Meador’s Mandella Marvel
Jim Meador may not be the most famous drag racing personality based in Yorba Linda, California (home of John Force), but his ’67 Camaro still gets him plenty of attention. After acquiring the car in 2004 at a swap meet at the nearby Los Angeles County Fairgrounds (in Pomona), Meador tasked reputed Phil Mandella to build the highly competitive Stock Eliminator car. Powered by a 396ci engine (rated at 325 hp) by Greg Luneack and then self assembled, Meador has enjoyed great success racing the car. He is a three-time winner at the NHRA national event level—including most recently the second-to-last race of the 2011 season held at Las Vegas.
One of the most impressive cars within the nitrous-injected Pro Modified racing scene last season was the ’69 Camaro driven by second-generation racer Rickie Jones—son to highly reputed racer and race car builder Rick Jones (Quarter-Max and RJ Race Cars Inc.). The younger Jones made a transition from Pro Stock to Pro Mod during 2011, and that produced a number of very successful outings within both NHRA quarter-mile Get Screened America and the ADRL eighth-mile class warfare. The Camaro, which is the “flagship” for Jones’ Illinois-based companies features a horrifically powerful 855ci engine by Chevrolet brand Hall of Fame members David Reher and Buddy Morrison.
Man in Black
Dave Bridgewater from Devore, California, campaigns one of the most impressive big-block Stock Eliminator cars seen anywhere in the nation. His 396ci B/SA ’69 Camaro is a mainstay within NHRA’s Pacific Division and is one of that geographical area’s strongest running cars. Bridgewater first purchased the car in Texas back in 2004, and then put it through a number of upgrades. The car now features a motor program by RWR Racing Engines (built by Rick Waters and Tibor Kidar) and expert fabrication by Phil Mandella Racing. Painter, John Howard, gave the car its great final look and crew chief Paul Cannon oversees the car’s maintenance. Bridgewater himself is a very versatile driver—he also races separate cars in Super Stock and Super Comp eliminators.
Top Alcohol Runner
Sean Bellemeur’s Top Alcohol Funny Car is helping to continue on the terrific legacy of Camaro-bodied Funny Cars. Bellemeur is a second-generation driver following in the footsteps of his father, Greg Bellemeur—a very well-known California drag racer. Sean’s Master Cam-sponsored machine features a Victory chassis and a supercharged and alcohol-burning 521ci engine by Brad Anderson. Sean is coming off a hotly contested and successful 2011 season with the car, which saw him run as quick as 5.65 sec. at 265 mph, win a divisional race in Oregon, and then place runner-up during the season finale NHRA Auto Club Finals at Pomona.