Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge - Game On!

The Inaugural Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge

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Truth be told, we’ve wanted to host our own event for quite some time now, but we wanted something different, something far better than the typical cookie-cutter challenges. It took a little forethought, but in the end the solution seemed pretty obvious to us, and it was worth the wait.

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We wanted a pretty aggressive autocross course that would allow us to see how a chassis would react to a variety of situations, including tight turns, decent-sized sweepers, along with a slalom section and a number of difficult transitions. The autocross was just one portion of our challenge; we also wanted to showcase real-world situations, such as 60-to-0 braking, and the one component that we know the majority of you take into heart—running cars that are technically labeled corner-carvers and seeing how they performed on the dragstrip. Yes, we went there. We invited several well-known manufacturers, including Church Brothers Racing, Detroit Speed, Fatman Fabrications, Hotchkis, and RideTech.

To execute our plans, we decided the best way to meet up with everyone was to immediately follow the Columbus Goodguys event. If you don’t already know it, then we need to point out that this is a big show, where many folks lobby for the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award. We chose to host our event at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio; it’s a short 26 miles away and the facility could easily accommodate all our needs.

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When it came to the rules, there was only one: All vehicles were required to run on tires with a minimum treadwear rating of 180. This would open up the doors for most brands and, more importantly, it would prevent anyone from showing up wearing race-inspired rubber—stickies if you prefer. That’s it.

To test the cars through our autocross course, we had Danny Popp, our course designer and a seasoned veteran, who has earned five NASA National Championships and seven SCCA Solo/ProSolo National Championships, including 10 Divisional SCCA Championships, 18 Regional Championships, and a NASA Regional Championship. To say that list is pretty impressive would be a complete understatement. For the dragstrip portion, Editor H got behind the wheel.

Here’s where the fun really began. Rather than having the owners sitting idle, we wanted them to join in on the fun, too. We started with the dragstrip, and once we had the opportunity to run each car, those rides were placed in a separate lane, where the owners were given a chance to make a few shakedown runs for themselves. Interestingly, a few had never been down the dragstrip before with their rides, but it didn’t stop them from trying it out and having some fun! Editor H made two runs, the owners made two runs, and the best of the four runs were listed as the final results.

Once the quarter-miles passes were complete, we moved onto the autocross course. Popp started off the session and the owners were later allowed to do the same. Only we had one major problem: Mother Nature unleashed a fury that some of us have never seen before. We could see the gray sky rolling and when it let loose it was absolutely brutal. Unfortunately, it was about this time our friends at Fatman Fabrications had to begin the long trek home and we lost the opportunity to finish our testing with their ’57 Chevy.

It became a waiting game. We stood our ground, and as the rain left, we ran all the cars to the top end of the dragstrip, where we made hot laps in an effort to dry off the track for our 60-to-0 braking. It took awhile, but we managed to dry the track to proceed with the braking session.

Now before you think all hope was lost for the autocross, we planned for a rain date and returned the next day, then we spent the better part of the morning putting the course back together and drying off the track. In the end, we were able to get our numbers, making our inaugural Street Machine Challenge a complete success.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without everyone involved. First, we’d like to thank all the owners for taking the time to join us. We also want to thank the Ohio Valley Region SCCA chapter for loaning us its equipment, including the timing system, cones, and radios. And last but not least, big props to Danny Popp and Todd Rumpke along with our entire staff and National Trail Raceway for all of their support. We already have next year’s date set in stone and we’re already itching to get back.

The Contenders

’70 DSE Camaro

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 700
Engine: Mast Motorsports 427ci LS
Suspension: front, DSE Hydroformed subframe with splined antiroll bar; rear, QUADRA Link; DSE coilover shocks and springs with Detroit Tuned valving
Brakes: front/rear Baer 6S with 14-inch rotors
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW, front, P335/30R18; rear, P295/35R18

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From The Driver Seat

Henry D
Knowing that the ’70 Camaro had 700 hp on tap, I couldn’t wait to get strapped in and make the pass down the tarmac. Getting out of the hole proved to be a little tricky, with the first run hazing the tires, and it wasn’t until 80 feet out that the tires bit and started to accelerate. The shift into Second was smooth, however clicking into Third was a swing and a miss. What I didn’t realize was that it had a fairly long throw and it caught me off guard. On the second run, I dropped the launch to 2,000 rpm, giving it a slight bog, but it recovered almost immediately and pulled strong through the top of First. Going into Second was fun, barking the tires with the rear kicking out ever so slightly. Focusing on Third, it went right in, and it was smooth sailing through Fourth gear.

