Team Bigun made its debut during the first season of the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout and won the on-track competition with a holeshot win in the final round against the COMP Cams Dream Team.
When planning began for the second season of the budget build-off, Bigun had no idea it would be asked to return to compete again. Team leader Eric Yost and the gang were thrilled to find out the team had been invited to come back as the reigning champions and defend the title. Knowing they weren’t getting invited back for the third year, they embraced every challenge as it came during the competition.
“We had a great group for Season 1,” Yost says. “With our various skills as builders, tuners, and racers we kept the same group of six, including me, Lyle Barnett, Chad Reynolds, Chris Bailey, Peter Harrell, and Jason Smith.”
This team is putting the same competitive drive that won them the inaugural championship into its “Moonshine Missile” entry.
Armed with the knowledge and experience gained a season ago in the $10K Drag Shootout, Team Bigun entered season two with a definitive advantage — little did they know, however, that a rather large, four-door handicap awaited them.
“We knew the four cars that were available and we wanted that [Chevrolet] S10 as our donor car of choice,” Yost explains of the team’s pre-build gameplan. “We knew the S10 would be a neat platform to build on, and it would have been easy since the motor was already out of it. From the start, we had planned to go pull out lawn chairs and basically watch everybody do the Olympics. Instead, we did the whole deal, and it ended in a tie. Then they threw us a curveball.”
After earning the first pick — and the S10 — following a tie-breaking practice tree face-off with Dream Team driver Keith Berry, the team heard an airhorn coming down the road and knew something was up.
“We saw a station wagon coming down the road with a hood scoop,” Yost says. “I looked at Chad and said that has your name written all over it; we’re wagon guys. It pulls into the parking lot and it’s got ‘Team Bigun’ written on the side of it and Dwayne [Gutridge] driving it. We were told this was our final champion’s handicap and this is your car to build.”
After being a little upset, the team gave it some thought, and the Granada grew on them. “My guy drives a wagon and Chad is a big-time wagon guy,” Yost says. “It’s basically a Ford Fox-body suspension, so we were just worried about getting enough weight out of it since we wanted to put a big-block Chevy in it.”
The team’s winning powerplant during season one was a turbocharged 5.3-liter LS combination. Any repeat of their first winning combination was nixed when the team decided to compete with the worst performing engine combination from the first series: a nitrous-fed big-block Chevy.
At the last minute, components they ordered were not arriving and the team again was feeling the stress.
“We ordered cylinder heads we chose a month and a half before the show, and they didn’t show up for the build week,” Yost says. “They said delivery would be the following week…not good enough. We got them to promise them by Friday, but then our crank and rods didn’t show up until Monday.”
We worked extremely well together as a team during the season one competition. We were confident our team could make it work again this year. – Eric Yost
The crew started with a Chevy Mark IV big-block core that they secured for $150. The rotating assembly plan included a SCAT Engine components 4.250-inch stroke, cast steel crankshaft, K-1 Technologies H-beam rods, MAHLE pistons, Total Seal rings, and King Engine Bearings brand rod and main bearings that add up to the 505 cubic-inch beast.
They had hoped to have the short-block together early in the week, but things rarely go to plan in the $10K Drag Shootout.
“We knew the big-block was more expensive to build; the parts are more in-depth and take more massaging,” Yost says. “It was alot of pressure, but we got it all together.” The Moonshine Missile’s big-block Chevy heads were completely assembled PROMAXX Performance units, (#SUM-PMX-2214) ordered from their Summit Racing budget.
The heads were pre-assembled with one-piece stainless valves, CNC-modified intake runners and combustion chambers, along with 7/16-inch screw-in rocker arm studs and 3/8-inch guideplates. Related valvetrain components include a COMP Cams custom-ground cam, PBM Performance roller lifters, Manley Performance pushrods, and a set of used roller lifters of unknown origin.
When it came to bolting the big-block together, ARP bolts were exclusively used for the hex-head studs (#ARP135-4001), main stud kit (#ARP135-5601), intake manifold bolt kit (#ARP135-5601), balancer bolt (#ARP234-2503), header bolts (#ARP134-1102), flexplate bolts (#ARP244-2902), transmission bellhousing bolt kit (#ARP-134-0901), and carburetor stud kit (#ARP400-2424).
