Evolution is a big part of drag racing, as new technologies are blended with classic formulas for success to create new ways to go fast. Bracket racers have used the small-block Chevy powerplant for decades and now some are turning to the new generation of LS-based engines to provide horsepower. Tim Kish’s 1932 Bantam altered is a mixture of old and new with its supercharged LS engine that will see bracket racing action.
Kish has been around drag racing his entire life — in fact, his father was actually competing in Super Stock at the U.S. Nationals when he was born. The first thing Kish did when he got his driver’s license was make a trip to the drag strip to begin his racing career. All of this led to him earning an Automotive Engineering degree and eventually taking a position as an Engineer at Eaton Superchargers.
Kish raced a Dodge Neon in Super Stock early on, but he always thought the altereds that competed in Competition Eliminator were amazing machines. His altered pays tribute to those cars and allows him to spend time racing with his children.
“My kids both run junior dragsters; NHRA doesn’t run juniors and Super Stock together at any events in Division 3, and with IHRA’s class racing program going away a few years ago we decided we needed to build a bracket car so we could all race at the same events. My kids are old enough now to do their own between-round maintenance, so that helps make it all work. We wanted to build a lightweight, low-maintenance bracket car, and since I’ve always run unique combinations, a dragster wasn’t something I wanted to build. The engineer in me likes to be different, so going with an altered made perfect sense,” Kish explains.
When it comes to brand allegiance, Kish is a Mopar man, and he actually looked at putting a late model HEMI engine in his Altered, but the LS engine was a more affordable path to take. A co-worker made Kish a screaming deal on a 403 cubic-inch engine that was built by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, and since the engine already had a boost-friendly 9.33:1 compression ratio, it was perfect for his goals.
Kish was working on firming up the rest of his build when Magnuson Superchargers became the supercharger supplier for the COPO program, and this led to a unique opportunity. After speaking with the team at Magnuson, Kish’s engine was selected as a platform to show off the LS3 Hot Rod kit.
“To make the kit fit we are running intake port adapter plates with the plans to upgrade later to true LS3 heads and a bigger cam. The Magnuson LS3 Hot Rod kit uses the same Eaton R2650 TVS rotating assembly, blower housing, and 109mm throttle body as the COPO engine, while using an LS3 manifold rather than the LS7 of the COPO. To simplify the packaging and reduce the environmental variables for bracket racing, we opted to remove the massive intercooler core provided by Magnuson in favor of relying solely on the cooling properties of the methanol fuel we’re using,” Kish says.
Continuing with the theme of keeping things straightforward, Kish sourced a used ATI Powerglide transmission to go with the engine and had Coan Engineering build a converter to match the supercharged combination. For electronics, Kish used a Holley HP system rather than a Dominator, since he didn’t need all of the extra functions of the Dominator. Inside the cockpit, Kish uses a Holley 7-inch dash to monitor the car’s vitals, while a Dedenbear CC-3 Command Center acts as the delay box and shift controller.
Could Kish have built his altered to be much more powerful? Absolutely, but that wasn’t the plan. Instead, he wanted to create a car that would be competitive, yet easy to maintain so he could enjoy his time at the track with his kids.
“The move by most tracks to 1/8-mile for Top ET, in my opinion, helped level the field for door cars, altered, and roadsters against the dragsters, so this car fit together with what we wanted to do. We built the car to bracket race; it is set up to run Top ET. We’re not trying to be the fastest car on the property, but wanted to chase the car in the other lane more often than not and have fun racing. As we get comfortable with the setup and start to put more power to it we may try run some of the Jeg’s Super Quick series throughout NHRA Division 3; they run 1/8-mile qualified off a 4.50 index,” Kish says.