Classic YouTube: Buddy Ingersoll At Bristol, 1986 – How To Screw With Pro Stock Using A 4.4L V6

Classic YouTube: Buddy Ingersoll At Bristol, 1986 – How To Screw With Pro Stock Using A 4.4L V6

The phrase for IHRA Pro Stock in 1986 was “mountain motor”. But there was an exception. Sitting over in the corner, tweaking on a former Warren Johnson Oldsmobile that had been re-skinned to resemble a Buick Grand National, was Buddy Ingersoll. Ingersoll was already an established legend by the mid 1980s having been an NHRA competition eliminator national champion in a Pinto that had a build sheet that looked more like a tractor than a drag car (seriously…a turbocharged four cylinder, five forward gears and a 6.50:1 rear gear) but by the mid-1980s he had the Buick, packing a 268ci V6 with twin turbos and intercoolers, and was looking for a venue to play in Pro Stock.

The NHRA just flat denied the Buick a shot at running, period. The IHRA was ready to bring Ingersoll on board since they figured that with two-thirds less displacement, nothing would really come about of the turbos. While luck didn’t pan out well for him there, either, he made one hell of a show at Bristol that set the direction of Pro Stock for years afterwards.

Prior to Bristol, Buddy had been stuck running 7.90s when the average index for Pro Stock was 7.30 or so, but his opening salvo that day was a 7.20. Suddenly, all eyes were on the white and blue “Buick” from Illinois. His early rounds fed him easy prey, but when he went up against points leader Rickie Smith in the semi-final, things got interesting. Smith got a huge jump on Ingersoll, but Ingersoll ran him down at the top end of the track.

After the race, according to the legend, Smith went ballistic, crying foul over the turbos and insisting that Ingersoll was just dialing in more power at will. While he lost to Bob Glidden in the final round, it wasn’t by much and suddenly everybody in Pro Stock, whether they were for or against the turbochargers, had an opinion.

In the firestorm that followed Bristol, Ingersoll’s Buick was not welcomed in pro stock any longer with some believing that other manufacturers may have put pressure on the sanctioning body. Whatever the case, Ingersoll went down in history as the man to scare the hell out of the Pro Stock ranks with a third of the engine capacity.

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10 thoughts on “Classic YouTube: Buddy Ingersoll At Bristol, 1986 – How To Screw With Pro Stock Using A 4.4L V6


      The nicest guy in the sport, the only one that could make a Ford competitive.
      I remember at some point in this era, a track recorded him with a 200 mph trap speed. He knew it was an error. He said “That car couldn’t run 200 mph down a mountain!!!” Cracked me up. Such a class act

  1. jerry z

    I have to disagree with you Bryan on NHRA not allowing Buddy to run his Buick. My memory may be a little hazy but I know he was at either the ’85 or ’86 Summernationals.

    That car going down the track was quiet as church mouse!

    1. chuck lewis

      Yes I have a picture of his car at the US Nationals in the mid 80s. He hazed the tires around the 330 mark.He said his biggest issue was getting the power to the ground. And yes it was very quiet.

  2. Danno

    Does anyone know how Ingersoll handled the spark and fuel delivery? The absence of electronic fuel injection and a computer had to have made tuning that V6 (obviously with very high boost) a tremendous challenge. My hats off to Ingersoll’s crew for making it work!

    I would have loved to hear Smith’s whining to the NHRA. Too bad they listened to him. Pro Stock could have actually turned into something interesting unlike what it has become today. Pro Stock is dead, the NHRA is just afraid to pull the plug and bury the corpse. Pro Mod racing with blowers, turbos and nitrous mountain motors all racing against each other shows what Pro Stock could have been..

    1. Chuck

      Buick had an electronic fuel injection that was used in the road racing series back then. The NASCAR V6s of that time had an electronic ignition which used the OEM coil pack and a crank damper shutter wheel. Buick engineer Bernard Santavy helped Buddy Ingersoll with his turbo V6s and I seem to recall they utilized some of those components.

  3. JD

    These were called \”Stage II\” engines and were typically used in SCCA Trans-AM, Kelly Challenge, etc. type of road race events. The sequential EFI system was a very Electromotive looking set of aluminum bodied modules that were labeled \”Delco\”. My old boss had a bunch of that junk in the attic of his barn when I was a kid. The intakes were hilborn style injection stacks. Eventually due to either rules or operational complications a Holley 4500 was employed. List 8896 with a bunch of modifications.

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