Some Classical Gas
Ohio’s Steve Crook has evolved into a popular entity within the eastern and midwestern nostalgia drag racing scenes. Steve is doing his part in helping to keep the early roots for the sport of drag racing front and center with the public while campaigning a period-correct 1956 Chevy AA/GS car dubbed Blew By You. Powered by a 377ci small-block Chevy, which is Hilborn-port injected and equipped with a Littlefield 6-71 blower, Crook has become a fan favorite for not only his lengthy burnouts but also competitive runs. Originally built over an 8-month period back in 2008, the car, which tips the scales at 3,200 pounds, is run in both quarter-mile and eighth-mile racing circuits. It has made appearances at many marquee events, including the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida; the U.S. Nationals at Indy; and the Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The ’56, which runs regularly in the 8.7 e.t. zone at 160 mph, receives its sponsorship from S&M Auto Body (Eastlake, Ohio) and ScottRods Custom HotRods & Fiberglass (Monroeville, Ohio).
A Whale of a Car!
Unorthodox is one of the first words that might come to mind when fans view Matt Forbes’ unique four-door 1966 Bel Air Super Stock car. Sponsored by Lucas Oil and K&N Filters, the Whale — as it is affectionately known — is part of an impressive multicar all-Chevrolet drag racing team fielded by FMS (Forbes Motorsports). The Kentucky-based team, which was founded by Matt’s father, Jerry, also includes his brother David who has a 1971 Chevelle Stock Eliminator, a 1992 Camaro Super Stocker, and a Chevy-powered Super Comp dragster. The Bel Air is powered by a 283ci engine (NHRA rated at 229 hp) built by Parsons & Meyers. Matt was quick to cite the car’s high success rate is a direct result of some key components, including a Rochester 4GC carburetor (by Deano), a Powerglide transmission (by Thomas Arnett), a Coan 8-inch converter, Richmond gears, Hoosier tires, Heads Up heads, Jesel roller rockers, COMP valvesprings, Hedman headers, and E3 spark plugs. This car, which is capable of running in the low 11-second zone, has a real history behind it too, while being previously owned by Larry Wilson, Richard Belanger, and Bob Hills before Matt’s team acquired it in 2005.
Canadian Chevy Champs
The recently completed 2015 drag racing season included the emergence of two brand-new, grassroots independent drag racing series in Canada, both of which headline Pro Modified class racing. The inaugural racing season for both the NAPA-sponsored Ultimate Showdown Drag Racing Series (USDRS) and the Western Drag Racing League (WDRL) both featured Chevrolet-branded points champions.
In the eastern Canada-based USDRS, former 3X IHRA Alcohol Funny Car World Champion Robbie Atchison emerged on top driving a Tim McAmis-built supercharged 1963 Corvette. Atchison, who first began to dabble in Pro Mod racing three years ago, dominated in the series. After winning the first two events of the season, he never looked back. Using an AJ Chevrolet configuration engine program, which is self-built and self-maintained by Rob and his father, Bob, (at Atchison Machine Service – London, Ontario, Canada) the team was rewarded during the campaign with a career quick 5.93 e.t.
“This season was really the end result of about a 4-year journey into Pro Mod racing,” Rob Atchison said. “To be the points champion in the inaugural season for the series is something that can never be taken away, and we’re proud of that accomplishment.”
In western Canada, the WDRL made its debut with a circuit that focuses on dragstrips within the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. That series title was claimed by Dale Pederson from Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Pederson campaigns a Jerry Bickel-built 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo that features a 448ci small-block Chevrolet engine program equipped with twin GTX 5588 turbochargers by Garrett.
Pederson’s car, which has run a career quick 5.98 e.t. at 237 mph, was acquired from California’s Mike Bowman. It is technically more of a Pro Street configuration car, but it fit well into the WDRL circuit, which features rules that accommodate more non-mainstream combinations. In 2015, Dale used consistency to score the overall points title.
“It was great that the WDRL introduced a new five-race series into western Canada,” said Pederson. “Although our car was not one of the fastest out there, we were able to qualify in the middle of the field every time and we won this by showing up, going down the track consistently, and not breaking parts.”