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Holbrook Racing Engines Livonia, MichiganHolbrook Racing Engines of Southeast Michigan specializes in engine design, machining & blueprinting, complete engine builds, engine testing, dyno services and more for all makes & models of engines. Holbrook Racing Engines offers decades of technical restoration and racing knowledge, complete race car engine builds, fabrication skill, dyno tuning, and more, all backed by numerous race awards and records. If you need some assistance with your classic restoration, marine engine or want top-of-the-line drag race, street race or road race engine experts, contact the pro’s at Holbrook Racing Engines!

A partnership with Ford Racing Parts stemming from the crate engine program and Cobra Jet program have Holbrook using the CJ platform as his rolling testbed of sorts.

“We do a lot of work with Ford Racing Parts, research and development work mostly with their crate engines. When Ford first came out with the Cobra Jets with the pushrod engines [ed note. – the 352 and 428CI engines] back in 2010, we originally designed and built those engines for Ford Racing. They built the cars, and then the engines went into the guide for NHRA to be factored for Stock and Super Stock competition. We purchased a Cobra Jet at that time to stay involved, and figured if we were doing the engines we might as well get a car and campaign it,” Chris explains.

As a young boy, Chris Holbrook learned the sport of drag racing through the guiding hands, eyes, and mind of his father, legendary Ford Super Stock drag racer Carl Holbrook. Carl started racing dirt modified cars in 1963 — just three years before Chris was born – and as soon as he was able to hold a wrench, the indoctrination into the racing world began for the youngster.

Carl Holbrook, spent decades of shattering drag racing records and claiming National victories himself, maintained a long-standing relationship with Ford. The start of Carl’s racing career began in 1963 where he befriended Chuck Watson, Sr., who founded Watson Engineering and now Watson Racing.

Holbrook Racing EnginesIn 2013, Chris Holbrook teamed with Watson Racing to produce the quickest and fastest production car in drag racing history. Holbrook’s supercharged ’13 Cobra Jet clocked a record 8.504 seconds at 160.68 miles per hour, and later in the season, emerged victorious at the NHRA’s oldest and most prestigious event, the 59th annual U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2014 Champion NHRA US Nationals Cobra Jet Showdown In 2014, Holbrook and Watson embarked on a mission to win even more races, while making a bold statement using the new ’14 CJ to compete in the NHRA’s Super Stock Eliminator. The Watson-built Ford utilized a Holbrook-built supercharged 5.0L Coyote engine coupled to a five-speed manual transmission. Chris received a triple wally Thursday and the Watson/Holbrook car build received the NHRA 2014 “Best Engineered” award.



In anticipation of record breaking performance Watson Racing have updated Holbrook’s Factory Showdown NHRA Stocker with a new 7.50 ET certified cage, indicating that we can expect 2015 passes that dip below the 8.50 elapsed times we saw in 2014.  Holbrook had this to say, “The competition in NHRA Factory Showdown has been fierce and we need to stay a step ahead, updating the cage certification ensures we have room to go faster if we need it.  We’re preparing for the start of the season finding horsepower for ourselves and our customers.  Our goal is to put Holbrook Racing Engines and Watson Racing in the winner’s circle every chance we get.

Fast paced: Redford man lives, breathes drag racing

Chris Holbrook owns a racing engine shop in Livonia in addition to winning drag races.Chris Holbrook

Redford resident Chris Holbrook is no stranger to success on and off the racetrack.

In addition to operating his shop, Holbrook Racing Engines at 31831 Schoolcraft in Livonia, Holbrook has raced competitively for several decades, following in the footsteps of his father, Carl.

Today, Holbrook, a Redford Union High School graduate, can be regularly found in his workshop, working on engines and cars for customers as well as family members.

Holbrook said keeping a shop for racing vehicles was already in his blood.

“The love of the sport. That’s what I grew up in and it’s what I know,” he said. “So I thought, ‘Why not have a business?'”

It’s a pastime that continues to run through the family: Holbrook children all have taken up racing. Two vehicles parked in the back room of his business are his children’s.

Highland resident Jeremy Combs said he’s worked with Holbrook for about 10 years after business was slow at his other job. He was laid off and had a connection who knew Holbrook. He applied and began working with him on a daily basis.

He’s gone a few times to the track, but prefers to be in the shop working on engines.

“I went to a couple of races,” Combs said. “I don’t get into much of the race car aspect of it. Just the engine build portion of it.”

Among Holbrook’s accomplishments are record-setting times on the track, as well as wins at the U.S. Nationals of the Factory Stock Showdown, something he has accomplished two years in a row.

“That’s kind of unheard of,” he said. “Not too many people have done that.”

It’s an event that gets a lot of automakers and enthusiasts excited, being able to demonstrate the power of the cars made by domestic automakers and modified by the car owners.

“The fans and the Big Three, they really get into it,” he said.

Success on the track helps business

He hasn’t been without problems while on the racetrack, however. Holbrook said he’s crashed just once, which took place in a brand-new vehicle several years ago.

“On that particular run, it happened after the finish line. I was just going on my side and a guy on the starting line was in my ear saying, ‘No. 1 qualifier!'” he said. “You don’t forget those.”

Thankfully, he walked away without any major injuries, but it’s something he remembers vividly.

Holbrook, who is sponsored by Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor and Taylor-based Watson Racing, said breaking records and winning trophies has had a nice side effect: it’s attracted many new customers wanting the best for their vehicles.

“Our success at the racetrack has helped tremendously,” he said. “You go out and you run your own product and if you do well, everyone wants what you have. Now, we’re getting more and more customers out there, and they race against me. We’re doing such a good job, now, we’re getting beat by our customers.”

dveselenak@hometownlife.com | 734-678-6728 Twitter: @DavidVeselenak


1st pass at Bradenton Motorsports Park 8.48 at 160.11 mph.

Great video at the Gatornationals by Competition Plus - 2015

Engine Dyno Test & Tuning

Our DTS Powermark Dyno will give you all the data you need to perfect your combination.

We have generations of experience to apply to your racing project. The time you spend on our dyno will greatly reduce the frustrating situations that commonly occur when trying new setups or complete engine packages. With the increased cost of getting to the track, wasting a weekend can be more expensive than a $750 day of dyno testing. Price does not include fuel, food, consumables & special services.

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Picking the right combination of engine parts to suit your particular budget, what purpose your engine will be used for, your expectations for maintenance and engine life, and the type of fuel you want to use, is very important.

Take the guesswork our of your performance equation, use Holbrook Racing Engines’ many years of experience to give you the best combination of parts at the lowest cost possible to maximize your engine performance, within your budget.

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