The only thing we like better than a sweet Chevy is seeing one being driven hard, really hard. Maybe that’s why we like putting on events where Chevys are invited to come play on a patch of rented asphalt. This has always been the point of our series of track days; modified classic Chevys being tested to see if all those aftermarket parts really do make our old cars perform as well as, or better than, what Chevrolet turns out today.
The event this year was dubbed the Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge. As you might guess from the name Falken Tire was our title sponsor and given the popularity of their RT-615K tire we were happy to have them as the spec tire. The RT-615K (rated at 200 treadwear) provides a great balance between maximum grip and good wear characteristics. So, rule number one was that all the cars had to run Falken RT-615K rubber.
Speaking of rules we didn’t have lot of them. Aside from the tires all the cars had to “run what ya brung”. In other words, the only changes, other than repairs, allowed to the cars were shock settings and tire pressure changes. The cars had to pass technical inspection and be registered for street use. Simple. As for drivers the cars were driven by whoever the various entrants wanted to bring. One car had Al Unser Jr, another had Danny Popp while Kelly Collins (ex-Chevrolet team driver) drove for CPP. Why allow hot shoe drivers? Simple, the driver aspect is never “fair” and we’re here to show off cars, so having a good driver will let the car shine to its full potential. It also helped us nail some great photos and video.
This year the challenge moved from Willow Springs to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The Challenge consisted of three driving events; slalom, road course, and 100-yard dash. The slalom was a zig-zag run through a 420-foot gauntlet of cones. The road course portion took place at Auto Club Speedways’ infield course where each car will got six chances to nail down their best time. The 100-Yard Dash is a new event. Think of it is a short “street style” drag sprint. Each car launched from a dead stop (on unprepared asphalt) and blasted 100 yards through a set of timing lights. Between these three tests, the cars, and the Falken tires, were pushed hard in terms of forward and lateral performance.
We had wide variety of builds this year from all out track terrors to daily drivers. Cars ranged from ones with a lot of track time logged to fresh rides that have hardly been on the street, much less the track. As often happens, the field was thick with Camaros, since it’s a hugely popular platform to build a performance car on. But, we also had Chevelles, a C2 Corvette, and even a truck in the mix. Over the half the field was brought, or sponsored, by aftermarket automotive companies and the rest of the mix were just local guys that wanted to come play in our sandbox. It made for a great day of Chevys being pushed hard. The carnage was low with one hood flying off and the typical problems of oil control, broken power steering equipment, and heat related issues. Did we mention it was over 100 degrees? Yea, the asphalt temps were even higher.
AND THE WINNER IS…
In reality they were all winners since they were willing to beat the snot out of their cars in 100-degree heat. But, even though we had a baseline car for comparison, we did have an overall winner of the event. The way it worked was that points were awarded to each car based on how it finished with first place getting a bonus for winning. So, first place received 20 points, second place received 18 points, third 17 points and so on down the list. The points earned in each of the three driving events were added up and in the end the winner, with 55 points, was the 1970 Camaro, Rampage, fielded by The Roadster Shop. Second place, with 53 points, was the 1988 third-gen Camaro driven by Danny Popp and brought to the party by Heidts and Hawks Motor Sports. Third place was the Speedway Motors 1970 Camaro driven by Al Unser Junior (45 points) and fourth was nailed down by one of our “average joes”, Effrain Diaz in his yellow 1969 Camaro. No prize money, no trophies, just a day of fun with some bragging rights on the line.
CATCHING THE ACTION
We shot tons of video and our crack video crew is busy putting together a highlights reel for you to check out. Till then there’s a lot of video on our Facebook page (Super Chevy Magazine) and there will be more in the days to come. For now check out this photo gallery of 20 Chevys being treated the way God intended.