The NMCA West Street Car Nationals kicked off the 2014 Flowmaster NMCA West season with a return to Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California, the weekend of March 28-30, and it was a good one. The main focus of the NMCA West is drag racing, of course, but the Fontana event also had a big autocross courtesy of Hotchkis Sport Suspension, and even a small car show.
We attended the show to check out all the cool Camaros, and there certainly was no shortage of nice cars to choose from, so we narrowed our favorite Camaros of the event to the following five. Near and dear to Camaro Performers readers’ hearts are the handling machines found on the autocross, but we also ventured into the drag racing pits to check out a few of the noteworthy Camaro drag cars. So what we have below is a combination of street and race, old and new, affordable and not so much.
We hope you like them.
Roy and Jake RoselleCypress, California
Dad Roy bought this ’69 about 10 years ago for his 40th birthday, and the build has progressed to where we found it at the Hotchkis autocross, with son Jake doing the driving. Roy and Jake originally built what they call Version 1.0 by themselves, but then stepped up their program and let Cris Gonzalez at JCG put it together for Version 2.0. The car has a dry-sump LS7 with a cam, a complete Detroit Speed Inc. front subframe setup, subframe connectors, and a slightly modified QUADRALink rear suspension, JRI shocks, and “the biggest radiator we can get in it.” The max-effort cooling system was done because the guys intend on road racing the pee out of the car at a few Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA) events. In fact, they finished it the Monday before the 2014 Laguna Seca USCA competition, drove it for the first time that Wednesday, then raced it all weekend and finished third. The only two that beat them were perennial favorites Danny Popp and Mike Maier. For a brand-new car driven by a college student (Jake’s at UC San Diego studying Electrical Engineering), that’s pretty cool.
Jason WalkerTorrance, California
At the autocross, it was hard not to notice Jason Walker’s all-black and all-badass ’11 Camaro roaring through the cones. Walking over to the car during one its infrequent downtimes we learned about the 376ci LSX that makes 825 hp at the tires courtesy of a 2.9L Whipple supercharger that pushes 13 psi of boost through Roto-fab intake and TPiS 102mm throttle body, Dynatech long-tube headers and pipes leading to MagnaFlow mufflers, and an AIS methanol injection system to bring down intake charge temps. Handling the power is the job of a Street Slayer triple-disc carbon clutch, a Driveshaft Shop 9-inch differential (with 3.70:1 gears) and halfshafts, and a complete Pfadt coilover suspension with solid subframe bushings and engine mounts. There are carbon-fiber bits throughout—a VIS Terminator hood, APR splitter (with a ZL1 front end conversion), Seibon trunk lid, and Anvil spoiler. Inside are more carbon-fiber trim pieces as well as an RPM bolt-in six-point rollbar and a big stereo. Jason has mostly been autocrossing the car and hitting the canyon roads whenever possible, but now that LA has real drag racing again, he’s going to try and improve on the car’s previous 11.65-second quarter-mile e.t.’s. That was before the LSX motor and with over 200 less horsepower, so he’s hoping to get the car into the 10s. Open track events are in the future, maybe, but we sense he might be a little wary of going balls-out on a road course with all the power.
Erik CarlstedtOrange, California
Erik Carlstedt bravely runs his second-gen in the Outlaw 8.5 heads-up class. We say bravely because these guys put 1,000-plus horsepower to tiny 8.5-inch-wide slicks—a combination that’s guaranteed to bite you if you’re not a really good driver and chassis tuner. Erik has had the car for about six years and wanted to get into heads-up drag racing, and figured Outlaw 8.5 might be a good place to get his feet wet. Very wet. He makes his power from a conventional small-block that displaces 427 cubes and inhales a 300-350 shot of nitrous from a Fogger setup managed by a Lingenfelter nitrous controller. The car ran its best-ever pass on Saturday of the NMCA West event: a 5.51 at 134 mph in the eighth-mile (the class is the only one in the series to run eighth-mile). He qualified fourth in the field and made it all the way to the semi-finals.
Tony AneianNorth Hollywood, California
Tony has been a fixture for the last 10 years on the West Coast heads-up scene, running with the NMCA West, PSCA, and West Coast Hot Rod Association. He competes in the NA 10.5 class, which requires naturally aspirated engines and 10.5-inch-wide slicks. This class runs in both the NMCA’s East and West Coast series, but the two regions have slightly different rules and minimum weight requirements since the classes “came up” a bit differently in the two regions. Tony’s underhood bullet is a 510ci motor built by Bischoff Racing Engines (BES) that uses 24-degree Edelbrock heads … and that’s all that Tony would admit to. Racers, ya know! The trans is a Chrysler TorqueFlite (sorry) from Pro Trans in Lancaster, California, and the 9-inch rearend is located by a ladder bar suspension. Tony won the NA 10.5 class championship the last two years, won the PSCA race in Sacramento the weekend prior to Fontana, and ran a 7.99 at 170 mph at Fontana, making it all the way to the final round. He finished runner-up.
Andrew BerryPaso Robles, California
It’s a stretch to call Andrew Berry’s Pro Mod car a Camaro, since it’s a Tommy Mauney full-race tube chassis with a carbon-fiber body that sort of resembles an early Camaro, but there’s no doubt that it’s cool and was one of the nicest race cars at the event regardless of make and model. The powerplant is an all-billet 481X motor from Proline Racing Engines in Georgia, with a pair of huge 88mm Precision Turbo hairdryers and all the bells and whistles. On paper, the car is good for high-5s in the quarter-mile at over 250 mph, but Fontana’s track saw the brand-new car’s first-ever pass on Friday of the NMCA West event. Berry said, “It had no runs on it before this event, so we’ve had some hiccups here and there with wiring, the boost controller … you know, new car bugs. We’re just trying to make progress every time we go to the water box.” The car lost in the first round thanks to those new car gremlins, but it’ll be back in the hunt at all the NMCA West and some of the PSCA races in 2014, as well as the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield in October, where it was invited to qualify for the 16-car field.