Behind the Scenes at Day One of the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge

This is our seventh year as title sponsor of the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge (EMC), presented by HOT ROD magazine. The University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) is our host again this year.

The EMC has evolved over the years and, since Popular Hot Rodding passed the torch to HOT ROD, several new twists have been added. One of these is having different categories of engines compete on each day, a transition that began last year and has continued to evolve. This year’s engine categories include a Small-Block Shootout, Vintage Class, Big-Block Shootout and, for the first time, a Nitrous Class on Friday. In all, 25 engines will be put through their paces this week.

Engine dynamometers are extremely sophisticated pieces of equipment. Their primary functions include data acquisition and engine-control systems. The important feature is this: everything needs to be repeatable so that the information it generates is reliable.

The equipment holds the engine’s power back and measures it while holding power. That is, the dyno operator runs the engine through its usable rpm band and measures the torque generated as it sweeps. The dynos here at UNOH use water to provide resistance instead of a transmission. Essentially they’re pumping water instead of moving a car down the road. The dyno measures the torque that the engine is generating while pumping the water.

The first day was devoted to small-block engines, beginning with Randy Malik of Roseville, Mich. Malik brought a Ford small block boasting just over 351 cu. in., which is rounded to 352 for competition calculations. There appeared to be fuel-pressure issues, which caused delays. Randy Malik has worked on engines since he finished high school, all types from street and drag racing to marine engines and road racers. Even after 46 years he still finds enjoyment in building. He especially likes high-performance and “stuff that’s different, that’s not the normal bread-and-butter cookie-cutter type of thing. It challenges you more and makes you learn more,” said Malik. “That’s why I like it.”

The second competitor on the block in cell one was Ron Stanislawczyk, who brought a Ford Cleveland engine. At the end of the day Scott Main did his required dyno pulls and did real good with another Ford small block.

This morning the Small-Block Shootout continued with Chris Henderson of Henderson Power Sports/Speier Racing Heads. We’re using both dyno cells today, with the Vintage Class setting up in dyno cell two. With the action underway, here are some photos to give a feel of what is happening here in Lima, Ohio this week.

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And, if you crave more engine-building action, don’t forget to check out Engine Masters Presented by AMSOIL on Motor Trend‘s YouTube channel. Watch the latest episode below.

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