Photos by Michael Galimi
Marty Robertson has come full circle as his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda radial tire monster known as “Bad Fish” is currently in the process of returning to its roots by way of a new ProCharger blower.
Robertson’s Evolution Custom Auto and Race Development-built ride featured ProCharger power back in 2015 when it first made its debut, but made the move to a Twin-screw supercharged combination the following year due to gear drive issues. Based out of Fort Worth, Texas, and working with de facto crew chief, Jeremy Evans, the two worked hard to get a new screw blown engine ready, but things didn’t go quite according to plans.
“When we last ran with NMCA [in Radial Wars at the Joliet race in 2015], the car still had the stock front frame rails,” noted Evans of the Jerry Bickel four-link chassis car. Later, Bickel front-halved the car and changed it to a strut-style front end as well. The Hemi engine from Carl Stevens at Xtreme Race Cars was paired with a QuickDrive and Liberty three-speed transmission, and the guys were excited to see what the ‘Cuda could do.
“We tested the new screw combo right before Donald Long’s race in October of 2016, then took it to South Georgia Motorsports Park and that’s when we had issues,” Evans elaborated of what happened leading up to the No Mercy 7 race, where they ran in Radial vs the World. “We had some issues and it wound up torching a cylinder head, burning a fuel line, and when Marty [Robertson] tried to stop it, it just slid into the wall.” The car suffered some substantial damage that put the team down for a while, but rather than let it set them back, they decided to make the most of the time off and do some major upgrades instead.
The plan included stretching the front end an addition 6” to give the beautiful B5 blue “Bad Fish” a more aggressive appearance, adding a new front valence, and lightening up a few areas. Minor chassis changes were addressed as well, and Chris Alston of Chris Alston’s Chassisworks came to the rescue with a good CDS supercharger gear drive unit. “So, we decided to go back to the ProCharger because that’s when the car as at its best,” added Evans. “At the time, no rules favored ProCharger, but now, things are loosening up because no one’s gone out there and really done anything with this combination, so we’re coming back with it and believe that we can do big things.”
Other than the supercharger swap, which will be either a ProCharger F-136 or F-143 depending on how testing goes, the ‘Cuda has remained mostly unchanged from its pre-wreck state. The engine, however, while no longer from XRE, is still a 520 ci Hemi running on VP Racing Fuels’ M1 alcohol. Instead, the Robertson and Evans tapped Mick Snyder of Snyder Motorsports to do the honors, as the men had met when Robertson purchased a screw blown, radial tire Corvette from the Bad9er Racing team of Kyle Huettel to drive while his Barracuda was down for the count.
As the build gets buttoned up, the team has plans to start testing locally in Texas in late December or early January of 2018 with tuners Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing working the numbers on the Haltech Elite 2500 engine management system.
With plenty of time before the new season kicks into gear, Robertson and Evans are planning their schedule. They’ll hit the big radial events, such as Donald Long’s Lights Out, Sweet 16, and No Mercy races, but also hope to make a few appearances on the NMCA circuit in Mickey Thompson Radial Wars. “We really like the sanctioned events and how NMCA runs things. There’s not a lot of politicking or red tape in that group,” shared Evans, who is hoping the rules work in Robertson’s favor regarding weights for ProCharged combinations.
To date, “Bad Fish” has run a personal best elapsed time of 4.02-seconds, and there’s certainly plenty of room for improvement now that the limiting factors have and performance barriers have been removed. “ProCharger was always good to us and supported us, so it was like we had unfinished business when we changed to the screw blower,” added Evans, happy to be back in the ProCharger camp.