Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin will be live on stage Friday, Jan. 28, at the world-renowned Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., when the Jeg’s Foundation Racing for Cancer Research program receives the entire proceeds from the sale of this year’s Jeg’s Engine Masters Challenge winning powerplant.

Noted engine builder Jon Kaase, who has several ties to the NHRA community, won the third annual Jeg’s Engine Masters Challenge presented by Popular Hot Rodding for the second year in a row and immediately donated his 408ci Ford Cleveland Engine to the charity. Event organizers expect bidding to reach well into the five-digit range. “The sky is the limit,” Coughlin said.

Thirty-nine of the world’s top engine builders were invited to participate in this year’s Jeg’s Engine Masters Challenge. Constructing motors under strict guidelines, the best of the best ultimately descended on Bill Mitchell’s Hardcore Racing Products shop in Long Island, N.Y., to compete for $168,000 in prizes and contingencies.

When the smoke cleared — literally, several entries exploded on the dyno — it was Kaase collecting the $77,500 winner’s check after posting a peak output of 691.2 horsepower and 616.2 foot/pounds with an overall average of 485.9 horsepower and 557.3 foot/pounds, giving him a total score of 1,043 points. Finishing second to Kaase for the second time was W. Enterprises with a 1,031.2 score, which was worth $26,000. BES came in third place, pocketing $14,000 for their 1,022.6 point total.

“All the big boys of engine building were there,” said Coughlin, who was thrilled to help the program grow by having his family’s company sponsor the competition. “The technology and innovations displayed, combined with the fact they all had strict guidelines to adhere to, just boggle the mind. Just about every team that entered produced a motor that could have won it all. Jon just had that little bit extra.”

The concept of the Jeg’s Engine Masters Challenge is relatively simple. Each team has a pre-designated period to construct a 410-inch small-block motor that uses 92-octane unleaded gasoline. Aside from the exclusion of non-OEM cylinder head designs, non-steel connecting rods, and multiple carburetion, there weren’t many restrictions.

On a designated date, all 39 teams arrived in New York and took their turn in the dyno room. A qualifying session included a five-minute warm-up period and three mandatory medium speed (330 rpm) warm-up pulls between 2,500 and 6,500 rpm. If everything was working properly the group then had a 20-minute tuning period where they could perform as many full or partial pulls as they desired. During that time tuning adjustments are limited to jet changes, air bleed changes, emulsion changes, float level manipulation, and ignition timing changes made only by moving the distributor.

At the end of the tuning period, three competition pulls at medium speed were made in rapid succession. The horsepower and torque figures from each pull were averaged and added together for a final score. The top six teams went to the finals where the entire procedure was repeated to determine a winner.

“Our short block contains some of the finest and strongest parts money can buy,” Kaase said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 37 years of engine building, it’s don’t use cheap parts. The Carrillo rods, Bryant crank, and Venolia pistons this engine enjoys are simply the best.

“The pistons are extremely heavy-duty as are the Casidiam-coated wrist pins. The block has eight nickel silicon carbide coated Formula 1 cylinder sleeves, which are impossible to wear out. Everything was built for extreme durability. The custom roller cam built by Comp Cams uses oversize 55mm roller-style cam bearings as well as oversize lobes with larger base circles. The piston wall and bearing clearances are all suited for street or performance use. The valve train parts are the best the rules would allow.

“The valve lift is .740 inches at the valve, which is a little high for coast-to-coast driving. I have some 1.33 rockers that would bring the lift down below .570 inches. They go with the engine. The compression is at 12.35, which is a bit high for continued street driving with pump gas. Street driving and cruising would be no problem when using a performance-type race gas.

“Every effort was made to make this engine durable when using pump gas. It will make over 700 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, 630 foot/pounds at 5,300 rpm while still being able to make over 500 foot/pounds at 2,400 rpm on 92-octane unleaded. I am rebuilding it now with all new rings, bearings, etc. I hope they find a good home for it.”

A 502ci crate motor from General Motors was also donated to the Jeg’s Foundation Racing for Cancer Research program and will also be auctioned off in Arizona alongside Kaase’s engine.

The third annual Jeg’s Engine Masters Challenge presented by Popular Hot Rodding will air at 6 p.m. EST, Saturday, Jan. 22, on the Speed Channel as part of the Lucas Oil On The Edge television series. The Barrett-Jackson Auction runs from Wednesday, Jan. 26 to Sunday, Jan. 30, with several hours of coverage on the Speed Channel.


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