Born Track Ready
John Potucek has been into fast and loud for as long as he can remember. “I first raced at the track when I was 16. I was hooked after the first time there. It was like an addiction and I wanted to be there every weekend. But it was always just for fun. Grudge nights, trophy classes and high school races. I raced a lot from 16-19. My home track then was Maple Grove Raceway,” he said. “By my early and mid 20’s, it slowed down a bit and I didn’t get to race as much as I wanted. I was building my Nova at this time. The last 3-4 years I’ve been hitting the track a lot more. Our new home track is Numidia since moving a bit north with my family. I like it; it’s a smaller homey kind of track,” he added.
While winter means no track time in the great Northeast, it does give Potucek a few months to get his highly-modified Nova ready to throw down in the spring. “Again, it’s all fun for me. Grudge events, test and tunes. I love seeing how fast my car goes and knowing it’s 100% street legal,” said Potucek. Trust, this blacked out speed demon is track ready and can hang with the best.
Track Ready, Safety First
“So you’re getting ready for the races, huh? There are a ton of safety items involved once you start going a particular speed. Here are a few of the SFI-approved items I use for my ‘73 Chevy Nova (with a 5.3 LS engine swap),” said Potucek.
- Seat Belt (5 Point Harness) – RCI
- Helmet – G-Force
- Fire Jacket – G-Force
- Window Net – RaceQuip
- Flex Plate – B&M
- Harmonic Balancer – ATI
- Bell Housing – JW
- Transmission Shield – RCI
- Locking Trans Dipstick – Lokar
- Rear Axles – Moser
- Head Gaskets – Cometic
- Head Studs – ARP
- Intake Manifold – Edelbrock
- Cam – Custom Ground Comp Cam
- Oil Pump – Melling
- Oil Pan – Holley
- My roll cage is certified every 3 years
“I’m actually in the process of changing things up in the quest for more power. The next couple months are busy for me. I’m changing the camshaft, turbo and torque converter. I would say these three things are key components, especially in a turbocharged application like I have. If everything doesn’t work together, the results will be sub-par,” said Potucek. “My car dyno’d at 610 rear wheel horsepower a few weeks ago. Now the engine and trans are out of it. A turbo is in the mail for upgrading and a new custom spec cam is on order. I will still be using the stock 200k mile untouched bottom end and going for 800 horsepower at the wheels. The goal is for it to be together and back on the dyno by mid February!”
John Potucek is a speed and performance team leader for the Product Master Data group at Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc. Make sure to check back at The Engine Block if interested in the ongoing modifications Potucek makes to the track-ready Nova.