Nothing lasts forever—not even retirement. When legendary doorslammer bad boy Camp Stanley shockingly announced his retirement from racing in March of 2020, those that knew him best knew it wouldn’t stick. Now, less than one year later, Stanley has announced his UN-retirement and his plans for the 2021 racing season with Chuck Weck.
Weck, a member of the Chicago Wiseguys group that has dominated the Midwest match racing circuit since 1995, scored a championship title in 2008 with his screw-blown ’53 Studebaker known as “Studezilla.” Prior to that, he ran in NMCA’s Modified Production and Pro Street classes in the 1990s. Weck has also known Stanley for well over a decade and even sold his former Tim McAmis-built 1968 Camaro to the tuner in 2009.
When he sold his Studezilla to NHRA fuel car driver Scott Palmer, Weck was inspired by what the man did with it. Always having had an affinity for unusual cars, Weck hired chassis builder Larry Jeffers Race Cars to put together a new, eye-catching creation: a double-frame-rail, 1959 DeSoto nicknamed the “Bad Dog.”
The unique body itself originated in Australia and was designed by Murray Anderson, although the paint scheme sprayed over the panels is exactly that—paint, not a wrap. The incredibly intricate graphics, trim, and details were all hand-done by artist Tom Evans of Evans Design and there are a lot of details hidden within.
“We have mice, a bat, bugs, and spiders, a vise grip holding the door closed, and amazingly the carbon body is rusting away horribly!” shared Weck of the wicked work.
Under the aging skin is a state-of-the-art 522ci Hemi from engine builder Mike Recchia of Recchia Racing, that features Noonan Blackhawk heads and a TFX billet block. A PSI C-rotor screw supercharger with old-school magnesium hat sits atop the showpiece for added good looks. The manually shifted Lenco Racing CS2 3-speed transmission uses a Bruno converter drive with a Coan converter, and perfectly pairs with the engine that puts out approximately 2,500 horsepower.
“We’re running a Leahy ECM unit that works flawlessly, other than operator error,” laughed Weck. “The suspension uses Strange struts and Penske shocks, rear gear, and modular rearend, all tuned by Adam Drzayich.”
Weck and his team did a lot of the finishing work on the incredible car themselves, including the rear wing, lightweight rear chassis supports, parachute mount system, removeable quarter panels, transmission mounting system, zoomie-style headers, wiring, plumbing, and more.
In 2020, Weck debuted the “Bad Dog” DeSoto Pro Mod and ran at a few ADRL races to get the supercharged Hemi sorted out with help from Recchia.
“He helped me tune the car and get everything dialed in,” shared the wheelman, who has a long history with Recchia as well. “Then he was supposed to go and do his own thing, which I’m fine with, but he reached out to Camp [Stanley] to see if he would continue with me and he said ‘hell yeah’ and, so, there you go!”
Stanley, even though he was committed to slowing down at the time of his alleged retirement, knew he wouldn’t be able to stay away forever.
“Mike asked if I would help Chuck and I was down! He already has a good basic tune up in it,” stated Stanley, who can’t wait to pick up where he left off and immerse himself back in his drag racing family of friends.
“We had been running pretty good on our own, but I’m sure Camp will take us to the next level,” added Weck, who has been down into the 3.70-second zone in the eighth-mile already. “With Camp’s tuning and the car now being 50-pounds lighter, there’s no reason we shouldn’t go right into the .60s and that’ll be our goal for the season.”
Now, Weck’s busy life managing nine car dealerships in the Chicago area is slowly winding down as he is passing more of the responsibility off to his sons so that he can go racing instead.
“Right now, the plan is for us to run the car at the ADRL race in St. Louis in March, then in Texas in April, and back to St. Louis in October,” shared Weck, who is having his engines freshened up in preparation for Stanley to sort through his program as early as February. “We have the record for the ugliest car in the ADRL!”
Although Weck and Stanley will mostly move around the Midwest with their ’59 DeSoto, there’s plenty of room and plenty of flexibility intentionally built into the schedule to allow them options of racing elsewhere—including in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod at the Inaugural NMRA/NMCA Power Festival over the weekend of July 22-25 at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, and possibly the NMCA events in St. Louis and Indianapolis as well.