When Frank Tamez arrived in Boise, Idaho, the first weekend of May for an NHRA Division 6 race, he didn’t know what to expect.

Not from his driving ability, but out of the 727 EFI hemi pump gas engine from Sonny’s Engines he had under the hood in his 1967 Nova, which was built by Advanced Chassis.

It’s safe to say the engine exceeded all expectations.

Tamez, in the Top Sportsman class, qualified No. 9 with a 7.43-second elapsed time at 187 mph, and then claimed a runner-up finish at Firebird Raceway.

“I was really impressed with the motor,” Tamez said. “It ran 7.40s at high altitude and it wasn’t even tuned and then we went rounds with it. It is a sweet peach. We stuck the engine in there and started it up and made two hits with it. We didn’t tune the motor. It was really lean, so we added some fuel and left it. That performance also was on 10.5-inch tires. I did put a big tire on it, and it started rubbing, and I thought what am I going to do? I went over the vendor and smallest tire I could find (that would work) was the Mickey Thompson 10.5 w. I mounted those on there and the car ran fine. The beauty of the whole thing was running it on gasoline.”

The engine Tamez was running was initially raffled off for the Victory Junction Kids, raising more than $100,000 for charity at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis.

“The guy who won didn’t need it and I thought it was cool motor,” said Tamez, who lives in Yakima, Wash. “Sonny was building me an engine and I also ended up buying that motor from the guy who won it in the raffle.”



Tamez is still baffled about the great results the 727 EFI hemi pump gas engine produced.

“We had no idea if the motor was going to be consistent because of the pump gas, and it turns out it is,” Tamez said. “It’s very consistent. We went there figuring this was going to be a Test and Tune for us and then we made it to the finals. The elevation in Idaho can be over 5,000 feet and my dial-ins were anywhere between 7.47 up through 7.54. I expect that car will run 7.15 or so like in Seattle in lower elevation.”

The next race for Tamez’s 727 EFI hemi pump gas engine-powered Nova will be June 1-2 in Walla, Wash., as part of the Super Slick Series that competes on the eighth-mile.

“I’m going to leave that 10.5-inch tire on there,” Tamez said. “I think it is cool. I think it is more of an accomplishment if you do something totally different than just show up and be like everybody else. If you have a pump gas motor and a 10.5-inch tire and you’re qualifying in the middle of everybody and going rounds, you have accomplished something. If you show up with the best money can buy and the big tire and everything else, yeah you have accomplished something if you win, but it is not near as gratifying. I have a couple of Wallys from Top Sportsman, but nothing was more gratifying than going here and getting a runner-up (in Boise). This car was a total unknown and for me to do that was totally gratifying. We had no idea what the car was going to do and for it to work this well, I was amazed.”

Tamez acknowledged he already had Plan B ready if the 727 EFI hemi pump gas engine didn’t work in his Nova.

“I put that motor in thinking that if it doesn’t work, I’m just going turn this car into a street legal car,” Tamez said. “I will throw some turn signals and stuff on it and I’m going to have fun with it anyway, driving it around. But now, I’m going to continue to race it. I’m going to find these eighth-mile events that are fun. I’m really excited about this Nova. I have to say Advanced Chassis builds a great car and Sonny builds a great motor. I have been a customer of his for a long time and I couldn’t being doing what I’m doing without them.”