For second-generation drag racer Dave Ficacci, Chevrolets and NHRA class racing is a way of life. His father, Steve Ficacci Sr., has been competing in Stock Eliminator since the 1970s, and all three of Ficacci’s brothers field impressive Bow Tie machines in the Stock ranks. In fact, Steve Sr. was the first in the 9.80s with his popular high-flying, first-gen stick-shift Camaro; while Steve Jr. runs an Indy Class-winning and national record-holding four-speed 350 LT-1 1970 Z28; Mike Ficacci has a high-flying 1968 327ci Corvette, and older brother Bobby Twynam rows the gears in his big-block 1970 Nova.
Ficacci’s mount is a clean 1969 Chevrolet Camaro that he purchased in 2001 from well-known racer Bobby Warren. In the last 14 years, Ficacci has added his personal touch, modifying the suspension, electronics, and installing an engine prepared by his father. The Camaro sports a 396ci, 375hp big-block that’s built within the tight confines of the Stock rules. It fits into AA/SA, A/SA, or B/SA depending on the weight, but Ficacci normally runs in B/SA (3,610 pounds minimum weight with driver), where he holds the NHRA national records at 9.91 seconds and 132 mph.
“We run the 396/375-horsepower combo with the aluminum heads, which is rated at 405 horsepower by NHRA,” Ficacci stated. “The engine was built by my father, but we also get help from MB Race Engines and from Gary Hettler.” Running 1.33 seconds under the 11.25 B/SA class index is no easy feat, and Ficacci employs the latest technology in his classic Chevy to get the job done.
“Stock and Super Stock are really challenging. I especially like running heads-up races and Class Eliminations,” he added. Having a quick Stocker requires efficiency, so Ficacci constantly tunes the car and evaluates the performance of the gearing. It’s important to have a quality torque converter and transmission, and he runs a Select converter and a Pro Trans by Select that has optimum gear ratios for his Camaro.
Finding success in Stock and Super Stock requires a quick and consistent car, since those classes combine both bracket and heads-up racing. And there’s nowhere to hide in the upper classes of Stock (AA/SA, A/SA, B/SA), as many of the big-block muscle cars and small-block late-model machines fit in there and constantly push the performance envelope.
Dave, 34, is a Senior Service Manager for Advanced Infrastructure at Micro Strategies, and he’s been victorious in Stock and Super Stock, both at the divisional and national levels. He’s also driven for top racers Norm Hall and Anthony Bongiovanni. Ficacci finished as high as Third in Division 1, where he regularly faces off against likes of champions Peter Biondo, Lee Zane, and Dan Fletcher, and he has represented Division 1 in the Jegs All-Stars.
Like any successful racer, Dave Ficacci doesn’t go it alone; he has great partners that include Select Converters and Transmissions, Micro Strategies, Computech Systems Inc., Hoosier Tires, MB Race Engines, Gary Hettler, Norm Hall, and Frank Quarno . Not to mention the entire Ficacci family, including his mom, Deborah.
While Ficacci has made his mark, he’s far from done. “My car is pretty fast right now, and it’s working pretty good. I’d love to capture a class win from the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indy, and someday I’d love to drive in Competition Eliminator.”