Walking around aimlessly at Wild Horse Pass, I came across an aggressive looking 2002 Camaro. I figured I had found the Maro I was looking for. As I turned to my right, I saw a guy in a straw hat, who also happened to be the guy who owned the car, Joe Verolini. With a quick hand shake, I jumped into the car with Joe and headed towards the back of the track for a photo session and interview before the drivers meeting.
Joe told me his goal was to run an 8.5-second pass in the quarter mile. To accomplish this, he knew he would need a purpose-built drag car.
Joe, a self-declared “Chevy guy” with an appreciation for “all nice cars,” began searching for a hardtop Camaro or Firebird to use as an appropriate base vehicle towards the end of 2015. After looking for many months, he started to like the look of the Camaro a little more and concentrated his efforts.
“I found a 2002 Camaro out of Utah in good shape with high miles,” Joe said. He added that since he would be only using the shell, he didn’t care much about the mileage and bought the car sight unseen in June 2016.
“It was clean, rust free, and would be the perfect platform for my build,” Joe said.
With help from Joe at Cordes Performance Racing, Joe created a plan that he felt would see him obtain his goal. “We would be doing a forged LS3, twin turbo kit from Huron Speed, RPM TH400 Trans, 9-inch rear end, and high-quality suspension parts from Midwest Chassis.”
In the first few months of ownership, Joe began tearing the car apart in his garage while the engine and trans were being built at Cordes. “I did as much as I could in the garage,” he said, adding he installed the 9-inch rear end, suspension parts, and stripped out the interior.
Before sending the car to Cordes Performance Racing in December of 2016, Joe had a Midwest Chassis 10 point cage installed, and the body painted in factory white with a little pearl mixed in.
The $3,000 car was up and running by February 2017. After some street driving and some final tuning, the car made 1,000 rear wheel horsepower on 19 psi of boost. “This gave us a good starting point to get to the track and see what it could do and gave us room to turn it up more,” he said.
According to Joe, the toughest part of the build process were the costs. “There is truth to ‘what you think it will cost’ and then multiply by three,” Joe said.
“There are lots of little things that you don’t think of when building an 8-second car from bone stock,” he said, noting the approximate cost of the build was $80,000.
Joe said he was fortunate enough to be able to knock everything out at once over an 8 month period. “Unfortunately I’m impatient,” he said. For those aspiring to do a similar build, Joe recommends spreading the build out over a longer time frame.
Over the last year and a half, Joe has accomplished an 8.67 pass at 160 mph, his personal best. “It’s definitely attainable, but just got to keep trying to get better behind the wheel,” Joe said.
He added he nicknamed the car “Spoolio,” as his favorite part of the car is its twin turbo power. However, if he had to do it over again, he said he would have built a stronger block. “I’m about at the limit of my ls3, so eventually I will need to go 6-bolt to handle more boost,” Joe said.
Joe said the car is pretty much finished, but he always looks at improving things. His most recent modification was the addition of a carbon fiber roof which adds some style points and more importantly, reduces a great amount of weight. His future plans include cleaning up the interior a bit, “I did a hack job installing the carpet so that could use some improvements.”
- I love the headlights on this beast. Even with no body tuning modifications, it adds a look to know that you shouldn’t mess with this car.
- Again, we see that this LS motor is being forced fed by two large Precision Turbos, I mentioned in my last story that the Precision brand shows high dominance in the drag race field.
- Engine: 376 ci LS3, Callies Crank, Rods, Weisco pistons. Ported LSA Heads
- Power Adder: Huron Speed Twin turbo kit, Precision 62/66 turbos
- Transmission: RPM Th400
- Rearend: Moser 9″ w/ 35 spline axles and spool
- Horsepower/Torque Numbers: 1050 rwhp on 21 psi
- Chassis/Suspension: Midwest Chassis control arms, arb, torque arm, AFCO coilovers, rear QA1 shocks, stock rear springs.
- Brakes: Strange Drag Brakes
- Tires/Wheels: Billet Specialties Win Lites 17″ front and 15″ rear. Mickey Thompson 275-60 Radial Pros
- Exterior: Factory White with pearl, Sunoco Cowl Hood, MWC Parachute Mount
- Interior: 10-point cage, Kirkey seats
- Driveline parts: Moser 9-inch rear end, Circle-D converter, 35-spline axles, 3.25 rear gear