Danny Popp
I believe the ’70 DSE Camaro was the fastest vehicle on the autocross. The car seemed very well sorted, a product of being run routinely, and the car did everything very well. Balance of the car was good; brakes were outstanding and confidence-inspiring. The power in this car was probably the most unsettling; it had too much. When the motor would suddenly become happy it would move the car in a big way, if not on top of it. This requires a special touch, which fortunately Kyle Tucker and I both possess.

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’73 Pozzi/Hotchkis Camaro

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 570
Engine: 402ci LS2
Suspension: front, Hotchkis upper/lower tubular control arms with hollow bar; rear, Hotchkis three-link, RideTech single-adjustable shocks, DSE subframe connectors, Global West subframe bushings
Brakes: Baer; front 6P with 13-inch rotors; rear, four-piston with 12-inch rotors
Tires: Falken Azenis RT-615K, front, P275/35R18; rear, P315/30R18

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From The Driver Seat

Henry D
Unfortunately, this was the one car I didn’t get a chance to drive. Between the oncoming weather front looking grim and all the shuffling around, it just didn’t happen. I will say that I caught a quick glance of Mary making a few runs as I was jockeying between cars, and the smile on her face was absolutely priceless.

Danny Popp
Mary Pozzi’s Camaro was a treat to drive and it did everything well—very well sorted, great balance, and nice linear power. This car was easier to drive than the ’70 DSE Camaro because of its more tractable power, and Mary and I had a great time swinging her jewel around. The only slight drawback to this car was the braking. I thought having manual brakes would create some issues, but it didn’t and the brakes were very easy to modulate with the Hawk pads. The braking problem I encountered was centered around pad knock back, which created an inconsistent brake pedal on occasions. It wasn’t a huge problem, as this car was very near the top of the time sheet.

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’10 Camaro RideTech

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 426
Engine: OEM LS3
Suspension: Prototype RideTech coilovers
Brakes: front/rear OEM GM/Brembo
Tires: Pirelli P, front, P245/45R20; rear P275/40R20

1201chp 16 O  Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Autocross 18/39

From The Driver Seat

Danny Popp
The ’10 was an easy car to drive and marginally fast. It was probably the least developed car in the group, but still the product of advanced technology. The fifth-gen was a little tight for my liking and would have been faster being freed up (looser). The gearing was very well suited for the course, and that helped its acceleration between the corners. The car still felt really soft with lots of roll and dive, making you have to wait on the car to make things happen. It also felt really big and heavy in relation to the others it was being compared to, even though it really wasn’t that much larger.

Henry D
What can I say, it’s a new fifth-gen Camaro. Clutch engagement is easy, the shifts are smooth, and it’s just an easy car to drive. If there was one downfall, it was that it gave very little feedback. It was also way too quiet for my liking, but again, it was ultrasmooth and a very easy car to drive. Seriously, it’s hard not to appreciate a new car when that car dips into the 13s with relative ease and has a warranty to boot.

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’63 DSE Chevy II

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 675
Engine: Mast Motorsports 427ci LS
Suspension: front, DSE front frame with splined antiroll bar; rear, QUADRA Link; DSE coilover shocks and springs with Detroit Tuned valving
Brakes: front/rear Baer 6R with 14-inch rotors
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW, front, P255/35R18; rear, P295/35R19

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From The Driver Seat

Henry D
I have to admit, this Chevy II really caught my attention and without stopping to find out what it ran on the initial pass; it just felt fast. Similar to DSE’s second-gen Camaro, you could light up the tires at will and it was a delicate balance to control the wheelspin. Gearshifts were a little intimidating because it would grind slightly, but it wasn’t terrible and you just had to make sure it was getting into gear. The powerband was extremely smooth, quickly ramping to the upper rpm with ease and it just flat-out screamed. Personally, I didn’t want to get out of the seat and could have been perfectly content hot-lapping it for another half-dozen passes.

Danny Popp
Wow, was this a surprising car to drive. This car shared other DSE-built car traits—great balance, and brakes. This thing suffered from the same problem as the ’70 DSE Camaro, in that it had too much power for an autocross on 180-up treadwear tires. The relatively short wheelbase allowed this car to get away with some things the others could not do on the course. The only other limiting factor on this car is that due to its constant flogging before this event, the manual transmission was suffering from some issues; of the group, it wasn’t the easiest car to shift. The Chevy II ran surprisingly fast times despite its transmission and was a hoot to pilot around the course.

