Cubic dollars: they are really what a racecar runs on and you can dump them into any project to make it fast, but there comes a point where you find the edge of what a platform is capable of. Joseph Young found that edge with a Corvette in street car racing so he jumped ship to the F-body platform. Young’s 2001 Pontiac Trans Am is a true 4-second street car that is hurting feelings in the no-prep racing world.
To understand what drives Young’s choices in motor vehicles you have to start back at the beginning. As a kid Young spent hours obsessing over racecars, from building model cars to playing every racing video game he could get his hands on. The car that Young lusted over was a Fox body Mustang, so at the age of 14, he started collecting parts for one even though he didn’t own the car yet. A year later Young purchased a 1992 Mustang, started building the car, and began racing it at the local drag strip.
When street car shootouts and no-prep racing started to become popular, Young had moved on to a 2010 Corvette ZR1 that made over 800 horsepower to the tires. He wanted to get in on the action these races were bringing to the table. He and a friend entered the street car class and quickly learned how out-gunned they really were for this type of racing.
“We got slaughtered the first round at the very first event we entered. This is when I started to realize how slow of a street car I had. I started looking into doing a Powerglide swap to my ZR1 and more mods. I determined I didn’t want to ruin such a nice car and worked a deal out on trading a guy for a Powerglide-swapped Z06. I started hitting all the local street car events and shootouts. At one point we raced six weeks in a row out of town with the Z06. That Z06 was what really got me into fast street cars and no-prep racing,” Young says.
After learning his lesson and racing the Z06 for a few years Young ran into a problem: he had maxed out the potential of what the Corvette could do. The car wasn’t easy for him to work on, parts were expensive, and the suspension wasn’t optimal for drag racing. Instead of destroying a great street car that made big power while still having all the creature comforts he loved, Young decided it was time to build something that required no compromises to go fast.
“The Trans Am is safer, has a better cage, and has a fully adjustable tubular suspension. It also has the power-adder and engine management system that I had been wanting for years with my Corvette. It is a perfect fit for what I want to do. The main things I’ve modified since I got the car are the hot and cold side to the turbo system, a different intake, a different converter, some suspension changes, and a tune change,” Young explains.
The Trans Am was originally owned by Alex Healey, who built the suspension of the car around parts from Burkhart Chassis and Menscer Motorsports AFCO shocks. Jessie Coulter did all of the roll cage work that keeps Young safe on each pass.
The 370 cubic-inch LS engine is made up of forged internals from Texas Speed and uses an LJMS custom camshaft. An Edelbrock ProFlow intake breathes all the boosted air it can from a 98mm Forced Inductions turbo that has been chilled by a Prospeed air to water intercooler. Young’s crew chief Brady Matysek controls all the power that is applied to the Burkart Fab 9 rearend via a BTE powerglide transmission with a Holley Dominator ECU.
Young’s plans for 2019 revolve around more Outlaw Street class no-prep racing and street car shootouts around the country. This allows him to enjoy the Trans Am’s ability to be street driven during the cruises.
“We plan on racing the car a lot, learning, and tuning on the car more with what we see in the data. I am pretty happy with how the car is set up. I just need a lot more seat time to get better at racing it. I am sure I will race some local small-tire events, as well, just because I want to start exposing myself to those setups and cars,” Young says.
Racing is all about finding a way to execute your plan to go as fast as possible and Joseph Young discovered sometimes that requires switching cars. Young’s Trans Am is the perfect example of a car that’s built to go as fast as possible while still being able to see street duty.
Images courtesy of Van Voris Media