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
 The solid flat tappet camshaft was pulled and all the bearings were inspected. Everyth
 The new camshaft from Comp Cams is a hydraulic roller shaft with 0.623/0.587 lift for
 Comp also supplied pushrods to go with the new camshaft.
Following the streetable theme of the engine, we needed drivetrain components that would survive in traffic. A call to Tremec netted us one of its T56 Magnum six-speed gearboxes. Even though you may not think of it as a race trans, the T56 Magnum is an incredibly versatile transmission. It has a tall First gear (2.97:1) and a very low Sixth gear (0.50:1), which gives us an amazing blend of acceleration with fuel economy. The trans bolts right to the engine with an SFI-approved bellhousing from Quick Time Performance. Inside the bell, we used a 10.5-inch twin disc clutch from RAM Automotive. The clutch hold may more power than our 358ci powerplant is going to put to it, but it also has a nearly effortless pedal for easy driving in traffic. We reused the truck’s hydraulic system for the clutch, and American Powertrain sent us a billet hydraulic throwout bearing to complete the assembly.
 Hydraulic lifters complete the new hydraulic roller valvetrain. Though 9,000 rpm is pr
Given that the entire combination is rather unconventional, we called Mark at the Axle Exchange and he built us a custom 4-inch aluminum driveshaft. Behind that, sits the 9-inch speedway rearend housing (0.01 degree of camber, and 1/16 toe out on the right side), which we got from Tiger Rearends (thanks Gerald!). The rear is filled with a center section and axles from Quick Performance in Ames, Iowa. The center section has a Detroit Tru-Trac limited-slip differential and 4.10 gears.
With a repurposed engine and some great new parts, our power and drivetrain is going to be hard to beat in the fun department. Engines like this are out there. And in many cases, they can be altered to fit many different rulebooks. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity and you can have a unique, yet powerful combination!
 Reassembly started with the new camshaft. The cam was coated with plenty of assembly l
 Next, the new main bearings are installed and coated with assembly lube before the cr
 Total Seal supplied a new set of piston rings.
 The rods and pistons were slid into the bores and attached to the crank with ARP rod
 Next, the degree wheel was attached to the crankshaft and Eichhorn dialed in the cams
 Eichhorn used a set of thicker Cometic MLS head gaskets to bring the compression down
 The new pushrods and old rocker arms complete the new hydraulic roller valvetrain.
 With the valley pan and intake back on, our engine is ready for the front dress, valv
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