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Chevy High Performance Focuses on Sportsman Drag Racers

Straight Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Aug 24, 2018
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A Black Sheep Wagon

Within the mostly cookie-cutter world of dragster chassis dominated Super Comp racing it’s refreshing to see something different in the mix, and Indiana’s Bob Eaker certainly delivers on that front. Since 2013, Eaker has been faithfully racing a 1967 Chevy Nova (affectionately known as Big Sexy). While Eaker often competes head-to-head with the rear-engine dragsters in 8.90 index racing, this car is also a very versatile one—capable of Nostalgia Drag Racing and Super Gas class racing. The car was originally built by Jefferey Ferguson from Mississippi and then had a couple of other owners before Eaker acquired it. How rare is this car? That’s debatable, but let’s just say there were not very many two-door Nova wagons made in 1967. Bob’s Nova is powered by a 565ci big-block Chevy built by Al Robbins at Freedom Racing Engines in Brownsburg, Indiana. Using an FTI torque converter and Powerglide transmission, unchecked, this Nova wagon has run 8.45 at 160 mph.

2002 Chevy Cavalier Burnout 2/4

Regional Warriors

The eastern Canadian province of Ontario is home to a dynamic Top Sportsman racing scene. One of the most talented stay-close-to-home teams from that area is the Ingersoll-based duo of Bill Wilson and Rob Gray. That team races a super-consistent 2002 Chevy Cavalier, which traces its origins back to being a Jegs Pro Stock car in its previous life. The self-funded, independent team uses an alcohol-fueled 706ci big-block, which they spray with nitrous oxide when needed. With runs in the low 6.8-second zone and over 202 mph, the Wilson & Gray Cavalier established itself a long time ago as one of the toughest Chevy cars in eastern Canada. That includes winning season points championships for both the PMRA and USDS Canadian circuits. An interesting dimension to the team is that Bill and Rob (who have been racing partners for over 25 years) also share the driving duties, throwing the keys back and forth to one another after each event.

Camaro Pro Slammer Launch 3/4
Pro Slammer 1969 Chevelle Burnout 4/4

Emerging Slammer Stars!

Australia’s extreme “door car” scene continues to receive some of that county’s top billing for drag racing. Their Pro Slammer class (an approximate equivalent of Pro Modified in North America) is fostering many new and emerging talents, including two influential Chevrolet-brand racers: Sam Fenech and Emilio Spinozzi.

Sam Fenech, who owns and operates the highly reputed Sydney-based Westend Performance (machine shop, engine building, and engine dyno specialists), has in conjunction with team owner Steve Sarkis built and now campaigns a very impressive 1967 Camaro. Since it debuted in 2017, this G-Force–built race car (which also features work by SCF Race Cars) has been massaged into the low 5.7-second zone with terminal speeds near 255 mph. It has not only become a fan favorite, but also a formidable opponent within the class. Prior to their decision to go Pro Slammer racing, Sam and his team were champions within Australia’s Pro Street Car Association, winning back-to-back Outlaw 10.5 titles in 2013 and 2014—also in GM cars. The team’s primary sponsor is The App Shop.

Brothers Emilio and Adamo Spinozzi, who had been very active within Australia’s 400ci Pro Stock class racing scene with a Chevy Camaro, are now new entities within the 3,500hp Pro Slammer class experience. That team, which is based near Sydney, New South Wales, debuted this season an impressive, supercharged 1969 Chevelle, which was expertly built by Australia’s own SCF Race Cars. Driven by Emilio, the Chevelle made some great strides in performance while participating at the final two 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series events of the 2017-’18 season held at the Sydney and Willowbank tracks. The race team receives its primary sponsorship from Speedmaster, but also has numerous valued associates, including Terra Civil, Hitachi Australia, Nicsons Concrete, and Torco Oil. Crew chief Michael Marriott and tuner Mark Brew oversee the team’s powerful engine program.

Photos: Bruce Biegler

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