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American Car BrandsFinding Purpose in an Unwanted Cadillac CTS-V

Finding Purpose in an Unwanted Cadillac CTS-V


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Felicia Smith never intended to be a car person, more or less a top-performing female drag racer. Granted, she always has loved cars but never had the money or knowledge to do much outside of her dream about someday owning something fast and fun. But she probably never thought that someday she would own and drive one of the fastest Cadillac CTS-V sedans on the planet.

When we met the 29-year-old Oklahoma native and her 2009 Cadillac CTS-V on location at Holley’s LS Fest West 2022, we asked what her automotive and racing background looked like. The answer? None.

Felicia is one of those people who are here to prove that you don’t have to grow up around racing or be born into a family filled with gearheads to get into the sport. Hard work, dedication, and passion are all you need. That, and a car that you don’t want to own or drive…

Manual Gearboxes and Mechanically Inclined Men

Felicia’s love of cars and racing mainly stems from her other half, Aaron. The two met in college, where they bonded over the fact that they both preferred to drive stick. Quite the rarity these days, as most kids can’t even start a car with a manual, more or less drive one.

Once the couple graduated and started making decent money, the wrench turning began in earnest. Aaron has always been mechanically inclined, so those early, post-college years were filled with experimentation, as Felicia advised and researched, forever yearning to learn more.

It was around that time that Felicia began racing an Infiniti G35, while Aaron raced bikes. But with their new careers came new responsibilities, and the dangers of street racing were scrubbed for sanctioned drag strip action. The couple began entering classes and competing at events, with Felicia’s first poker run win sealing the deal.

Like a couple of kids on the slide for the first time, the twosome hit the track over and over, gathering race experience and understanding at the same time. Lights, tech, classes, burnout etiquette, safety requirements, it was all there for absorption. All save for one crucial component: A car that could fly down the quarter-mile.

No Love, But All Heart

Before purchasing her CTS-V in August of 2016, Felicia had her eyes on a similar ‘V down at a local Cadillac dealership in OKC. It was black, with a manual gearbox, and all of the untapped potential that comes with the chassis. Knowing that this was the car for her, Felicia sold her G35 and went to pick up the jet-black ‘V the next day.

Upon arriving at the dealership, she was greeted by the news that the car had just been sold, even though the dealership knew full well that she was coming to pick it up. Carless and heartbroken, Felicia racked her brain, trying to think of a viable backup solution.

That red CTS-V her former coworker had found on Craigslist the other day wouldn’t do. It didn’t matter that it was in its price range and well maintained. Felicia had zero interest in owning a red car, especially one with a boring slushbox, as she had never owned an automobile with an automatic in her life.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Felicia begrudgingly made her way down to the Oklahoma / Texas border to see the red Cadillac in person. As the previous owner pulled into the parking lot, Felicia was greeted by a sound that made her shiver. It was that throaty, loping sound that only a V8 with a cam can create. Something that you don’t just hear, but feel in your chest. At that point, Felicia Smith knew she was leaving with that blasted red Cadillac.

The Cadillac Crush

They say that everything happens for a reason, and by this point, Felicia Smith is a firm believer in that statement. What began in 2012 with her sitting behind the wheel of a CTS-V at a car show, evolved into a goal of someday owning one. Less than four years later, she got that V she had craved. It may not have been exactly what she had in mind a decade ago, but Felicia Smith has made it her own.

Currently, Felicia’s Cadillac is but one of five CTS-V’s in the world to ever go 8’s on just an LSA blower. This impressive feat not only earned a name for Felecia in the racing world but one for her bright red Cadillac as well: The Rocket.

Despite all of its extensive modifications, The Rocket is still very much a streetcar. This makes it incredibly relatable to those of us who are of blue-collar status. Sure, owning a $ 100,000 drag car is an aspiration, but how many of us ever get to the point where we can splurge on something so grand? Piloting an 8-second Cadillac sedan with AC and heated seats is far more obtainable, and practical to boot.

Six years, a touch of tears, a whole bunch of smiles, and entirely too much money blown later, and The Rocket is all-in any given weekend. True Street, 9.0, and Heavyweight are all classes where this Cadillac finds itself at home, as the chassis still drives and handles like a Cadillac, making even the wheelies a controllable affair.

Cadillac Cruising and Kids

Together, Felicia Smith and her husband have built an animal in their garage and kept much of its purebred pedigree intact. The Rocket offers the best of both worlds. Insane speed and precision on track, with AC, power steering, heated seats, and a ton of opulent Cadillac accouterments make the cruise home a pleasant experience.

While winning races is important to Felicia, she tells us that her primary goal is to prove that you don’t have to grow up in racing to be a racer and that you don’t have to be a mechanic to learn.

This is precisely why she continues to encourage kids and younger generations to care about car culture, for they are the future of racing, and just like the automobiles we adore, have to start somewhere.

CTS-V Tech Sheet

427 Dart SHP
Crankshaft: Callies
Pistons: DSS Racing
Connecting rods: Manley
Compression ratio: 10.5: 1
Engine built by (city / state): Thompson Motorsports Nevada, TX
Camshaft make: Cam Motion
Cylinder heads: Frankenstein F310s

Air and Fuel:
Engine tuner: Rick Crawford
Injector size: 1700 Fuel Injector Clinic
Pump (s): dual Deatschewerks 300’s and a 450LPH aux pumps
Regulator: Radium
Throttle body make / size: 112mm
Other induction modifications: DDP Intake and Redhorse Performance fittings

Headers: Stainless Works
Mufflers: Black Widow if I run any
Pipe size: 2.5-inch

Power Adder:
Nitrous Oxide System: Nitrous Express Maximizer 5 Dry System
Horsepower: Up to a 300 shot

Headunit Model: Boost District
Impeller size: 2650
Pulley setup: 3.25 / 10.0
Boost: 19-pounds of boost
Intercooler: Trunk tank with an EMP pump

Type: 6L90
Converter: Circle D Specialties
Flexplate: TCI from CT Performance
Stall speed: 2500
Cooler: Tru Cool 40K
Driveshaft: Carbon-fiber 1 piece from Dynamic Driveline

Rear End:
Type: OEM
Gears: 3.23
Axles: OEM

(Everything is stock on the front besides coilovers)
Front shocks / struts: A. Hobbs coilovers
Front springs: A. Hobbs
Rear upper / lower control arms: Modified stock units to fit the 15-inch wheels
Other rear mods: TRZ Motorsports trailing arms to fit the 15-inch wheels

Front: Forgest 17 × 4.5 F14
Rear: Forgest 15 × 10 F14 beadlocks
Tires, front: Mickey Thompson ET Street
Tires, rear: Hoosier DR2

Front: Baer / Hawks pads
Rear: Baer / Baer

Original / Current color: Red / Orange
Body modifications: Wrap, parachute
Hood: Carbon-fiber hood
Vinyl: Avery Dennison from Fellers wrap
Wrap Applied By: UnderWrapz of Oklahoma City, OK

Upholstery, color, material: All stock besides the carbon-fiber steering wheel from Street Driven Performance

Best fourth mile ET: 8.92
MPH: 154
60-foot time: 1.28
Horsepower: 1060whp (1200whp on blower alone coming soon)
Torque: TBD

#Finding #Purpose #Unwanted #Cadillac #CTSV

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