Sustained “Sudden Impact”
Ray Sawyer certainly knows a good thing, and his ’02 Chevy Camaro Super Gasser is exactly that. The Dan Page-built car, which Ray debuted 10 years ago, still runs the same basic combination it’s had since the beginning. Powered by a 565ci engine program by Boucher’s Racing Engines, Ray’s machine is one of the most feared and consistent 9.90 cars in the nation. He has numerous NHRA event titles to back up that boast, including a win at this year’s NHRA Super Nationals at Englishtown. Ray’s biggest claim, however, is winning the 2005 NHRA Lucas Oil World Championship title. Sawyer runs his car as part of a three-car Sportsman team that includes his son Mike (who finished Second in NHRA Super Gas national points in 2011). The duo’s third race car is a ’67 Camaro they field in Super Street.
Tomball, Texas, is home to Bob Gulitti who campaigns one of a number of emerging and very cool new-generation Camaros within the Top Sportsman category. Owned by Jeff Cummins Sr., the NTG (New Tech Global) sponsored ’12 model made its debut during the ADRL’s event last fall at the Dallas area’s Texas Motorplex. Built by Suncoast Race Cars, the engine configuration is currently a 712ci program that features three stages of nitrous oxide. In 2012, Bob and the team have focused mostly on regional eighth-mile and ADRL competition. The Camaro has run some very low 4-second elapsed times in that circuit. The crew chief is Larry Rosenquist and the tuner is Jeff Pierce.
In the world of NHRA Sportsman racing, one of the most respected racers is Jeff Taylor, who has over many seasons amassed a truly impressive list of event wins and championships. Keeping with that tradition in 2012, Taylor, who is from Indiana, campaigns a meticulous ’88 Camaro. This high-pedigree car, which was raced previously by both Jimmy Harrington and Anthony Bertozzi, has won multiple national and divisional events since being first built in 1995. Now with a fresh new look, the Camaro has been modified by Taylor to be a “natural” SS/KA class car. The engine program is one of Jeff’s own (Jeff Taylor Performance) – a 305ci fuel injected combination. The car is, of course, extremely quick, running a best of 9.87 sec. (compared to NHRA’s class index of 11.25). Wily veteran Willie Evans is Jeff’s crew chief and oversees the car’s upkeep.
One of Canada’s most highly regarded up-and-coming young lion racers is 20-year-old Spencer Hyde from Stratford, Ontario. Spencer, who graduated from Junior Dragster racing to doorslammers about three years ago has stepped up his racing program significantly for 2012. Hyde is now behind the wheel of a Jerry Bickel-built ’68 Chevy Camaro, a car which was actually first built for and run on a limited basis by Rickie Smith in Pro Mod. The car features a Cynergy Composites body and an engine program originally from Sonny’s, which is now being massaged by ERD. Spencer has revealed that the current plan is to run naturally aspirated only (no nitrous). The car emerged quickly as a very consistent 6.95- to 7.00-second performer, and with that is one of the top runners in the NAPA-sponsored Quick 32 racing circuit within Spencer’s home province. Primary sponsorship comes from NAPA (Ideal Supply), Hyde Electric and Hyde Construction.