Ford-powered cars have made...
Ford-powered cars have made tremendous strides in short-track racing with many titles on pavement and dirt. Earl Pearson Jr. is among the top Dirt Late Modeldrivers using a Ford engine.
Make a visit to any Saturday night racetrack across the country-it doesn't matter whether it's asphalt or dirt-and take a survey of the brands circling the racing surfaces. Chances are the Bow Tie Brigade is going to greatly outnumber the ambassadors of the Blue Oval in the V-8 classes. There is no doubt Chevrolet enjoys an advantage because its design for the small-block V-8 has been in so many cars over a span of 50 years. It's a tried-and-true design that plenty of people are comfortable building and working on, but it doesn't make Ford's Windsor V-8 a slouch
The fact is Ford's small-block V-8 has a few distinct advantages over its Chevrolet counterpart. Take, for instance, Ford's higher camshaft location that allows for a greater stroke before you hear the dreaded clang of the rod bolt hitting the camshaft. Of course, most of these improvements are the result of Ford reverse-engineering much of Chevrolet's V-8 because it was on the market first and readily available for inspection-but an advantage is an advantage.
Ford's cam journals are already...
Ford's cam journals are already a sizeable 2.035 inches at the smallest hole. This is significantly larger than a stock Chevrolet cam journal and means that cam deflection shouldn't be a problem, even with heavy-duty valvesprings.
Make no mistake, Circle Track is a fan of torque and horsepower, not badging. But, in the interest of fair play for everyone, we thought it might be a good idea to share a few power tips for the Ford minority. To do that, we polled some of the most respected Ford engine builders and component designers in the industry. Larry Clark builds Scott Bloomquist's all-aluminum torque monsters for Dirt Late Model racing. Joe Rhyne is the man who provided the power for Frank Kimmel's three-straight ARCA championships. You get the idea. Just do us one favor: The next time you go out and kick a Chevrolet's rear end, don't give us too much credit.
Big Cam Bearings
One of the positives for Ford blocks is the big cam bearings they run. You don't have to worry about camshaft deflection on a Ford like you do on a stock Chevy block because the Ford comes with cam journals that are nearly two-tenths of an inch bigger than a Chevrolet. The cam bearing that we always look at on a block is the next to last-that's the smallest that you have to fit your cam lobes through. On a Ford, that hole is 2.035 inches. On a small-block Chevy, it is 1.869 inches. That's even bigger than a 50mm Chevy. Plus, the Ford block can easily be line-bored to 2.065 inches. The bigger camshaft barrel diameter not only means a stiffer overall cam, it also allows for a bigger base circle. With a bigger base circle, you can spread the lobes out. On a flat-tappet cam, that means you don't exert as much stress on the nose. On a roller cam, it allows you to reduce the pressure angles on the rollers. Overall, it's just better.Mike JonesUltra Pro Racing Cams704/392-1715
Flatter can be Better
Ford's N351 and N352 cast-iron heads have a shallow, 10-degree valve angle. If you are running a class that doesn't have a compression rule, you can really take advantage of this. The shallow valve angle means you need a smaller valve pocket in the tops of the pistons. You can really cut down the deck of the head and cut that combustion chamber way down before you have to cut too much of a valve pocket in the pistons. The limiting factor for any valve pocket is the thickness of the aluminum in the top of the piston. You don't want too much material there because it will make the piston too heavy, but a relatively thin piston top limits how deep you can cut the valve pocket. The Ford's shallow valve angle means you can deck the head a lot more than a Chevrolet 23-degree head without changing the valve pocket significantly. The resulting gain in compression ratio can be a big advantage.Kevin TroutmanKT Engine Development704/784-2610www.ktengines.com