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Some of the Coolest NHRA Sportsman Door-slammer Drag Cars

Straight Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Jul 25, 2017
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Super Gas “Wagoneers”

It’s a perfect example of what racing fans love about index car racing: variety. Longtime Chevy proponents Fred and Shirleen Murphy, who reside in Fountain Valley, California, are frequent runners at various Southwest U.S. dragstrips with this super durable 1977 Chevy Vega Station Wagon. The wagon was originally built in 1983 from a Don Hardy chassis kit by original owner Gary Mignacca with help from Ray Masten of H&M Performance and Don Barton. Murphy purchased the Vega in 2008, and after a few modifications started racing it in 2009. The engine is a 496ci big-block (an early Merlin III block), with a set of Brodix BB2X heads that puts out approximately 650 hp. That power is transferred through a Dice converter, a mildly modified Powerglide, and on to a Dana 60 with Moser axles, then ultimately to a set of Mickey Thompson slicks. The Murphys usually run the car at the 10.90 index target but also dabble in Super Gas 9.90 and Fast ET class racing. Unleashed, its best time is a 9.683 at 139.43 mph. Fred cites valued support from Steve Smith at Dirt Bag Racing Engines, Jeff Paradise at Dice Converters, and Craig Whelen and Bob Johnson.

1969 Camaro Wheelstand 002 2/4

Northeastern Style Statement

John Gray, based in Massachusetts, races one of the most stylish F-bodies seen anywhere in Stock Eliminator drag racing. Fully intentional, his 1969 Camaro brings back some drag racing memories through its paint scheme (designed by Scott Brown, painted by Lee Baker, and lettered by Dan Delaney). It captures the essence of the famous “California Charger” Top Fuel and Funny Cars raced by John Keeling and Jerry Clayton back in the 1970s. This Camaro features a 375hp/396ci engine that was assembled by Brian Tilberg. The engine program employs a stock forged steel crank and aluminum Chevrolet Performance cylinder heads. Scott McClay built the car’s Metric 200 transmission, which is behind an ATI torque converter. To date, the hard-leaving Camaro has run well under its national class index, hitting a best of 9.87 e.t. John races with his wife, Christine, and his son Timothy, and he is quick to cite support from Mark Markow and John’s Racecraft.

1966 Corvette Wheelstand 003 3/4

Simply Stunning Sting Ray!

When Robbie Draughon from Fayetteville, North Carolina, arrives at dragstrips, it’s safe to say he gets noticed. Since debuting his spectacular 1966 Corvette back in April 2016, his machine has quickly become an enormous fan favorite. This SS/BM class racer competes in both NHRA and IHRA circuits, and all aspects of the car and engine were self-built at Robbie Draughon Powertrain Development. That includes a 25.2 chrome-moly chassis, Liberty five-speed transmission, and the 314ci SB2 (847 hp at 9,500 rpm). The best performance so far has been an 8.79 e.t. at over 154 mph. Featuring a very impressive finish (paint and body by Brandon White of Millville, Virginia), this car has already garnered numerous Best Engineered and Best Appearing awards. Robbie’s crew includes his wife, “T;” father; Robert Jr.; Kevin Riner; Terry Sova; and Thomas Cashwell. His sponsors include Redline Speed Shop (Fayetteville, North Carolina) and Hoosier Tires.

1968 Camaro Roadster Burnout 004 4/4

Nice and New to the Mix

Tom Yancer Race Cars (Phoenix, Arizona) continues to pound out super impressive products. One of that group’s latest creations was for the Colorado-based husband and wife team of Tim and Tammy Parker (Longmont, Colorado). This brand-new race car hit the dragstrip for the first time in early April 2017 during the NHRA national event at Las Vegas. The topless 1968 Camaro had a tremendous start for sure, as Tim went all the way to the Super Gas final before finally getting beat. The car features a 1,000+ hp 572ci big-block, which was expertly assembled by Ridge Reamer Machine (Arvada, Colorado). That engine features a block and heads by Brodix and crank and rods by Crower. The Parkers employ a Hughes Performance Powerglide and torque converter. The finishing touch for this expertly thought-out car is impressive, too—featuring paint by Fred Hart, pinstriping by Louie Allison, and airbrushing by legendary F/C class painter John Pugh. Tim and Tammy receive sponsorship help from Fusion Custom Trailers (Salisbury, North Carolina), and their crew includes “the Alves Brothers.”

Photos: Bruce Biegler

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