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.