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July 2012 Straight-Line Spotlight

Bruce Biegler Jul 1, 2012

Texas Top Sportsman Terror

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Kilgore, Texas, is home base for one of the most impressive Top Sportsman Chevrolet cars out there. Driven by Todd Stewart, the ’67 Camaro, which features a chassis by Dennis Sarmento and a 622ci motor program by Lewis Boyd, is a very frequent winner. Stewart is coming off a terrific 2011 racing season that saw him finish Number One within his NHRA home Division and was also the year he won the Top Sportsman title during the highly prestigious Jegs Sportsman Nationals event held at Belle Rose, Louisiana. Stewart’s car is all throttle (no nitrous) and consistently runs 7.1 seconds at 190 mph in the quarter-mile. Stewart’s crew is 100 percent family, including his wife, Amanda, and sons Taylor and Kyle.

Anything but Mainstream!

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The father and son racing team of Josh and Myron Edwards are certainly outside-the-box thinkers. They have taken a very different path to racing within NHRA’s Super Stock class with their ’90 Camaro. Instead of a more conventional V-8 engine program, the team, with some expert help from RWR (Rick Watters Racing), chose to go with a 275ci V-6 engine. The results have been truly impressive to say the least, and the unique machine has held both ends of the NHRA SS/BX record. Based out of Phoenix, Arizona, the car features a three-speed automatic transmission (by Pro-Trans) and tips the scales at 3,000 pounds. Primary sponsorship is provided by Josh’s uncle John Edwards (JD Enterprises) who himself is a highly reputed NHRA Competition Eliminator racer.

California Camaro Crusade

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In the world of Sportsman drag racing, the name DeFrank & Sons is highly feared by the competition. Part of that team’s legacy and current equation is a truly impressive ’69 Camaro that competes in Stock Eliminator, which is driven by second-generation racer Jimmy DeFrank. Run as a B/SA and using a 396ci (405 NHRA hp rating) the car is truly a fan favorite with its exciting and consistent wheels-up launches. Originally, this Camaro was raced by Bill Nelson until the DeFranks acquired it in 2007. The car was then upgraded and finished by John Schiess (Custom Built Machines, Chatsworth, California). The multi-car DeFrank & Sons team is led by Jimmy’s father, Jim DeFrank Sr., with Dave Allison and Tom Kerr turning the wrenches. Primary support for the team is provided by the California Car Cover Co.

Slick Super Gasser

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Dennis Ray Copeland, from Lake City, Florida, races one very impressive Camaro within NHRA’s Super Gas (9.90) wars. His ’95 T-top model, which has a very clean and cool-looking Pro Street ambience to it, is powered by a 975hp, 555ci engine. The car features a four-link chassis, two-speed Powerglide transmission, and weighs in at 3,000 pounds. Dennis, who is a board member of the Southeast Super Gas Association, does run his car unleashed from time to time locally and has a best time of 8.63 seconds at 156 mph to its credit. Copeland Motorsports receives its primary backing from very valued associates Alan Pope Performance and Rollins Automotive Performance Products.



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