EngineLabs’ Engine Performance Expo Daily Recap: Day 2

If day one of the Engine Performance Expo was great, day two would be considered stellar. For the second day, Joe Castello and Lake Speed, Jr. shepherded the event through some incredible presentations, seminars, and Q&A sessions covering a new group of subjects related to the performance of internal combustion engines.

We kicked off day two by talking about the lifeblood of an engine — oil. First, it was the guys from Melling talking about oiling system considerations, including their integral work in the Ford GT and 2020 GT500 programs, followed by the team from Driven Racing Oil talking about break-in oil properties and their new semi-synthetic oils using Pennsylvania-grade crude base oils.

Next up, Choate Engineering talked about making custom parts on Rottler CNC milling center — everything from main caps to porting factory blowers, thanks not only to the capabilities of the machines’ hardware, but the Rottler software which is easy-to-use in whatever capacity you want to use it.

Then, it was time for a headliner, Warren Johnson, the Professor of Pro Stock, who not only gave a great interview on his history in Pro Stock, but also a look into his methodology for research and development, giving us the gem, “There are only two limits when you’re problem-solving: the human mind and the material you’re working with.” In addition, he answered audience questions spanning a wide range of topics, openly and candidly.

After a Q&A session with Choate on 5-axis machining, we got to hear from another living legend of the industry, the Old Master himself, Ed Pink. After Pink gave a talk covering his seventy-plus-year career, he was surprised with the Rottler Cutting Edge Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Lake Speed, Jr.

Two of the highlights from today's event were Warren Johnson talking about his career in Pro Stock racing, and Ed Pink receiving the Rottler Lifetime Achievement Award.

Following two incredibly hard-to-follow speakers, was a demonstration and Q&A session about valve seat and guide machining, with guest speaker Jon Callies of Morel Lifters. Callies covered some of the history of trying to stand-up valves in the head, and was followed by AERA’s Chuck Lynch talking about valve guides and materials, driving home just how important they are, since every valve-related machining operation is based on the location of those guides.

From there, it was Billy Godbold talking extremely in-depth about not just COMP’s Low Shock Technology, but about some practical aspects of it, like how to spec a cam with it, as opposed to the traditional ways you would spec a non-LST camshaft. Up next was a fitting tie-in, as Ben Strader of EFI University gave a seminar and demonstration of his Spintron, how it works, and showing/explaining what it measures along with what you can do with that data.

Strader then continued on with Total Seal’s Keith Jones, to talk about engine break-in considerations, breaking down what exactly you’re trying to accomplish, and what can impede the process. A Q&A session followed, before day two was closed out with a conversation between Castillio (a die-hard NHRA guy) and grudge/no-prep racer Troy LaCrone of Memphis Street Outlaws (the complete opposite of NHRA) and his engine builder Jim Gray. Their conversation closed out with LaCrone firing up Blue Madness’ 632-cube nitrous engine.

There is still one day left in the 2021 Engine Performance Expo, and we’ll be logged in to www.engineperformanceexpo.com bright and early at 10:00 am eastern time tomorrow.

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About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent fifteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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