It’s tough to run with hand-me-downs when everyone else seems to be enjoying the latest and greatest. That struggle of doing more with less, though, helped make Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Kye Kelley as good as he is. Now, his perseverance has paid off as he recently took delivery of a brand new, purpose-built 2014 Camaro.
Kelley gained notoriety on the Discovery Channel’s show, Street Outlaws, with his “Shocker” ’84 Camaro, as the self-made man from Mississippi regularly outran his rivals with what was originally built to be a bracket car.
“I’ve always competed against everyone with a mild-steel, overweight, short-wheelbase car and stayed side by side with ‘em. It would make ‘em nervous when they’d draw my name,” said Kelley. “Every time I was the runner up, I’d say ‘if we had half a car, they’d be in trouble, but now we got a whole one and I’m excited to see what I can do with it.”
Kelley partnered with Charles Jordan of Jordan Carriers in Natchez, Mississippi, to order up the ’14 Camaro from Larry Jeffers Race Cars in January of 2020, and the new “Show Stopper” definitely lives up to its name.
With a double-frame rail, 25.2 SFI tube chassis, the LJRC-built ’14 Camaro still retains its requisite steel roof and quarter panels. Carbon doors, a carbon front end, trunk, and bumper were all made in-house at LJRC as well.
“Kye [Kelley] is a nice guy and this is a good piece for him. You sit back and watch him with his fans and with the kids, he appreciates it all,” added Jeffers, who was honored to be able to provide such a showpiece for Kelley, and also fabricated the sheet metal rearend housing along with the custom four-link setup.
Kelley’s highly-publicized relationship with Lizzy Musi, daughter of famed racer and engine builder Pat Musi, worked to his advantage when it came to scoring a deal on one of the new 959ci Musi powerplants, which were sponsored by owner of the Mississippi-based Keith’s Superstores chain, Keith Saucier. The bullet was filled with fluids from Extreme Racing Oil, and Woolf Aircraft Products supplied the tubing to fabricate the headers that will soon serve double-duty as epic flamethrowers.
Six kits of nitrous oxide from Steve Johnson at Induction Solutions were added to the high-profile Camaro, while a three-speed lock-up Turbo 400 transmission and matching shifter from Mark Micke’s M&M Transmission with a Neal Chance lock-up torque converter were also incorporated into the build.
Moser gears and axles, a Driveshaft Shop carbon drive shaft, Strange shocks up front and Penskes in the back, a Racepak data logger, Davis Technologies traction control system, and a Be Cool needed radiator for street use round out the robust ride, which rolls on a set of Mickey Thompson big tires wrapped around Weld wheels.
After only about three months in the chassis shop, the “Show Stopper” was granted its freedom and ready for Kelley to take home. “Larry surprised me and painted it, too—that wasn’t even part of the deal,” laughed Kelley of the sinister black finish sprayed by Jeffers. “He has been a big help with this car and did a great job with it. I appreciate his help a ton.”
Kelley’s latest program was also made possible by Josh Dennis of Dennis Concrete Service and Tyler Dennis of Dennis Brothers Concrete who helped contribute towards the finishing work.
The wiring work still needs to be done, but Kelley has guru Adam Drzayich in his corner for that task and Drzayich is armed with a host of Speedwire Systems equipment. The two have been working together for a few years, and Kelley has come to rely on Drzayich as his right-hand man.
“I’ve always done all my own work with just a few guys to fill nitrous bottles or put air in the tires, but at this point I had to have someone to do what I do,” stated Kelley of how Drzayich has become the heart of his racing operation since he’s often busy with fans himself. “Adam valves my shocks, wires the car, does my Racepak, adjusts the suspension, and everything else that I don’t have time to do… I guess you’d call that a crew chief.”
Considering how much success Kelley has had with his old school “Shocker” car, it will certainly be interesting to see how far he goes with the new school “Show Stopper” nitrous Camaro.
Despite the new addition, though, Kelley isn’t retiring his original sidekick. “I’m going to do some street stuff with the Shocker. Now that I have two cars, I won’t have to swap it from street to track trim and that’ll give us a chance to be even better,” he affirmed. “It’s a childhood dream and I’m doing it with my childhood friends and crew members, Cory Temple and Ked Griffin, and my mom.”
Stepping up to the big time required an upgrade in transportation, too, and Phil’s Trailer Sales in Waco, Texas, made sure Kelley was outfitted with a professional-grade stacker so that he could travel in style.
Kelley has a preliminary test session scheduled for the menacing, blacked out “Show Stopper” on June 5-6 in Alabama at Atmore Dragway.
“The car is ready to go and the No Prep Kings season starts on July 31, so we’re gonna be doing a lot of testing in June,” said Kelley, who will also appear on the Street Outlaws: Fastest in America show with the Shocker. “We raced nonstop from March through November the past six years, then this Covid hits and we don’t do nothing… I’m SO ready.”