Photo Courtesy of PSI Speed/Frank Soldridge
You can’t keep a good man down, and after his terrifying wreck at the $101k-to-Win Sweet 16 race, Frank Soldridge is back to business as usual. Most recently, the owner of PSI Speed Inc completed a killer new Pro Mod Camaro and the car got the internet buzzing with speculation.
When things—specifically, him and his twin turbo Mustang—came crashing down at South Georgia Motorsports Park in March of 2018, it was a miracle in and of itself that Soldridge was able to escape the carnage with his life. Even more incredible, though, was the fact that he had purchased a replacement racecar while he was still laid up in the hospital.
Now, less than four months later, Soldridge is already working like he never skipped a beat. “They cut my cast off weeks early so we could go on our honeymoon,” laughed the man who resides in Kentucky with his new bride, Amanda May. “I’m not supposed to be working, but I’m wearing a brace and all the stuff at the shop I just consider to be my physical therapy instead.”
Most recently, Soldridge and May posted some photos PSI Speed Inc’s latest project. Originally belonging to another well-known driver (name withheld), Soldridge purchased the ’69 Camaro chassis about nine months prior with the intention of running it in Radial vs the World competition. He kept it a secret since he wasn’t sure which way he would be going, but ultimately wound up selling it several months ago to Igor Koryaka from the Ukraine.
Koryaka is no stranger to racing, although this level of build will be a whole new animal for him. A champion in his country in 2016, Koryaka owns and races a 1,400-horsepower AWD Nissan GTR which runs the quarter-mile in 8.83 seconds. Koryaka’s friend and tuner, Sergiy Bilyk, drives a 1,000-horsepower AWD Subaru WRX himself, and together the guys will get a handle on their new beast.
Soldridge set them up with a host of bells and whistles, and PSI Speed Inc handled putting everything together. “I put a Pro Line Racing Stage 2 481X engine in it, running on methanol, with twin 94mm Precision turbochargers and an M&M three-speed transmission,” said Soldridge, who also installed a FuelTech FT500 engine management unit with a complementary Racepak data acquisition system.
Carbon fiber brakes can be found at all four corners, while the Pro Mod is perched upon Menscer Motorsports shocks in the back and Penske struts in the front.
Topping it off is an incredibly lightweight Cynergy Composites carbon body which only weighs approximately fifty-five pounds, according to Soldridge.
Soldridge himself did all the plumbing and wiring himself, while he oversaw his crew on the installation of the powertrain, fabrication of the headers and turbo system, and other projects as his mobility is still a little limited from the accident.
The first time he met the owner was only a week ago, when the Ukrainian crew flew in to complete the transaction. “They’ve driven fast AWD cars before, but never something remotely this fast and never RWD – they were in awe of the car,” shared Soldridge who had to explain how to operate the car from start up to shut down. A low-power dyno pull with only 15 psi of boost yielded 1,500-horsepower, and the gentlemen were all very pleased with its performance. “This is only the second Pro Mod in the Ukraine, and it is capable of making 3,500-horsepower and running 5.80s at 260 mph.”
After setting Koryaka up with the safety gear he would need before he straps in behind the wheel, including a carbon fiber Simpson helmet, HANS device, and fire suit, a shipping company was contacted and transportation back to the home country was arranged.
Unfortunately, after all of PSI Speed Inc’s hard work, the car will have to be completely dismantled prior to making the trip. “I have to rip the Camaro completely apart and ship the body, the rear end, the motor/transmission/turbos, wheels, and everything separately,” lamented Soldridge, who will be flying to the Ukraine later in several weeks to handle the reassemble personally and make sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed. “There’s still a slim chance that they may decide to keep the car here and race Pro Mod in NMCA, PDRA, or at Donald Long’s, but that hasn’t been officially decided yet.”
Ironically, after having spent so many years in the small tire scene, Soldridge is now seriously considering making the switch to the big tire world himself. Koryaka’s Camaro has piqued his interest in going Pro Mod racing, and although he’s got a plan to make it happen, he hasn’t decided on a specific body or chassis just yet. “I would have kept this car for myself, but it’s built with a lot of titanium and is incredibly light – only 2,150-pounds without a driver – so for me to run NMCA Mickey Thompson Radial Wars or PDRA Pro Boost I would have to add several hundred pounds to it and I feel like that would be wasting the car as it is,” explained Soldridge, who will stay busy relaxing with his no-time grudge race car, “White Trash,” and its counterpart that he is building for his wife, in the meantime.