Dave Adkins rolled into the 2018 racing season with an untested car in his Jerry Bickel Race Cars 1970 Camaro powered by a potent Baker Engineering LS-based engine, but he’s already grabbing attention after a successful weekend at the Outlaw Street Car Reunion. With just a few passes on the new combination, Adkins reset both ends of the LSX eighth-mile record with an astounding 3.87-second pass at 198 mph and has positioned himself to become a major player in the Radial vs The World category in 2018.
One of the original LSX pioneers in the ultimate radial tire class was Keith Berry, who held the LSX record prior to Adkins with his 3.97 at over 195 mph. Behind the wheel of his famous 1963 Impala, Adkins was able to match Berry’s record, before beating it with a 3.94-second pass at the NMCA All-Star Nationals in 2017. Coming into the new season, Adkins was confident he could go quicker and faster in the new Camaro due to its significant weight advantage and updated chassis design.
The Bickel-built Camaro is powered by a true LSX 427 cubic-inch engine that uses a Noonan Race Engineering billet block as its base with Ross pistons inside. The cylinder heads are a billet aluminum Baker Engineering inline valve design that works with a Brian Tooley Racing/Cam Motion-based camshaft, PAC springs, and Thomsen Motorsports billet intake with a pair of Turbosmart FPR3000 fuel pressure regulators keeping the beast fed. A pair of Garrett GTX5533 turbos provide the big boost to the engine with TurboSmart wastegates and blow off valves keep the boost in check. A ProTorque torque converter and RPM Transmission try to wrestle all the power the ground the engine produces. Tuner and engine builder TJ Grimes controls the car with a Holley EFI system on each pass.
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The first outing for the Camaro was at Lights Out 9 in February, where Adkins made five runs on the new car netting a best of 4.09 at 171 mph — a very good start for a brand new car. At the Sweet 16 in March, Adkins planned on really turning the car up but things didn’t go as planned. “At the Sweet 16, we had two runs that I ended up lifting because the car started to wheelie really bad. On the final run we broke the camshaft and that ended the event for us,” Adkins says.
Adkins went to the Outlaw Street Car Reunion V ready to build on the data collected in his previous two outings and chip away at the previous elapsed times. After struggling a bit in Testing, Adkins was able to rip off a 3.93-second pass during the first round of qualifying.
“We ended up qualifying number seven with the 3.87 pass in a field full of big-block nitrous, blower, and turbo cars. During the course of the weekend, we were able to run 4.01, 4.02, 3.93, 3.90, 3.95, and the 3.87. The car even pulled 3.25 G’s on one pass, so there’s a lot of potential with the new engine and car,” Adkins explains.
After an impressive performance at the Outlaw Street Car Reunion V, Adkins is ready to really see what the new car can do and get more laps in this year.
“We’re hoping to be the first LSX-powered car to run 200 in the eighth-mile and run in the 3.70s the next time we see some good radial prep. At some point we’re going to put the big tires on and try to be the first LSX-powered car to run in the five-second zone in the quarter-mile, too,” Adkins says.
With his crew of TJ Grimes and Kyle Homik on board, Adkins is ready to really turn his Camaro up to see what it can do in the future. As the team gathers more data on the new chassis and engine combination you can expect to see the LSX-powered door car records to fall even further in 2018.