Power Adder, Fuel System, and Ignition
To ramp up the horsepower, a Holley Performance 1,050 cfm Dominator is used on top of a Weiand Warrior single-plane aluminum intake manifold. Working with that pairing is a Nitrous Oxide Systems Pro Shot Fogger System (SUM-02462-S-ENOS) ordered from the Summit Racing catalog.
E3 Spark Plugs fulfilled all the ignition requirements, with an E3 brand ignition coil, 6-Series CDI ignition box, and 8.5mm spark plug wires. To fill the fuel delivery needs, a used Holley fuel pump was found and combined with a new Holley Performance 4 1/2- to 9 psi fuel regulator they purchased. The team also located a used Jaz Products 4-gallon fuel cell and plumbed the entire system using braided steel hose and -AN fittings supplied by Fragola Performance.
Cooling and Plumbing
The cooling system for the Moonshine Missile is supplied by PRW Industries. The team retrofitted a racing aluminum radiator into the Ford Granada, with an electric race water pump and 90-degree water outlet completed the cooling system. The only thing needed was an overflow catch can, so the team 0nce again found a discarded pony-keg container from a local dumpster to catch any radiator overflow.
Plumbing the Granada was hardware supplied by Fragola Performance Systems. Other varied -AN fittings and plumbing adapters came from its Summit Racing order, such as ICT Billet parts (#SUM-AN816-06-04A) (#SUM-AN816-06-06A), and (#SUM-AN816-08-06A).
Lubrication and Filters
Lucas Oil Products supplied the oils and assembly lube for each team. Team Bigun used 10W-40 Lucas racing engine oil for the engine and a K&N Performance Filters Gold oil filter. The transmission received Lucas Oil semi-synthetic automatic transmission fluid, and the rear differential is filled with Lucas L9 racing gear oil.
The Turbo 400 has been the popular choice in the two seasons of this budget competition. Yost and the crew secured an operational used transmission with a transbrake installed. The team knew the clutches were “smoked” when they purchased it and would require maintenance of the internals with a Summit Racing rebuild kit (#SUM-705001). They also hand-fabricated a transmission mount and interior shifter mount for the wagon.
“Social media really saved the day once we went to running the car on the dyno,” Yost described. “We had to pull the transmission due to odd pressure problems. We put a callout online for some transmission experts to help. Quickly, we got a call from transmission expert Carl Rossler himself. We walked through the problems and sent a handful of cell phone pics, and we had the problem cured.”
While on the used parts hunt, Team Bigun also secured a used B&M torque converter. From TCI Auto, they won a TCI Outlaw competition shifter in the go-kart challenge, and were also supplied a TCI flexplate as part of various sponsor support efforts. For the driveshaft duty, they purchased a 3-inch driveshaft kit deal with used yokes and u-joints from Oceanside Driveline.
The junkyard bare 8.8 Ford differential was outfitted with Moser Engineering 35-spline competition axles and mated to a Moser spool, yoke, axle bearing retainer plates, and 3:90 ratio U.S. Gear ring and pinion.
Suspension and Rubber
Before Team Bigun even knew which car they were building, they expected to utilize a Summit Racing ladder bar rear suspension. Things changed with the Granada build.
“We found a different Ford 8.8 housing from the junkyard to put the Fox body suspension under the wagon,” Yost says. “It was a little more time-consuming, but we went with the Granada stock suspension.”
The Summit order for the rear suspension of the Missile included QA1 coilover springs and Strange Engineering shocks, along with BMR Suspension upper control arms. Team Bigun’s fabrication skills created other components in the rearend. including the lower control arms and anti-sway bar that used various Steeda control arm bushings, FK Rod Ends and QA1 chassis tube ends.
For the Granada wagon front suspension, the original Ford K-member was retained and massaged for the big-block Chevy. QA1 coilover springs were used with Strange Engineering twin-tube, single adjustable shocks and a Strange coilover kit. The steering system for the wagon was custom-fabricated and outfitted with a newly-purchased Grant Products steering wheel.
Chassis and Interior
The body and chassis gave the team concern when it came to weight, but it ended up not being a problem.
“We cut, shaved, and tucked the bumpers. We also took all the crash bars out of it, welded the window tracks up and cut all the door structure from the inside,” Yost continues. “Once we mini-tubbed it and took the gas tank panel out, we ended up the lightest car of the bunch (laughs) and had to add 200-pounds to it.”
