Luis De Leon has been an integral part of setting records and winning races for many teams as a tuner, but at Lights Out 11 he’ll get the opportunity to race for the first time in Radial vs The World driving Brian Shaw’s nitrous-fed Camaro.
When De Leon first started working in the United States as a part of the FuelTech team, he spent a lot of time tuning large cubic-inch nitrous combinations. De Leon learned how to coax horsepower out of the massive engines and quickly established himself as a top-tier tuner for teams at all levels of drag racing. Working with James and Jamie Hancock ultimately opened the door to this driving opportunity for De Leon.
“I worked with James, Jamie, and Brian on their Pro Nitrous teams for a few years and with Jamie as he stepped into Radial vs The World. We always got along really well and had lots of fun at the track — we want to have more fun with both cars racing in Radial vs The World. Since I’m smaller than James, that makes Radial vs The World a great class to enter the second car in since you can run at a lighter weight,” De Leon says.
The car that De Leon will be piloting has some serious drag racing history behind it. The car was built in 2010 by Jerry Bickel Race Cars for Khalid Al Balooshi and went on to win events in both the NHRA and ADRL. The Camaro was also the first nitrous Pro Mod to go quicker than 3.70 in the 1/8-mile. Powering the Camaro at Lights Out will be 959 cubic-inches of Sonny’s Racing Engines power that has been refined by Fulton Competition Race Engines. The rest of the driveline consists of a Ty-Drive unit, torque converter from Neal Chance, and a Liberty five-speed transmission.
De Leon has never drag raced professionally and his only experience behind the wheel has been with front-wheel-drive cars in his native country of Brazil. What De Leon does have experience with is making dyno pulls behind the wheel of many high-powered cars at FuelTech. While that’s not the same as making a full pass, it has given him an idea of how a car behaves when it’s making more than 3,000 horsepower.
“The dyno has helped prepare me to a certain extent, I’m comfortable inside the car and used to quick mid 3-second runs where I need to understand and analyze the performance of the car in real-time. I greatly appreciate my wife for always supporting me in the pursuit of my dreams, my company, FuelTech, for always striving to the be the best for our customers, Jamie Hancock for always being a coach with the racers perspective, and Brian Shaw for believing in me and putting me in the driver’s seat of his car,” De Leon explains.
If you want to see Luis De Leon take his shot at winning Lights Out 11 you’ll need to be at South Georgia Motorsports Park February 12-16. SpeedVideo will have the live broadcast of the race available for you to check out RIGHT HERE. This broadcast is brought to you by presenting sponsor COMP Cams along with ProCharger, Vortech Superchargers, SCE Gaskets, FuelTech, FAST: Fuel Air Spark Technology, Whipple Superchargers, Late Model Engines, Edelbrock, and Optic Armor.