Photos Courtesy Thomas Turrill and Pelech Bros. Racing
Could this be the ultimate NMCA Stage-1 street-legal nitrous car? Grandville, Michigan’s Ted Pelech of Pelech Brothers Racing holds the distinction of having been the two-time National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) Elapsed Time and Mile per Hour Record Holder at 7.22-191 mph with this 465-ci Applied Nitrous Technology-nitrous assisted, Jeff Prock-tuned street legal ‘90 Camaro.
“As a kid, I guess I watched the NHRA U.S. Nationals on ABC’s ‘Wide World of Sports’ too many times,” says the OE design engineer. “Then I read about the World’s Fastest Street Car Shoot-Out in Hot Rod Magazine, and I instantly knew what I wanted to do! I love all things mechanical, and so does my brother Tim.”
The Pelech brothers first burst onto the scene competing with a ‘78 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 at the 1990 All Star Chevy Weekend held at Milan Dragway. Sterling performances included a semi-final round finish at the Martin, Michigan, US 131 Super Chevy Show where Ted waded through an 80-car field, which planted the seed to compete in the NMCA’s heads-up street car category. The remainder of that first decade was spent reengineering Pelech’s beloved Z28 until he and his brother Tim had taken the car to its limits. Then around 1995, Team Pelech ordered a “new” ‘90 Camaro from Bridgeview, Illinois’ Competition Motorsports.
“Over the years, my brother Tim and I have updated the Camaro on several occasions. Essentially, this is a back half car, which has now been converted to a full tube chassis car, and is currently certified to compete in NMCA’s World’s Fastest Street Car Class. The car was awarded the NMCA’s Best Engineered Race Car in Columbus, Ohio, 2002.”
Out back, Pelech’s 103-inch wheelbase Camaro features a Competition Motorsports/Tim Pelech-prepared, Koni coil-over-suspended, Mark Williams 4.56:1-geared, Ford 9-inch rearend. A set of Mark Williams 25-spline axles turn a set of 16 x 15-inch Weld Aluma Star rear wheels wrapped with a pair of 33×10.5×15-inch Mickey Thompson slicks. A pair of Strange Engineering 11-inch-diameter carbon fiber racing brakes handles stopping. Assisting the car to run straight and true are a Pelech-fabricated panhard bar and anti-sway bar and Competition Motorsports-constructed wheelie bars.
Up front, Team Pelech’s “Red Rocket” makes use of a Pelech-constructed Santhuff coil strut front suspension featuring Jerry Bickel Race Cars rack-and-pinion steering, Strange Engineering 11-inch-diameter carbon-fiber brakes and Wilwood dual master cylinder. Front wheels and tires consist of 15 x 3.5-inch Weld Aluma Star front wheels rolling on 28 x 4.5-inch Hoosiers. Also located up front in the frame rails is a plastic 2.5-gallon fuel tank.
What makes this Camaro so unique is the fact Pelech’s three-stage dry fuel injection system was designed and installed by Jeff Prock, son of pioneer Funny Car driver Tom Prock and older brother to Jimmy Prock, the mechanical mastermind behind defending NHRA Funny Car world champ Robert Hight. In single-stage configuration, the 465-inch version cranked out 1,500-plus-hp on Chris Holbrook’s Holbrook Racing Engines dyno.
“This has been three years in the making,” says Ted. “We didn’t just stumble into this, we worked hard and obviously relied on the right components to reach this point. You’ve got to admit that 1,500 horsepower on one stage is pretty amazing, and really shows how well Jeff Prock knows his product.”
Internally, the Pelech’s 465-inch billet aluminum DART Industries big-block features a deck height of 9.25 inches. Inside, the cam location has been raised +.600-inch and is equipped with a set of roller cam bearings. The lifter position has also been relocated using Trend Performance Inc. bronze valve guides to assure the correct valvetrain geometry. One of Sonny Bryant’s steel billet crankshafts, riding on Speed Pro main bearings, bolts up to the GRP aluminum connecting rods with eight Speed Pro-equipped Diamond-Elkins 12.75:1 compression pistons pressed onto the other end, to complete the rotating assembly. The aforementioned cam or cams is a proprietary grind and features 1-inch gross valve lift to work with the nitrous. A Jesel belt drive regulates actual cam timing. A Meziere water pump handles engine cooling, while lubrication is provided by Daily dry sump system circulating oil through a 7-quart oil pan.
A set of CNC-ported DART Big Chief cylinder heads feature an 11-degree valve job and makes use of 2.400-inch diameter Excel dyne titanium intake and 1.900-inch diameter titanium exhaust valves using PAC Racing valve springs, COMP Cams retainers and Jesel/Pelech custom-designed shaft mount rocker arms. All engine fasteners are either ARP or A1 Technologies, and the valve covers are Moroso. Ignition duties are handled by an MSD belt-driven distributor, MSD HVC-II coil, MSD 8mm wires, Autolite or NGK spark plugs, and an MSD Digital 7 Individual cylinder control module, working in conjunction with a FAST XFI Engine Management control system
Had Ted mentioned the fact that the team also has a 498-cid big-block bullet in their stable? Of course, this is only speculation, but we’re sure that’s the engine, which will make good use of Jeff Prock’s three-stage X4 throttle body Applied Nitrous Technology setup. That setup leaves the line using nitrous only at the injector nozzle, and then N2O and fuel are introduced via the FAST XFI computer and FAST XFI fuel injectors. It should be able to produce close to 2,000 hp with, in crew member “Nitrous Nick” D’Augustino’s words, “all the candles lit!”
The exhaust system on the Camaro is a set of Pelech-designed three-step stainless steel, and it’s fully adjustable. Getting all that power to the pavement is a Reactor billet aluminum flex plate hooked up to a Hutch’s Transmission Service two-speed Debebear case manual valve body Powerglide. The final link in the powertrain is a Metal Matrix composite 62-inch-long driveshaft by Drive Train Specialists (DTS.)
Although considered a street car, very little other than the roof and rear sail panels remain of the steel ‘90 Camaro. Weight-saving components include carbon fiber rear fenders, fascias, hood and scoop, doors and polycarbonate rear spoiler mounted to a hand-fabricated aluminum deck lid. Painter Charles Vickery at Paint by Chaz shot the Camaro in Matador Red. The Camaro’s interior is formed primarily of carbon fiber, including seats, and features a Racepak LCD dash display, Jerry Bickel Race Cars steering column and RJS safety equipment.
The crew includes Ted’s wife Karin, brother Tim, Crew Chief and tuner Jeff Prock, Todd Betz, Mike Flosky, Ted Flosky and Nick D’ Augustino.