The 2016 season for Super Stock class drag racing has included the emergence of a new player: South Carolina-based Bow Tie-brand proponent Steve Johnson.
While there is no arguing that the current trend within Sportsman drag racing is toward late-model construction, a lot of traditional drag racing fans out there are pleased that Johnson chose to buck that trend with his spectacularly built 1966 Chevy II.
Fully armed and aimed at NHRA’s SS/CM class designation, this high-winding and manually shifted 318ci machine features a shift point of 10,000 rpm and rolls through the quarter-mile finish line at 10,400 rpm! Johnson tasked FMG Race Engines (Roan Mountain, Tennessee) to do his engine program, and that power is transferred through an Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT) system and a Liberty five-speed transmission.
While new this year to Super Stock racing, Johnson has owned his car for five years, first taking delivery from Darrell Lai Race Cars (Maiden, North Carolina) back in 2011.
“Originally this car was built for the Classic Gear Jammers circuit, which is very popular within our area of the U.S. southeast,” Steve revealed. “We raced it a lot over there and won several times, including the Stick Shift Nationals in 2014. But for 2016 we are venturing within some Super Stock racing for the first time. This is a continuation of my passion for drag racing Chevy II cars. My first race car was another Chevy II post car: a 1967 model that I raced for 20 years.”
The final product/finish on Johnson’s car truly is stand-alone. It features some stunning deep red paint applied by John Black (Taylorsville, North Carolina), and upon first inspection the meticulous look and maintained machine is often mistaken by adoring fans as being a brand-new race car. This Chevy II won a Best Engineered award at an IHRA event earlier this season.
“I do work hard to keep it clean and waxed,” Steve laughed. “I personally like the older, classic cars more than the late-models, and the fan reaction to this car has always been great. It always draws a crowd at the events we attend.”
To date the car has some pretty impressive numbers on the dragstrip, too, including an 8.69 e.t. at 155 mph timeslip in the quarter-mile and a 5.47 e.t at 127 mph in eighth-mile racing.
At and between races Steve’s racing program is assisted by his dedicated crew, which is comprised of Barry Lowe, Rusty Humphries, Dane Pearson, and Ben Potts. He is also appreciative of the support his racing ventures receive from his wife, Pam, and his family.
Johnson funds his drag racing program as an independent; he is a heating and air conditioning contractor based in the Spartanburg area.
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