Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge Comes to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

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Vehicles waiting to compete on the road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

Super Chevy magazine handpicked some of the industry’s top drivers to compete in this showdown at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

The stage was set, the participant’s handpicked and the forecast called for heat. A lot of heat. In the form of some of the most amazing Chevy’s ever built.

On August 30th, at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, 20 of the biggest names in amateur and professional racing were invited to take part in the Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge. As you may have suspected, Falken Tire was the event title sponsor. Given the popularity of their RT-615K tire, it seemed the perfect fit for staff and drivers to “grip the moment” and enjoy a different type of day at the office. First rule of the event? Every car would run Falken Tires. A great way to test and prove a great product.

Speaking of rules, the only changes that the drivers/teams were allowed to make were shock settings and tire pressure changes. Of course, any repairs that became necessary throughout the day, but each driver was encouraged to simply “run what you brung.” Each car would be required to pass tech inspection and would need to be registered to drive on the street. To make the event even more exciting was the driver behind the wheel. In fact, the car did not need to be driven by the owner. The car’s owner could have anyone he liked or could afford put his vehicle to task. There was Al Unser Jr. behind the wheel of the Speedway Camaro, K&N-sponsored driver Danny Popp behind the wheel of the Hiedts and Hawks Motorsports built Camaro, Kelly Collins (ex-Chevrolet team driver) drove for CPP, and K&N-sponsored driver Jane Thurmond, drove her ’64 Corvette, Scarlett, for Wildwood Disc Brakes. Even more impressive, Jane, was the only female invite.

Drivers in paddock at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

Driver’s gather in the paddock area as Steven Rupp gives a quick overview on the competition itinerary

This year the challenge would see a different venue from years past, moving from Willow Springs to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Along with the new venue came an entirely new event set-up consisting of three driving segments; slalom, 100-yard dash, and road course. The slalom, a mere 420-foot, zig-zag of cones spaced 70 feet apart. The 100-yard dash, very straight forward, a launch on unprepared asphalt from a standstill, like a mini drag race through timing lights. And finally the road course, which took place on the Autoclub Speedway infield course. In each segment, the participants would get 5 timed runs to secure their best time, ultimately culminating in a winner. Between these three segments the cars and the Falken tires would be pushed to their limits in terms of forward and lateral performance.

The Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge featured a wide array of hot cars from the daily drivers, like the 1969 Camaro of Efrain Diaz to the all-out track beasts, like “Rampage” the 1970 Camaro built by the Roadster Shop. In fact, there were quite a few Camaros. Of course there were Chevelles, a C2 Corvette, and even a couple trucks. Over half of the field was brought or sponsored by aftermarket automotive companies. The rest were just local guys that wanted to come out and play. Minimal casualties included one flying hood on track, narrowly averted by Scarlett, the red 1964 Corvette, and Rampage, the 1970 Camaro. We saw failed power steering equipment, loss of oil and oil pressure, and of course some heat related issues that rounded out the day’s gremlins. Fontana saw temperatures of over 100 degrees that day with the on track temp’s even higher. But moreover, talking to the K&N drivers, along with the other drivers sporting K&N cold air intake systems, watching them push their Chevys harder and harder, and seeing them continue to succeed even in the heat, that’s what it’s all about.

Drivers posing on track at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

Just another day at the office with Super Chevy magazine and TEN, The Enthusiast Network

By the day’s end, the drivers had survived a very full track day. The Falken Tires proved that they could take the heat and punishment of some very brutal track conditions. It was safe to say that each of the drivers pushed their rides to the ragged edge and then some. The new and improved, updated and relocated Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge was in the books. The fast cars, camaraderie, and paparazzi made everyone feel like a million bucks. But in the end there could be only one who would be crowned the winner.

The way it worked was that points were awarded to each car based on how it finished with first place getting a bonus for winning. So first place received 20 points, second place received 18 points, third place received 17 points and so on down the list. The points earned in each of the three driving segments were then added up and in the end the winner with 55 points, was the 1970 Camaro, Rampage, fielded by the Roadster Shop. Second place, with 53 points, was the Heidts and Hawks Motorsports 1988 Camaro driven by K&N-sponsored Danny Popp. Third place was the Speedway Motors 1970 Camaro piloted by Al Unser, Jr. (45 points) and fourth place went to Efrain Diaz, a local guy, in his 1969 Camaro, proving that the privateer can be a worthy adversary.

Oh and what about the lone female driver, K&N’s Jane Thurmond? Well, she came in a very respectable 10th place with 31 points. But even more important? She held her own among some of the baddest, most influential drivers in racing. It was a very good day!

Al Unser Jr driving 1970 Speedway Camaro

Indy 500 Champion, Al Unser Jr., behind the wheel of the 1970 Speedway Camaro, laying down some blistering fast laps

Professional driver Danny Popp at Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge

K&N driver Danny Popp, multi-time SCCA, NASA, OUSCI, USCA, and Good Guys Champion shredding the course in the 1988 Camaro built by Heidts and Hawks Motorsports

Driver Kelly Collins driving a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro

Former Chevrolet Team Driver and Petit Le Mans victor, Kelly Collins manhandling the 1970 Camaro built CPP

Jane Thurmond driving her 1964 Chevrolet Corvette

At the launch of what would be an amazing drag strip time that edged ahead of Little Al by 2/10ths of a second, with K&N team driver Jane Thurmond

Professional driver Mike Skeen driving the Roadster Shop 1970 Chevrolet Camaro

Professional race car driver, Mike Skeen, laid down some scorching lap times on the road course in the Roadster Shop’s 1970 Camaro “Rampage”

Hood flying off 1988 Camaro built by Heidts and Hawks Motorsports

Certainly nothing better than a little on course excitement. The hood of the Heidts and Hawks Motor Sports built 1988 Camaro, driven by Danny Popp, delaminated during parade laps causing the field to adjust their line as to miss the “identified” flying object

Chevrolet C10 at Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge

The Muscle Car Challenge featured a diverse group of amazing builds, including this beautiful and powerful C10

1969 Chevrolet Camaro at Auto Club Speedwa in Fontana, California

A local guy, Efrain Diaz, proved he could compete with the “big dogs” securing a 4th place finish behind the likes of Al Unser Jr., Mike Skeen, and Danny Popp

Engine bay of 1970 Chevrolet Camaro built by Roadster Shop

Nationally acclaimed car builders like The Roadster Shop, GTS Customs, and Heidts and Hawks Motorsports build with brands they know and trust. Check out this bad boy intake system featuring a K&N filter on the 1970 Camaro “Rampage”


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 50 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit