They may call it the “Side Hustle,” but Tom Lincoln and Jerry Jahnsen’s absolutely outstanding work of Americana art otherwise known as their 1955 Chevrolet 210 sedan takes center stage both on display and on the track.
Growing up in Sacramento, Jahnsen was inspired by his father’s own racing and wrenching endeavors. The young man soon followed in his pop’s footsteps and began racing go karts when he was about 12 years old. He won many accolades and championships before moving on to competing in modified midgets on local dirt tracks.
The northern California native got into drag racing in his late teens, but it wasn’t until around 2015 that he partnered with Tom Lincoln to form the now famous “Tom and Jerry Racing” duo. “We built three cars together from the NHRA Heritage Series, to Top Sportsman, and now into the grudge racing scene,” explained Jahnsen of the self-funded privateer operation.
The first, a 1967 Chevy Nova, won its first race – the March Meet – in the B/Gas division with Jahnsen at the wheel. More wins soon followed, but the men moved up to a gorgeous 1969 Chevy Camaro and won five events of the 6.90 Door Slammer Series in their first season alone to secure the championship title. Top Sportsman competition soon followed, as did more successes across multiple classes.
In 2018, however, the men returned to their roots with outlaw-style 1/8-mile drag racing and began building their beautiful 1955 Chevy 210 specifically for Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” series.
“We had done a lot of grudge racing with Team Boddie in California and the all-carbon fiber Camaro didn’t really fit the rules for what we were wanting to do,” shared Jahnsen of how he and Lincoln changed course with a new car instead. “We liked that the ’55 Chevy could use a 36-inch tall tire and had a longer wheelbase. We figured it was a good combination for no-prep.”
With the base of the build selected, chassis work and assembly was handled by the talented Wade Ramsey of Sarmento Race Cars in Yuba City, California.
“We’re running a big tube four link, Chris Bell’s Penske shocks, a Carmack Engineering third member, carbon-fiber driveline, and fabricated 9-inch by Wade [Ramsey],” Jahnsen outlined of the sturdy and stout suspension and rearend setup.
Although the underside of the classic car is impressive, its engine bay is truly a showstopper. Sitting between the frame rails is a top-of-the-line raised cam Hemi engine from Pro Line Racing. The engine builder’s shorter pushrods and revised rocker gear assembly add stability to the valvetrain and make it the most powerful and most reliable Hemi platform that PLR offers.
Fueled by Billet Atomizer 700 pound-per-hour injectors and controlled by a FuelTech standalone engine management system, M&M Transmissions supplied the Turbo 400 gearbox to support the whopping 3,500-plus horsepower that the Hemi pumps out through its zoomie-style headers thanks to the crank-driven ProCharger F-3X-143 supercharger.
Featuring a steel roof and steel quarters, the car – which the men nicknamed “Side Hustle” – received the majority of its body panels and skin from Real Deal Steel in Florida. “I told them my vision and what I wanted to do, and now they offer a drag package for a lot of the ’55 Chevys and Novas,” said Jahnsen of how his project inspired a new product line.
Inside, the 210 sedan has been adorned in carbon-fiber with its all-carbon interior and custom carbon seats. Stroud Safety harnesses hold Jahnsen in place during his wickedly quick trips down the racing surface, and matching Stroud dual ‘chutes out back help haul him down to a safe stop.
Not the type of men to do anything halfway, Lincoln and Jahnsen worked with Doug Reed of Reed’s Auto Body in Redding, California, to spray the tri-five with a tri-colored paintjob consisting of Axalta Standox Standoblue, Cadillac Escalade Charcoal Grey, and Porsche Metallic Jet Black which contrasts perfectly with the high-shine brightwork and chrome. “He did a phenomenal job of painting the car,” affirmed Jahnsen.
Finally, a set of iconic Weld Racing wheels, sized 16×16-inch in the rear with massive Goodyear crinkle-wall slicks, were bolted on around a set of Strange Engineering brakes before the car rolled off to mark its mark on the world.
Thanks to an invitation from ProCharger to feature the car in the company’s booth at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in 2018, the timeline was truncated to an impressive eight-month mark and included nearly 1,500-hours of labor.
Upon completion, Tom and Jerry’s newest addition was carefully transported to the desert to await its big debut under the lights at the largest automotive trade show on the planet.
As expected, “Side Hustle” received a huge helping of attention from both attendees and media alike thanks to its meticulously crafted chassis, well-planned plumbing, flawless fabrication, potent powerplant, serious supercharger, and picture-perfect paint. Mothers also selected the Chevy to receive its prestigious “Excellence in Automotive Design” award, rightfully validating all of the painstaking effort involved in creating the car.
“It was a big crunch to get it done, but to win an award with a drag car at SEMA is almost unheard of – it shows really well,” added Jahnsen proudly.
After making a huge splash in the industry, Jahnsen and Lincoln began racing their unique entry in no-prep competition in 2019. With plenty of boost on tap, the Pro Line-powered machine was definitely a standout and helped Tom and Jerry get noticed in a big way when Jahnsen won the “Future Cast” class at a filming of “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” at Idaho’s Firebird Raceway.
At the “No Prep Kings” race at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, Georgia, in June of 2021, though, Jahnsen had the distinct honor of taking down one of the biggest names on the circuit – Jerry “Monza” Johnston – as part of the “Race Your Way In” competition and proved he has both the talent and the equipment to take down the best of the best.
Just a few months later in September, though, the men captured an impressive victory with a win in the Outlaw Big Tire category at the “No Prep Kings” race at Firebird Raceway in Arizona. There, one of the cleanest 1955 Chevys to grace the dragstrip dominated all who dared to line up against it.
Using the skills that he honed from his prior no-prep experience, Jahnsen departed from his standard Big Tire category to compete in the Outlaw ranks instead. With no rules and a “run what ya brung” format, Jahnsen knew he was going up against purpose-built Pro Mods but felt confident in his car’s competitiveness.
Consistent passes and expert driving ultimately helped Jahnsen secure his position in the final round where he was able to easily defeat the twin turbo Corvette in the opposing lane with the advantage from start to stripe.
By October, the air was cooling off and Jahnsen was heating up. While racing in Ennis, Texas, Jahnsen defeated Kye Kelley in his “Showstopper” Camaro during round two of the invitational portion of the “No Prep Kings” season four tour.
Lincoln and Jahnsen are also a part of the Street Outlaws: Team Attack program as they are representing Team Cali alongside Mike Bowman.
“I really love the fans and the smack talking that goes on with no-prep and grudge racing,” laughed the driver, who also thoroughly enjoys the stiff competition. For him, it’s more than just a race – it’s the overall experience. Jahnsen also appreciates how no-prep racing can serve as an equalizer for teams where there may not be parity amongst budgets. “Instant green and the no-prep surface help a car that’s maybe not as fast to actually have a chance. These are all super high-dollar cars out here racing, we won’t get away from that, but it gives the guys like us with a little less to do a lot more.”
All of the success and surrounding publicity have helped Lincoln and Jahnsen’s local program become an internationally famous operation. Similarly, their efforts are being rewarded and memorialized by major manufacturers, as “Side Hustle” was recently featured on the cover of a JEGS mail order catalog.
In the future, Lincoln and Jahnsen fully intend to hurt a lot more feelings with their “Side Hustle” 1955 Chevrolet 210 sedan in no-prep racing – and they’re definitely going to look good while they do it. “There have been a lot of great people involved with this project who have all worked very hard, and we try to represent them as best we can wherever we go,” concluded the wheelman.
Watch “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” on the Discovery Channel to see the Tom and Jerry Racing classic car in action and to catch the drag racing drama as it unfolds.