The inaugural 2017 Classic Industries F-Body Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee, is the premier event for everything Camaro and Firebird, and with a beautiful Pro Touring-style 1967 Camaro being given away to one lucky registered attendee, Memphis International Raceway was the place to be the weekend of September 15-16, 2017.
Besides having the opportunity to win a very cool first-gen Camaro, the show ’n’ shine featured some of the cleanest Camaros and Firebirds of every generation from local clubs and those that came from miles around to make the event. And with the Classic Performance Products autocross and the Jegs-sponsored drag racing, there was plenty going on throughout the September weekend.
As much as we here at Chevy High Performance love drag racing and autocross, we really dig cars that can do multiple things. So, we took the opportunity at the F-Body Nationals to run the Chevy High Performance Challenge where the car with the lowest combined time on the autocross and dragstrip would be deemed the winner. This is nothing entirely new but we wanted to add a little “flavor” to the F-Body Nationals and get the autocross cars out on the dragstrip where they were considered a little out of their element.
One of the rules was that the cars must run the 1320 on the same 200 treadwear street tires used on the autocross. That’s easier said than done as many of the cars signed up for the competition make upwards of 600 horsepower and are typically armed with manual transmissions and tight steering ratios. Needless to say, it requires a bit of finesse and a good amount of driver talent to get all that power to the pavement on a clean run down the dragstrip. Many of the competitors confessed to having never been down a dragstrip and of those who had, admitted it being quite a few years prior.
With many of the competitors spending most of the first two days working on lowering their lap times on the autocross, they put off hitting the dragstrip until the final day of the event. Once they finally did make their way down the strip, many reported how much fun it was to work a stick shift for some straight-line action.
The competition varied from first-time autocrossers to cone-cutting veterans showing the newcomers the quickest route through the fairly intricate course laid out by the autocrossguys.com crew. Owners of first- to sixth-generation performance-influenced Camaros (up to fourth-gen Trans Ams and Firebirds) were putting their car’s suspension to task while their tires made the ultimate sacrifice all in the name of having a good time.
Once the tire smoke cleared and the brakes had cooled it was Kyle Tucker driving the Detroit Speed 1970 Camaro who came out on top with a quickest autocross lap of 37.17 seconds and a quarter-mile e.t. of 11.51 for a total combined time of 48.68, finishing just ahead of Second Place finisher Brian Finch, also in a second-gen Camaro. Finch had a combined time of 49.20 (37.68 autocross 11.52 e.t. dragstrip). Talk about close!
The 2017 Classic Industries F-Body Nationals was an incredible event specifically tailored to Camaro and Firebird enthusiasts all over the country and has set the stage for an even bigger F-Body Nationals in 2018.
Enjoy this extensive, action-packed photo gallery from the 2017 Classic Industries F-Body Nationals.
Photos: Nick Licata
Video: Taylor Kempkes