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June 2012 Straight-Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Jun 1, 2012
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Next Sportsman Wave

California’s Gary Forkner may have the first one, but his all-new ’12 Camaro will most certainly not be the last within Sportsman drag racing going forward. Forkner, who is from Temecula, took delivery of the very first Jerry Bickel-built version for Top Sportsman class racing in February and immediately hit the trail racing at the NHRA national event held in Phoenix. Powered by a 634ci engine by Steve Schmidt, expectations are that the stunning machine will run regularly in the 6.90 e.t. at 200 mph+ zone during NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional events this season. When not out somewhere racing, the 15-year drag racing veteran works as part of NASCAR’s Fire Safety crew.

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Heartland Hitter

Doug Baumgardner is the new designated driver for a spectacular ’69 Chevy Camaro SS/DA, which is owned by Mike Chaney and Phil Unruh. Based out of McPherson, Kansas, the car features a very high-end 427ci motor program by reputed Gary Stinnett, who is also from Kansas. This Camaro, which runs regularly in the 9.2 e.t. bracket, is already highly regarded as a serious player within NHRA’s geographical Division 5, and in fact placed Second in championship points in that region in 2009. The car is part of a truly impressive three-car team that also includes a Chevy Cobalt Super Stocker and a Chevy-powered Top Dragster, also owned by Chaney and Unruh. Oklahoma-based fabricators Special Metals provides the team funding.

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Racing Memory Preservation

Jack Bystrom and his wife, Lindia, are carrying forward some important traditions while racing their ’68 Camaro, which is based out of Rancho Cucamonga, California. Their SS/FA-classed machine is the original car that was formerly raced by Lindia’s first husband, Ron Filkins, who tragically passed away at Sears Point Raceway in 1993. They now campaign the race car, which won at Pomona with Ron as driver in 1990, in Ron’s memory. Meticulously maintained, the car features a 396ci engine that includes parts provided by Alan Patterson, machining and dyno work by Colorado’s Madcap Racing, and assembly by Jim Weakland. The Camaro has run as quick as 9.60 seconds (10.45 index) to date.

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Into Uncharted Territory

Towards the tail end of the 2011 drag racing season, Canadian car owner Mike Carrabs (Brampton, Ontario) unveiled a truly revolutionary turbocharged Outlaw Super Street car. The Yenko-themed ’69 Camaro, which features an LJ chassis and a one-off body by Joe Van Overbeek, caused a buzz within the North American fast legal street car racing scene with it’s outside-the-box thinking. Driven by Jerry Mitrovic, the highly anticipated machine did suffer an early setback when it collected the guardrail during one of its maiden voyages, requiring some rebuilding during the past off-season. Now fully repaired, the car, which features a 536ci Chevy with twin 88mm turbochargers, has incredible performance potential—including a team target to reach 260 mph on 10.5 tires! For drag racing fans, that will most certainly be a story to monitor.



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