Using parts from one car in something completely different is what circle track racing was built on. For thousands of years—OK, maybe not thousands, but for a really long time—racers, hot rodders, and automotive madmen have concocted some serious iron using whatever parts they could mash together to reach their intended goal. In most cases, the goal was more power!
Ford Racing Performance Parts sent us a retired NASCAR Sprint Cup engine. The circa ’97 C-
Even today, on racetracks across this great nation you can still see tons of seasoned parts, many of which are used, repurposed, then used again. This is a great way for racers to save a few bucks, while keeping their cars on track. That’s why automotive hoarders (or racers, whichever term you prefer) keep a stockpile of hard-to-find parts or pieces they know work perfectly well, just in case the need for it ever arises. And for the record, your author is one of these hoarders! Now that we’ve established that repurposing parts is the norm for many circle track racers, here’s where we’re going with this…
When we started thinking about repurposing a NASCAR Camping World truck as a street vehicle, the debate about how to power it came up. Everything from a basic crate engine to one of Ford’s new Mustang powerplants was thrown in as an option. After going back and forth with our good friend Mike Delahanty at Ford Racing, we locked in on an old Sprint Cup engine that FRPP had used as a dyno mule in years past. The history of the engine was a little sketchy (which we love about it), but it had some markings on it that hint at its lineage. It had an old Roush Engineering intake manifold, C3 heads, and pretty mild valvetrain components in comparison to the absolute insanity you see in the cars every Sunday. The engine was complete, but needed some freshening. We also wanted to tone it down just a touch in preparation for the street miles it was destined to endure.
To accomplish this, we traveled to Boynton Beach, Florida, to visit Tim Eichhorn, owner of MPR Racing Engines. After a quick tear down and inspection, it was pretty clear that we didn’t need much to get the engine to where we wanted it.
The first step was teardown. Once the intake manifold, front dress, and cylinder heads came off, we knew this engine was well taken care of. After a few calls we had all the parts we needed to put everything back together. While the engine was apart, Eichhorn cleaned and honed the bores to ensure the cylinders wall surfaces were correct and the rings would seal perfectly, polished the crankshaft, and added drainback holes in the block for our conversion to a wet sump oil system.
Knowing this engine was going to see mostly street duty, we took the solid flat tappet camshaft out and replaced it with a hydraulic roller setup from Comp Cams. The conversion required a new camshaft, lifters, and pushrods. Our new hydraulic roller camshaft measures in at 0.623/0.587 lift for intake and exhaust with 251/258 degrees of duration at 0.050 respectively, with a 110 LSA. All in all, it should be a healthy cam for being a hydraulic roller. To complete the heads, the shaft-mount rockers were reused. A new set of Clevite main and rod bearing were installed, and a set of thicker Cometic head gaskets were used to mate the C3 cylinder heads to the freshened short-block. The thicker gaskets helped bring the compression down from 12:1 to about 11.2:1, which with a mild tune-up will allow us to run pump gas on the street.
 Once the heads came off we got our first look at the pistons and cylinders. Although e
 Eichhorn gave the heads a complete once over. They were cleaned, reassembled, and read
 The combustion chambers are rather small on the C3 heads. The combination of this and