Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Something different at the Chili Bowl

There was a good variety of midget racing engines at the 30th annual Chili Bowl Nationals, which included but was engines produced by Gaerte, ECOtech, Fontana Automotive, MoPar, Honda, Toyota and the most prevalent, Esslinger Engineering.  There were even two midgets  powered by the once-dominant Autocraft Volkswagen engine, but the subject of this feature is the Boyles engine.

The Boyles engine as photographed by the author

The Boyles engine is a development of the Ford Taurus SHO (Super High Output) V-6 engine modified for midget racing by 81-year old Ray Boyles of Overland Park Kansas.  For the Ford Taurus SHO, the 182 cubic inch engine supplied by the Yamaha Motor Corporation used an iron block fitted with a four valve per cylinder double overhead camshaft aluminum head.

The Boyles #7RS with driver Merril Lamb 
photo courtesy of the All Star Midget Series

As outfitted for racing with mechanical fuel injection, at the Chili Bowl the low-cost Boyles engine appeared to be a little behind the performance of a typical Esslinger engine in power and  likely weighed a bit more than the four-cylinder Ford Pinto based Esslinger.  On its Tuesday preliminary night for the 2106 Chili Bowl, Boyles #7RS stealth chassis midget driven by Iola Kansas driver Merril Lamb finished 13th in the evening’s B feature and on Saturday, finished 14th in the ‘G’ feature.     


In addition to building his unique engine, Ray Boyles has operated the All Star Midget Series (ASMS) since 2013 which races primarily on track in the Kansas City area.  Merril Lamb finished third in 2015 ASMS season points in the Boyles powered #7RS midget.  

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