7.81 et. @ 187.24 mph are some really fierce numbers for nearly all drag racing classes, but when the car that produces them does so with only a single carburetor and is street legal, those numbers instantly become all the more impressive!
The car in question is an understated 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS belonging to Californian Russ Delia Jr. At first glance this subtle looking Camaro appears to be your average street fighter and weekend E.T. bracket warrior. But if you take a closer look, you discover why this stealthy speedster campaigns in the Mickey Thompson Wild Street class of the Pacific Street Car Association.
Delia bought the Camaro at the tender age of 14 with the intention of racing it right from the beginning. Like many of us, Russ Jr. got started in racing through his family. His father Russ Sr. has deep roots in the Southern California drag racing scene and spent a ton of time out at the fabled Lion’s Drag Strip. So Russ Jr.’s entrance into the racing world was no surprise to anyone. It was also no surprise that Russ Jr.’s choice would be a Chevrolet. Whether it was a Tri-Five, a pick-up truck or a musclecar, there was always a Chevy project somewhere in the vicinity as he was growing up.
The Camaro began its racing campaign with a 383 small-block and has seen various engine configurations as Russ’ expertise and wallet matured. Normal aspiration evolved to nitrous which gave way to turbocharging as his pursuit of speed advanced.
Presently, the Camaro is powered by a twin-turbocharged 355ci small-block Chevy engine built by Russ and his cousin, close friend and fellow turbo racer Rick Snavely. Snavely’s reputation for building powerful, reliable turbocharged racing engines is well known and respected. So having access to Rick’s expertise as well as his own know-how is a definite advantage for Delia that others might not be able to match.
Two 72mm turbochargers by Turbos Direct deliver a massive air charge that is regulated by a HyperKontrol boost controller. Russ tells us that the boost is usually set between 23 and 25 lbs. That charge picks up the fuel delivered by a single CSU blow-through 850 cfm carburetor and passes it along through an Edelbrock 2925 Super Victor intake manifold.
Receiving that explosive mix are a set of Brodix 23 degree aluminum oval port heads. A billet cam opens and closes the valves with the aid of Isky roller lifters, Manley springs and T&D shaft rockers. The spent gasses make their way through the custom exhaust system to spin the turbos even faster. Then the hot air passes through a set of Flowmaster mufflers as it finds its way back into the atmosphere.
With this much stress on the motor you would expect that the rotating assembly would be as tough as possible… and you’d be right! Ross pistons fitted with Total Seal ring sets fill the cylinders. The pistons are a 4.125 in. flat top design with no special modifications. Six-inch aluminum GRP rods make a secure connection between the pistons and a Callies crankshaft that features a 3.350 stroke. All this spins mightily within the Bowtie block.
With everything tucked away under the hood, unsuspecting opponents may judge the Camaro to be on the tame side. Fresh air gets to the turbos through small inlets in the grille.
Rick Snavely also took on the job of plumbing the turbo piping which all fits snugly underneath the slightly modified hood. The turbos receive cool air through two unobtrusive inlets discreetly positioned in the Camaro’s stock-looking grille. Combined with its subdued exterior and lack of gaudy graphics, it helps the Camaro present that “who me?” look meant to disguise the fact that this SS is one mean mutha!
Except for two notable exceptions, the entire car is a product of Delia and his family. The transmission however, is a TH400 unit prepared by Mike’s Transmission. Russ says the unit has held up beautifully to all of the pounding that the Camaro has put it through over the years. It has been used in all of the different classes that Russ has raced in and has yet to let him down.
The transmission is controlled by a Precision Performance Products shifter to direct all that horsepower to the rear. It then connects to a beefy 9-inch Ford rear stuffed with 3:50.1 gears by Tom’s Differentials.
Delia’s Camaro hooks hard and at a weight of 3,510 pounds, creates wheels-up launches with 60 ft. times of 1.30. You can’t achieve performance like that without a suspension that works as well as the running gear. The Camaro’s front suspension features TRZ Control Arms, trick racing coils by Moroso and QA1 single shocks. Calvert Racing leaf springs and VariShock doubles help plant the rear.
Stopping responsibilities are ably handled by a DJ Racing Safety Equipment Parachute and Aerospace Components disc brakes on all four corners. Weld Wheels wrapped with Mickey Thompson 275 Drag Radials make the final connection to the pavement.
Photo courtesy of Russ Delia Jr.
The other outside contribution to Delia’s Camaro is the Chromoly cage that was supplied by Jamie Voorhees at Fab-Tech Welding. In any kind of racing activity, disaster can be milliseconds away at any time so having the cage designed and constructed by experts is the smart way to go.
An awful lot of time and work goes into automotive and racing endeavors like this and Russ Delia Jr.’s 1968 Camaro SS is no exception. Fortunately he has a close circle of family and friends to help him keep up with all of the fabrication, construction, maintenance and race day functions necessary to compete at this level.
What’s in store for the future? Don’t be too surprised to see a change in competition class for the Camaro. Exact details of the new package are not for public consumption just yet but the program’s debut is being penciled in for the 2013 Street Car Super Nationals. If you want to get a good close look when it’s unveiled we would suggest that you stop by the Delia team’s trailer in the pits because the Camaro will definitely be moving way too fast to see any of the details on the track.
Close family members are at the core of the Delia team. Pictured here from left to right are his brother-in-law and best friend John Corzel, uncle Tony Delia and Russ Jr. Although not pictured, lots of help also comes from Dad Russ Sr. and cousin Rick Snavely and his family.
*Special thanks go out to Russ Delia Jr. and the Delia Racing Team for chatting with us and sharing their story and build. We’ll see you at the next race!