Dale Amy
July 1, 2003
Photos By: Michael Johnson
New to heads-up racing in 2001, Paul has done well on a tight budget with his '93 Real Street coupe. Running a best e.t. to date of 10.43 at 132.8 mph, he paid particular attention to suspension setup and his own technique for 2002, knocking a couple tenths off his 60-foot times in the process.

Horse Sense: Despite intense competition, Paul Wiley seems to genuinely have fun in Real Street. "The guys in the class are just the best," he says. "We all goof around-a lot of smack talk, a lot of good friendships there."

As we had predicted (hoped?) from the beginning, NMRA's 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Real Street class has proven to be a competitive venue that has attracted an ever-growing and strong field of regulars including Gabe Large, Jason Hoots, Joffre Lafontaine, Fred Felt, and, of course, Paul Wiley. Among the first to jump in and commit to the new class, Paul was quick right out of the box in Real Street's '01 debut season, qualifying no lower than third all year. Throughout the year, he honed typical 10.60s down to the high-10.40- to 10.50-second range. He found the going a bit tougher in 2002, with some competitors sneaking down into the 10.20s. Look for Paul to step it up in 2003.

Actually, this whole heads-up thing is fairly new to the 31-year-old, who had been a bracket racer exclusively until he accompanied Lidio Iacobelli to the '00 NMRA finale in Bowling Green as a spectator. What Paul saw there was enough to convince him of the need to go heads-up racing in 2001. He made initial plans to build a Pure Street entry-that is, until we came along and spoiled that idea with our then-new Real Street class. The concept of Real Street struck a chord with Paul because (A) he had always wanted to run a supercharged car, and (B) his pal Lidio had a proven knack for extracting good power from the combination of stock cams and Vortech blowers.

Living in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Michigan, Paul is within easy burnout distance of Lidio's Alternative Auto Performance in Mt. Clemens. After poring over the rule book, and after Paul made a realistic estimate of available finances, he and Lidio decided on a 308-inch combination using Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, an Edelbrock Performer intake duo, and Vortech's S-Trim centrifugal. To control costs, they opted to retain as many stock short-block components as possible, including the block, crank, and rods, though a girdle was added and the water passages were partially filled for rigidity. Stroking is not allowed in Real Street, so Lidio went as far as he dared in search of displacement on Paul's thin-wall factory 5.0 block, with a 0.050-inch overbore. They ran off-the-shelf TRW pistons in 2001, but for 2002's freshening, they went to custom Diamond Racing pistons, filling those enlarged bores to the tune of about 10:1 compression.

This seemingly high (for a blower motor) compression is perhaps possible only because Real Street rules prohibit changing the S-Trim's stock 3.33-inch pulley. Paul tells us the Vortech huffs out about 11.8 psi at 6,200 rpm-a fairly good figure until you consider that some of Paul's competitors claim to be seeing upward of 18 psi out of their competing blowers. The rules don't allow Vortech's bigger T-Trim, so if Paul decides he needs more boost to remain competitive, he may have to swap to another blower for 2003.

Measured on the fairly conser-vative Mustang chassis dyno at Automotive Performance Engineering, the small-block churns out 498 rear-wheel horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque-or at least it did. As we were writing this story in late September, Paul finally blew it up, destroying the block and everything inside. It's probably a testament to Lidio's tuning skills with Autologic chips that the overwhelmingly stock bottom end lasted as long as it did. To finish out the season in Bowling Green, Paul bought a used, 40,000-mile, stock short-block and hastily transferred his bolt-on parts-all as a temporary measure, of course, in search of valuable season points.