Goodguys Fort Worth PHR Street Machine Autocross - Game On!
We hit the road to Fort Worth for the first PHR Goodguys Street Machine Autocross of the year
From the July, 2012 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
Photography by Stephen Kim
We stepped up last year to sponsor five select Goodguys Street Machine Autocross events, and we had a great time. The readers did too, so for 2012 we hooked back up with the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association to ink the deal for five more action-packed tarmac scorchers. In 2011, we gave out five custom-embroidered Street Machine Autocross jackets to our five winners, and we’re going to do it again this year, starting with the Fort Worth, Texas, event, which went down this past March 16-17 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
From a driver’s perspective, the Texas Motor Speedway infield was the perfect venue for carving cones; the large level paved surface near turn four of the 1.5-mile tri-oval made an outstanding autocross circuit, with a good driver turning in just over a minute-long lap time. As laid out by the Goodguy’s staff, the course had a great combination of long sweeping turns, a tight chicane, two long straights, and a hairpin turn. It was a great test of man and machine that rewarded patience and moderation as much as raw grip and brute force. The Goodguys staff are now seasoned pros at running the autocross, and each year more cars and more spectators make their way out to experience it.
We had virtually the entire Goodguys schedule to pick from in selecting the PHR Street Machine autocross events, and we like Texas because there’s a huge contingent of bitchin cars there that don’t mind getting a little dirty to have some fun. We chose the spring event because the cool March weather is ideal for excellent lap times, and with temps in the low 70s and overcast skies, it was a racer’s dream. Kevin Miller must have been thinking the same thing, because he made the trek down from Baldwin City, Kansas, with his homebuilt ’69 Camaro. Kevin swept a Camaro-dominated field for the win, running a fast lap of 60.794 seconds.
In the Pro field, we got to take rides in both Bret Volkel’s Air-Ride–equipped ’69 Mustang and Phil Gerber’s ’70 Chevy truck (replete with Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis). Let me pause for a second and say this: If you find yourself at a Goodguys Street Machine Autocross, please ask for a ride with one of these cats! Anybody can ride along, all you gotta do is ask (and sign the Goodguys waiver). You will be truly impressed with both the level of engineering in these vendor-created cars, and the driver acumen. We posted in-car video from both vehicles on the Popular Hot Rodding YouTube channel, so please take a look.
Very shortly, we’ll be heading out to Del Mar, California (March 30 to April 1), then on to Nashville (May 18-20). The biggie is in Columbus, Ohio (July 6-8), and we finish out our year in Scottsdale, Arizona (November 16-18). As in Fort Worth, we’ll be awarding the Street Machine competitor with the fastest lap at each event one of the coveted PHR Winner jackets, so make sure to mark one of these on your hot rodding calendar!
Don’t let the truck looks...
Don’t let the truck looks fool you: this ’70 Chevy C10 is a heavy hitter! The Roadster Shop built this track truck with a Fast Track chassis and all the right goodies to make it stick like glue. Check out PHR’s video channel (www.YouTube.com/PopularHotRodding) for a quick lap inside this bad boy!
This ’67 RS/SS Camaro has...
This ’67 RS/SS Camaro has been in Kenneth Jones’ family (Canyon, Texas) since day one and has a total of absolutely zero aftermarket parts. Holding off the hot rodding instinct for 45 years must require an incredible amount of willpower. Big kudos goes to Kenneth for driving it hard on the autocross!
Mavericks aren’t synonymous...
Mavericks aren’t synonymous with performance, but this ’72 owned by Chris Moore (Roanoke, Texas) sure changed our mind. The lightweight stormer packs a 347ci Ford small-block, a G-Force—built T5 trans, a Total Control front suspension, and a TCI torque arm kit for a Mustang. This thing hauls, and we are chasing it for a feature.
Rodney Moore of Wylie, Texas,...
Rodney Moore of Wylie, Texas, was our lone Mopar in the Street Machine class, laying down a best lap of 74.265 with a stock suspension. The 440-powered E-Body has received a 4L60E overdrive conversion from Keisler, making those long road trips a whole lot easier.
Bobby Hampton (Hot Springs,...
Bobby Hampton (Hot Springs, Arkansas) wasn’t kidding when he said he has an aversion to chrome! The ’55 Chevy 150 two-door sedan has too cool radiused rear wheelwells, just like the ’55 in Two-Lane Blacktop. The restomod has a warmed-over 355ci small-block Chevy, five-speed Tremec, tubular A-arms, and 295/50R15 tires in the rear.
Just as Randy Robison (Nacogdoches,...
Just as Randy Robison (Nacogdoches, Texas) got settled in to run the course, he discovered a badly leaking radiator, which kept him off the track. Nevertheless, we love his homebuilt ’70 Mustang, which has a 392ci Windsor, Tremec five-speed, Global West suspension, and Baer brakes. We’ll be featuring it later this year.
We’ve seen Kevin Miller of...
We’ve seen Kevin Miller of Baldwin City, Kansas, at the Goodguys autocross before, but the best he’s ever managed to do with his garage-built ’69 Camaro is runner-up. In Fort Worth, Kevin was able to hold off all comers for the win.
We first met Rocky Stephens...
We first met Rocky Stephens (Covington, Texas) last year when Goodguys came to the Texas Motor Speedway. We liked his LS1-powered ’65 Olds Cutlass so much, we featured it in our Nov. ’11 issue. Goodies include brakes and steering from CPP and a 4L60E automatic overdrive.
Nobody has more fun with a...
Nobody has more fun with a stock-suspension ’69 Camaro than Jim Dewberry of League City, Texas. With more iron ore than an epoch-ending meteorite, Dewberry’s iron-headed big-block had the lightweight rear burning the tires and sliding sideways. Sideways is a state of mind Dewberry clearly has no problem with! This car also won PHR’s informal “most bitchin rake” award.
We were gobsmacked by how...
We were gobsmacked by how drop-dead gorgeous Gary Lackore’s ’71 Corvette is. These things are still way inexpensive and they handle amazing in stock form. Add some sticky Nitto tires, some Vintage Wheel Works V40 rims, Koni shocks, and a quick-ratio Borgeson steering box, and you’ve got a rock star. Running gear is a breathed on 355ci small-block and an M22 “rock crusher” four-speed.
Keith Brogdon of Watauga,...
Keith Brogdon of Watauga, Texas, sits at the starter’s booth before making a run. His wicked little ’55 Chevy Bel Air has a stout 355ci small-block feeding a 700-R4 trans and Nitto 555s on Boyd Magneto 18s. Keith built it mostly himself, and there’s a tremendous amount of craftsmanship throughout.
Autocross announcer Chad Reynolds...
Autocross announcer Chad Reynolds is easily excited, but he really goes into overdrive when getting a ride-along with RideTech’s Bret Voelkel in his Air-Ride–equipped ’69 Mustang. We got the same ride from Voelkel, and you can find the pulse-pounding footage on the PHR YouTube channel.
The author presents the Popular...
The author presents the Popular Hot Rodding Street Machine Winner jacket to Kevin Miller in the winner’s circle. Miller’s best lap of 60.794 had the rest of the field covered by over a half a second. Miller says he’s bringing the Camaro to Nashville to try it again, but as we all know, that’s Brian Finch’s territory. Should be very interesting!