2006 Super Chevy Car Show Joliet Illinois - Romeo in Joliet
Chevy lovers were just dyin' to get into the Chi-town Super Chevy Show.
From the January, 2007 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
The Chicago bedroom hamlet of Joliet, Illinois, is more than the location from the cult classic, "Blues Brothers," it happens to host one of the country's most state-of-the-art drag racing facilities in the form of Route 66 Raceway. Amid the cornfields and down the road apiece from the state prison made infamous by Jake and Elwood Blues, you'll find this drag racer's oasis.
Route 66 Raceway is huge. It has to be, because Chicagoans take their drag racing as serious as a full cardiac arrest. Compared to most West Coast tracks, Route 66 looks like a Wal-Mart next to a lemonade stand. Maybe that's why, in spite of triple-digit August heat, Chicago-area Chevy enthusiasts make the yearly Joliet Super Chevy Show a must-see event.
The weekend of August 12-14 produced many drag racing highlights, including jet dragsters, wheelstanders, nitro coupe Pro Mods, and a special exhibition race from the Chicago Super Stock Outlaws. The meat of the racing, however, was in the sportsman bracket classes and in the car show, where we made a special effort to aim our cameras. The manufacturer's midway at any Super Chevy Show is a great way to check out parts and talk to reps before you buy anything for your project, but Joliet's midway was especially well-staffed. We had a great time jawboning with the reps from GM Performance Parts, COMP Cams, Tremec, Rick's First Generation, Mr. Gasket, Original Parts Group, TCI and others. These guys are smart, if for no other reason than they offer the best shade on a hot August afternoon! In all seriousness, big projects can cost a lot of dough, and a lot of coin can be saved by getting the right advice firsthand from the people who make the stuff. Don't like what you see in the manufacturer's tents? You're in luck, because the Super Chevy Show swap meet area is a great alternative way to score junk on the cheap.
And then there are the trinkets and memorabilia. Imagine my happiness when I stumbled across original Chevy dealership brochures for '73, '74 and '75 Chevelles. I got the entire set. Getting PHR editorial director, David "dare-to-be-different" Freiburger, to greenlight one of these as a project car, however, will take additional convincing. (Feel free to visit his home in the middle of the night with a baseball bat. Just kidding.) You can bet I'll be staring at these brochures for a long time, trying to figure out what the coolest combos are.
One highlight we'd rather forget is when the '85 Pontiac Firebird we were shooting for a car feature launched from the starting line, then immediately stuffed itself into the wall. What to do? Go ahead and shoot the car anyway. Hey, life happens. It is the first (and probably the last) time PHR will ever do a feature on a wrecked car. Thankfully, the car is somewhat well-known (it recently appeared on the reality TV show "Pinks"), and the crew had brought the fine-looking Danielle Bowers to model with it. You can check it out elsewhere in this issue.
Taking all these pictures at the Joliet Super Chevy Show has its benefits, mainly because we get to meet people and find out what's on their minds. An hour or two on the starting line usually means spending the entire afternoon walking through the pits, tracking down all those cars and their owners. That's when the bench racing really takes off and you find out all the back stories behind the beautiful cars.
By the time you read this, the Super Chevy Show schedule will be done for 2006. If you like what you see and want to be a part of the action, we suggest you go to www.superchevyshow.com for the 2007 calendar. (PHR's Top 10 2006 Super Chevy Show Race Cars won't be announced until the SEMA show, so we'll have to update you on that in a few issues.) Whether you want to show off your car, get in a little drag racing, look around for some parts or find a new project, we can't think of a better place-unless you're into Fords.
Larry Stahnke (52) of Oak...
Larry Stahnke (52) of Oak Forest, IL, is in the home improvement business, but this weekend he was in the attitude improvement business. His Hugger Orange '69 SS Camaro runs in Mr. Gasket Bracket One, where it knocks down 9-flat ETs hard on the wheelie bars.
We found Ashley Rasmussen...
We found Ashley Rasmussen helping her dad, John Rasmussen, prepping the family '72 Monte Carlo in the car show. The father/daughter restoration started in February '05 and was completed just prior to the Joliet Super Chevy Show. The license plate reads "SYCLPOP," the malaprop Ashley used in place of "popsicle" when she was a toddler.
The door of this Camaro reads,...
The door of this Camaro reads, "In Memory Of Bob Gorka," the beloved uncle of 18-year-old driver Matt Higgins (Palos Hills, IL). The Turbo 400-equipped '67 RS/SS gets plenty of power for wheelies like this from a healthy 468 big-block running World Products Merlin II heads.
To all those guys hanging...
To all those guys hanging out on the Team Chevelle bulletin board, this one is for you. Check out Dennis Kent's '69 Chevelle SS (Algonquin, IL). Kent is a family man with three daughters (Shannon, Kori, and Leeann), so you know he's on a tight budget. Still, Kent manages 11.40s on pump gas (without juice) with a 499-inch big-block.
Tim Boggs of Fayetteville,...
Tim Boggs of Fayetteville, OH, insisted on showing PHR readers his Chrondek Christmas Tree tattoo. We've never seen a starting line with that much hair. "This guy said if I ran a picture of his tattoo, he'd give me a cold beer. It was so hot, I couldn't refuse."-Johnny Hunkins
Erin Braasch-PHR's Miss Joliet...
Erin Braasch-PHR's Miss Joliet Super Chevy Erin Braasch of New Lennox, IL, was kind enough to pose for a full-page photo while she waited for her dad, John Braasch, to run his '85 Camaro in the first round of Bracket One. "She doesn't actually win anything for this. OK, maybe we'll send her a magazine or two if she calls."-Johnny Hunkins
Ready, set, Polish!
