Of the many runs Dan Jacobs has made with his ‘67 Chevy II NHRA Super Stocker, one stands out, not only for its impressive performance but for his outstanding achievement, too.
In late May 2011, at fabled Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Jacobs’ machine stopped the clocks at 9.41 at 138. The pass in SS/F was his first in the car since switching to a four-speed. He had spent the previous winter and spring converting his SS/FA from an automatic to manual.
Jacobs, 53, of Elizabeth, Indiana, was flabbergasted by the E.T. because he expected the car to run 9.60s on the 10.35 class index. “I was tickled to death. I was not worth a damn after that run. My head swelled up so bad I almost could not get out of the car. I might as well have gone home.”
The stout run marked a significant accomplishment by Jacobs and quieted naysayers who doubted he could make the combination competitive enough to challenge long-time SS/F kingpin Jeff Colvert. His ‘69 Mustang with a 428-inch Cobra Jet engine holds the national records at 9.29 at 143.63.
“My car can run 9.20s easily if the air, clutch, suspension, and carburetor all are right,” Jacobs said, adding that he wants to set the record. “I like running the fastest guy in the class. People can talk all they want about how cars run, but they have to be at the same race and in the same air. You’ve got to go where the competition is.”
That Jacobs is a confident and formidable opponent is not surprising due to his dedication and ingenuity. Essentially, he brings a Pro Stock mindset to Super Stock, since every successful Pro Stock racer has to have an over-the-top level of commitment and experimentation.
“Everything is a challenge in drag racing,” Jacobs said. “I impose challenges on myself. I push myself to make things work. What I like to hear people say is `You can’t do that’ because then I prove them wrong.
“I like being able to take ideas and try them. We’re always trying new things, and we’ll leave no bolt unturned. We’re always testing at the races. I’m always thinking about something, and I talk every day with my carburetor and engine guys and the Belangers. They tell me what they found, and if it’s worth trying something on my car.”
Jacobs was referring to Danny Ashley, Mike Keown, Chuck and Stephen Belanger. Ashley, a retired GM tool and die maker, owns Quadrajet Performance in Marion, Indiana, and built the Quadrajet carburetor on Jacobs’ engine. It was assembled by Keown, a long-time Stock and Super Stock Chevy engine builder, in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Chuck Belanger runs a G/SA ‘69 Chevy Nova. His nephew Stephen Belanger has an SS/I ‘65 Chevy II that also underwent an automatic-to-stick conversion.
Jacobs acquired his car in 2004 and spent the next 18 months engineering and building it. He did all the work: chassis, roll cage, tin work, upholstery, 4-link, fuel cell and wheelie bars. The car started out in SS/GA, but Jacobs switched to SS/FA for a competitive advantage.
That meant a 150-pound diet to 2,710 pounds and incorporated the use of lightweight materials, including titanium for 75 percent of the fasteners. LSM Systems Engineering removed approximately 40 pounds from the engine block. “We went through a lot of pains to keep the weight down. The little motor really comes alive when you take the weight away,” Jacobs explained.
When NHRA factored the 275-hp, factory-rated, 327-inch engine Jacobs ran from 299 to 307 hp in SS/FA, he decided to switch to a stick because the combination had 299 hp, a difference of 65 pounds. As is his style, the conversion was done first class and cost approximately $25,000.
The switch involved developing many new pieces: clutch linkage that activates a cross shaft in the Browell aluminum bellhousing, mid-plate, cross member, trans tunnel, driveshaft, rear wheels and PK Race Cars 9-inch rear housing. The 6.6-inch Boninfante dual-disc clutch and flywheel, which weighs a mere 15 pounds, and Liberty clutchless transmission are similar to Pro Stock units.
Shifting gears has hooked Jacobs. “I’ll never go back to an automatic. Inside the car it’s fun. Putting a stick in it increased the cool factor. It looks so better than with an automatic, and it’s turned around the way I feel about stick cars. It’s more satisfying running a stick.”
Since refining his combination, this year Jacobs has high expectations to run quick numbers and win rounds. His aspirations are tempered by how often he and his wife Ann hit NHRA division and national events due to his business, Jacobs Logging, which he started 20 years ago. He buys standing timber, cuts it with the help of three employees and sells the wood.
“I don’t push that hard for titles,” Jacobs said. “We like to make the car go fast, and we know we can win a race if we do our job. We go to the races to have fun. My best friends are at the dragstrip, and we enjoy cooking and camping out.”
They’ll enjoy themselves that much more when Jacobs visits the winner’s circle.
Car: 1967 Chevy II
Weight: 2,710 pounds
Engine: Chevrolet, 327 ci
HP: 275 factory, 299 NHRA factor, 590 actual
RPM: 7,600 launch, 8,200 gear changes, 8,500 finish line
Engine builder: Mike Keown, Jeffersonville, IN
Pistons: Bill Miller
Oil pump: Stock
Oil pan: Charlie’s Oil Pans
Camshaft: Comp Cams
Cam drive: Jesel
Valve springs: Manley
Cylinder heads: Heads Up
Intake manifold: Victor E by Heads Up
Carburetor: Edelbrock 750-cfm Quadrajet
Fuel pump: Product Engineering
Ignition system: MSD Digital 7
Sparkplugs: Brisk Racing LGS
Plug wires: Moroso
Valve covers: Moroso
Headers: Performance Welding
Head gaskets: Cometic
Harmonic balancer: ATI
Water pump: CSR
Transmission: Liberty clutchless four-speed, 3.04 low gear
Clutch: Boninfante two-disc
Chassis builder: Dan Jacobs
Front shocks: Afco
Front brakes: Lamb
Front wheels: Weld
Front tires: Moroso
Front suspension: stock
Rear suspension: 4-link
Spool and axles: Mark Williams
Rear gear: 5.83
Rear brakes: Mark Williams
Rear spring and shocks: Hal
Rear wheels: Billet Specialties, 15×14 inches
Slicks: M/T 31×13 inches
Wheelie bars: Dan Jacobs
Fuel cell: Dan Jacobs
Upholstery: Dan Jacobs
Steering wheel: Grant
Belts and harness: Simpson
Data recorder: Racepak
Roll cage: Chromoly by Dan Jacobs
Paint: Lee Brewer, Elizabeth, IN
Text by Fred Noer and Photos by Richard Brady