Twin 102 mm Precision turbos feeding a 572 cubic-inch 481X from Pro Line. Yeah, I just got chills too!
The Fireball Camaro is one of the baddest radial cars on the planet. That’s a bold statement when talking about a class of car that includes Stevie Jackson’s Shadow 2.0 and Andrew Alepa’s C7 Corvette, along with DeWayne Mills’ and Barry Mitchell’s Camaros. The best of the best in hand-built race cars for the sole purpose of rotating the earth. Ryan Martin of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma pilots this red 2010 Camaro. He also operates one of the most reputable performance shops in the Midwest, and also produces a line of performance Chevrolet Camaros that offer incredible performance levels right off the dealer floor.
The Fireball Camaro is nothing short of impressive. It’s low and fast-looking, even when it’s sitting still. The car sports Ryan’s now-signature red color scheme that each of his cars have had. The black accents add a menacing look to one of the best-looking cars in racing today.
Ryan made a name for himself racing his Fox body Mustang in the X275 ranks; the Mustang coupe was his high school car that over time was transformed from a basic street car into a frontrunner in one of radial racing’s most competitive classes. The turbocharged small-block combination cranked out a best pass of 4.59 at 161 mph, which was blistering-fast just a few short years ago. Off the race track, Martin is one half of B&R Performance in Oklahoma City, a shop that’s become known for building some of the quickest street-legal race cars in the country. Martin and partner, Billy Hayes, used the 2010 Camaro to put B&R’s best foot forward in the radial world.
Ryan made a name for himself in X275 racing. He started at the inception of the class and worked his way to the top driving a Fox body Mustang that was once his high school car. (Right) When we caught up with Ryan at the Fireball shop, the car was ready to be raced on the street. In this trim it sports a set of 34.5 x 17 Goodyear slicks, Penske rear shocks, and a set of 88 mm Precision turbochargers.
When the opportunity to move into radial racing’s quickest class presented itself, Ryan jumped at it. He picked up a twin turbo 2010 Camaro from Joe Copson that was built for Outlaw 10.5 and Radial vs The World competition. The team at B&R Performance went to work updating the car and changing the combination. The chassis received some updates from Bill Gilbache and the car was painted bright red. The car had a 5-inch bore space wedge engine from the crew at Pro Line Racing Engines that made enough power to motivate the Camaro to a then-best elapsed time of 3.94-seconds at 202 mph. After a broken rocker arm took the team out of a race early, the decision was made to make an engine change. The wedge engine came out and was replaced with the aforementioned all-billet 572-inch 481X powerplant from Pro Line.
The heart of this monster is a 572 cubic inch 481X from Pro Line Racing Engines. This all-billet powerplant is capable of cranking upwards of 5,500 horsepower. Yes, you read that —over five thousand horsepower!
“We decided to switch from the wedge engine to the 481X engine after losing the rocker arm and having to forfeit the race to James Goad’s Reaper at the Winter Meltdown No Prep Shootout last month,” said Russ Harrison, co-owner of Fireball Racing.
“The wedge engine was a good engine,” says Martin. “But the harder you pushed it, the more you had to work on it – which is true of all cars, but we were breaking rockers off every other pass. We’re not only in a race against other cars, but we’re also in a race against the clock to maintain the Fireball between races. The wedge engine was a specialty engine, so availability of parts was always an issue at races.”
Boost comes from a set of Precision turbochargers. Depending on the type of racing Ryan is doing, the car is outfitted with either 88 mm, 102 mm, or 106 mm turbos. For the track, Ryan normally runs the 102s, only because they have yet to max out the potential of this combination. When out on the street, a set of 88s get bolted on. This is the only way Ryan can pull enough power to make the car work on the street.
Air is force-fed into the engine via a set of Precision turbochargers. Depending on where and what kind of racing the B&R crew is doing, the car will either sport 88 mm, 102 mm, or 106 mm turbos. We’re told the 106s have the potential produce upwards of 5,500 horsepower.
“We love Pro Line engines, and they perfected the 481X,” said Martin. “The design is much easier to work on, especially in the pits. It’s much easier to get parts for this engine. For racing being such a competitive sport, everyone is really good about selling each other parts. Since we have access to more parts at the races, we’re more confident that we can maintain this engine between rounds to get us to the next round and through the next pass.”
The engine management is done using a FuelTech FT500. Copious amounts of methanol is introduced to the engine via 16 Billet Atomizer 3 injectors. The injectors are nestled comfortably in the runners of a custom billet intake manifold.
