consequently, they might use a custom elastomer or tunable pendulum damper at the rear of the crank near the clutch.   Resonance At certain engine speeds the torques imparted by the cylinders are in sync with the vibrations in the crankshaft, which results in a potentially destructive phenomenon known as resonance. This resonance can cause stress beyond what the crank can endure, resulting in crankshaft failure due to fatigue. Robert Bartlett of the noted historic...
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