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’67 RideTech Camaro

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 602
Engine: Lingenfelter LS3
Suspension: front, RideTech StrongArms with new Tru Turn steering system and triple-adjustable coilovers; rear RideTech bolt-in four-link with triple-adjustable coilovers
Brakes: front/rear Baer six-piston with 14-inch rotors
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW, front, P275/35R18; rear P335/30R18

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From The Driver Seat

Danny Popp
The RideTech 48 Hour Camaro may be the newest built car in the group and seemed to do everything well, despite its infancy. The car was a little tight for my liking, which prevented it from rotating as well as some of the others, and required that I used the steering brakes longer than I may have liked, again limiting its time. The T101 four-speed was not as easy to use as the others equipped with Tremec gearboxes, and the gearing was not as well suited to this particular course. In retrospect, it felt more like this car was set up for a road course; a looser setup would have yielded much better times.

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Henry D
Before laying eyes on the 48 Hour Camaro in person, I did get a chance to see some of the build online. I knew it was outfitted with the goods, but I wasn’t sure what to expect behind the wheel. Considering it has a Lingenfelter-built LS producing 602 hp, I should have simply assumed it would be fun, and it was. There was a little concern with the transmission going into Third, so I was pretty ginger with it. Even so, this setup required a bit more throttle from a stop, something I wasn’t used to. Off the line, the power came on strong and moved the first-gen with ease. Getting into Second was smooth, but the Third gear bug was constantly on my mind and I immediately went from a fast-paced shift into a much calmer stab. While the e.t.’s were strong, I’m pretty confident there’s a lot more left in it.

’66 RideTech Chevelle

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 430
Engine: GMPP E-Rod LS3
Suspension: front, RideTech StrongArms and spindles with triple-adjustable ShockWaves; rear RideTech StrongArms with triple-adjustable ShockWaves
Brakes: front/rear Baer six-piston with 13-inch rotors
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW, front, P275/35R18; rear P275/35R18

1201chp 24 O  Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Autocross 24/39

From The Driver Seat

Danny Popp
The Chevelle was simply awesome, probably the most surprising performance I experienced. Power was marginal in comparison to others, which I’m sure is no surprise to its owner, but the balance was great and the brakes were the best of the bunch. You could drive this thing deep into the corners, stand on the brakes, and it would do exactly what was asked of it with absolutely no drama. This alone made it a joy to drive and made me giggle. The gearing was reasonable, especially for an automatic with only four speeds. In reality, it also created some limitations; for example, it would have been nice to have a taller First gear to shoot it off of the corners a little harder and limit wheelspin off the line. This car would rotate nicely mid corner and allow you to stand on the gas early, helping its lap time.

Henry D
I’ve actually spent some quality
time with this Chevelle in the past, only then it had a conventional small-block 383. It’s since been upgraded to an E-Rod LS powerplant and a 4L60 with a manual valvebody. Along with those changes, it now sported a ratcheting shifter that required a bit of finesse. Basically, you start out in First, then you have to click a lever before you can click it into Second; however, it was pretty easy to let slip into Third. The first run had to be aborted due to driver error, but it showed a lot of promise. The second run was much cleaner, the shifts were firm, and we had a runner.

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'66 Church Boys Racing Chevy II wagon

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 310
Engine: 5.3 LS
Suspension: CBR rack-and-pinion conversion with CBR tubular upper and lower control arms; front, double-adjustable coilovers; rear, double-adjustable shocks with 185-pound multileaf spring
Brakes: front/rear, Factory fourth-gen F-body
Tires: Dunlap Direzza, front, P215/45R17; rear, P235/45R17

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From The Driver Seat

Henry D
What a great ride; very unassuming and little to warn others of the 5.3 LS engine. Even though it was mostly stock, this family cruiser had plenty of steam to surprise most onlookers. During the first run, I simply left it in Overdrive, expecting the transmission to do the brunt of the work. Except there was one problem, it didn’t go into Overdrive, making me lift and ease back into the throttle. For the second run, I put the shifter in Drive and planned on manually shifting into Overdrive; it didn’t like that either. Once again, I had to lift and wait for it to engage before I could plant my foot back into the throttle. If the transmission would shift into overdrive at wide-open throttle, I’d say bottom 13s wouldn’t be out of the question.

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Danny Popp
This was the first car I drove, and it wasn’t ergonomically friendly for a couple of reasons: the bench seat and what seemed like a 19-inch steering wheel. The big wheel made it a chore to drive around the course, but that said, it was probably the most entertaining street machine I drove. The wagon had more grip than seating, and I can tell you, the owner and I were sliding back and forth across that bench seat for 50 seconds or so, and I don’t think the owner expected this. Quicker steering would have helped significantly, but the wagon did surprisingly well given its ergonomic limitations. Another important note is that it did very well for being equipped with the smallest tires of the bunch.