The wagon got a roll cage based from a Moroso/Competition Engineering roll cage kit, transmission crossmember kit, and driveshaft loop. Summit Racing got the order for their own brand of racing harness (#SUM-510305), engine diaper (#SUM-590200), and a tachometer (#SUM-G2907). The dashboard was also fitted with a Stewart Warner oil pressure gauge and a wide-band data logger from Innovate Motorsports.
An eight-relay electrical switch panel supplied by SpeedWire Systems is also accompanied by their relay controller and a complete race wiring kit. A Moroso Performance battery box along with their on/off safety switch is used, A Performance Distributors/DynaBatt 12-volt battery supplies the power to the overall race car.
Stopping power is supplied by a complete Aerospace Components aluminum front brake assembly kit, while the rear brakes are the factory disc assembly included with the Ford 8.8-inch housing. The rear brakes were upgraded with Hawk Performance brake pads while the team converted the original Granada power brake master cylinder to manual with their own fabricated adapter.
When you watch the $10K Drag Shootout: 2, you will see that Team Bigun has a big reputation to upkeep, big challenges to overcome, and yet had the same big fun between their team and the other entrants as they did during season one. It is entertaining to watch the team deal with varied restrictions placed on them during the build episodes.
“In regards to competing at the Lights Out event in Georgia, that’s our playground,” Yost finishes. “We all go there twice a year. We’re all tuning engines and chassis on many cars there and winning. I think we have a huge advantage going to that track since we have some long-time experience.”
It’s natural for viewers to choose their favorite team as the series episodes progress; as season one champs, we’re sure the Moonshine Missile wagon will have both a following for their past accomplishments and new fans wanting to see the team overcome its handicaps.
Team Bigun’s “Moonshine Missile” Car Specifications
Vehicle: 1982 Ford Granada wagon
Weight: 3,350 lbs
Electrical/wiring: Speedwire Systems – Custom 8-switch panel, 8-relay controller, wiring kit
Battery box: MOROSO Performance – #74051
Battery: Dynabatt 12v by Performance Distributors – #5575A
Battery disconnect: MOROSO Battery Disconnect Switch – #74101
CapAdapt kit – Cap-Adapts – MSD #8420
Electric parts – Summit spiral cord switches – SUM-890155
Roll cage kit: Competition Engineering – #C3225
Chassis tabs: Rhodes Race Cars chassis brackets – #RHC-33-0140
Driveshaft loop: Competition Engineering – #C3029
Wheel tubs: Team fabricated from 24GAx48x96 sheet metal
Seat: Kirkey 55 Series Aluminum Pro Street drag seats – #KIR-55170
Steering wheel: Grant Classic foam steering wheel – #GRT-831
Seat belts: Summit Racing Race Harnesses – #SUM-510305
Gauges: Stewart Warner Gauge Line Series gauges – #SWW-122265
Tachometer: Summit Racing Multi-color tachometer – #SUM-G2907
Plumbing: Fragola Performance Parts braided steel lines, -AN fittings
Engine block: Chevrolet Mark IV big-block – used
Engine diaper: Summit Engine Diaper – #SUM-590200
Crankshaft: SCAT Engine Components – cast steel, 4.250 stroke – #SCA-945425
Pistons: Mahle pistons – #0197871700
Pushrods: Manley Chromoly Swedged End pushrods – #MAN-25863-8
Rods: K1 Technologies – 4340, H-Beam, 6.385-inch length – #KOT-012AG33639
Rod/main bearings: King engine bearings – #SUM-CR 808HPNSTDX
Oil pan, oil pump and oil pickup: Summit Racing, #SUM-G36012, #SUM-122177, SUM-G36031
Oil filter: K&N Performance Gold Oil Filter – #KNN-HP-3002
Harmonic balancer: Used, unknown brand
Fasteners: ARP bolts – head stud set, main stud kit, balancer bolt, header bolts, flexplate bolts, intake manifold bolt kit
Motor mounts: ICB Billet Front Motor Plates – #ICB-551801
