Ryan Stevens Crushes Stock Bottom End LS3 Record

We might be in the early months of spring, but it looks like race season is kicking off and will be great this year as competitors are itching to get their cars out and hit the dragstrip. And who can blame them after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut everything down in 2020? We expect records to be broken and find some new builds popping up in 2021 because it’s already starting to happen. Ryan Stevens, the Service Manager at Gwatney Performance Innovation, has already hit the dragstrip and destroyed the stock bottom end (SBE) LS3 record with his fifth-gen Camaro. 

Photos by Ronnie Esmon

Stevens was introduced to cars at a young age. Since he’s from a small rural farm town in eastern Arkansas, he didn’t have much to do besides school sports and cruising the town. At the age of 14, Stevens got a part-time job working at a NAPA store. He said, “We did some light machine work there, and I became friends with Chuck Moore. That led to friends with more friends, and a couple of other significant influences were Deino McKamie and James Green. I learned a lot from them and spent a lot of time around them, listening and learning as much as I could. There were many others as I was fortunate to live in a time where street cruising and racing was the main thing to do.” From there, Stevens had held jobs in auto parts, power sports industry, marine industry, and lastly, Gwatney Performance Innovation doing calibrations and mechanical work. Stevens said, “I have now migrated more towards service management, product development, and still handle our remote calibration work.”

In 2011 Stevens and his wife decided they wanted a sports car and really liked the fifth-gen Camaro design. They purchased a stock 2010 Camaro SS, but it wouldn’t stay in its factory configuration long because Stevens had plans. As the modifications started to come, Stevens and his wife found themselves loading up the kids and driving to the track to race and then driving back home. “I would carry the jack, tools, and the drag wheels with us,” explained Stevens. “Since then, the car has been through many transformations from basic bolt-on modifications to different camshaft and heads combination. Then it transitioned to more serious builds the last couple of times. Still naturally aspirated, but a lot more detail and geared towards race only max effort.”

In 2018 Stevens got serious with the Camaro and decided to take it to the next level. He had a budget for the build, but the deeper he got into it, the more motivated he was to take his time and do everything the right way. 

“I’ve always tried to compete to be one of the fastest guys with naturally aspirated LS3 stock bottom end engines. It’s admittedly a micro record of some sort, but guys have competed for these types of things in the LS community for 20-plus years. For the last seven or eight years, only two others have gone faster than I have in the ¼-mile with SBE LS3 stuff. That is what prompted my new build to commence a few years back,” explained Stevens. “I needed the Camaro on a level playing field, so I built the car to do just that.”

On March 19th at 10 PM, his two-plus years of work paid off. Stevens ripped an impressive 8.55 elapsed time at 154 mph to topple the previous record of 8.95 at 146 mph in the 1/4-mile. And while his time was outstanding, Stevens set the record on his first pass and then went an 8.55 on his second full pass! Stevens said, “We have one to two-tenths left in this combination, EASY.”  

ENGINE  

  • Make/year: 2010
  • Current CID:  376
  • Bore/Stroke: 4.065/3.62
  • Crankshaft: Stock LS3
  • Pistons: Stock LS3 with valve reliefs cut in them
  • Connecting rods: Stock LS3
  • Engine built by: General Motors short-block (Stevens built it from the cam up)
  • Machine work: Kuntz and Co fly-cut the pistons
  • Name of shop: Gwatney Performance Innovation (Jacksonville, Arkansas)
  • Camshaft: GPI custom-spec from Kip Fabre at Cam Motion
  • Cylinder heads: CID LS7 castings, modified for small-bore usage
  • Heads by: CNC-ported by Kuntz and Co (Cesar Tellaz developed the ports and chambers)

AIR and FUEL 

  • PCM: Holley Terminator X
  • Engine tuner:  Stevens 
  • Injector size: 850 CC
  • Pump: Walbro 450 LPH Pump
  • Regulator: Aeromotive
  • Intake manifold: CID 5.0 CSA
  • Throttle body: Accufab 6500
  • Other induction modifications: Two-inch S=spacer, lightened and modified manifold to accept the 6500 throttle body by John at CID. Manifold was port-matched to the heads by Connor Key at Kuntz and Co.
  • Headers: American Racing Headers (ARH) 2-inch headers. Currently working on a set of customs from Wes Collins

TRANSMISSION 

  • Type: Coan XLT TH350
  • Clutch / Converter: Coan 8-inch converter
  • Flexplate / Flywheel: SFI steel flexplate
  • Shifter: Hurst Quarter Stick
  • Cooler: Derale
  • Driveshaft: Aluminum 3.5-inch
  • Safety loop: Two incorporated into the cage/floor structure
  • Other trans/driveline modifications: SFI bell housing, transmission blanket
  • Trans built by: Coan, and James Garst

REAR END 

  • Type: Stock 218mm IRS
  • Gears: 3.91 (going to 4.10)
  • Axles: Stock
  • Spool: Eaton TruTrack

CHASSIS

  • Front upper/lower control arms: Custom Lowers   
  • Front shocks/struts: Strange Aluminum GT spindle struts 
  • Front springs: Hyperco
  • Steering: Unisteer Pinto rack, Motion Raceworks column
  • Other front suspension mods: Racecraft front cradle
  • Rear upper/lower control arms: BMR lowers, BMR trailing arms, LSR toe rods, BMR bushings, Hendrix offset differential bushings
  • Rear shocks: Strange
  • Rear springs: Hyperco
  • Sway bar: BMR drag bar

WHEELS

  • Front: Weld V Series 15×3.5
  • Rear: Weld V Series 15×10

Tires

  • Front: Mickey Thompson ET 27.5
  • Rear: Mickey Thompson ET Street PRO 275 Radial

BRAKES

BODY

  • Original/Current color: Victory Red
  • Body modifications: Fiberglass doors, fiberglass deck lid, Optic Armor windows
  • Paint Work: Gwatney Collision Center

INTERIOR

  • Roll bar/cage: 25.2 by Paul Chandler at Chandler Chassis
  • Other safety equipment: RJS harness, Kirkey Seat
  • Other interior mods: California Scents air freshener
  • Gauges: Holley Dash

Performance

  • Best 1/4-mile ET: 8.55
  • MPH: 154.4
  • 60-foot time: 1.16
  • Track: Twin City Raceway (Monroe, Louisiana)
  • Horsepower:  829 flywheel
  • Torque: 551

Congratulations to Stevens and the Gwatney Performance Innovation team on this record. We hope to see this car go 8.30s in the near future. 

More Sources

About the author

Brian Havins

A gearhead for life, Brian is obsessed with all things fast. Banging gears, turning wrenches, and praying while spraying are just a few of his favorite things.
Read My Articles

Hot Rods and Muscle Cars in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Street Muscle, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Street Muscle articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Classic Ford Performance

Drag Racing

Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Classic Ford Performance
  • Drag Racing
  • Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading