Glowing through a smoky haze, the yellow lights on the drag strip staging tree illuminate, while two cars are lined up anticipating the start the race. With both engines nervously fluttering the tachometers, the flicker of lights blink down the tree in a synchronized motion to green. Violently, both cars lift their front tires as the sounds of the exhaust scream like a medieval battle cry. Side by side they barrel down the quarter mile drag strip to the finish — but on the spectator display, there is one there is only one winner; a clear victory for Regina Mckinley, and personal best with her 2012 Cadillac CTSV.
Though this isn’t her first drag race, looking back, she may chat about her times growing up in southern Florida, but there were no weekends working in the garage. No teenage outings to the local raceway. In fact, you can say she’s a late bloomer. But she’s one that’s taken the sport of drag racing quite seriously and has committed her project Cadillac CTSV as a gateway to 9-second quarter mile times.
“I bought my first CTSV in 2015 it was just a regular black raven sedan with high miles and bone stock.” She says. “ I went to an Indy Car race one day and there was a car show with a CTSV that had black diamond paint – and I had to have that color once I found out that was factory paint! I eventually found one in North Carolina a year later, flew there and drove her home.” From that point, there was no looking back.
Luckily her new CTSV was loaded with several goodies that was already planned on her project list, starting with pulling more air into the engine, which was handled by an Air Raid cold air intake system along with 2.5″ upper supercharger pulley and 8.6″ lower crankshaft pulley and Lingenfelter supercharger isolator coupling. Those items were backed up with 85lb injectors, and a custom grind, Stage 1 camshaft, along with a set Kooks 1″&7/8″ long tube stainless steel headers, 180 thermostat and custom performance tune.
Needless to say, the Caddy was an upgrade from her previous ride. But there was still more on her list to accomplish. First thing was to squeeze more power out of the supercharger, so she had the team at Vengeance Racing located in Cumming Georgia, upgrade the pulleys with a 2.38″ upper supercharger pulley and a 9.1″ lower crankshaft pulley. They also installed a Boost Mode Racing ported blower and snout and upgraded the Air Raid CAI with a Vengeance Racing custom 5-inch cold air intake with a custom purple metallic powdercoated finish.
The exhaust was freed up by removing the catalytic converters and resonators and installing DMH Performance 2.5-inch electronic cut outs. Then to accommodate the extra amount air breathing in and out of the Caddy’s 6.2 Liter V8, the team at Vengeance Racing upgraded the tune to accommodate the VP Racing C16 race fuel and other modifications. With everything installed, the Caddy put down just over 700hp at the rear wheels, with 700ft pounds of torque on the dynometer.
For the exterior, an extra purple metal flake was sprayed over the original Black Diamond paint for a subtle color boost. Then she added Weapon X carbon fiber fender vents, custom CTSV badges, custom black accents and topped it all off with a protective Ceramic Coat finish by Detailed Life garage. Lastly, she threw on a set of Mickey Thompson ET radial tires with 28x4x18-inch skinny’s in the front and 305x45x17-inch slicks in the rear wrapped over a set of custom painted purple Weld Racing “Drag Pack” S71B wheels.
To this point, her set-up with CTSV has worked tremendously and recently she placed a personal best quarter-mile time with a 10.00-second pass at 136mph, at Orlando Speedworld, along with a ½-mile, 165mph pass at Hensley Airfield in Texas. But that’s not the last of it, she says “My biggest accomplishment was being the #1 spot on the local “Top 10 List” at my hometown track. I worked my way on the list and made it to #1 and held it a few months, while being the only girl on that list!”
But that’s not the last of things for her, she says there’s plenty of room on the CTSV for more “go fast parts” but for now, her goal is to break into the 9.99-second quarter mile time, while still utilizing a stock bottom end, drivetrain and a 17-inch rear wheel. “When we have some cooler weather, hopefully I can get a 9.9-second pass on my current set up, then upgrade to Mast Motorsports cylinder heads, do a 15-inch conversion and dip into the mid 9s!” She says.
But for now she’s just enjoying the life of racing and says, “My best experience is all the people I have met. The racing community has been the best set of friends and I also meet my boyfriend at a race. He’s been one of my biggest supporters. It’s been really great sharing this passion with someone, learning from him and growing together as a couple on and off the track.”