COPO Camaro Racers Crowd Staging Lanes at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
Tue, Aug 27 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 20 5th Gen COPO Camaro race cars will vie for coveted “Wally” trophies and national NHRA records when the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals kicks off later this week at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. It represents the largest gathering of the factory-engineered race cars since their 2012 introduction.
The COPO Camaro was developed by Chevrolet as a dedicated drag racer for NHRA Super Stock and Stock Eliminator classes.
“Chevrolet Performance is proud to be the title sponsor for the historic U.S. Nationals,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The largest, most prestigious race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule includes countless Chevrolet Pro Stock, Super Stock and Stock Eliminator racers, including a large number of COPO Camaros.”
COPO stands for Central Office Production Order and was originally used by dealers in the 1960s to generate special orders, mostly for fleet vehicles. Some racing-minded dealers used the system to create higher-performance models that weren’t otherwise available, including the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1, which featured an all-aluminum 427-cubic-inch engine developed for racing. Sixty-nine ZL1s were built and they’ve since become valuable collector cars.
Dave Connolly drives a COPO Camaro – car #5 of the 2012 build – owned by Victor Cagnazzi. He was the first racer to win with a COPO Camaro in NHRA’s CC/SA Stock Eliminator class – and he did it a year ago at the U.S. Nationals. Cagnazzi Racing also campaigns the Pro Stock Camaro driven by Eric Enders-Stevens.
“There’s no bigger event in sportsman racing than the U.S. Nationals and we’re going to do everything we can to bring home a national event win with our COPO Camaro,” said Connolly. “The COPO Camaro has reinvigorated the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes with the thrilling, heads-up racing that made the original muscle car era so exciting – and we’re competing in one of the most competitive classes with one of the most competitive cars. It’s going to be an exciting weekend in Indianapolis.”
The roster of COPO Camaro racers at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals also includes:
- Paul Cambria – 2012 COPO #3
- Eric Reyes – 2012 COPO #4
- Dave Connolly – 2012 COPO #5
- Daren Poole-Adams – 2012 COPO #6
- Jim Boburka – 2012 COPO #7
- J.C. Beattie – 2012 COPO #8
- Rhett Fulton – 2012 COPO #13
- Todd Patterson – 2012 COPO #18
- Robbie Massey – 2012 COPO #21
- Stephen Bell – 2012 COPO #21
- Brian Massingill – 2012 COPO #29
- Bob Letellier – 2012 COPO #34
- Jeff Myers – 2012 COPO #46
- Jack Matyas – 2012 COPO #62
- Clay Arnett – 2012 COPO #65
- Paula Cambria – 2013 COPO #3
- Bob Hochrun – 2013 COPO #4
- Steve Novosel – 2013 COPO #45
- Mike Letellier – 2013 COPO #48
Additional Camaro sportsman racers will also compete, including Mike Pustelny.
All COPO Camaros are assembled by hand starting with hardware from the Oshawa assembly plant that manufactures regular-production Camaros. Each is fitted with an NHRA-approved roll cage and other safety equipment, along with racing chassis and suspension components – including a unique solid rear axle system in place of a regular-production Camaro’s independent rear axle. Production equipment also includes lightweight Bogart racing wheels and Hoosier racing tires.
Many of the fundamental components used to assemble the COPO Camaros – including all of the hand-assembled racing engines – are available from Chevrolet Performance. They are outlined in a special COPO section of the 2013 Chevrolet Performance catalog, which is available from Chevrolet dealers and can be downloaded at chevroletperformance.com.
Also available from Chevrolet Performance is the “COPO Build Book,” part number 88958767, which provides an overview of the cars’ assembly process for racers that want to build their own Chevrolet Stock Eliminator or Super Stock race car.
Chevrolet Performance and the U.S. Nationals
NHRA legend Don Prudhomme will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Chevrolet Performance U.S Nationals. Linda Vaughn and Courtney Hansen will serve as the race’s official co-starters. All three will make personal appearances and sign autographs at the Chevrolet display throughout the six-day event. The display will also offer race fans looks at the latest Chevrolet race cars, including the COPO Camaro, new production cars and trucks, crate engines, transmissions and street-level components.
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the final event in the 18-race NHRA regular season and the top 10 fields in each of the four pro categories will be finalized there for the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs.
# # #
About Chevrolet Performance
Driven by more than 100 years of motorsports heritage, Chevrolet Performance fuels the passions of automotive enthusiasts through high-performance vehicles, parts and racing. Championship motorsports technology is at the core of Chevrolet’s performance cars, including Corvette Stingray, Camaro ZL1, Camaro SS 1LE, COPO Camaro and the all-new Camaro Z/28. This technology also drives production-based performance and specialty racing parts, as well as licensed accessories, which are available through Chevrolet dealers and online at chevroletperformance.com. Chevrolet Performance is a leader in crate engines and parts for classics, with the industry’s only brand-new Gen I/II small-block and big-block crate engines, and an unmatched range of “LS” engines and parts for the street and track.