Holley EFI-Equipped Drivers Star At Lights Out 8

By: Todd Veney | Images by Mike Galimi and Brian Hogan02/28/2017 < Back to Blog Home
Holley-equipped racers dominated Lights Out 8, the unofficial World Series of heads-up/small-tire racing at South Georgia Motorsports Park that seems to grow exponentially each year. Racing before a packed house, Lyle Barnett (pictured above) toyed with the Leaf Spring field, wheeling Jason Digby’s hugely popular Pete Harrell-tuned '69 Dart to a runaway win. Tony Alm ruled the Ultimate Street category with his Fox body Mustang, qualifying No. 2 and winning the final round on a holeshot over Rodney Ragen. And "Super Dave" Adkins' awesome twin-turbo '63 Impala, competing in the showcase Radial vs. the World division, became the quickest LSx car in the world with an historic 3.97.

Barnett, seriously injured in a fiery crash last season, owned Leaf Spring, dominating the field from beginning to end. After qualifying No. 1 by a mile with a 4.24 at 181 mph – the quickest and fastest pass in class history, eclipsing his own two-week-old record of 4.27 – Barnett breezed through eliminations, crushing the field round after round and topping John McDonough in a lopsided final, 4.41 to 9.15.

"It was hard not to try to go faster, but I've never worried about that on race day," said tuner Pete Harrell. "Setting records is great, but Job 1 is always to win the race." Harrell, who has only been working with Digby's team for a few months, uses a complete Holley Dominator EFI system and a coil-on-plug ignition.

"We use the Holley system to turn all kinds of switches on and off as the car goes down the track," Harrell said. "We really haven't made that many passes to work the bugs out of the car because we haven't had to – there weren't any bugs to work out. At this race, we had the 60-foot times calmed way down because there wasn't any need to risk it. We were way faster than anything in the field."

TONY ALM – Ultimate Street champion

In Ultimate Street, Alm continued his early season domination with a nearly wire-to-wire victory, his second already this year including the prestigious U.S. Street Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Fla. When qualifying for the massive 32-car field was complete, Alm's '93 Mustang, equipped with a complete Holley Dominator EFI system and coil-on-plug technology, was positioned solidly in the No. 2 spot, behind only Shawn Pevlor.

Facing the toughest competition in the country, Alm, whose career best is a 4.74, laid down one deadly consistent run after another to plow through the preliminary rounds of eliminations – a 4.81, 4.82, and 4.80 – then stepped up to a 4.78 in the semifinals to set up a final-round showdown with newcomer Rodney Ragen, who also pilots a Fox body Mustang. Alm blasted off the line with a huge holeshot head start and was well on his way to victory when the front end started reaching for the sky.

"It kept coming up and up, and I thought, 'What do I do?' " Alm said. "I knew I had him on the Tree. I knew there was no way he was coming around me if I could get it under control because the car was going straight as an arrow." He deftly blipped the throttle to get the front end back on the ground and charged to the event title with a 4.78 over Ragen's quicker 4.74. "The car has been running great all year," Alm said. "Low 4.80s was the worst it ran all weekend, and on all the runs in the .80s, I had to pedal. Every time I didn't, it was in the .70s."

DAVE ADKINS – LSx Record Holder (3.97 seconds)

Driving his amazing '63 Impala, Adkins got quicker and quicker as the race wore on, from a 4.05 to a 4.02 to a 4.01 to the historic 3.97 that made him the quickest LS-powered racer ever. "This thing should be able to run in the 3.80s if we can get it calmed down," he said of the 2,700-pound behemoth, which features 33-pound doors and is 225 pounds overweight.

Adkins, whose car is more than 20 years old and was originally built to be an eight-second (in the quarter-mile) machine, runs a complete Holley Dominator EFI system. "I've got it controlling everything, even the boost when I bump in to stage," he said. "A light comes on on the Holley dash that tells me when I have enough boost to stage. It really makes it easy."

After the track was inundated with rain Saturday, Adkins, like countless drivers in all categories at Lights Out 8, had difficulty getting the powerful beast calmed down in the first round of eliminations. "I probably had to pedal five times," he said. Adkins, who has the car on the brink of sub-one-second 60-foot times, and his opponent both fought for traction, slipping and sliding around the groove to a pair of 5-second passes. "You hate to lose to a run like that, but we're just getting started," he said. "We'll just keep learning and chipping away at it and hopefully be into the .80s before too long."