THE Tampa Bay Posse is a uniquegroup of Corvette fanatics. The organizationhas no dues, no monthly meetings,and no officers. What they do have isAndrew (Drew) Haynes, the informalleader of the Posse. Each member wearsa red T-shirt with a slogan proclaiming:"Will ride . . . even if there is nowhere togo!" The Posse works via a phone chain.Drew will spot an upcoming Corvetteevent and notify members of the date,time, and location. He picks a meetingspot and whoever shows up caravans tothe event. It's a simple concept but has an amazing outcome--members drivefrom all over the state to ride with thePosse.
Three of these Posse members are thesubject of this story: Chris Napolitano,Craig Nicholson, and Tyrone Payne. Possemembers call them the Three Amigosbecause they all share common traits.Each owns a Corvette, and they arealways trying to outdo each other. Craigwas the first to buy a C6 Z06 in October2005. His black beauty was a hit with thePosse crowd. Chris was next when hepurchased his Velocity Yellow '06 Z06.
The MAN Drew Haynes is the...
Drew Haynes is the informal leader ofthe Tampa Bay Posse. He presently ownstwo Corvettes: an `03 silver coupe and ared `06 coupe.
Lookin' Good The Three Amigos...
The Three Amigos lined their Z06s up infront of MTI Racing after a Banzai runfrom Tampa, Florida. Photo by: TyronePayne
Yellow Fellow Chris Napolitano's...
Chris Napolitano's Z06 is inspected by MTI Racing prior to making its first run onthe dyno.
As Craig's delivery date neared, heconvinced Chris and Tyrone to caravan upto Georgia with him to pick up his newhot rod. The story took a different twistwhen he suggested stopping by MTIRacing in Marietta, Georgia, to get theircars "tuned." MTI Racing's owner ReeseCox is no stranger to hot-rod Corvettes.Reese was a former crewchief for theMorrison Motorsports Corvette team, andhe successfully drove a C5 in theSpeedVision GT series. His MTI RacingCompany is responsible for producingmany of the South's fastest Corvettes.
CF was at MTI Racing when the threeZ06s pulled into the parking lot. It wasquite a sight to see the yellow, silver, andblack Z06s parked in a row. After quickintroductions and a tour of MTI Racing'sshop, Reese and his crew went to workinspecting each car. Chris' yellow Z06 wasfitted with American Racing's 17⁄8-inchlong-tube headers, Random Tech hi-flowcats, an x pipe system, and a Corsa Cat-Back exhaust. It was showing 6,492 on itsclock. Tyrone's '07 silver Z06 had LG ProLong Tube 13⁄4-inch headers, Random Techhi-flow cats, an x pipe system, and stockexhaust. In addition, Tyrone had added anaftermarket air-intake system, and his Z06had 3,217 miles on its clock. Craig's '07black Z06 was completely stock and hadcovered a whopping 91 miles since itsdelivery.
When the inspection was completed,all three cars were lined up for baselinedyno tests. Tyrone's silver ride was firstand, with the hood open, produced454.2 RWHP and 449.5 RWT. Reeseclosed the hood and tested the caragain, and the number fell to 424.5RWHP. This 29.70hp loss was because ofthe aftermarket air intake that drewmost of its air from under the hood, notoutside of the car. Always remember,when your car is on the highway, thehood is closed, not open. You shouldalways dyno your car with the hood inthe closed and open positions becausethis determines your intake's efficiency.Chris' car was next, and it produced453.7 RWHP and 451.8 RWT. With thehood closed, Chris' factory air intake costhim 11 RWHP. Finally, Craig's new blackZ06 pulled 400.9 RWHP and 385 RWTwith the hood closed.
Brand New Craig Nicholson...
Craig Nicholson picked up his new Z06 at a dealership in Georgia that was 70 milesfrom MTI Racing. The Z06 was headed for a rapid break-in.
