If the name Mark Dykeman sounds familiar to you, it could be that you’re a regular at New England Dragway. Or, it could be that we did a spotlight on his 1972 Camaro Z28 a few weeks ago. Well, he also owns this 1979 Camaro, and this one has been in his stable for over 25 years.
Although his ’72 is powered by a small-block with a ProCharger, the ’79 features a Sonny’s Racing Engines’ 632 cubic-inch monster sprayin’ the house down. The very large big-block features Quick Fuel Technology 1150 Dominator carburetors, and 500 extra horsepower is just a button push away thanks to a NOS fogger system. The fire is lit by an MSD Power Grid and Digital 7 controller, and a NOS Progressive Launcher makes sure the extra 500 horses don’t immediately turn the tires into dust. Connecting all of the boxes and controllers is a Spaghetti Menders wiring kit.
Behind those 632 inches of tire-shredding power is a Transmission Specialties Powerglide with a PTC nitrous converter, which is mated to a Mark Williams chromoly driveshaft. The ‘Glide gets regular maintenance at the hands of Peter Dicarlo and Tedco Transmissions. Mark fabricated the four-link and wishbone that stabilizes the rearend.
The rearend housing was fabricated by Sheffield Racecars, and filled with Strange Engineering 40-spline and gun-drilled axles, and a Strange Ultra Case featuring 3.89 gears. Out back, the Camaro uses Afco Big Gun coilovers, while the fronts are from Strange. Weld Racing 15×12 wheels feature double-bead locks out back, while 15×3 skinnies are along for the ride up front. Depending on the venue, the Camaro can run in either X275, Pro Drag Radial, or even 10.5W classes. Regardless of the class, Mark utilizes Mickey Thompson rear tires.
Mark tells us the ’79 is all steel, save for the hood. “It has working lights, glass roll-up windows, and the car weighs 3,575 with me in it.” Mark says that way back in 1996, the Camaro ran e.t.’s in the 8.60s at 154 mph at NED, and that was with a 468 cubic-inch big-block on spray. Currently, the car’s best pass is in the low 8’s on motor. “We had the wrong converter, but the new PTC converter should put us in the 7.90s on motor,” Mark says. Once everything checks out, that’s when Mark will put the spray to it.
Mark would like to thank his son Jack, Derrick Mota at Mota Racing, Pete Dicarlo, Mike Gerry, and Demarco Racing. The big news is that son Jack will be taking over the driver’s seat in the Camaro. Jack recently received his 7.50-certified Competition license, but Mark feels he needs more seat time before he takes the wheel during competition.