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Top Sportsman Drag Racers from the U.S. and Canada

Straight Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Oct 7, 2016
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A Western New York Classic

Two decades on, the 1969 Chevelle raced by Ron D’Alessandro still turns the heads of drag racing spectators! Originally an ET bracket racer, D’Alessandro’s machine has evolved into a frequent competitor in the 10.90 class of both the NHRA and IHRA. He self-built the 400ci Chevrolet engine at his facility (West Seneca Auto Repair) that uses a Hilborn injection system—rarely seen for this class—it has a peak power output of 715 horsepower. Tipping the scales at 3,100 pounds, the A-body employs a two-speed Powerglide transmission to help its index consistency. D’Alessandro has an impressive list of associate sponsors for his machine and is particularly thankful for the support he receives from Head Knocker Racing, PJK Construction, Jan-Cen Racing Engines, and the Coyote Cafe (Hamburg, New York).

1966 Chevy Ii Burnout 2/4

Veteran Burnout King!

Racing fans consistently give high marks to Paul “Jackie” Robison, whose mondo burnouts in his 1966 Chevy II Top Sportsman car are pretty much legendary in the Southeastern U.S. Robison’s car began its drag life in 1990 after being built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars for its first owner, Bill Neri. Paul acquired the car eight seasons ago and since then has evolved this Chevy into a much more powerful and faster machine. It is now powered by a 728ci Fulton Competition engine that features three stages of Speedtech nitrous. Robison, a Vietnam veteran, races the car in conjunction with his partner and best friend Gary “Pop” Bramlett, who is also a vet. Paul and Gary have had numerous great event finishes in the Southeast with the car and, in fact, represented their NHRA Division 2 during the 2014 running of the Jegs Allstars event at Chicago. Sponsorship help comes from Doug Dailey, Gibbs Race Cars, and Reeds Auto Parts. His all-volunteer crew consists of Mickey Bailey, Stan Rabb, Wendell Davis, and Rusty Hawkins. Paul and his team, which are based out of Greer, South Carolina, especially cite Ron Greenwood and Hot Rods for Heroes for all their support.

1980 Chevy Corvette Wheelie 3/4

Northeastern Silver Streak

Chuck Weber’s meticulously maintained 1980 Corvette is a real and welcome rarity within NHRA and IHRA Stock Eliminator categories for racing fans. His 350ci-powered machine, which features a new-for-2016 engine program by Victory Engines, is run in F/SA class trim. This Corvette was originally built by Jim Marshall in 1990, and Weber acquired the car in 2012 after which he gave it a fresh, new look and striking silver paint scheme at his own Weber’s Auto Body facility (Frewsburg, New York). Chuck’s racing operation is 100 percent self-funded and includes great support from his wife, Janine, and his crewman Dave Denoe. Performance-wise, this Corvette is recognized as being fully capable as it has run in the 10.7-second zone, which is more than a full second under the NHRA class’ national index.

1974 Chevy Vega Burnout 4/4

Retirement = Gone Racing!

Ron Strayhorn (Alpharetta, Georgia) is certainly enjoying his retirement! Following 37 years of involvement in the auto industry, Ron’s main focus is now on his passion to go drag racing as a weekend warrior. A couple of years ago, with the help of a friend, Ron found and purchased a very nice turnkey 1974 Vega from a car collector in Michigan. This Vega was originally built by Sarmento Race Cars and was in competition for several seasons in both Super Gas and Super Street trim with a previous owner based in Canada. Ron then implemented some changes to the interior ergonomics, electronics, suspension, and brakes in order for it to re-enter competition. The Vega now features a new engine program, too, with power coming from a 382ci Dart mill that uses Brodix SPX 18-degree heads and is capable of producing nearly 700 horsepower. While Ron’s main focus with the machine is 10.90 class racing, he reported that unleashed (without the throttle stop) his excellently maintained race car can run as quick and fast as 9.5 e.t.’s at almost 145 mph.

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