Nitro Gear goes to the PRI show in Indy

The SEMA curse is well known. The idea that despite your best planning things always seem to happen at the last minute as you struggle to prep or build a machine in time for the show. PRI curse? Apparently it exists as well. We had planned on attending the Performance Racing Industry show (PRI) for months with our trusty LS swapped 95 Silverado being the centerpiece of our display. The 5.3L truck had proven reliable with it’s Level 3 4l60E Performabuilt transmission, FAST fuel system and intake and XS Power high performance batteries running the Kicker Audio system, but we couldn’t leave well enough alone and that’s how we ended up battling to be on time for the big show.

The 5.3L was making 348 RWHP normally aspirated, but we wanted more so a TorqStorm Supercharger was added about 3 weeks before PRI. We knew it would need to be tuned and had an appointment, but figured we could make a couple low boost hits just to test it out and that’s when it happened. A combination of incorrect crankcase venting and higher cylinder pressures resulted in a hurt motor running very poorly on just a couple cylinders. This was 13 days before we would need to have the truck loaded on the trailer and headed to Indianapolis. After some rather stressful discussion we got the motor out and over to our friends at S&W Performance Machine Shop in McDonough GA. Teardown revealed broken rings on 6 of the 8 pistons and the bottom end didn’t look great either. After evaluating our options it seemed obvious that the motor should be rebuilt for boost and a serious power increase at the same time. S&W bored the block to 5.7L, then added forged stroker kit from Lunati combined with Wiseco pistons and a new blower cam from Comp Cams added at the same time. Displacement jumped to about 383CI for a lot more torque.  The heads were also freshened and the long block reassembled in short order with a few days to drop the motor back in the truck before PRI.

With the motor back on friday it was all hands on deck to put it back into the little truck as quickly as possible knowing it would need at least a base tune before we hauled it north. Monday we trailered the truck to Nicolas Auto Repair  in Griffin GA for a dyno tune. Nicolas is well known in the area for tuning high performance street race cars (and building them) including some of the machines seen on the TV show Street Outlaws. With a very fresh motor a conservative low boost tune made sense for now as the truck put down 540RWHP at just 6 PSI of boost. Both the engine builder and tuner expect the mill is capable of reliably putting around 700HP to the wheels once dialed up in the future.  Suffice to say the truck is a ripper now!  With 12 hours to spare the truck was loaded back on the trailer and headed north to PRI.

Dyno pull Below:

The show itself. Much like SEMA, but probably about 1/6th the size and all of it indoors (which was good as it was about 20 outside and snowing most of the time) PRI is a who’s who of the performance and racing industry. Everything from circle track parts to top fuel dragster components was on hand complete with an entire hall devoted exclusively to engine building machinery and tools. Cool and shiny stuff. We were there with a number of parts, but mostly showing off our stunning US built billet aluminum 9-10 inch drop out unit as it is ideal for very high horsepower street and drag cars. We had a lot of interest and expect to see these new units in some high profile machines in the next few months.

The celebrity culture was an unusual twist. This was out first year at PRI and one of the things we came away with was just how much influence the TV show Street Outlaws has on the event. Virtually all the top cars from the series were on hand and the drivers spent their days signing autographs in booths with long lines. We had the opportunity to personally meet with both Jeff Lutz and ‘Doc’ during our week there and found both of them to be extremely friendly and engaging.

Overall PRI proved to be a great show, cool town, some incredible cars and we met a lot of really nice people along the way. No doubt next year will be even better and hopefully we won’t be rebuilding an engine the week before the show!

We couldn’t help ourselves and did a “Mannequin Challenge” at our booth during the show. Check it out below:

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