Cylinder heads: PROMAXX Performance, Aluminum, Assembled, 119cc Chamber, 320cc Intake Runner – PMX-2214
Camshaft: COMP Cams custom grind, flat tappet – #CCA-11-000-14
Cam Specs: Duration at .050: 265/283, Lift: .075/.717, LSA 116
Lifters: PBM Performance, .842 diameter – used
Valve covers: Moroso Billet Aluminum valve covers – #MOR-68469
Pushrods: Manley – #MAN-25863-8, #MAN-25945-8
Rocker arms: Unknown brand, used
Timing chain – Summit Racing, true roller, double roller – #SUM-G6610R-9
Starter: AC Delco – #SUM-ADO-336-1824
Flexplate: Summit Racing SFI-approved flexplate – #SUM-G105SFI
Dipstick: Proform – #PRO-66117
Carb/throttle body: Holley Performance, Model 4500, 1,050-CFM, Dominator – #HLY-0-80689
Carb spacers: Allstar Performance – #AAF-ALL25992
Intake manifold: Weiand Track Warrior, Single Plane, Aluminum – #WND-7623
Throttle cable, return spring: Summit Racing, #SUM-200042 and #SUM-RNB-59209
Fuel pump: Holley Performance – 500-GPH fuel pump, used
Fuel regulator: Holley Performance – regulator, 4 1/2-9 psi – #SUM-12-803
Ignition coils: E3 coils pack set – #E3-602
Ignition wires: E3 DiamondFIRE Heat-Sleeved Racing Ignition Wires – #E3.1400
Spark plugs: E3 racing spark plugs – #ETP-E3-109
Distributor: E3 DiamondFIRE Racing Distributor – #ETP-E3-1415
Distributor hold-down clamp: Chevrolet High Performance Distributor hold-down clamp – #NAL-10096197
Ignition box: E3 6-Series EDI Box – #ETP-E3-1440
Exhaust: Headers, unknown, used
Nitrous: Holley Performance/Nitrous Oxide Systems, Pro Shot Fogger system – NOS-02462-S-ENOS
Nitrous controller: NOS launcher controller – used
Wide open throttle switch: Nitrous Express switch – #SUM-NEX-15577
Transmission: Turbo 400, used with trans brake, TCI Auto rebuild kit – #SUM-705001
Torque converter: B&M, used
Transmission blanket: Summit Racing – #SUM-590300
Shifter: TCI Auto – 3-speed Outlaw competition shifter
Trans brake switch: Summit Racing Push Button Momentary, Spiral Cord #SUM-890155
Rear end gear: U.S. Gear, 3.90:1 ratio – #07-888390
Rear end housing: Used Ford 8.8 housing w/factory rear brakes
Rear end cover: Moser
Axles: Moser 35-spline – #A5000s
Driveshaft: Oceanside Driveline – 3-x.083-inch wall DOM tubing
Front suspension: Stock
Front shocks: Strange Engineering – twin tube, single adjustable – #STR-S6001EM
Front springs: QA1 – 200-lbs./inch – #QA1-12HT200
Rear shocks: QA1 – Proma Star, Twin-Tube, 18.750-inch length – #QA1-DS601
Rear shock mount: QA1 – #QA1-MT100K
Rear springs: Koni, used
Control arm bushings: Steda Spherical Control Arm Bushings – #SDA-555-4103
Rear shocks: QA1 – Proma Star, Twin-Tube, 18.750-inch length – #QA1-DS601
Rod ends: FK Rod Ends – #FKB-ECM12, #FKB-ECML12, #FKB-ECM6, #FKB-ECML6
Anti-roll bar: Team fabricated
Upper control arms: BMR Suspension – Tubular, Rear Upper – #SUM-BMR-UTCA041H
Lower control arms: Team fabricated
Chassis tube ends: – #QA1-1844-127, #QA1-1845-104
Front brakes: Aerospace Components – Aluminum front brake kit –
Rear brakes: Stock Ford disc with Hawk Performance brake pads
Front wheels: Weld Wheel – Draglite, 15- x 4.5-inch, used
Rear wheels: Weld Wheel – Pro Star, 15- x 8-inch, used
Wheel spacers: Cal Custom Aluminum – #CAL-202373
Front tires: Mickey Thompson 26.0/4.0-15 ET Front – #30071
Rear tires: Mickey Thompson P275/60R15 ET Street Radial Pro – #3754x
Lug nuts: Weld Racing Lug nuts – #WLD-601-1416
The $10K Drag Shootout: 2 is made possible with the support of a number of industry giants, including Summit Racing, COMP Cams, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, TCI, K&N Filters, MAHLE Motorsports, Dyna-Batt, Weld Racing, Corsa Performance, Fragola, Holley, DiabloSport, NOS, E3 Spark Plugs, Total Seal, Moser Engineering, BMR Suspension, Miller Electric, Aerospace Components, Victor Reinz, Moroso, US Gear, Hawk Performance, Lucas Oil, PRW Industries, Weld Racing, VP Racing, ProCharger, and ARP.