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Straight Line Spotlight - July 2014

The Baddest Drag Racing Camaros

Bruce Biegler Jul 25, 2014
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Morris 2/5

Cutting-edge Carolina Camaro

The husband and wife team of Dave and Sue Morris have debuted their new and truly impressive ’69 Camaro to do battle in the NHRA Super Gas and IHRA Super Rod 9.90 wars this season. The stunning-looking piece, which features a great design scheme and paint application by Glenn Eckat (The Paintin’ Place, Mohnton, Pennsylvania) is in fact the very first next-generation ’69 Camaro roadster to be conceived and built by Jim Hughes and the reputed shop Don Davis Race Cars. The car features a 585ci big-block Chevy by Carroll Hine (WideOpen Technologies, Douglasville, Pennsylvania) and a Hughes transmission and converter assembled by Kevin Kleinweber to transfer power. Based out of York, South Carolina, the team’s primary sponsorship comes courtesy of Lou and Shirley Nislar.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Ss Mike Pearson 3/5

Tampa-based Test of Time

Yet another example of the resiliency of the Chevy Camaro within drag racing circles comes from Florida’s Mike Pearson. Mike has been running the same ’68 Camaro SS since way back in 1978. Over the years his machine has morphed while seeing action, as well as being a popular fan attraction, within NHRA, IHRA, and Southern Stock/Super Stock Association circuit events. Fully self-maintained, Mike did all of the assembly and does all of the servicing to his car, which currently runs SS/HA with a 350ci engine rated by the NHRA at 317 hp. Mike’s Camaro features cylinder heads by Dave Layer, flat-top pistons by Patterson Racing, Crower rods, and a Powerglide transmission behind an ATI torque converter. Pearson’s Camaro is regarded as a real flyer in the class as evidenced by his career best 9.92 e.t., which came earlier this season during NHRA’s Gatornationals. Mike is employed as a superintendent at Hawkins Construction Inc., and spends his racing weekends accompanied by his fiancé, Debbie Vance.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Jerry Bickel 4/5

Black Tracking Camaro

Since taking delivery of his Jerry Bickel-built ’68 Camaro early in 2013, Utah’s Ed Olpin has certainly been on a tear. Powered by a naturally aspirated 632ci Steve Schmidt powerplant, and running within NHRA’s Top Sportsman class, Olpin’s machine has proven itself to be one of the best in class overall within NHRA’s Lucas Oil Division 5. Year one with his car produced an NHRA divisional event win and the overall Top Sportsman championship at his home track of Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, plus a runner-up finish during the highly prestigious Jegs Pacific Sportsnationals race. Then, early in 2014 Ed wheeled his Camaro to what so far has to be arguably his biggest career win when he took the Top Sportsman title during NHRA’s national event race in Phoenix this past February. Ed’s great success is also a credit to his crew, which includes his son Eddie and support staff Ryan Hanson and Grady Johnson.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Shane Tucker 5/5

An Intriguing Invader

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for NHRA’s Professional drag racing categories to grow and prosper, there needs to be more international participation. And in that department, there is a fresh new face emerging. Australian Shane Tucker debuted a brand-new and potential-ridden ’14 Chevy Camaro within NHRA’s Pro Stock wars earlier this season. While Tucker’s planned 2014 NHRA circuit racing schedule will be somewhat sporadic due to business demands back home in Queensland, his new Camaro is, without question, a super serious effort. The Camaro was expertly built by Jerry Bickel and Shane. Shane, used to racing in the 400ci Pro Stock class in his home country, is making some driving adjustments to find success with the NHRA’s 500ci Pro Stockers. He’s also employed the high-end engine leasing services of North Carolina’s Victor Cagnazzi. Shane and his promising team will fund their ongoing U.S. racing invasion using their very own company, Auzmet Architectural as their primary sponsor.



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