If you get on the internet and search all of the different forums online, you will find a record for just about everything. Some examples would include stock, heads and cam only, stock bottom end, naturally aspirated (N/A), power adders, and on and on. And while we try our hardest to keep up with all of them, it isn’t easy. But thankfully, we have loyal readers like yourself that will typically let us know when a record of significance has been broken. Brandon Eaves is our latest example with his highly modified N/A Trailblazer SS.
Photos By: Hermes Media
Eaves is currently serving in the US Navy and has a love for two very different vehicles, Corvettes, and SUVs. His family has been involved with racing over the years with Midget race cars, boats, and now drag racing. In 2013 Eaves purchased a white 2006 Trailblazer SS from Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Charleston, South Carolina. Eaves started modifying the TBSS, and one thing led to another. “After I started making some decent power with the Trailblazer, I wanted to chase the record for fastest N/A TBSS,” explained Eaves.
If you’re wondering what it takes to push a 4,600-pound SUV in the 10s naturally aspirated, we can tell you it takes a lot of cubic inches, parts, and weight reduction. When Eaves got serious about his goals, he decided to build a new engine combination starting with an LS7 block.
Abacus Racing first bored to 4.195-inches before installing a Callies DragonSlayer crank with a stroke of 4.125-inches. They then connected a set of Texas Speed and Performance I-beam rods Wiseco piston with a healthy 12.89 to 1 compression ratio. A custom Brian Tooley Racing (BTR) camshaft was used to get as much air in and out of the N/A combination in conjunction with a set of PRC cylinder heads that Texas Speed ported. A FAST 102 intake manifold with a Nick Williams 102 throttle body and 80-pound injectors top off the 456 cubic-inch power plant. Eaves utilizes a Holley Terminator X Max to control the engine and transmission parameters.
With the engine in the TBSS, it was time for Eaves to turn his attention to the exhaust and drivetrain. A set of Kooks 1-7/8-inch headers were installed on the big-cube LS engine in conjunction with an X-pipe and dual three-inch exhaust pipes. Eaves scrapped the idea of using mufflers, trying to extract every ounce of power he could with the SUV.
Eaves built and installed a 4L80e transmission in his TBSS. The unit features a 3600 stall speed Yank converter with a Jakes Performance shift kit. A Tru Cool 40K transmission cooler makes sure the temperatures don’t get out of hand and the track. An aluminum driveshaft transfers the power to a 14-bolt rearend with a set of deep 5.13 gears.
Eaves made some adjustments to the suspension of the SUV as well. He used DJM upper control arms in conjunction with XRPM lowers. Atco shocks and springs were used up front, and Strange Engineering shocks and springs were employed in the rear. Eaves turned to Mickey Thompson for tires and used a set of 315/50/17 drag radials for traction.
The Summit White TBSS was in great shape when Eaves purchased it and has only added a cowl hood so far. Other mods include lightweight carpet, a Holley seven-inch digital dash, and Racequip safety equipment.
Eaves has not only chased the record, but on February 24, 2021, he set a new naturally aspirated two-wheel drive TBSS record. The healthy SS managed to run a 10.83 at 123.52 mph in the 1/4-mile with a 1.53 60-foot time beating the previous record of 10.94.
Congratulations to Eaves on this new record and killer build. We expect that his current combination has more in it, but time will tell.