Brian Chin and his 2,800hp, nitrous-fed, 903ci Camaro are up and comers in the world of radial drag racing.
“I’m relatively new to the sport,” says Brian Chin, a machine tech from Long Island, New York. “Well, when I say new, it’s been about seven years since I started drag racing. My dad has always been into it, and when I graduated from high school he got me into it – it was something we could do together, something that would keep me out of trouble.”
He got his start running in the 8.50 Index class with the family’s ’69 Camaro, a car which was originally set up around Pro Street rules. “It’s basically a street class – factory firewall, front end, the whole nine yards – it just had a back-half to it so we could run a big tire.” As Brian describes it, the car was outfitted like a potent street machine, with a four-link rear suspension, tubs, a Powerglide gearbox, a nitrous-fed 582ci big block under the hood, and about 3,200 pounds of weight to haul around with Brian in it.
But it wasn’t long before he was ready to move up the ranks, so the team decided to make the jump to Outlaw 10.5. “There’s a monthly series at Cecil County Dragway, and there’s also a national, points-based series called the Atomizer Racing Injectors Outlaw 10.5 National Championship,” he explains. “We also have some PDRA events we’re running in, along with the Orlando World Street Nationals.”
The team chose to take the Camaro along for the ride, too. “I just love the first gen body style,” Brian says. “It was kind of a sentimental thing, the idea that I could keep the original car but transform it into a modern race car. Aerodynamically it might not be the most ideal design, but to me it’s the one of the best looking cars out there.”
Today the Camaro is underpinned by a double frame rail tube chassis built by Pro Chassis & Design and runs on a 315 radial tire. Power is provided by a fuel-injected 903ci motor from Fulton Competition outfitted with a five-stage nitrous system and a MoTec ECU, a combination that’s good for about 2,800 horsepower by Chin’s estimate. Power is sent rearward through a Rossler three-speed transmission and sent to the wheels through a billet lockup converter from Neal Chance Racing.
With those power levels and plenty of spray in the mix, Chin knew they would need a stout rotating assembly to keep the car reliable. “I’ve known Mike Panetta and the guys at Diamond Pistons for quite some time, and they’ve always provided us with great support,” he tells us. “Nitrous cars like ours are very hard on pistons – it’s basically about running the car as hard as you possibly can without melting pistons. We’re running a custom spec five-inch Diamond piston now, and this year we’ve gone the fastest we ever have at back-to-back-to-back races. We have not hurt a piston yet. Earlier this year I told Mike I was gearing up to run some numbers this season and that I might need some spares, so I wound up ordering two sets of pistons. That second set is still sitting in the box!”
Chin made his Outlaw 10.5 debut back in 2017, spending most of the season refining the program and getting the car dialed in for the new class. Running mid-pack, Chin qualified at a number of races, including the Yellowbullet Nationals. The team built on that promising start as they progressed into the 2018 season, and this year they’re really starting to see the fruits of their labor. “One of the highlights of my time in this car is from this past February,” Brian recalls.
“We went down to South Georgia for Lights Out and I entered in Radial Versus the World, one of the fastest classes out there on a radial tire. I just went down there to get some test time in because I’d just moved over to the radial tire, and they wound up having a Second Chance race. I worked my way through the bracket, and out of 70 or so entries, I ended up winning the race.”
That radial debut helped set the tone for his 2019 season. “Every time we’ve gone out this year, we’ve set a new personal best,” he says. “We’ve gone rounds, and while we haven’t made it to a final yet in the 10.5 series, we’re close. The car is performing very well.”
Weighing in at 2,600 pounds with driver, Chin says that the fastest the Camaro has been so far is 3.91 at 196 mph, but it’s just a matter of time before he tops that once again. “The plan is to continue on this path, improving my own personal program every time we go out. But as a racer, I of course want to win every event that I enter!”
Looking further down the road, Chin says he might consider stepping up to Pro Mod racing at some point, but that’s more of a long-term consideration. “That’s the end goal,” he says. “That would be the next potential jump. But along with the eighth mile stuff this year, I’m also going to run some quarter mile races at World Cup Finals in November, so we’ll be changing ratios and some tuning stuff to get prepared for 200+ mph – I’m pretty excited about that. In the meantime, I’m pretty happy where I’m at with Outlaw 10.5 – it’s a fast class that is growing. And that’s where my home is.”