Aftermarket EFI systems are one of the hottest trends in the high-performance segment from street rods to the competitive ranks of professional drag racing. Edelbrock has been one of the leaders in the EFI conversion segment with three levels of EFI systems that include the E-Street, Pro-Flo XT, and Pro-Flo Sportsman. Each system builds on the previous one with the E-Street version being a bolt-on setup that is essentially a plug and play combination. On the other end of the Edelbrock EFI spectrum sits the Pro-Flo Sportsman system, this the ECU that guys like Pat Musi and Rickie Smith depend on to control their 903ci Pro Modified engines that produce upwards of 2,400 horsepower as the behemoth engines ingest four-stages of nitrous oxide.
The Pro-Flo Sportsman isn’t just a high-end system for Pro Mod cars—the system’s name is probably more indicative of the its use in the popular Sportsman ranks of the NHRA and bracket racing. We caught up with Ralph Musi of New Jersey, brother of famed Pro Modified racer and engine builder Pat Musi. While the elder Musi plays in the ultra-fast sandbox of Pro Modified competition, the younger Musi is more in-tune with the typical Sportsman racer. His skills are realized in the ultra competitive Super Comp and Super Gas ranks behind the wheel of a variety of cars.
One can call it peer-pressure to make the switch when your brother is a major spokesman and developer for Edelbrock EFI systems. This year, Ralph converted a few of the cars he drives to Edelbrock Pro-Flo Sportsman EFI. We recently got a chance to check out his Super Comp dragster at Englishtown during the NHRA national event. The rail dragster utilizes a very common package from Pat Musi Racing, the triple nickel as they call it—a 555ci big-block Chevy. The highlights of the 555ci engine include a set of Edelbrock-Musi 24-degree big-block Chevy cylinder heads and Pro-Flo intake manifold The engine cranks out 987 horsepower on Musi’s dyno in both carburetor and EFI trims. As Ralph told us, the switch to Edelbrock EFI wasn’t about making more power but rather to be more consistent.
The world of Super Comp is all about consistency, “the engine starts easier, idles nicely, and is clean. It gets the same fuel every single time, so far it has been really good,” said Ralph. He went on to tell us that what he discovered next would change the game Super Comp. “Every Super racer that runs a throttle stop looks for a consistent cruise speed. The goal for us is to have a 4,000 rpm cruise speed when on the stop,” claimed Ralph. He continued, “With the Edelbrock EFI the engine stayed perfect at 4,000 rpm whereas before—with a carburetor—it started at 4,000 and ended 4,600. There is no grow in it with the Edelbrock EFI.”
The grow in rpm effects consistency and when that is effected then life becomes harder to win a class that run off an 8.90 index. Ralph also had some other observations, he said once he switched to the Edelbrock EFI. The veteran New Jersey racer had to slow the stop down, meaning cut back how quick the throttle stop is released and letting the engine go back to wide-open-throttle. He found that when the engine came off the stop it would cause the tires to break loose momentarily. A simple adjustment helped eliminated that issue. The consistent running EFI also allows Ralph to create new burnout and staging procedures since the engine runs crisper, cleaner, and reacts the same way on every run. “You don’t have to worry about getting up on rpm like you did with a carburetor,” he said.
Ralph kept going back to his recent experience with the Edelbrock Pro-Flo Sportsman, “I’ve looked at graphs for 20-25 years in Super Comp racing and I’ve never seen the consistent cruise rpm like I have with the Edelbrock EFI.” This comes after just one dyno session and two events – one regular Bracket point’s day at Englishtown and the aforementioned National event entry. Ralph went four rounds in Super Comp and finished runner-up in Super Gas in NHRA competition. That isn’t a bad weekend of racing in the ultra competitive Lucas Oil Sportsman Drag Racing ranks of NHRA. He told us that he slept at the tree in the finals of Super Gas hurting his chance at winning. But overall that isn’t a bad start for the new EFI combinations that Ralph runs in the two cars.
Ralph concluded, “Pat has over 20 years in using this EFI stuff and I don’t doubt Edelbrock EFI will become more mainstream in this type of racing. It is a tough class. Super Comp isn’t like Pro Mod where maybe you have more horsepower than the other guy. It is about being consistent and the EFI definitely helps in Super Comp.”