We’ve got the answers—the Summit Racing tech department tackles your automotive-related conundrums. This week, we’re getting a Ford 351W ready for some oval track racing.
H.F. Acme, PA
Q: My son used to race a Street Stock oval track car, and that got me to want one of my own. I would like to try running a Ford 351W instead of the more common 351C because my track is requiring a restrictor plate. Ford guys tell me the 351W is best because they turn 6,200 to 6,400 rpm at best and are lighter weight.
What are your suggestions for building this engine for a half-mile banked and paved track? 10:1 compression and 358 cubic inches are the maximum, and we cannot run roller rocker arms. Ported and polished heads aren’t allowed either, but they don’t seem to check much so you could do some work. I will be running a three-speed manual transmission and 5.14 rear-end gears.
A: You’re right to run a 351W instead of the Cleveland. It will respond better to rpms and are a lot lighter. Cylinder head work will be critical–the more you can do, the more power you can make. Port-matching the intake and exhaust ports is the minimum. (Here is a recent article we did on port-matching basics.) A good three-angle valve job and cleaning up the exhaust ports will help considerably.
Stock valvetrain components will not work at the higher rpms you will be running. Cams tailored to 6,000-plus rpm racing will require valve spring pocket machining, screw-in rocker studs, guideplates, and adjustable rocker arms that will clear larger diameter valve springs. A good cam to run with the proper engine modifications is a Crane #444551, which has an advertised duration of 286/296 degrees (226/236 degrees at .050-inch lift) and .502/.520-inch lift.