“Okay, let’s do this, it can’t be that hard…” – Scott Brown – 2014 (pre-HRDW)
The sleeper mystique is what defines many drag-and-drive cars. The unsuspecting, unloved
bodystyles of the past that serve as unique platforms for streetwise stealth bombers. While the
Tri-Five Chevrolets are one of the defacto hot rods, their predecessors remained fairly unloved.
The 1949 to 1954 Chevys are still crisply-styled mid-century rides, but without the fanfare,
people just see another ol’ car — it doesn’t have the cachet of say, Hot Rod’s Weapon X yellow ’57 Chevy.
For Scott Brown, though, that’s the exact reason he ended up with Capone, his all-steel ‘53
Chevrolet. After spending a couple years at Little River Dragway driving his buddy’s ‘54 Chevy
while chowing down on plates of BBQ between rounds, he finally admitted that his secret was
being able to slip a 235 radial behind the fender skit. The ‘54 was a known killer after a couple
of years in the winner’s circle, and finally the fun of running an uncommon machine caught on.
“Man, I gotta get a car like this because it’s different than everybody,” he told himself. “Now,
everybody thinks this is my car ‘cuz I go out and race it, and my buddy’s back there cookin’ but
it’s his car!”
In 2008, after putting the word out, he later got a call from a friend around Austin who knew of a ‘53 that was being evicted from a storage unit.
“He goes, hey, a guy who lives across the street from me, he’s got a car in a storage unit and it
been there 15 years, and it needs to get out this weekend.” He rolled over with a truck and
trailer as quick as possible. “The guy opens the door and I see that it’s a Chevy two-door. Don’t
really know the year, we figure it out by looking at pictures on the internet. And then I saw it was
a two-door, and I said I’ve got to have it.” After talking the seller down from $3500 to a more-
reasonable $1500, it was drug home and work began. Before too long, the ‘53 gained a simple
5.3/4L60E combo between the fenders, running on a stock ECU — from there, the slippery
slope into Capone’s current form began. Through forums and resources like Sloppy Mechanics,
Scott began piecing together the low-buck turbo package that made Capone so famous.
“I had heard of Drag Week two weeks before the registration. And I had tickets to go to the
Spring Nationals in Baytown, TX. Passes to go to Alexis DeJoria’s pit, premium seating and all
that. Well, my wife was at home and got me registered in the first four-to-five minutes,” he
recalled, falling into the temptation. “I had never done anything like that, I had raced local events
here, 10- or 11-second quarter mile stuff, 7.0-index. John Dodson, a good friend of mine, he had
told me he had gone and watched the event, but never raced in one and wanted to sign up. I’m
like, ‘Okay, let’s do this. It can’t be that hard.”
This would be 2014, Scott’s incredible come-back from a piston that went into meltdown after he
had forgotten to top off the tank. The lean spike was just a bit too much for the hypereutectic
factory pistons in the ol’ 5.3.
“I went to the tower, told them I was looking for parts, and a guy from two states over called me
and said I know a guy at Great Bend who’s got parts for you. So I pulled the head off and
dropped the oil pan, the guys went and got the stuff and I put it in. Put it all together and at 6 PM
we’re driving away. We made it back to Tulsa at 2:30 in the morning,” he recalled. “I was more
tired than I have ever been, but I didn’t want to give up”
[Added by Mike Narx of drag-n-drive.com – Scott finished Hot Rod Drag Week 2014 with a 11.576, finishing #11, out of 119 racers, in the Daily Driver class.
John Dodson raced the event with a 9.360 average in the Street Race Small Block Power Adder]
“Now comfortably in the 4-digit club for power…”
Scott finally began chasing a more capable recipe under the hood too. An all-aluminum 6.0 LS2
block was sourced to help cut a couple pounds out, before Jon Henson at DB Rods assembled
everything with Weisco Pistons on Compstar rods, all spinning along with a factory GM crank.
Trick Flow’s 220 heads were worked over by Brian Tool Racing, who also supplied the BTR
Twin-Turbo Stage 3 cam and springs. Now comfortably in the 4-digit club for power, the
drivetrain was updated from a 4L60E to a 4L80E that was built with billet shafts, a Rossler
trans-brake, a mixture of guts from Extreme Automatics and ATI, all spun by a Hughes bolt-
together converter. Directing that controlled chaos to the pavement is a 9-inch from Quick
Performance, which has a spool from Strange and a 3.50 gear ratio.
“I’m driving home saying ‘I’ll never do this again, and then a day later I’m, ‘When’s the next one?”
And while Scott’s mechanical manifestation of his love for drag-n-drive racing has never
stopped evolving over the course nearly a decade, in reality, it’s not the inherent challenge of
the events themselves that draw him in. Like many, it was the community that rose around him
in a time of need:
“I had so many people asking me if I needed help, if I needed parts, if I needed tools. After that I
got hooked on it. I didn’t want to be one of those that just quit and give up. Those weeks have
been some of the tiredest I’ve been in my life. I’m driving home saying ‘I’ll never do this again,”
and then a day later I’m, ‘When’s the next one?’
I can’t give up, as tired as I am and how dumb as it is. I think it’s pride, too. To say that you did
it, the sense of accomplishment.”
Article and pictures by Phillip Thomas
Added by Mike Narx
“8.50s to the 1/8 Mile”
When asked on The Drag-N-Drive Show, Scott said this about making the switch to the 235 Rowdy Radial class for Sick Week 2023. “I want to make a clean pass and know this is all the car’s got, turn in the slip and get on the road. I want to see some of these places during the day! I want to do more hanging out and watching people race instead of sitting in the lanes chasing a number.” Scott has made so many 8.48-8.49 passes to count. Being in Street Race, he was limited to a minimum ET of 8.500, meaning he can not submit a faster timeslip. With the restriction, he could potentially need to make 3-5 passes per day to be competitive.
“Finish the week”
Scott said his goals for Sick Week 2023 are to “Finish the week, with little to no problems. Run 5.30s, maybe 5.20s. And catch up with my buddies…. Parking lot parties.”
Sweet Patina has a Capone shirt! Buy CAPONE shirt using code DND57 for 10% discount!
We’ll be following Scott during Sick Week with daily interviews and race footage.
Scott Brown’s Drag-N-Drive Event History
2014 Hot Rod Drag Week (HRDW) – 11.576 average – Daily Driver Class
2015 HRDW – 10.817 average – Street Machine Eliminator
2016 HRDW – 10.096 average – Ultimate Iron
2018 Rocky Mountain Race Week – 10.030 – 10.00 Index Class
2018 HRDW – 9.070 average – Street Race Small Block Power Adder
2019 HRDW – 8.973 average – Street Race Small Block Power Adder
2022 Sick Week – 8.517 average – Street Race