"Big" Tony Phillips is a crane...
"Big" Tony Phillips is a crane operator for Union Pacific, and he put that talent to good use by lifting the wheels of his '65 Chevelle SS during Bracket One competition. A 14:1-compression 565-inch BBC pounds down 896 hp, which is good for 9.20s at over 145 mph (off the sauce) with weight around 3,300 lbs.
Sandy Stedman (Lisle, IL,...
Sandy Stedman (Lisle, IL, foreground), hovers around Gary Karn's blown '70 Nova (Lockport, IL) at the car show. If she was more interested, she would've found out Karn's Nova has a Dyers 14-71 blower on a small-block 350, and that it has run a best of 10.50 in the quarter.
When Paul Evans (Peoria, IL)...
When Paul Evans (Peoria, IL) bought his '56 Chevy a year ago, it hadn't seen the light of day for 17 years. Prior to his owning it, the '56 had been a show car, but Evans (60) knew the shoebox wanted to run free. It now runs 14-ohs in the DOT class with help from a tunnel-ram 355.
This '75 Monza belonging to...
This '75 Monza belonging to Clyde Biagi (Glenwood, IL) really got our attention, so we hung out until he returned a few minutes later. "I bought it brand new," says Biagi. "Had it since day one." The Monza has a nice 350 small-block and a four-speed. The original cost? $4,534.81. If you ever decide to sell it, we'll pay you full MSRP!
From high atop the grandstand,...
From high atop the grandstand, you get a great view of Route 66 Raceway. In the foreground you can see the manufacturer's midway. A little to the left is the car show area, then the pits. The grandstand in the distance belongs to the quarter-mile dirt oval where Jake and Elwood Blues honed their driving skills.
Cathy Belcher's '90 Camaro...
Cathy Belcher's '90 Camaro Nitro Coupe moves smartly off the line, but experienced tire shake a moment later. "We run a Powerglide, which doesn't have the adjustability of a clutch setup," says Belcher. "Tire shake is not good on a Powerglide." The only way to control tire shake, according to Belcher, is to soften-up the power through tuning. Her best ET to date is a 6.56/208.
We cornered Caitlin Walstra...
We cornered Caitlin Walstra (22, Joliet, IL) in the COMP Cams booth looking at the FAST XFI display. We asked her if she knew what it was: "I have no idea what I'm looking at." One thing's for sure, fuel injection never looked so good before.
LS-engine guys know that Chicago...
LS-engine guys know that Chicago is a hotbed for outrageous EFI street cars, so it's not much of a surprise to see John Reese's 2000 Corvette making 9-second passes. Reese (Cary, IL) has run a best of 9.78/138, which is a really big deal considering it's got a 4L60E trans, it runs on 93 octane, and passes Illinois smog. The combo puts down 760 rwhp from a 427-inch C5R block with an ATI F1R blower and a FAST LSX intake. Reese credits Finish Line Performance in Naperville, IL, for the deed. (You can contact them at www.flp2win.com or call 630-820-9294).
Now, for something really...
Now, for something really serious. As we started checking out Ray Gustafson's '67 Camaro (which has a 484-inch big-block, runs 8-teens with nitrous, and hails from La Porte, IN), our eyeballs latched onto Ashley Hawkins (24) of Portage, IN. Photography ensued. As we stumbled over tools and pit detritus snapping pictures, Ashley unleashed this gem and brought the house down: "I've never done this with my clothes on!"
Chuck and Cherri Romani of...
Chuck and Cherri Romani of Silvis, IL, prepare their '66 Chevelle for some tough competition in the car show. The Romanis have had the car since '92 and it has just completed a three-year rebuild. In Joliet, the Romani's '66 took the honors in Outstanding Modified, Modified Chevelle, and OPG Best Chevelle.
JOLIET SUPER CHEVY DRAG RESULTS
|MR GASKET BRACKET ONE|
|W-John Savarino||Ashkum, IL||'97 Spitzer||0.016||8.27||8.275||158.8|
|RU-John Schrober||Oakland Park, IL||'06 Racetech||0.035||8.2||8.206||165.97|
|W-Roland Droitsch||Lake In The Hills, IL||'69 Z/28||0.055||9.95||9.953||134.26|
|RU-Brian Huppert||Janesville, WI||'72 Nova||foul||10.66||13.361||62.51|
|W-Dave Vegler||Fulton, IL||'71 Chevelle||0.135||12.6||12.842||99.74|
|RU-Tom Wagner||Rolling Meadows, IL||'02 Camaro||0.334||13.52||13.58||104.76|
POPULAR HOT RODDING TOP TEN RACE CARS
|Mark Hicks||Bloomington, IN||'57 Corvette |
|Roland Droitsch||Lake In The Hills, IL||'69 Z/28|
|Vengeance Motorsports||Bourbonnais, IL||dragster|
|Chris Reister||Oak Forest, IL||'69 Camaro|
|Brian Reinking||Rolling Meadows, IL||'57 Chevy Wagon|
|Bruce Wezyk||West Allis, WI||'69 Nova |
|Mike Thompson||Bettendorf, IA||'57 GMC |
|John Murabito||Burbank, IL||'69 Nova|
|Ken Lopatka||Bolingbrook, IL||'57 Chevy Sedan |
|Tom Gaffney||Homer Glen, IL||'67 Camaro|