Volume III, Issue 7, Page 17

As we all well know, the successful race car isn’t the province of just one person. The team effort is what makes it all run oily smooth. Floridian Troy Pirez is the engine builder as well as the pilot. On any given day, his son Troy, Jr., might be behind the wheel, too. Encouragement and funding is the bailiwick of partner Greg Stephens, AKA “Big Boy,” a hardened radial tire veteran himself. All these guys do what they love as an extension of their lives, as alter egos to their street personas. Everybody works for a living during the week. Everybody plays when the time is right. Troy began ripping down records in a ’70 Nova that he ran early on. In 2004, the team broke out the slipperier (1988) Camaro and have been setting fires in the Southeast with it ever since.

The formula has three constants: a stock-type suspension system (but fitted with race-quality components that will bolt into the car), radial-construction drive tires, and any power plant with any power adder. Presently, big gulps of nitrous oxide on a 632ci Rat clone (the big-block uses no Chevrolet parts) drives the Pirez Camaro, although the alternative could eventually include turbochargers on an engine with a smaller displacement.

Since this car is nearing the outer limits, the Troys and Greg much prefer competing on the 1/8th-mile to the full quarter. So far, they have traversed the short track in 4.88 seconds at 150mph (they’ve covered the quarter in 7.53 at 186). Most advocates of Stock Suspension prefer the short track, mainly as a safety measure. MaxChevy caught up with this laid-back band on a Wednesday night at Sunshine Dragstrip, an established 1/8th-mile venue within the Clearwater, FL, city limits.

: Is driving one of these cars as scary on the inside as it looks from the outside?

Troy Pirez:  Not really. No, you get used to it. Most of time it just runs straight. It usually looks worse than it feels in the car.

: How big an engine is too big for a radial tire race car?

TP:  I don’t think anything is too big. You would have to approach each engine a little differently.

: Would you rather win at the Orlando World Street Nationals or the NHRA US Nationals?

TP: You kiddin’, bro? That would definitely be the US Nationals

:  Best seafood restaurant in Orlando area?

TP: I don’t know, Red Lobster, I guess.

: Which is best for radial tire car performance, an automatic or a manual transmission? Supercharged, turbo, or nitrous?

TP:  Obviously the automatic with a few gears as possible. I like nitrous cars but they’re at a little bit of a disadvantage right now in the quarter-mile unless we can get down to the 3,000-pound minimum. Mine weighs 3,440.   

: Have you ever thought of driving a Pro Modified?

TP: Yes I have and if someone approached me I would.