’57 Fatman Fabrications

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 450
Engine: small-block 383 ci
Suspension: Fatman X-member chassis; front, Fatman Stage III; rear, Fatman four-bar and Z-link
Brakes: front/rear, Wilwood six-piston with 13-inch rotors
Tires: Nitto NT05, front, P235/40R17; rear, P275/40R17

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From The Driver Seat

Henry D
I have to begin by saying this is an extremely neat ride. It wasn’t the fastest of the bunch by any means, but I really appreciated the entire nostalgic theme. The raw smell of fumes, the manual transmission that’s still actuated with the original Z-bar linkage, and even right down to the seating position—it was awesome. As for getting down the track, there was nothing to it, and it was only a matter of engaging the gears smoothly and letting the car do its thing. It could have used a steeper set of cogs out back for improved times, but then again, this car was built with every intention to corner and not to maximize e.t.’s down the dragstrip.

Danny Popp
I only had one opportunity to drive the car and that was just as it started raining, shortly before the super storm came crashing down on us. I wish I could have made more seat time, because in that one run, all my initial apprehensions were wrong and I was completely surprised with its capabilities. I had concerns that this would be a very hard car to wheel around the course, but much to my surprise, even in the early wet conditions, this Tri-Five far exceeded my expectations and did things very well. Please bring it back next year!

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'69 DSE Camaro

Fast Facts
Horsepower: 600
Engine: Mast Motorsports 416ci LS
Suspension: front, DSE subframe with splined antiroll bar; rear QUADRA Link; DSE coilover shocks and springs with Detroit Tuned valving
Brakes: front/rear Baer 6S with 14-inch rotors
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW, front, P275/35R18; rear P335/30R18

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From The Driver Seat

Danny Popp
Although many of the other cars—including other DSE cars—also had great balance, this car felt the best to me. It was a very friendly dancing partner in the slaloms and was more confidence-inspiring than the others due to its very linear and not-over-the-top power. That, coupled with great gearing, made this car a joy to drive, except for one thing: The brake balance on this car was inconsistent throughout the day. At one point, something had developed that was problematic and caused it to act erratic during some sessions. The brake balance problem required me to drive around the issues, limiting its time. If it wasn’t for that issue, this car would have been higher in the standings than it was.

Henry D
I’ve certainly noticed a trend with the DSE lineup, and that’s the big-horsepower LS powerplants. And like the other two, this mill had a smooth powerband and it was easy to get into the upper rpm. Aside from that, I have to really give credit where credit’s due and praise the transmission. This gem shifted like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Stacy’s transmission of choice is a Rockland-modified Tremec and it practically shifts by itself. There’s no second-guessing during shifts and I don’t think I ever want to drive another car without a similar setup. Yes, it was that impressive.

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Quarter-Mile Times

Position Vehicle Owner e.t. Best mph
1 ’70 Camaro DSE 11.901 @ 123.8 124.06
2 ’63 Chevy II DSE 12.374 @ 120.01 120.01
3 ’69 Camaro DSE 12.600 @ 114.79 118.18
4 ’67 Camaro RideTech 12.640 @ 113.57 113.57
5 ’73 Camaro Pozzi (Hotchkis) 12.668 @ 117.85 118.42
6 ’66 Chevelle RideTech 12.872 @ 106.95 107.55
7 ’66 Chevy II Wagon Church Boys Racing 13.747 @ 99.85 99.85
8 ’57, Chevy 210 Fatman Fabrications 14.805 @ 98.39 98.39
*’10 Camaro RideTech 13.879 @ 104.79 104.79

Autocross Times

Position Vehicle Owner Times
1 ’70 Camaro DSE 46.863
2 ’73 Camaro Pozzi (Hotchkis) 47.062
3 ’63 Chevy II DSE 47.288
4 ’69 Camaro DSE 47.384
5 ’67 Camaro RideTech 48.844
6 ’66 Chevelle RideTech 50.379
7 ’66 Chevy II Wagon Church Boys Racing 56.128
8 ’57 Chevy 210 Fatman Fabrications NT
*’10 Camaro RideTech 50.979

60-to-0 Braking

Position Vehicle Owner Distance (feet)
1 ’66 Chevelle RideTech 113.84
2 ’70 Camaro DSE 119.64
3 ’67 Camaro RideTech 123.80
4 ’73 Camaro Pozzi (Hotchkis) 128.25
5 ’63 Chevy II DSE 139.39
6 ’69 Camaro DSE 145.48
7 ’66 Chevy II Wagon Church Boys Racing 188.34
*’10 Camaro RideTech 118.67

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