You've seen them at races before, teams with stackers full of goodies, 30-people crews in matching attire, sponsor logos covering half of their body. Running one car in a class seems to take an act of congress, with 14 people on the radio, a tire guy, a line 'em up guy, a video crew gal, a stand too close to the back bumper to trigger the datalogger guy, a tell 'em how it went guy, and the ever popular, overly cynical that'll never work guy. They have a parking procedure for the color matched golf carts, an engine teardown procedure for in-between runs, and even some sort of strange high-five dance choreographed for after a win. Behind these teams, there's an owner, usually a high-strung, slow-paced older gentleman running the show, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to see his hired gun run a couple rounds while his team switches expensive parts for other expensive parts. This guy arrives late, flies out as soon as it's over, and couldn't tell you an LSX block from a hole in the ground, unless of course you asked him how much it cost. These guys usually also own shops, which according to them are high-stress money pits that take 26-hour days to keep running and are filled with annoying customers (you and I) that caused all of their hair to fall out. But that's what it takes to run a competitive race car these days, right?
Meet Paul Falcon and Ted Timmerman, two of the most passionate LSX enthusiasts we've ever had the chance to talk to, who also happen to be running right near the top of the LSX Real Street ladder, in two different cars! These guys have done it all in the LS game, literally attending almost every LS event ever held, including the original LS1Tech races and almost all of the NMCA LSX series, including the very first race that took place in Memphis in 2007, where Paul took home the 11-second win in True Street. Just last March, Paul and Ted finished First and Second in Bradenton, taking the top spots in the up-and-coming Real Street class, with one of the cars having never even been tested before. But if you don't know these guys yet, don't feel bad. It's probably because they don't actually do any of the things that those annoying big time teams do (except for that little part about winning). They are just a couple of down to earth guys who are much more likely to be telling jokes, smiling proud, and riding scooters around the pits in between rounds then to be installing spare engines in a million dollar stacker trailer.
To understand how these two jokers got here, we've got to step back in time a little. "I began building hot rods in my backyard in the early '90s. In 2000 I decided to get off my back and went to work in a speed shop, and that's when I began working on LS1s. A customer (Chris Skelton) brought in a new '01 Formula WS6 Ram Air with just 22 miles on it and he wanted to have the car built for the new LS1Tech races. When we finished the car, he went to the LS1Tech race and took the Runner-Up spot. After building and driving that car I was hooked on LS1s. So I bought myself a '98 TA..." You can guess how it went from there and you would be correct in assuming that Paul was fast right out of the gate. So fast, in fact, that he decided it was too slow (typical, right?) and started looking for a new car that he could build to go racing with the big boys.
As Tim tells it, "Paul found ‘BigBird' on Yellowbullet.com as a roller with a six-point cage and mini-tubs, and as soon as I saw the pictures I knew we had to have it. Paul and I drove non-stop from North Carolina to Indiana and back to pick the car up. Little did we know that it was one of the FBI seizure vehicles from Ronnie Duke's little misunderstanding with the federal government. There wasn't much good on the car besides the cage and tubs, but it was a 2002 Collectors Edition Trans Am (CETA) convertible! The car was completely stripped on the interior to include no dash, no steering column, no door panels..." and with no engine or transmission, the two friends had a lot of work ahead of them. But they had a plan and they were going to stick with it and build a single car to compete in X275 classes across the country. One car, two guys, and a single goal in mind, what could go wrong? Fate it seems... "Then the 2001 Formula found me again..." says Paul, to which Ted added, "Paul couldn't resist purchasing the car due to the fact that it was a super-low-mileage, super-light-weight car that he knew all of its history, hell I couldn't blame him a bit." And so it was, the new plan including two cars, two drivers, two completely different drivetrains, and a whole new look on racing in the big leagues.
Let's start with Ted's newly acquired '02 CETA convertible, which was the first project that the pair really started on. "After procrastinating for several months, we thrashed like never before and pulled multiple late nights and quite a few all nighters." Being a long time turbocharger enthusiast and having a couple of turbo projects under his belt, Ted's CETA build began with a killer S475 turbocharger from Borg Warner. With a "race cover" and a billet wheel (cast wheel for the local racing), Ted knew that the little 75mm wheel could support a ton of power, so he was careful to build a system himself that would work perfectly on the car. For the engine portion of the build, Ted teamed up with Blanks Performance and Paul, who built him a fortified 370 cubic-inch iron block engine, using a set of Callies Ultra connecting rods spun on a matching Callies crank and a set of Diamond 10:1 pistons. Topped with a set of All Pro cylinder heads featuring 2.08-inch intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves and a top secret hydraulic roller camshaft--what, you didn't think they were going to give up the specs on that bad boy, did you--Ted's engine is actually pretty mild for a "race motor," but it's clearly working well as evidenced by the 154-mph trap speeds and 1,000-plus horsepower numbers. Up top, Ted kept it simple, using a stock LS2 intake manifold, a Wilson 90mm throttle body, and a set of stock "truck" ignition coils. Fuel comes from the typical cast of characters, with Weldon providing the flow and a set of 80 lb/hr injectors controlling the pulse in the cylinders.