By Mary Lendzion
Tim Knieriem puts together some potent powerplants at Knieriem Racing Engines in Louisville, Kentucky.
His small-block Ford is one of them, and paired with a Nitrous Express system and Bilbrey Racing Transmissions Powerglide, it helped him haul to a 4.69 and a third-place finish in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade and a second-place finish in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street in 2019 in the beautiful black SN95 Mustang owned by Daryl Reynolds.
Because his Dart block was 18 years old, however, he decided to build a new engine with a new Dart block last winter. It features carefully-chosen components, including a Callies Magnum crank, Comp Cams cam, GRP rods, Ross pistons, Total Seal rings, BAM DLC bushed roller lifters, and components from his previous engine, including the Edelbrock GV-2 heads and CID intake.
It still sips fuel from a BLP carburetor, and in addition to BLP, Knieriem continues to seek input on the carburetor at the races from Dale Cubic of CFM Carburetors. His Nitrous Express system and NLR Nitrous Controller are still in place, and he added a new NLR GATS (G-meter Assisted Tuning System).
He backed his combination with the Bilbrey Racing Transmissions Powerglide he has long relied on, and continues to alternate between his two tried-and-true converters from Ultimate Converter Concepts and PTC. CamboBuilt Speed and Chassis built new front-exit headers for the car, and a new XS Power lithium battery helped Knieriem remove 18 pounds from the car.
When the work was wrapped up, he headed to the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, in June at Atlanta Dragway. There, among 24 drivers trying to make the NMRA Edelbrock Renegade/NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street field, he qualified in the second spot with a 4.72, and won three rounds of eliminations.
“That was the first time the car had been down track all year, and you never know how it’s going to go with new parts, but it went well,” said Knieriem. “It happened to be really hot outside, so the track was hot, too, and we had to pull power out to be able to get down without spinning the tires on the very hot track surface.”
The Kentuckian, who has had some tuning input from Paul Klyczek of PKRE Racing, followed that with another 4.72 to qualify in the third spot, and an incredibly consistent 4.72 to runner-up at the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance, which was July 30-August 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois.
“It was really great to runner-up at that race, because I used to race there a lot and it was nice to go back and be able to do that,” said Knieriem. “We did have some breakage to contend with there, though. It was hot again, and I spun the tires and had to pedal and it was hard on the equipment and I broke rear-end under the car. Luckily, Scott Libersher had a spare ready to go, and loaned it to me. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the final round if he hadn’t done that. It’s funny, too, because I had built that for him before that race. We also were having some trouble with an old fuel regulator, and Fuelab is 10 minutes from the track there. We went to their shop and Brian built and gave me a regulator while we waited. We put it on the car and it fixed the issue.”
While Knieriem couldn’t make the next stop on the series’ tour, the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering in late August at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan, he made up for it at the 19th Annual Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, last weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.
In his super-consistent car, he qualified in the second spot with a motivated 4.67 — his quickest pass of the year in NMCA competition — and posted a 4.68, 4.70 and a pair of 4.67s to make it to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
“That was one of the smoothest race weekends I have ever had,” said Knieriem, who was running a new blend of LAT Racing Oil in his engine. “With the two test passes, qualifying and eliminations, the car did exactly what it was supposed to do. It was consistent, and people were jokingly asking if I was going to run it in the Bracket class. It was so great to be in the winner’s circle.”
Now Knieriem, who has had help from crew members Steve Dowell and Craig Watson, is heading to the NMRA All-Ford World Finals featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, this weekend at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, where he’ll compete in Edelbrock Renegade. At this time last year, he had won at the final NMCA event of the year, and the final NMRA event of the year, and hopes to be able to accomplish that again.
“It should be a good race, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Knieriem, who builds engines for several NMCA and NMRA racers, including Andy Warren, who last weekend locked up his ninth NMCA Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car championship and his first Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock championship. “My family, who’s very busy, might even be able to come to this one.”