The MTI Racing team set to workinstalling Callaway Honker Air intakes andMTI Racing high-energy spark plug wireson Chris and Tyrone's cars. Tyrone alsohad MTI install a 160-degree thermostatto help keep the temps in line. Chris hadalready made this change to his yellowride. Craig's black car was taken to theMTI Racing's lift to have their Stage Ipackage installed. This included a newthermostat, high-energy plug wires,Callaway Honker air intake, MTI Racinglong-tube 17⁄8-inch headers, Random Techhigh-flow cats, an and x pipe system.
Once the work was completed (all inone day for all three cars!), the carsreturned to the dyno for tuning. The tuningprocess is time-consuming, but vitalto maximize each car's performancepotential. Each Z06 leaves the factorywith an aggressive torque managementprogram to help minimize driveline breakage.A good tuner like Reese can unlocklots of torque and horsepower that is hiddeninside every LS-7 engine. Reese alsoadjusts each car's air/fuel mixture to maximizeefficiency. The net results wereimpressive. Tyrone's silver finished the dayat 494.1 RWHP and 469 RWT--a gain of39.90 RWHP and 19.50 RWT. Chris finishedwith 495.3 RWHP and 472.6 RWT--a gain of 41.60 RWHP and 20.80 RWT.Since Craig's car was bone stock, weexpected it to show the biggest gain andit did. His black beauty pulled 498.1RWHP and 471.7 RWT--a gain of 97.20RWHP and 86.7 RWT. These runs were alldone with the hood closed.
91 miles We are not kidding...
We are not kidding when we said new! How many of us would modifyour brand-new Z06?
Amigo Land The three Amigos...
The three Amigos ham it up, while Reese and Jesus Garcia install aCallaway Honker into Tyrone's Z06.
Callaway Honker Tyrone's...
Tyrone's installed Honker looks like a factory installation. This unitdramatically increases airflow to the LS-7 engine.
After some tire-burning test drives,Tyrone and Chris both had big smiles ontheir faces. After Craig returned from histest he looked like a kid who stole thekeys to the candy store. All three wereexclaiming how much better the throttleresponse was and how much they liked
their cars' flat torque curve. When thetesting was completed, Reese and hiscrew did a final check to make sure everythingwas satisfactory.
DIFFICULTY INDEX ::: N N N N N
ANYONE'S PROJECT | no tools required...................... N
BEGINNER | basic tools.......................................... N N
EXPERIENCED | special tools ................................ N N N
ACCOMPLISHED | special tools and outside help ...... N N N N
PROFESSIONALS ONLY | send this work out......... N N N N N
Baseline City All three cars...
All three cars were dynoed to determine their base horsepower.Tyrone's car was first up; Reese first tested the car with the hoodopened.
Hood Hell Next, Tyrone's...
Next, Tyrone's car was dyno tested with the hood closed, and hisoutput dropped 29.70 RWHP.
Exhausting Fun All three...
All three cars were equipped with long-tube headers, hi-flow cats,and an x pipe system. The headers were American Racing, LG, andMTI Racing. MTI Racing's headers are shown in this photo.
Bottom Line No. 1
Tyrone's Z06 best run was494.1 RWHP and 469 RWT--again of 39.90 RWHP and19.50 RWT.
Bottom Line No. 2
Chris had a best run of 495.3 RWHP and 472.6 RWT--a gain of 41.60 RWHP and20.80 RWT.
Bottom Line No. 3
Craig's run from bone stock to out the door witha MTI Racing Stage 1 package netted him with498.1 RWHP and 471.7 RWT--a gain of 97.20 RWHP and86.7 RWT.
Bad Weather An unexpected...
An unexpected hailstormcaught Chris's Z06 bysurprise. The weathershifted from sunny tohail and back to sunny injust a few minutes.Fortunately, his car wasundamaged.
Just Havin' Fun The Amigos...
Just Havin' Fun
The Amigos are alwaysclowning around witheach other. Here Christhreatens to put the bigsqueeze on Tyrone.
Blood Brothers The three...
The three Amigos show off their dynosheets as they give a bonding salute toMTI Racing's owner Reese Cox.