Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography by the FSC Staff
It’s been over a year since Nick Agostino rolled and wrecked his small-block-powered, ’00 Camaro in dramatic fashion during a grudge match at the 2017 YellowBullet Nationals, and now, the Canadian-based racer is putting the final touches on his red ride’s replacement.
Agostino, who has been a staple of the Outlaw 10.5 community for years, wasn’t quite sure what to do at first.
“It could have been fixed, but it was rough and needed so much work that ultimately we decided it wasn’t worth the money and time,” he shared candidly of the damage, which included a compromised main hoop and destroyed front half. “That money would be better spent stepping up our game, salvaging what we could, and moving ahead with a new car.”
Around that same time, Agostino’s crewman Ricky Carlos had been working on a ’69 Camaro. Keeping true to the Chevy badge, Agostino made a deal with Carlos and bought the roller from him.
“It was originally built by Rick Jones of RJ Race Cars for Jay Santos as a back-half car,” Agostino explained. Wanting to ensure the replacement Chevy would be legal to run in Outlaw 10.5 and Radial vs the World meant a lot of thought had to be put into the build process, but Agostino knew what he needed to do. “We put the factory frame rails back in and added factory steel quarter panels. We kept the rear section and put a firewall-forward round tube setup in so it would be a multi-purpose car.”
The Chassis Stop in Ontario handled all the fabrication work including piecing together the turbo manifolds, moving the motor plate around, and fitting everything together. Joe Van Overbeek supplied the carbon fiber front end, doors, and the body, and also handled fitting the GM steel quarters. Once those odds and ends were fitted, the car came back to Agostino’s home-based shop.
Using a vast supply of odds and ends and nuts and bolts from Tim McAmis Race Cars, Agostino and his crew guys (including Ralph Maio, Ricky Carlos, and local helper Mark Gentile of Proper Fabrication) fitted and fabbed the rest of the car themselves. Agostino personally took point on assembling the absolutely incredible all-billet engine—a project that had been in the works with Dave Visner of Visner Engine Development for almost two years.
Based off a standard small-block Chevy engine, the Visner 4.600-inch-bore-space, solid billet block was matched with a set of Visner’s trick Wedge-style billet cylinder heads. Visner also supplied a billet aluminum intake manifold and matching oval throttle body, as well as a billet oil pan. The final cubic inch displacement comes in at 480, and the all-billet, blinged-out bullet is nothing short of a work of art.
Inside, the alcohol-huffing engine hides a set of Wiseco pistons mated to GRP rods via a set of Trend wrist pins, and a Bryant Racing crankshaft. Trend was also used to source the push rods, and Clark Copper Head Gaskets manufactured the custom copper head gaskets for Agostino.
Twin Precision turbochargers were bolted on to create the power needed to compete at the top level of radial-tire and 10.5-tire racing, and are sized either 94mm or 98mm depending on whatever class Agostino is entered into at any given moment. Backing up the capable powerplant is an M&M Transmission two-speed Turbo 400 and lockup converter, which is controlled by an M&M Transmission billet aluminum shifter.
Finally, the Camaro was sent to 727 Auto Body where it received a spray of wicked black paint. Agostino made sure no detail was overlooked, and the beautiful beast was accented tastefully. The classy chrome wheel trim is all factory, as are the emblems (no, they’re not airbrushed) and door sills. New old stock was utilized to pay homage to the Camaro’s heritage, and everything is spot-on perfection.
“Right now, we’re pretty close to firing it up,” Agostino said excitedly. Once there’s heat in the Camaro’s heart, it’ll head down to Haltech for a day on the hub dyno where Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing will help get its Haltech coil-on-plug system and NLR AMS 2000 boost controller dialed in. After that, Agostino will continue south to Mark Menscer where the suspension mastermind will get the Menscer Motorsports shock settings carefully calibrated. “Then we’ll do some testing and hopefully be able to shake it down by the end of November.”
Currently, Agostino plans to begin campaigning his beautiful new Camaro at the start of the 2019 racing season Events on his schedule for the year include Lights Out 10 and Sweet Sixteen 2, and he hopes to be able to drastically improve upon his prior personal best of 3.92-seconds in the eighth-mile along the way.