Written by Steve Turner
Photography courtesy of Daren Poole-Adams
If you caught our first installment on Daren-Poole Adams’ latest undertaking, you know that no one was more excited about Chevrolet Performance’s Camaro SS Drag Race Development Program than the longtime racer. Having raced in Stock Eliminator for decades, set records in major sanctions, and campaigned dedicated COPO drag machines, he still has a soft spot for the glory days of factory muscle machines that this factory-backed program really harkened back to.
With factory engineers developing a comprehensive, integrated package of parts designed to help the 2016+ Camaro “conquer the quarter mile,” Poole-Adams was so inspired that he put together a plan to acquire two Hyper Blue Metallic 2018 Camaro SS from Trapp Chevrolet in Houma, Louisiana. He would then build up the two cars—one with the chassis and suspension parts first and the other with power upgrades first.
Previously we detailed the chassis and suspension upgrades to one of the cars, which set the stage for hitting the drag strip with both cars. The other car received the performance upgrades, which we are detailing here.
“The plan is to show the average Camaro owner what to expect from these parts,” Poole-Adams explained. “We are documenting everything to try to help people avoid aggravation, mistakes, and ultimately frustration. So far, I am beyond impressed with the whole deal. The cars both print time slips.”
While the traction is obviously better on the car with chassis and suspension upgrades, the car with bolt-on power still delivered some impressive results on the drag strip and on the dyno.
“Honestly, having two cars has allowed us to show the right order and the wrong order when it comes to upgrading these cars. Without the work in the back of the cars, all the horsepower is wasted,” Poole-Adams explained. “Being able to test the parts back-to-back in the same air on the same track gives us excellent data to compare. The time slips don’t lie. When we say the part helped the car, we have real-world proof.”
Before heading to the track with both cars, Poole-Adams installed the power-building parts from Chevrolet Performance along with a custom HP Tuners calibration dialed in with help from Jonathan Atkins at Tick Performance, where the cars were run on the Dynojet chassis dyno.
“We did the intake and exhaust all in one day. The exhaust picked the car up without tuning,” Poole-Adam said. “For fun we installed the air box without a tune and the horsepower fell way off. It really messed with the mass airflow sensor. Once tuned, the complete package picked the car up over 40 horsepower! This really surprised me. It shows how good these cars are. Once we got slicks on the car, we gained three tenths on the time slip over the base car with slicks. That is a good return on investment!”
A key piece of the puzzle was the addition of the Weld Racing wheels that are part of the Chevrolet Performance package. Paired with sticky tires that would deliver consistent results, these rolling test beds became consistent performers that ensured repeatable results.
“It made a huge difference. When we did the initial testing, the car would spin all through first gear. Now it dead-hooks every pass,” Poole-Adams said. “We are running a bias-ply tire from Hoosier to keep both cars as consistent as possible. A radial would most likely be faster, but less forgiving. Maybe, once we have everything else worked out, we will put some radials on and see what happens.”
“The modified car was awful without slicks,” he added. “It would have been great for the burnout contest at the LS Fest!”
At the time of this writing, the next upgrade slated for testing is the Chevrolet Performance high-stall torque converter. Designed to increase the stall speed by 45 percent, this converter is designed for racing with performance and durability in mind. It should improve both short and elapsed times.
“This is the one modification that I can’t wait to test,” Poole-Adams enthused. “I have my fingers crossed that this will have a major impact on the 60-foot times.”
With the converters installed, Poole Adams plans to tweak the HP Tuners calibration accordingly to maximize performance. Once these upgrades are maximized and verified, the two cars will be modified to the same specifications so that they can showcase the potential of the Chevrolet Performance’s Camaro SS Drag Race package.
“We will be bringing both cars to all the NMCA events,” Poole-Adams added. “The plan is to do some match-racing and to answer any questions that people may have about the program.”
The Mod List
Part Part Number
6.2-liter Cold Air Intake System w/ Race Filter 84329125
American Racing Headers 1-7/8-inch Long-Tubes CAV8-16178300LSNC†
BMR Suspension Driveshaft Safety Loop DSL019
Chevrolet Performance Exhaust Kit 84028865
High-Stall Torque Converter System 24290897†
ProCar by Scat Pro-Sport Seats 80-1790-XX
Rear Small Brake System 84396515†
Weld Racing Rear Drag Wheel 88B-610SB-GM†
Weld Racing Drag Frontrunner Wheel 88B-1806N-GM†
ZL1 1LE-Spec Solid Rear Cradle Mounts 84341929†
ZL1-Spec Heavy-Duty Halfshaft System 84398126†
ZL1-Spec Heavy-Duty Propshaft System 84398125†
A great car and plenty of power doesn’t mean much if you can’t apply the output to the track surface. That’s why Chevrolet Performance included a set of Weld Racing wheels in its upgrades. Poole-Adams installed the 17×10-inch rears wrapped in Hoosier 28-inch, bias-ply slicks. He says radials might be faster, but these are more consistent. The wheels tip the scales at 44.6 pounds, which is 16.6 pounds lighter than stock.
So if you are a fan of 2016+ Camaros, be sure to head to the grandstands when you see two matching Camaros adorned with the Chevrolet Performance logo in the staging lanes. When they hit the drag strip, it should be one close match race.
American Racing Headers
Scoggin Dickey Parts Center
VP Racing Fuels