As car guys, it’s in our blood for the need to get our hot rods to go quicker and faster. It’s just the way we’re wired. And it doesn’t really matter what form of racing in which we’re competing. Whether it’s on a road course, autocross, or a dragstrip. Once we get a little comfortable with our car’s performance, it just feels natural to want to go faster in order to keep the thrill alive. So what’s the source of such behavior? Bragging rights? Maybe. Ego? A likely assumption.
Scott Massey is no exception to this rule. Well, his ego’s in check, but he still has the need for speed, and he’ll do whatever it takes to go faster. Needless to say, he spent quite some time tinkering with his 2000 Chevy Camaro Z28 for the first year and a half he owned it, not only dialing in the tune, but he also gave attention to the car from an aesthetic standpoint. “I’m the third owner of the car,” informs Scott. “The owner before me was only interested in going fast. The car ran strong (low 10’s), but quite a few corners were cut, so I changed the torque converter and upgraded to Corvette front brakes. I also added nitrogen-assisted nitrous oxide in place of the bottle heater.”
The car ran a consistent 136 mph in the traps with a best 60-foot time of a somewhat lazy 1.506 off the footbrake on M&H drag radials and the stock 10-bolt rearend. In 2009, Scott was going at it against an ’03 Cobra. It was a race in which he’d won but unfortunately lost a head gasket. “It turns out the tune was less than ideal,” Scott admits. “The previous owner’s tuner had the car running way too rich and with too much timing, as well. Not only that, but the spark plugs were too hot and the wrong style for running nitrous.”
In hindsight, the head gasket failure was a good thing as it prompted Scott to go with a more reliable iron block and to tack on 20 additional cubic inches. He went to the guys at Late Model Engines for the short-block and had Joe Haines and Nate Corwin at Nasty Nate’s Performance in Fort Wayne, Indiana, assemble the mill. Now bored 4.005 over and stroked 4.000 inches, AFR 225 V1 aluminum heads tapped into the program, as did 11.85:1-compression Wiseco pistons. A COMP Cams bumpstick comes in on the intake side with a lift (at 0.500 inch) of 0.624 and duration of 247 and 0.624 at 255 on the exhaust end. A FAST intake manifold and 42-lb injectors keep the LS quenched while a Lonnie’s Performance double pump in-tank setup ensures a constant fuel supply.
Should Scott someday reincarnate the engine setup, he admitted to entertaining a single turbo system, but for now a Nitrous Outlet 90mm plate sprays a 200-shot of juice.
Kooks 17/8-inch headers morph into a 3½-inch collector and manage spent fuel into a custom Y-pipe Flowmaster system built by Bill Davis, followed by a 4-inch Mufflex cat-back collection. The overall payoff is 510 rwhp and 470 lb-ft on motor and 690 hp with a stout 770 lb-ft on juice. Getting that kind of power to the ground requires a portly drivetrain, so RPM Transmissions did their Stage VII magic on Scott’s 4L60E, and Precision Industries was called into the mix with their 3,600-stall converter. Nate and the gang at Nasty Nate’s installed the Midwest Chassis-prepped FAB 9 rearend stuffed with 3.89 cogs, Detroit Locker, and narrowed 35-spline axles.
M&H rubber (185/75-15 front, 325/50-15 rear) wrap around a set of Bogart GT drag wheels (15x4 inches with 1¾-inch backspace front and 15x10 inches with 5-inch backspace rear), and adjustable QA1 dampers reside on all four corners. Beyond the QA1 shocks and 1½ inches of coil cut off the rear springs, the suspension is basically a stock setup.
Scott is reluctant on hitting the interior with a rollcage as his kids (as of this writing; ages 10 and 7) really love the Camaro and enjoy going for rides. “Interestingly, my daughter, who is 7 years old, likes the car the most,” boasts Scott. “I like the fact that this is an absolute street car. It weighs 3,700 pounds, with me in it, the A/C blows cold, it’s got cruise control, and factory leather and carpet. It’s still a great car to drive on the street.”
With Scott keeping the rollcage idea on the proverbial “back burner,” only the A-pillar gauge cluster featuring Auto Meter Sport Comp II gauges give off a vibe of race inspiration. Never mind the three switches above the ashtray marked “Nitrous Arm,” “Purge,” and “Line Lock.” Not to mention the nitrous gauge perched just above the headlight switch.
The exterior plays along the same stealthy theme and consists of the original pigment: Paint Code 44, Monterey Maroon Metallic. The VFN Sunoco hood is the only indication of the slugfest going down in the engine bay.
Steve Williams from Tuned by Frost handles tuning duties, and Scott feels the car is running “better than it ever has.” But as we all know, nailing down a new combination takes time, and getting a car totally sorted can be quite a chore. And with raising kids and sticking to the family plan, and sometimes working seven days a week, Scott has only been able to track test the car twice with its current setup. “Both days we took the car out, the weather was bad and the density altitude was over 3,500 feet,” said Scott. “The best performance so far is 10.25 at 139 mph, with the tires spinning through most of First gear and on the limiter almost 2 seconds before the finish line. At 110 mph in the eighth-mile, I know the power is there, so my goal is to run 9.80’s and 140 mph.”
Future plans include a single-plane intake, four-blade throttle body, bigger cam, and possibly larger heads. But first in line is to address some suspension issues. In the works are double-adjustable shocks, adjustable spring perches from Madman Racing, and a drag-style rear bar. Once the suspension is dialed in, then it’s on to more horsepower.
And if we know Scott, those 9.80’s he’s hunting for will turn into 9.60’s; And those 9.60’s will turn into… well, you know the drill.