Power management is handled via a Fueltech FT500 engine management system. Fuel is introduced via two sets of Billet Atomizer 3 fuel injectors, feeding the engine massive amounts of alcohol. The billet 481X is backed by either a 2-speed or 3-speed TH400 built by Mark Micke at M&M Transmissions. Ryan uses the 2-speed for radial racing at the track and the 3-speed for the street. Yes, you heard that correctly. Ryan races the Fireball Camaro on the street. At the track, the tuning duties are split between Jamie Miller and Steve Petty, and Ryan handles the adjustments himself when the car is on the street. When in RvW competition, the car sports a set of Mickey Thompson 315 ET Street Radial Pros. On the street, the car wears a set of giant 34.5×17 Goodyear slicks … it takes a lot of rubber to make this much power stick on the street!
For the street the car rides on a massive set of Goodyear slicks. The car rolls on a set of Weld Racing V-Series wheels up front and a set of 16 x 16-inch Sanders double beadlock wheels in the rear.
One of the keys to making the car work on the track and the street is the right shocks. At the track, Ryan relies on a set of Menscer Motorsports shocks, which are needed to control the massive amount of power that’s transferred to the tiny radials. The huge slicks also require shocks with a lot of control, but for the street, Ryan uses a set of Penske’s. All this combined has yielded a best 1/8-mile elapsed time of 3.83 at 208 mph. This level of performance places Ryan among the elite of radial competitors.
From the back, the Fireball Camaro is all business. It’s easy to forget that this was once a stock car.
If you don’t keep up with radial racing’s elite, you might know the name Ryan Martin from a little television show called Street Outlaws. In the previous weeks, the 405’s Top 10 List has been thoroughly shaken up. Whether you’re a fan of the changes or not, the injection of new blood in the Oklahoma City street racing scene has been welcomed by most. The addition of the Fireball Camaro, although, has had some cast members throwing metaphorical stones.
Safety is paramount in drag racing, especially when you consider a car going well over 200 mph in the 1/8-mile. When Ryan picked up the Fireball Camaro, the chassis was updated by Bill Gilbache. The quality of his work is evident as soon as you open the door and lay eyes on the interior. The carbon fiber work in the doors, wheel tubs, and dash is nothing short of stunning, and the chassis work rivals the best builders in the business.
“A lot of people don’t think of me as a street racer because I do a lot of radial and no prep racing at the track,” said Martin, driver of the Fireball Camaro. “But the Fireball team is OG 405. We’ve been racing with the guys from Street Outlaws since “The List” started.”
Ryan’s office is all business. Everything needed to monitor the engine’s vitals and control the car are neatly arranged and easily accessible. The all-carbon fiber dash is pretty sweet too…
Regardless of your opinion, as the season has progressed, Ryan and the B&R Performance crew have solidified their place in the street racing elite. In just the second list race of the season, the Fireball Camaro found itself in the top spot of “The List”. Although it was only for a short time, this is a coveted spot that many have tried to achieve but have been unsuccessful. Ryan’s success and ability to quickly adapt to the street is a byproduct of years of experience and a great team behind him. Whether you’re racing at the track, in a no-prep, or on the street, the main objective is always the same—to win.
We were lucky enough to get to tag along with Ryan and the B&R Performance crew for some testing. Thankfully the Mexican officials were not within earshot of the test hits made that night as the guys were testing for an upcoming filming of Street Outlaws. Although we can't divulge much information, Ryan was testing for a couple of races near the top of the list!
After a couple of burnout to get some rubber on the road, the B&R crew decided it was time to send the Fireball Camaro down the street. The first pass resulted in not much more than tire spin. Unfortunately, the road just couldn’t hold that much power. After a couple of other cars helped lay down some rubber, Ryan made another attempt. This time the car was turned down a bit and some chassis adjustments were made. Ryan still needed to pedal the car, but made it much further down the road before tire spin became an issue.
“It’s the same mindset whether you’re on the streets or the track. You focus on getting from point A to point B the fastest and drive to win. The major difference is that the track is a much more controlled environment. You don’t have to worry about potholes, grooves and dirt. The street can’t handle as much power as the track, so you have to be extremely mindful of that in your tune.”
If the Fireball Camaro doesn’t quite look like a normal Fifth Gen Camaro, you’re on to something. The one-piece nose was custom made exactly how Ryan wanted it. The grille design was changed and the hood was molded in. But the most significant part of the custom nose is the front wheel openings. While the wheelwells retain the factory shape, they have been reduced in scale to better fit the 15-inch front wheels. This gives the smaller wheels and tires a much more natural look on a car that was never intended to have such small wheels. If you’re interested in getting your own, think again. Ryan owns the molds and has the only one. He tells us he likes being unique and has no intention of making more.
The first part of the Street Outlaws’ season has been challenging for Ryan. He has worked very hard to find the right combination to make the Fireball Camaro work on the street, and it all comes down to power management and the right chassis setup, which takes a lot of testing to make it all work. With hard work and the right support system, we’ll see if Ryan can stay on top of the most competitive arenas of drag racing in the country.