The Fireball Racecar will be singing a new tune with a new Proline Racing 481x engine as it hits the track and the streets in early 2017.
Winter Meltdown Engine Meltdown
“We decided to switch from the Proline wedge engine to the Proline 481x engine after losing the rocker arm and having to forfeit the race to James Goad’s Reaper at the Winter Meltdown No Prep Shootout last month,” said Russ Harrison, co-owner of Fireball Racing.
The Fireball gapped Kye Kelley in the first round at the Winter Meltdown, but the wedge engine didn’t hold up during the burnout preceding the race against the Reaper in the second round.
“When we burnt out and backed up, we lost two rocker arms and pistons,” explained Ryan Martin, Fireball Camaro’s driver. “I knew we’d risk doing serious damage to the car and have little chance of winning. I’d rather be safe than sorry, so I decided to forfeit the pass to Goad. – a decision no driver takes lightly.”
The sting of the last forfeit initiated Fireball race team’s search for a more durable engine.
“The wedge engine was a good engine,” says Martin. “But the harder you pushed it, the more you had to work on it – which is true of all cars, but we were rocking rockers off every other pass. We’re not only in a race against other cars, but we’re also in a race against the clock to maintain the Fireball between races. The wedge engine was a specialty engine, so availability of parts was always an issue at races.”
While the wedge engine has helped the Fireball Camaro win its fair share of races, including the one against Tom Bailey’s Sick Seconds’ Camaro on NBC Sports’ Grudge Race, it was also temperamental. The one-of-a-kind engine became more high maintenance after being converted to alcohol.
“We needed something more durable, less fickle and easier to work on between passes,” said Harrison.
Proline 481x Fires Up Fireball
The Proline 481x engine meets the race team’s checklist and adds 300 to 500 more horsepower and 30 to 60 pounds of boost to the high-powered Fireball Camaro.
“We love Proline engines, and they perfected the 481x,” said Martin. “The design is much easier to work on, especially in the pit.”
The new engine has also added something priceless – confidence. The team is more confident in the 481x’s ability to get them down the track and through to the next race.
“It’s much easier to get parts in the pits for this engine,” said Martin. “For racing being such a competitive sport, everyone is really good about selling each other parts. Since we have access to more parts at races, we’re more confident that we can maintain this engine between rounds to get us to the next round and through the next pass.”
The Fireball Camaro tested the Proline 481x for the first time at the U.S. Street Nationals in Bradenton, Florida last week. “The engine is an animal!” Martin proclaimed. Though Fireball lost in the second round when the car pulled a monster power wheelie mid-track, the team is confident in its ability to harness the power of the new engine with some slight tweaking and fine tuning before their appearance at Lights Out 8 at South Georgia Motorsports Park in mid-February.