Ok, we confess, nothing gives us more joy than watching classic Chevys getting beat on at the track. Yea, the roar of engines, the smell of abused brakes, and that unmistakable scent of melted rubber is nearly intoxicating. Given our love of objects in motion we host an annual event where modified classic Chevy get put through a series of tests. Like last year our event was held at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. The Classic Industries Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge Presented by Falken Tires went off pretty smoothly even though the temps got up to over 110 degrees. Even worse was the track where surface temps topped 140 degrees!
Our rules were simple. All the cars had to run the sticky Falken RT-615K 200-treadwear performance tire and the cars had to be licensed and insured for street use (and have the basics like headlights, brake lights, etc). As for drivers we didn’t care, but the same driver had to pilot the car throughout the event.
The challenge consisted of three driving events; road course, slalom, and 100-yard dash. The Classic Performance Products (CPP) sponsored road course portion took place at Auto Club Speedways’ infield course where each car will was given seven chances to nail down their best time. The slalom was a zig-zag run through a 420-foot gauntlet of cones, which is harder than it sounds. The 100-Yard Dash is a newer event. Think of it as 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.
The cars were divided in half with the first group going to the CPP Road Course while the second group tackled the slalom and 100 Yard Dash events. At lunch they swapped. At the end of the day points were awarded based on standings for each event (20 points for first, 18 points for second, 17 for third, etc). So, in theory there was a max of 60 points up for grabs. What ended up happening was that cars that dominated one event didn’t do as well in others. Our baseline car this year, a 2017 Camaro SS 1LE, ended up finishing around mid-pack in terms of overall points. So who won? Well, we had two-hundred thousand dollar cars with 650+ horsepower battling lower-buck bolt-on cars with sub 400 horsepower mills. That made the competition a bit “unfair” but then again, most of life is unfair, so we did have an overall winner, even though the main goal was to test these cars against the baseline cars (the other baseline car being a nearly stock 1969 Nova). And that winner was Jake Rozelle representing Detroit Speed in his white 1969 Camaro. But, it was close, with just one point separating Jake in first from Robby Unser in the 1967 Speedway Camaro (52 vs 51 pts). Third place went to the1972 orange Camaro piloted by Brian Hobaugh and sponsored by Wilwood Engineering. Fourth place was a bit of a shocker since it had everything “wrong” with it from a “how to build a track car” standpoint. It was a Global West sponsored 1967 four-door Chevelle with a heavy 454 big-block, a bench seat and a non-overdrive TH400 transmission! Obviously the internet is wrong on how you have to build a fast track car. Rounding out top 5 was the 1970 Camaro driven by Nick Relampagos and representing Energy Suspension. Other cars in the top ten include those brought to the party by Heidts, Total Cost Involved, Classic Performance Products, and Schwartz Performance. We will have all the juicy details, including times for all the cars and trucks, in an upcoming story, but for now we thought you might like to check our 18 very cool Chevys getting put through their paces.
Photography by Author and Robert McGaffin