The NMCA-Edelbrock Drag Racing Series kicked off its 2010 season in usual fashion by invading Bradenton Motorsports Park (Florida) with its familiar dose of high-speed action from its heads-up racing ranks. But one of the biggest highlights from this year’s season opener didn’t come from its heads-up ranks but rather from the True Street category, where Frank Soldridge of PSI Motorsports dominated the competition. The Pennsylvania resident drove Vincent Fiore’s ’69 Camaro Z/28 to a record-breaking average of 7.74 seconds and set NMCA history. It was a mighty feat, considering the category’s strict code of conducta 30-mile cruise on the local streets followed by three consecutive runs down the quarter-mile without the benefit of a cooldown or popping the hood. The three runs are averaged together for the final ranking, and the class attracts a wide range of cars from showroom stock to unlimited vehicles, like the first-generation F-body featured on these pages.
The path to 7-second times didn’t happen overnight. Vincent dropped his car off at Franks’s shop (PSI Motorsports) nearly two years ago. The car originally had a nitrous-injected 555ci engine and psi added the 565ci bullet currently underhood. The shop was responsible for converting the engine to fuel injection, tuning it, and adding the ProCharger centrifugal supercharger. Initially, the car ran low 8s, and they finished off the 2009 season with a monster 7.71 at 185 mph during the Shakedown at Englishtown event in the Outlaw Radial class. The car happened to fit in the category since it rolls on 315/50 Mickey Thompson drag radials. The performances tickled their enthusiasm as they looked at the NMCA True Street record, which was set at 7.94. We knew we had a chance to get the record and decided to go to Bradenton for the season opener, Frank says. Vincent loaded up the car, and they headed south for the 2010 kickoff event. The duo proceeded to destroy the old record by two-tenths of a second with a 7.74 average.
The car doesn’t just see action in NMCA competition either; it logs a serious amount of street time especially at Ocean City, Maryland’s Cruisin’ Weekend. Vincent also runs in heads-up competition and currently sits Fourth in Outlaw Radial points in Cecil County Dragway’s Street Car Shootout series. It’s quite a feat, considering the Camaro was not purpose-built for the task. The street car holds its own against the dedicated Outlaw Radial entries but that isn’t going to last for long. The thrill of competition has been too strong for Vincent to continue with the car’s street machine roots, and change is in the future.
"We've had a lot of fun setting the True Street record with the NMCA and also driving it on the street," Frank says. The highlight of the street cruising came when Vincent drove into the serious parking lot during the famous Ocean City Cruisin’ Weekend this past spring. Amongst the Pro Mod--wannabe cars sat Vincent’s Camaro, which was probably quickest of them all despite being the most stock-looking ride. The car has gone 7.43 at just 150 mph with a 4.78 eighth-mile. Vincent shut it off early and Frank estimates it would have gone in the 7.30s if he stayed in it.
For now, Vincent will enjoy the car on the street and strip, and the winter will bring the transformation into a dedicated machine destined for Outlaw Radial competition. Through it all, the one theme that always remains is the fun factor.