The $10K Drag Shootout Final 10: Eric Kenward And Team EKR

The Horsepower Wars $10K Shootout is a competition where teams square off to see who can build the fastest drag car in 10 days with only $3,000 in cash and $7,000 in Summit Racing credit. We’ve had applicants from ALL over the country vying to see who would make it into the final list. And that has now happened.

This interesting and innovative competition has been made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry: Royal Purple, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, E3 Spark Plugs, Fragola, Diablosport, Mahle Motorsports, DynaBatt, ProCharger, Weld Racing, ARP, BMR Suspension, QA1, and of course, Summit Racing.

Today, we present our fourth finalist for the $10K Drag Shootout…

Team Name: Team EKR
Driver: Eric Kenward
Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida
Crew: Bill Clary, Kevin Smith, Christian Morillo, Tim Bishop, Donnie Polly

Florida’s Eric Kenward is a familiar name in drag racing, particularly if you follow small-tire racing in and around the South, where he’s been a player — and a series champion — in a number of venues over the last decade and change. As a driver, Kenward won an ORSCA title in 2009 and added another to his resume in 2016 when he drove to the NMCA Xtreme Street championship. The automotive shop owner has high performance cars and racing in his blood — something he hopes to share with the younger generation as an instructor and through programs just like Horsepower Wars. Kenward brings a team of well-rounded car guys with him, including welders and vehicle assembly experts who can give one of the best drivers in our final 10 lineup a legitimate chance at winning the Drag Shootout.

Will they make it to the final three and on to the show? Only time will tell.

If you want to learn more about Eric and his team, here’s some of the goods they shared with us during the application process:

HW: Tell us about your racing background

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan surrounded by my father and uncle that were all into cars. I rode home from the hospital in a 1965 GTO with a 421 Tri Power and a four-speed. My first car was a 1973 Cutlass that I fixed up with my father and brother. My love for cars was early on. I started out street racing and then got into class racing with rules and that was far more challenging.

I went through automotive tech in high school and built several cars.

I raced in the World Street Race in 2005 where I asked Mike Moran for some pointers on a pump gas small-block Chevrolet nitrous combo. He sent me the parts and everything else was done at my shop. We ran 8.40’s at over 165 mph in 2005 on shell 93 octane fuel: the fastest small-block on pump gas. I was so impressed that it pushed us futher into the performance business. We have been involved with Comp Cams Pump Gas Drags, Pinks, Pinks: All Out, and several racing organizations. We have won two national championships (ORSCA in 2009 and NMCA in 2016) and a few local championships. We’ve won several big races all over the country, some no-time shootouts, and a bunch of local races. I have a very well known Malibu wagon that I race. I have a performance shop, Eric’s Automotive Service, and I’m moving into the direction of being an automotive/performance instructor at Indian River State College. I will always be building cars, but want to teach young people how to do the same.

HW: Who is part of your team?

I do all the suspension setup and drive the car. Christian and Kevin do all of the tig welding of the stainless and aluminum and fabrication work. Tim does engine and vehicle assembly, Donnie does all the assembly and keeps the car maintained, and Kevin and Bill handle general assembly work.

HW: Why should you and you team make the top three finalists?

Building cars is one of my passions that I would like to teach to the younger generation. My team has the drive to compete at this level and under these rules and timeline. I believe we have what it takes to win.

HW: What Makes You Qualified For The $10K Drag Shootout?

We can build the turn-key car, have it tested, and have a capable driver. I do the same for several customers already.

HW: Can you share some more details about some of the cars your team has built in the past?

Our current 1979 Malibu wagon, which has a 365 cubic-inch small-block Chevrolet with a 76 mm turbo. We updated the chassis and did a complete turbo build done in-house, chassis setup, and tuning (with some outside pointers). We won the 2016 NMCA Xtreme Street national championship with the car.

Keep an eye out as we release the fifth finalist and work our way through the entire lineup of teams that will vie for a shot at this rough-and-tumble build-off!

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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