The competition and comradery that’s a part of drag racing helps to build incredibly strong friendships between those who participate in the sport. Street Outlaws reality TV star James Goad developed one of those strong relationships with nitrous oxide guru Monte Smith when they first met at Hot Rod’s Drag Week in 2012, and that developed into a great partnership over the years. After Smith’s tragic death in March, Goad decided to build a tribute car to Smith to take on Drag Week, and of course, it will be nitrous-assisted, just like Smith would have wanted it.
Before Goad was piloting the Reaper SS Camaro Discovery Channel’s hit TV show, he was racing his ultra-clean 1964 Malibu on the street and tracks in the Midwest. He decided to take the car on Drag Week in 2012 to compete in the Power Adder Modified class with its big-block mill feeding on a healthy dose of nitrous oxide.
According to Goad, he was having a lot of issues with the car but that dark cloud had a very bright silver lining in the end.
“We fought a lot of nitrous problems the entire time we were on Drag Week in 2012, but we were able to finish second in Power-Adder Modified because we made it to every stop and made a pass. We ended up talking with Monte trying to figure out the problem, so this car is ultimately how I met him, and he’s the reason why I’m where I’m at today in racing.”
That meeting led to Goad and Smith becoming close friends and pushed Goad further down the performance path. Smith’s untimely death shook Goad, and he felt compelled to do something to honor the memory of his fallen friend.
“I had been building my twin-turbo Nova for Drag Week for over two years when Monte passed Travis Quillen that I was thinking of changing the car over to a nitrous motor. I told Jeff I couldn’t drive 1,000 miles hearing Monte say in my head ‘anybody can make a twin-turbo car fast, James’, and I didn’t want to hear that! We were getting ready to change the Nova over to a nitrous car when the guy offered to sell the Malibu back to me, so I went for it,” Goad says.
After buying the Malibu back, Goad decided to work with Troy Green to start building the 614 cubic-inch motor for the car. It will be using a Bryant crank, GRP aluminum rods, and Dart Big Chief heads to help make the power needed. The nitrous will be coming from a custom-plumbed Nitrous Outlet intake that delivers a whopping six kits of dry nitrous to the motor. Stainless Works will provide the massive four-inch exhaust to keep the Malibu street legal when it’s on the road. Controlling the engine and nitrous system will be a Holley ECU that James tunes himself.
Behind the big nitrous motor will be an ATI Performance Products-built Turbo 400 Transmission and Neal Chance Racing Converters torque converter. To help put the power down Chassis Engineering has stepped up to provide a trick rearend and other chassis parts, while the car rolls on a set of Billet Specialties wheels. Goad also will be getting help from Roadrunner Performance for various parts, and Optic Armor windows to help pull some weight out of the car to get it below its current 3,700 pounds.
There is one huge issue for Goad in all of this, though, and that’s time; with the filming schedule of Street Outlaws, he’s well behind on getting the car ready after discovering some issues when he picked the car up.
“After I got it back I saw there were some issues with the suspension that would need to be resolved. That, and to run in the Power Adder Modified class I would need to run in the 7.50s or quicker, so the chassis would have to be updated. With such a tight timeline I’m having Jeff Lutz come in to help get it done in time for Drag Week,” Goad explains.
Goad and his team are thrashing hard to get the Malibu ready and expect to have it at Cordova International Raceway when the action begins September 11th. For Goad, there’s no better way to honor the memory of his friend Monte Smith than ripping off low seven-second times at the event where they first met, wheeling the car that brought them together.