Roadkill Races a Barn Find 1967 Pontiac Firebird at Rocky Mountain Race Week!
Roadkill raced Rocky Mountain Race Week 2.0! Mike Finnegan and David Newbern decided it was time to put Mike’s Pro Street barn find 1967 Pontiac Firebird—the “Rubber Duck”—to the test, and what better way than to compete in an endurance drag racing event? 1,000 miles of driving, four race tracks in five days, and you can only use whatever tools, parts, and materials fit in your car and optional trailer.
Related: What is a Rubber Duck Firebird? Who would want to crush a Camaro? Find the answers to these and all your other questions about Roadkill, only on MotorTrend+! Click here for a free trial and enjoy thousands of hours of automotive-themed content!
Yeah, it’s a lot like HOT ROD Drag Week, and who are we to complain that we’ve inspired not one but four similar endurance drag racing competitions? That’s Rocky Mountain Race Week, Race Week 2.0, and the Midwest Drags, and Tom Bailey’s new event—Sick Week—with more popping up every year. The goal is the same for all of them: run as fast as you can, but make sure you survive to the end of the week. Does Roadkill have what it takes to survive Rocky Mountain Race Week 2.0?
Mike Finnegan’s Pro Street 1967 Pontiac Firebird Barn Find
Back in episode 112 of Roadkill, Mike Finnegan, with the help of David Newbern and friends, brought a 16-year-old barn find 1967 Pontiac Firebird back to life. The Firebird, set up Pro Street-style, was a man named Otto’s personal drag car. Otto, now deceased, was the owner of Paradise Dragstrip in Calhoun, Georgia—one of Mike Finnegan’s favorite local eighth-mile dragstrips. The scene couldn’t have been more idyllic when the Roadkill crew pulled the ’67 Firebird from the barn—trees, cobwebs, old speed parts in various states of organization.
After a quick resurrection and a pass down Paradise’s strip for posterity, Finnegan and Newbern went back to Finnegan’s house to properly revive the Rubber Duck Firebird and make some important updates. New tires, front suspension and brakes, new ignition and induction bits—all the stuff Finnegan needed to make it safe and get the most out of the built big-block Chevy. Then it was back to Paradise Dragstrip for some serious runs.
It was only two months later we saw the Rubber Duck again in episode 114, this time going heads up against your other favorite yellow Roadkill F-body: David Freiburger’s Crusher Camaro. But, in true Roadkill fashion, the old Pontiac wasn’t happy. Finnegan’s Firebird was going to need some work at some point on the 800-mile journey to Texas Motorplex, where he and Newbern were going to meet up and race Freiburger and Steve Dulcich.
The work happened before Finnegan and Newbern could get more than 10 miles from Finnegan’s garage, but they thought ahead and had the assembled long-block from Newbern’s Attempted Murder Nova sitting in the camera van along with half of Finnegan’s shop ready to go. Maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea performing the swap in a public campground, but they made it to Ennis, Texas, on time and it was a pandemic Roadkill reunion to be enjoyed by all.
Prepped Roadkill’s Rubber Duck for Rocky Mountain Race Week 2.0
Now it’s time to really put the Pro Street barn find Firebird to the test. The old big-block Chevy has been rebuilt, but the shop that did the work didn’t give Mike Finnegan any of the details about what’s inside. He doesn’t know how hard he can lean on the refreshed engine or how much boost he can cram down the intake, but that isn’t stopping him from bolting on a Blower Shop 8-71 roots supercharger on top and giving it the beans. This is Roadkill, after all, and that means it’s all about having fun!
Unlike most Roadkill cars that take years of evolution to be built into reliable and fast cars (like the Crusher Camaro), the Rubber Duck Firebird is already a well-setup race car. With the Gearstar level four Turbo 400 transmission and Gear Vendors Overdrive, it cruises nicely, too. All Finnegan and Newbern have to do is make it through the week. But when things are going too smoothly, the guys always have to make things more exciting.
What’s more, Finnegan and Newbern opted not to run a trailer. They have everything—luggage, tools, spares, and pillows to pad the race buckets—all packed over the wheel tubs. Will that be enough junk to get Finnegan, Newbern, and the Firebird through the week? What did Finnegan do that he wanted the producers to cut from the show (they didn’t, and you want to see it)? Why does everyone keep pelting David Newbern with sausages!? There’s only one place to find out—MotorTrend+—your free trial is just a click away.
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