Chances are, if you were brought up around any form of drag racing, you’re bound by fate to be immersed into this high-octane culture. More often than not, that leads to a love affair with speed and the yearning to always outrun anyone who is unfortunate enough to line up next to you; whether it be the track, or in some cases, the street.
This kind of passion and desire was instilled in Jermaine (Jay) Boddie at a very young age, thanks to the influence of his father, Albert, and his uncle, Ronald Boddie. The brothers were deeply invested in the Bay Area drag racing community and the grudge scene, which resulted in Jay practically growing up at the racetracks around Sacramento, California. Boddie described his childhood as “always having a set of Matchbox cars in his hand, and unlike other kids, knowing the exact make and model of each car.”
When I was growing up in the Sacramento area we would street race every chance we got.
Boddie has come a long way from playing with Matchbox toy cars since then. Following in his father’s and uncle’s footsteps, at the age of 19 (nearly 24 years ago), he strapped into the seat of his dad’s ’68 Camaro and began a very lengthy racing career on and off the streets.
Boddie’s original vision (which ideally was the Chevy II) started with an entirely different body, surprisingly enough. He initially started with a fresh, unmolested chassis, which was destined to be the foundation of this strip-driven hero. However, time constraints and the itch to get back behind the wheel persuaded him to pick up an already-proven True 10.5 Shoebox Nova from accomplished West Coast racer Dave Boles.
“That is what made me buy the car — it was a great working car for what they were doing,” explained Boddie. “Heck, he won two championships with the car. So, I knew it was the perfect platform to start with.”
Boddie freely admits that he shot for the moon with this vicious back-halved ’63. After shoehorning a nitrous-snorting Follgram-built 706 cubic inch big-block into the engine bay, he was hard pressed to lock in any races in the Bay Area. During this time he decided to run the car at sanctioned class races, but soon become bored with them and returned to grudge racing after about a year. In an attempt to bring all of the West Coast’s quickest grudge racers to one area, Boddie started his annual No Excuses race in 2014 at Sacramento Raceway Park. While this satisfied his need to run the best of the West with his new car, he looked to have this Nova make its mark on the rest of the United States.
This led Boddie to lining up against the crew from the 405 on “Street Outlaws” when they made their way out to California, and later the cast of “Street Outlaws: New Orleans.” After stepping into this new area of heavy-weights, it became evident that Team Boddie’s Big Tire Nova needed some more in the horsepower department — a substantial need that led him to replace the 706 nitrous motor with a 540-inch twin turbocharged, conventional-headed Dave Demarco Racing built, Proline Racing big-block Chevrolet.
Racing with and competing against these highly celebrated street racers brought him into the inner folds of the Midwest and Southern No Prep, grudge, and street racing scene. During this time, he developed a good standing relationship with the Street Outlaws.
Boddie’s relationship with “Daddy” Dave Comstock truly grew after Dave’s highly publicized crash, which left his famed Goliath Nova destroyed and left him without a ride and hospitalized. Unknown to a majority of the world, while Dave was laying in a hospital bed recovering from his accident, he received a phone call from Boddie, who offered to donate his unmolested Shoebox Nova chassis to get Dave behind the wheel of Goliath 2.0, which the car would later be dubbed.
“They never really elaborated on the show, but I donated that Nova to Dave. I saw an opportunity to help a racer in need. As I explained, it was taking forever for my original chassis to be built, so I continued with the car I got from Dave Boles,” Boddie explained when we asked what became of the original Shoebox. “So I sent the frame, which I had just sitting around, to Dave, to get him back out there so he can do what he does best.”
As fate would have it, the Proline-based motor swiftly became outclassed and made Boddie rethink his entire setup. After talking with Miner Bros. Racing, a custom engine shop with a decorated history in Pro Modified and tractor pulling, he decided to make the jump to the pinnacle of horsepower potential in racing, the fabled Hemi. To accommodate the power potential of this legendary engine platform, the entire front half of the car was redesigned to accommodate the MBR Hemi and a large pair of Precision turbos.
After emerging from the Northern California base of operations, it was evident that Boddie was ready to compete against anyone who was willing to line up against him. He was in a position to take the entire grudge scene by storm. In this final reiteration of this Chevy II, he decided to make the car compatible with the complete range of tire combinations: small tire, big tire, and radial tire setups.
Sadly, on the week that he debuted this new combination at No Guts, No Glory III Grudge event, held at Orlando Speedworld Dragway on December 11, 2015, the car was damaged during a grudge race when the transmission failed and sent the car into a concrete barrier. This unfortunate turn of events sent Team Boddie and their prized Nova back to Sacramento deflated but not defeated.
I knew that Dave “Bird” Jones had a debut on the New Orleans show so I asked if he would be willing to run my car on the Top 5 Big Tire list.”- Jay Boddie
David “Bird” Jones, a very accomplished bracket and street racer, lost more than just his nitrous-fed Camaro during a theft incident in Dallas, Texas, earlier this year, and he was in dire need of a competitive ride in order to be a relevant part of the “Street Outlaws” from the South. Than’s when Jay stepped in.
“I hate to see a fellow racer go through what he did; he lost his car, truck, and trailer all at once,” Boddie explained. “I gave him a call, and during the time he was naturally really down, I told him that we didn’t have plans to run the car for the next couple of months. I knew that David had a debut on the New Orleans show so I asked if he would be willing to run my car on the Top 5 Big Tire list. He was super excited about it, and he took me up on my offer. I’m happy to say that it has resulted in a very meaningful friendship and partnership.”
It’s very evident that this man’s drive and passion for the sport is unmatched, and that he will continue to be a huge part of the entire street and grudge racing movement. It’s a passion that he passes onto his son, Jermaine Boddie Jr., who made his primetime debut at the coveted Outlaw Armageddon race in 2016.
Currently, this twin-turbocharged terror is crushing the 1/8-mile and tearing it up on streets around the United States, and is more immaculate and potent than ever. Be sure to keep an eye out for this distinguished racer and Team Boddie as they take the streets by storm. If you’re itching to get worked by one of the best in the business, go ahead, roll up next to this fierce little Hemi-powered Chevy II.