Time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s hard to believe that the second annual Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge (SMC) has already come and gone. If you aren’t familiar with SMC, it’s an event where we test a variety of parameters with top tier suspension manufacturers’ rides, which are unequivocally dubbed as the modern-day Pro Touring street machines. Suffice it to say, these hot rods can do it all and we put them to the test, showcasing their abilities in the 60-to-0 braking, autocross course, and through the quarter-mile. New for this year was the Top Ride Shootout (TRS), which brought in a number of reader-owned-and-built rides, and they had no fear pushing their machines to the limit.
This year’s SMC lineup included Chris Alston’s Chassisworks with a ’69 Camaro, Detroit Speed with their ’69 Camaro and ’63 Chevy II, Fatman Fabrications with a ’57 Chevy, Granatelli Motorsports with an ’11 Camaro, and Schwartz Performance with a ’67 Camaro. For our TRS contenders, we had Adam Toney with his ’70 Chevelle, Terry Neuville with a ’67 Camaro, Tim McGilton with a ’70 Z28 Camaro, Erik Cederberg with a ’12 ZL1, and Brad Granger with his ’67 Camaro. Notice a theme here; sure are a lot of Camaro owners who aren’t afraid to flog their rides.
In addition to the roster with the TRS, we also moved our event from National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio, to Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia, also dubbed Georgia’s House of Speed! There’s a good reason for this since this was also the location of our first-ever national event, the Chevy High Performance Nationals (“Showtime!” Nov. ’12 issue), it only made sense to bring our event to the biggest all-Chevy party in the country.
Regarding rules, it was pretty simple—run what your brung as long as you’re on street tires with a minimum treadwear rating of 180. Easy, right? Not necessarily. This meant the performance results would not only require a well-sorted chassis, but drivers who could modulate the throttle over the aim and stab routine with a good set of sticky rubber.
Admittedly, it took a solid crew to set up the Jet-Hot High Performance Coatings autocross course and we enlisted the help of our friends from the American Street Car Series (americanstreetcarseries.com), the good folks who put on all of the Run (To The Alamo, To The Coast, To The Shore, To The Ole South, Thru The Hills) events, including the MotorState Challenge and Midwest Musclecar Challenge. Yancy Johns, Bill Howell, amongst others put together a tough course that offered intense speed runs with tight turns and challenging Chicago Boxes.
For the Street Machine Challenge, we designated as our key driver Nick Licata from our sister publication Camaro Performers. For the 60-to-0 brake challenge, Technical Editor Steven Rupp, also from Camaro Performers, took the helm of each ride. On the dragstrip, CHP Editor Henry D. made three back-to-back passes to get a better feel of each ride. When it came to the TRS rides, we had the owners handle each of the challenges, keeping the competition amongst their peers.
When the tire smoke cleared, it was Stacy Tucker from Detroit Speed, who earned the top honors in the Street Machine Challenge with her ’69 Camaro. In the Top Ride Shootout, Erik Cederberg took the overall win amongst his peers with his brand-new ’12 ZL1 Camaro. All said and done, we learned every competitor knew their cars inside and out; more importantly, we all walked away with a few more good friends.
The Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge & Top Ride Shootout
From The Driver seat