The X275 Outlaw: J.D. Campbell Set To Debut “Johnny Ringo”

J.D. Campbell is a radial racing veteran who has an impressive resume that’s known for his stunning nitrous-fed Camaro. Well, the Camaro is now being wheeled by Marty Robertson, and Campbell has a new ride that’s equally amazing. Campbell’s 1986 Chevy Malibu known as “Johnny Ringo” is a menacing-looking G-body, and it’s ready to bring hell with it to X275 in 2024.

The legend of Johnny Ringo starts with David Reese, proprietor of Reese Brothers Race Cars. Reese built the G-body originally for his son to compete in the wildly popular All Steel All Glass (ASAG) category. During Johnny Ringo’s initial test session, things went south with the engine. Reese spoke to Billy Smith, a mutual friend he shares with Campbell about getting the car plumbed and wired for EFI to address some issues with the car.

Well, Reese’s son lost interest in the project, and Johnny Ringo sat in the corner of Smith’s shop. When Campbell would FaceTime with Smith, he saw the Malibu sitting in the corner of the shop and it grabbed his interest.

“I would see the car during our FaceTime conversations and sitting in Billy’s shop anytime that I stopped by. It would just catch my eye because it was all black and just looked mean. I eventually talked with David about the car and he let me know what he wanted for it. We worked out a deal and I went down to Billy’s shop to bring the car home,” Campbell explains.

The Reese Brothers-built Malibu may be rocking a steel roof, quarter panels, steel front fenders, and steel doors with power windows, but don’t think the car is a pig. Reese and his team put a lot of work into the car to make it as light as possible. It still has OEM door glass and quarter glass to go with the Optic Armor windshield and back window. According to Campbell, Johnny Ringo weighs 2,800 pounds with him in it ready to race.

Campell brought Johnny Ringo back to his shop Pro 1 Autosports to begin preparing for battle. Under the car, you’ll find a full catalog of Merillat Racing parts. The Malibu is powered by a 632 cubic inch Reher Morrison Racing Engines big-block. The Nitrous Outlet nitrous system will fill the big-block with a healthy dose of giggle juice.

Wasp Fabrication took care of the bullhorns and exhaust for Campbell. Behind the engine, you’ll find a close ratio three-speed transmission from Proformance Racing Transmissions that was freshened by Dooley Racing Transmissions. There’s a Neal Chance torque converter in between the transmission and big-block Chevy. A Go-Lithium battery provides the power for the FuelTech EFI system.

You’ll want to pay close attention to the carbon fiber dash inside Johnny Ringo. That’s not paint, Campbell had the dash airbrushed to look like the OEM dash. There are plenty of cool personal details in the airbrush work including his son’s birthday, Campbell’s wedding anniversary, and a local rock station’s spot on the dial was added to the radio.

So how did Campbell settle on the name Johnny Ringo for the Malibu? Well, he’s always been a fan of things that are different, and he didn’t want to name the car after the same old Tombstone characters that others have.

“Johnny Ringo was always dressed in black and I thought he was a real badass. He was the educated gunslinger, and Doc Holliday was kind of a sloppy drunk that the movies made out to be cool. I think Ringo was a real-deal type of outlaw, and that just fit the car’s persona. It was built to do outlaw stuff, has black paint and black wheels,” Campbell says.

Campbell plans on doing some no time racing to shake Johnny Ringo down. After the car is sorted out, Campbell will be throwing his hat back into the X275 ring at the biggest radial events in the country.

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Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. Brian enjoys anything loud, fast, and fun.
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