With roughly $300,000 up for grabs in the Radial vs the World category combined between major standalone races such as Lights Out, No Mercy, Sweet 16, Shakedown, and the Outlaw Street Car Reunion, Mark “Woody” Woodruff decided to double his chances at taking the cash.
After his NMCA Mickey Thompson Radial Wars category was jettisoned at the end of the 2018 racing season, Woody found himself without a place to run his sinister Hemi-powered ’10 Corvette ZR1 in the series. “I had set my sights on Pro Mod so that I could come back to NMCA because I love the association and want to race there,” explained the King of WoodyMart, who had run NMCA for nearly the last decade. “Now we just sat around and drank and swam all summer. It wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t what we were used to.”
In early 2019, however, Woody saw that Darren Breaud of B & B Race Cars had posted a turnkey ’69 Camaro for sale. After a few conversations, including chats with Kris Nelson of Nelson Competition and NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod driver Craig “Sully” Sullivan, a plan came together for Woody and he made the big purchase sometime around February.
After running his Corvette in a few local Mid-West Pro Mod Series races to test the waters, the Missouri native knew he would need a purpose-built machine to be more competitive. So, when it came time to get down to business on the new Camaro build, he studied the rules and pushed everything to the extreme limit of allowable spec. “This is the lightest, most powerful, longest wheelbase, purpose-built car that I know of that has ever been brought to the class,” said Woody confidently. “The whole thing is almost a perfect margarita, if you will – it’s got all the right ingredients!”
In a world dominated by Hemi and 481X combinations, Woody wanted something different.
Working with Nelson, he settled on a “smedium” 4.600” bore space, all-billet, small-block Chevy engine from Visner Engine Development. Woody and Nelson arrived at VED to meet with mastermind Dave Visner himself and the men put together a business plan to make the engine platform readily available in multiple configurations including turbocharged, supercharged, and nitrous, although Woody will be running his with a set of twin Precision Turbo snails on board.
“We want to make a cookie-cutter deal where a guy can call and order an all-billet custom engine and have it ready in four to six weeks,” Woody continued of the research and development collaboration that has been put into play. “Visner and Nelson’s idea behind this combination is to have another alternative to the Hemi and the 481X that other premium engine suppliers have available.”
Although the blue ’69 Camaro is Breaud’s first foray into the world of purpose-built Pro Mods and Radial vs the World entries, he spared no expense with the chassis and put together something truly impressive. Tons of titanium and a lightweight Cynergy Composites carbon fiber body are just a few of the tricks Breaud used to bring his A-game. “It’s just fuckin’ awesome, you can’t even describe it in words,” said Woody, as giddy as a child opening a Christmas gift. “It makes me drool every time I look at it… It’s like Woody’s Panty Soup!”
Sticking to the “top of the line” theme, Woody brought noted tuner Jamie Miller on board for chassis setup consulting and guidance. “Jamie has been instrumental with his knowledge of NHRA Pro Mod and what he’s done with Michael Biehle’s car through the NMCA days and championship stuff, engine placement, and more,” Woody added gratefully.
In addition to Miller, Joe Oplawski will be managing the tuning duties of the car’s FuelTech FT600 EFI system in partnership with Woody. Of course, one of Oplawski’s own Hyperaktive Performance Solutions Hyperkontrol boost controllers will also be along for the right, as well as Woody’s tried-and-true M&M transmission and lock-up converter pairing, and a complete Menscer Motorsports suspension.
There’s still plenty of work to do before the Camaro can crush the hopes and dreams of anyone who’s not Woody, though. “Darren [Breaud] set the mock-up motor in it since it was originally built to be a nitrous car and had to get everything changed and refabricate the firewall,” Woody noted of the current state of affairs.
Once the car comes off the chassis table, however, Woody will quickly get to work plumbing and wiring so it can finally be fired up. “Kris [Nelson] is in the process of getting the engine ready to go in the car, and the second that’s in now for the mock-up will go over back to Kris for assembly so it can be used as a spare.” Because if you’re going to show up to a gun fight, the best plan of attack is to have two – one for each hand.
“I’ll still run my Corvette in Radial vs the World, but Sully will drive the Camaro. Our stuff runs up front, so, assuming we’re in the show, this way I can have two chances at winning the prize,” he explained of the logic behind the math that motivated the massive transaction.
Woody fully indents to debut his new Camaro at Donald “Duck” Long’s No Mercy event at South Georgia Motorsports Park in October with Sully in the driver’s seat. “I am very honored to be able to wheel this masterpiece,” added Sullivan, who will give the classic Chevy back to Woody to drive in NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod and elsewhere.
For late 2019 and beyond, the WoodyMart crew has made it clear that they’re all in and are looking to take all the cash. “Brent Sansoucie thought I was crazy when I started talking about doing this, but now he’s solidified the fact that I really am crazy,” laughed Woody, who’s always in a good mood and is known for his easy-going nature. “It’s time to go racing. We’ve got a bunch of surprises coming.”