It’s no secret that us guys at Camaro Performers are way into driving our cars in racing and “spirited” situations. This past July, Tech Editor Steven Rupp took his ’68 out to Fontana, California, and competed in the NMRA/NMCA West Coast Shootout. As you cruise through this issue, you’ll see coverage from this very cool event that featured drag racing, autocross, and a speed-stop challenge. Even the most infrequent readers of CP know that our feet are firmly planted in the handling aspect of driving, so it was a huge surprise (especially to me) that Rupp was able to grab himself a Wally in the Media vs. Manufacturer’s drag portion of the event … What?
Yes, you heard (read) me right. While I was out covering the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, dude won a freaking trophy in a drag race! To say that straight-line racing isn’t really his forté would be a “slight” understatement. So a huge congratulations goes out to Steven and Bad Penny for representing Camaro Performers magazine in the Winner’s Circle.
With Steven bringing home the hardware from Fontana, I was fired up and really looking forward to taking Black Betty, our ’01 Z28 project car, to the Holley LS Fest in Bowling Green, Kentucky, this past September for some drag racing, autocross, and speed-stop challenge. This event is like no other in the country. In fact, Beech Bend Raceway Park has a very cool vintage vibe, and since the dragstrip and autocross are right next to each other, it just adds a unique perspective to what these street car events are all about—for competitors and spectators alike. Needless to say, the event was a huge success, and I had more fun “working” than should have been allowed.
With the Holley LS Fest in my rearview mirror, in early October I took the car to the LSX Shootout held at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana, for some more racing action. There’s no way I could pass this one up. I mean here is an opportunity to go down the strip that plays home to the NHRA’s biggest event: the U.S. Nationals.
No autocross at this one—just hardcore drag racers ripping down the quarter-mile like nobody’s business. I have to admit, strapping on a set of drag radials and competing down a historical dragstrip like Indy, and staging against a bunch of racers who do this on a regular basis was a little intimidating—it was also very exciting.
Having never competed in a drag-only event like the LSX Shootout, pulling into the burnout box for the first time on Friday afternoon was a total adrenaline rush. So winning my first round of eliminations on Saturday evening (just before midnight, by the way), running on a 13.0 index was one of the highlights of any competition I’ve been in since taking over Camaro Performers magazine over four years ago.
But the coolest part of this whole thing is that I’m able to do with my car what I’ve been preaching to our readers this whole time: taking the same car you pick up your kids from school in (provided you have kids) then go to the dragstrip or autocross on any given weekend and not only have a great time, but also be competitive. Sure, drag racing a car built with mostly handling components does have its limitations on the strip, but it doesn’t hinder the amount of fun we can have with our street cars.
So win or lose, drag racing or autocrossing, or just cruising your Camaro, having fun is what this whole thing is all about, right?
It’s weird, but all of a sudden it seems more important than ever to get that LS3 in Black Betty.
Nick Licata, Editor