Black Sheep Mountain Climbing! 

While dedication to a particular brand in drag racing is common, Windsor Ontario’s O’Brien Brothers take that notion to the next level……

By:  Bruce Biegler

Within the unforgiving and ultra expensive class of Mountain-motor Pro Stock racing, Larry and Wayne O’Brien do standout while they continue to chart their own future.  Most racers within the swift category have chosen more conventional and arguably more proven Ford or G.M. powered machines, the O’Brien’s single handedly represent the Chrysler brand.   Last year the duo completed construction of a significant new car and it will be “throttle up” for that this coming season, beginning this weekend during the ADRL’s (American Drag Racing League) season opening event at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston TX.

The O’Brien’s, since the 1980’s have almost exclusively been the only Dodge within Mountain-motor Pro Stock racing, while racing a series of very successful cars.   Their newest entry, a 2010 Dodge Avenger, which debuted during the middle of last season, is by far their most impressive venture yet.  Simply put, it can already lay claim to being the world’s quickest and fastest Dodge Pro Stocker.

Larry O'Brien remains at the forefront for Mopar's Mountain Motor PS competition.

Powered by a massive 825 CID Hemi hybrid motor which was developed jointly by Larry O’Brien’s Bears Performance Products facility and legendary Mountain Motor Pro Stock builder John Kaase, the new Avenger clocked a stunning 6.27 secs at 223.95 mph (on the 1/4 mile) at mid-season last year, during one of only a few limited appearances.  The ultra high tech car, which was expertly constructed by Jerry Haas has sites set on ADRL (American Drag Racing League) and MMPSA (Mountain Motor Pro Stock Association) events for 2011.

For this coming season, the O’Brien’s Avenger will in fact again be the only Dodge  entered in competition within the Mountain-motored Pro Stock circuits.  That “lone wolf” moniker is a fact which Larry & Wayne both are proud of. 

“I’ve been a Mopar proponent forever,” O’Brien admitted.  “It all started back with my Dad who was a millwright at the Chrysler plant in Windsor.  Our family was supported by Dodge and I grew up that way.  It has always been a brand that I admired so when I got myself into the position to build my own race cars — Dodge was a natural.”

“There is no doubt that we could have gone more conventional route for Pro Stock racing,” Larry continued.  “That may have been easier and less expensive.  But I enjoy the challenge of it and all the support we get from the fans for what we do.  That’s exciting and probably the reason we’ve come so far.”

Larry is particularly impressed with his new machine which melds some much improved Avenger aerodynamics with great chassis tuning flexibility. 

Mild-mannered Wayne O'Brien is crew chief


“Our new Avenger is a much narrower and smaller car and that body has helped out immensely,” he added.  “That combined with today’s modern chassis design has resulted in a very adjustable car – from front to back.  It’s the most tunable car I’ve ever had.”

The engine program is also about as cutting edge as they come in drag racing.  Literally thousands of man hours were spent in house at Bears Performance (Oldscastle, ON) where the engine blocks and it’s Hemi style cylinder heads were conceived, designed and then milled from bare billets of aluminum.  After manufacturing, the engine components were shipped to Kaase’s reputed engine shop in Georgia for final assembly and then dyno testing.

“There is a lot of experimentation in our newest block,” Larry added.  “It has the latest tech in camshaft geometry and cylinder head design.  I’m very pleased with what I am seeing — so I’m very excited about the future possibilities.”

While the O’Brien’s car continues to be of over the top interest to Mopar drag racing fans, there is no doubt that all of the racing community respects and admires the team’s  rogue racing efforts.

Simply put….the Bear’s Performance Products Avenger is the quickest and fastest Mopar Pro Stocker on “terra firma”!

(Bruce Biegler Photos)