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January 2012 Straight-Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Jan 1, 2012

Unique Investment

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When it comes to truly spectacular paint schemes, there may not be an equal to that of the “Blown Money” Pro Modified Camaro raced by Colorado’s Mike Knowles. Incredibly, Knowles’ Tim McAmis-built machine, incorporates one hundred real U.S. $100 bills embossed into the surface of it’s scheme. Needless to say, that unique application for cash does cause a buzz within the Pro Mod fan base almost everywhere that Knowles makes an appearance. The unique visual presentation also earned him the overall “Best Appearing Car” award during the 2011 NHRA Tire Kingdom Gatornationals in Florida. But Knowles’ car is not just a good looker—it is a fast runner, too—featuring an ultra powerful supercharged alcohol burning engine program by Canadian Pro Mod tuning guru Al Billes.

Passing The Torch

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Los Angeles-based race car owner Jim Hennessay is continuing a bit of a family racing tradition with his GT/DA-classed ’87 Camaro Super Stocker. Originally owned by Jim DeFrank and driven by West Coast race car builder extraordinaire Phil Mandella, the car is now in fact being driven by Phil’s son, Tony Mandella. Together, Tony and Jim have amassed a pretty impressive racing record within NHRA’s Division Seven, including three NHRA national event level victories. This highly competitive Camaro, which was originally built by Ed Quay two decades ago, now features a Mike Keown-built 400ci small-block engine.

Breakthrough Victory

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The summer of 2011 included a very significant victory for lady racer Jackie Alley from Eagle, Idaho. Driving a meticulously prepared ’69 in conjunction with her husband Mick, Jackie earned her first NHRA national event title during the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Denver in July. Jackie’s Big O Tires-sponsored machine features a 396ci engine by Mike Herring (Valley Crankshaft) and runs in SS/DA trim. The race car was originally a bracket racer but was first modified for legal Super Stock in 2006. With it, Alley also has two NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional event wins and membership in the Jegs All-Stars team to her racing credit.

Top Sportsman Accentuation

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Independence, Missouri, is home base to Rick Wilson’s Straight Line Motorsports’ ’69 Camaro—one of the most consistent Top Sportsman cars in the nation. Since it’s debut in 2008, the home-fabricated car has been one of the most successful class cars within NHRA’s geographical Division Five. Rick races the great-looking machine in conjunction with his wife Ellen. The Camaro, which is powered by 632ci nitrous injected engine built by Gene Fulton and utilizes a Hughes automatic transmission, runs consistent high “sixes” at right around the 200 mph mark. The Wilson’s dedication to Camaro racing also includes a second car—a 555ci ’69 model, which they race within NHRA’s S/ST 10.90 category.



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