I think you have a good shot at this if you are prepared. If you can’t beat him, you can at least surprise him with how well you do. But you are going to need time to prepare the car, and to practice. You might as well do this right, because you will have so much fun you will be racing the car on a regular basis from now on. I have been racing stickshift Hemis for over 20 years, so I would LOVE to see you beat this guy. But it is up to you to spend the time and do the work to get it sorted out. Your first step is to prepare the car. You have to meet the track safety rules. Here are some of the basics that they will be looking for: Those slapper bars are going to need a u bolt or a strap on the front of them to prevent them from accidentally coming into contact with the track. You have to have a radiator overflow catch can. All of your wheel studs need to protrude through the lug nuts. You need a seatbelt, and an approved helmet. The battery needs to be securely attached. And you need a driveshaft loop within 6" of the front U-joint. Obviously, the brakes, steering and suspension all need to be free of excessive wear, and everything checked for tightness. You need to set the clutch up for .050 inch disc separation. The best way to do this is to install an adjustable clutch stop that limits how far you can press the pedal down. Adjust it so that you can just get a .050 inch feeler gauge between the pressure plate and the disc when the pedal is against the stop. If you don’t install a stop, you can do the same thing by using the floor as a stop and adjusting the clutch linkage, but your pedal will be pretty low. Since you have been loping around on the street with that big Isky cam, the backsides of your valves are probably all carboned up. This will KILL power and limit RPM. Pull the intake manifold and the exhaust headers and have a look. If they are carboned up, get yourself several cans of Berrymans B-12 carb cleaner SPRAY. Oriellys has it, most places don’t, or you can get it online. Don’t get the B-12C, that is the worthless California version, and don’t get the liquid you can pour, and don't waste time on any other cleaner. Berrymans B-12 carb cleaner SPRAY will melt that carbon off your valves like a snowball in New Orleans in August. Close the valve, spray and soak, scrape if you need to till they are clean, then blow out the port with compressed air. When you are done with all 16 and putting it back together, put a straight edge across the top of the ports, and mark the head so you will be able to see where the top of the ports are once the manifold and headers installed. Also lay the straight edge across the top of the ports on the headers and the manifolds and mark the flanges. So when you install them, you can see if the top of the ports are aligned. Usually they are off. To correct the headers, oval out the bolt holes as needed, line up the marks, and install. On the intake, try different gasket thicknesses if needed. This is almost free horsepower. If it is a solid tappet cam, adjust the lash to spec. Once it is all back together, you need to have someone sit in the car with the engine off and floor the gas pedal. Look down the carbs and make sure that all the throttle blades are straight up and down. Adjust as needed. If those are AFB’s or edelbrocks, make sure the secondary air valves open and close freely. I HIGHLY recommend a trip to the chassis dyno for a few hours. This will allow you a chance to discover any shortcomings, optimize the timing and jetting, and very importantly, learn where the horsepower peak is. Choose a good dyno shop that has O2 sensors for each side, is experienced with carbs, and has jets on hand. Then go weigh the car. Go here: http://www.wallaceracing.com/et-hp-mph.php and punch in the numbers. Now you will know what your car is capable of running at the dragstrip. The Clutch tamer “hillbilly softlock” are a good idea, but will take quite a while to sort out. It’s probably best to learn to race and launch the car without it, then install one later if you keep racing. This is part one. I’m tired of typing. I’ll cover part 2, the track, tomorrow.