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Tech Review: Brisk USA’s Surface Discharge Spark Plugs for Nitrous Applications

NMCA Xtreme Street racer and event winner Scotty Guiler also uses Brisk USA plugs in his nitrous-oxide assisted, big-block Chevy-powered Oldsmobile.
By Steve Baur

Photos by FSC

If you’re a late-model Ford enthusiast, then there’s a really good chance that you’re running Brisk USA spark plugs in your ride, especially if it’s boosted with a supercharger or turbocharger. The company worked early on with shops like Strictly Performance, JPC Racing, Evolution Performance, and Murillo Motorsports to gain a foothold into that segment, and has had a stranglehold on that market ever since. As Brisk USA’s Martin Uhlir told us, the company is always looking for new applications to get involved with. During a conversation with Uhlir at the 2017 PRI show, we came to find out that Brisk USA has been involved with a number of nitrous oxide-using racers in the Xtreme Street, Ultra Street, and X275 ranks for a few years now, and some of them have done quite well using the Brisk USA surface discharge spark plug.

Noted engine builder Tony Bischoff of BES Racing Engines began using Brisk USA’s Silver series plugs in a number of his Engine Masters Challenge builds.

“They say it was the silver, but any time I put the plugs in an engine, it was worth 5-10 horsepower,” Bischoff told us.

“He came by our booth after he won the Engine Masters Challenge,” recalled Uhlir. “We really appreciate him using our product.” According to Uhlir, the addition of silver to the electrode offers a number of favorable improvements over a conventional or even Iridium-coated spark plug.

“Iridium is a hard, dense, resistant metal, and that makes for a long lifespan in an OEM application,” Uhlir explained. It’s dense and hard properties offer a trade-off—you get a weaker spark, but you can make the electrode smaller so it requires less energy. That might be good for the daily driver, but in a high-performance application, less spark energy can be problematic.

“Our Silver Racing plugs works great in anything, whether it’s a points system, forced induction, Pro Mods, etc,” said Uhlir. “Silver has less voltage requirement than other plugs, conducts heat and electricity better, and has a wider heat range.” Uhlir also pointed out that those advancements come at the cost of life expectancy, as the silver is expendable over the life of the plug.

“With the Silver plugs, you get accelerated wear. The gap will gradually increase until it begins to misfire, and then you can reset the gap or change the plugs for new ones. They are good for 30,000 miles, which isn’t really a problem in a racing application because racers are usually changing them out more often than that to read them.”

Brisk USA’s surface discharge spark plug is not your typical spark plug design, but works extremely well in the most demanding applications. With no ground strap to burn off, the plugs are more durable and longer lasting.

Bischoff kept working with Brisk on a number of customer engines and his own builds, and this led him to the use of Brisk USA’s surface discharge spark plug. With this design, Bischoff has found a lot of success in nitrous applications in particular.

The surface discharge spark plug design was brought over from Brisk’s European division where it is employed in rally cars among other applications.

“With the surface discharge spark plug, there is no strap to burn off,” noted Uhlir. “Generally, this plug is used in the most demanding applications; it can even handle short-term detonation. The tip of spark plug is not shrouded by the strap, so the spark doesn’t have to fight to get to the strap, it just goes with the flow in the combustion chamber. They still have a silver surface, and can fire in 360-degree perimeter.”

Bischoff has found these attributes to be beneficial for big nitrous applications in vehicles ranging from Xtreme Street to Pro Mod.

“We run the surface discharge plugs on our Pro Mod and in most of my X275, Ultra Street, and Xtreme Street customer’s engines,” Bischoff told us. “On a nitrous engine, you have to pull the timing back so far because it burns fast. Most of the nitrous tuners read the heat in the ground strap, and that’s the hottest part of the chamber. It’s harder to read the surface discharge plugs because they don’t have the strap, but you can run more timing with them, and ultimately you will run faster with them. I have customers that don’t run them and they are changing the plugs every pass, and I have customers that run the surface plugs and change them once a season.”

Noted X275 racer Dean Marinis turns to Tony Bischoff at BES Racing Engines to make big nitrous power for his small-tire Mustang. Both he and Bischoff had high praise for the surface discharge spark plugs.

Brisk USA’s surface discharge plugs have been in the hands of engine builders and racers for a little over a year now, and as noted X275 racer and BES Racing Engines customer Dean Marinis told us, “They’re the best kept secret!”

Marinis has been using the surface discharge plugs for three years now, and with great success. His nitrous-oxide-assisted Mustang won at the Lights Out and No Mercy races in 2017, and he hopes to have more success in 2018.

“The ground strap in a regular plug turns into a glow plug and you can burn it. These surface gaps, if you know where you’re timing is, they’re a lot more forgiving. There’s a pretty big space from the electrode to the ground, there’s no misfires, no nothing, they’re badass.”

And Marinis backs up Bischoff’s claim regarding their longevity, too.

“I ran them last year at Lights Out, at an NHRA, at Cecil, during a Put up or Shut up TV show, and at the Yellow Bullet Nationals, “Marinis recalled. “Then at No Mercy, I decided I should look at them and changed them out. They looked fine, though, and I would have put them back in.”

Those are some big, successful names using “the best kept secret.” It might just not be a secret for long.


Brisk USA


Mike Galimi
Mike Galimi
Mike Galimi is the Director of Content & Marketing at ProMedia Publishing and Events with nearly 20 years of experience in motorsport writing and photography.