Toward the end of that year, Sal took a liking to the Drag Radial class and decided to go in that direction for 2002, using a 402/C4 combination with a boost of nitrous via an NOS two-stage plate system. "We went to three NMRA races and broke at all three," he says. To say 2002 was a learning experience for him would be putting it mildly. He broke pistons, transmissions, and other components, but he still managed to finish in the ninth spot overall.
For 2003, Sal decided to take advantage of the rules by backing down to a smaller engine with a 360 and adding a Dynamic Powerglide, a TCT converter, and an NOS Pro Shot Fogger. At the '03 Bradenton NMRA opener, he qualified third with a 9.13 at 156 mph with a less-than-stellar 1.59 60-foot time. As does everyone else in Drag Radial, Sal has a ton of respect for Chris Little, but he still wants to beat him in the worst way.
Just before this story went to press, Sal ran a best of 8.87 at 156 mph with a 1.40 60-foot time. With his 60-foot troubles behind him, Sal hopes Chris will be back there as well.
Now do you see the importance of Dad's musclecar?
To take advantage of the NMRA's Drag Radial rules, Sal's '03 combination centers around a 351-based Merkel Racing Engines-built 360. The 14:1 short-block plays host to Frankie Ford-ported Trick Flow Street Heat heads, a "big" Comp Cams grind, an Edelbrock Super Victor intake, and a Da Vinci HP1000 carburetor. The motivational force comes from an NOS Pro Shot Fogger capable of adding 500 hp to the mix. Backing up the Windsor is a Dynamic Powerglide with a TCT stall converter, which sends power through an Inland Driveline driveshaft back to a Moser-outfitted 8.8 rear.