The last time Clint Hairston drove the 2001 GTO he had been campaigning with his brother, Jake, he won.
It was two years ago, in the Pro Mod category at the Street Car Super Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and because the car was competitive and consistently in the 5.70s, fans were surprised to see them park it.
But Clint, who works in the dairy cattle industry in California, and Jake, who works as an engine assembler, dyno operator and EFI specialist at Elite Performance in Oklahoma, felt that they had gotten all that they could get out of the car’s chassis, and began to chart a course to a new race car.
They began by hiring Rick Jones of RJ Race Cars to build a 25.1 double-framerail Pro Mod chassis. It’s equipped with a Strange Engineering floater housing, Precision Racing Suspension front struts and rear shocks, and Strange Engineering carbon fiber brakes.
“We’re more than happy with the work Rick Jones has done for us,” said Clint, who was successful in the 2001 GTO in NMCA’s former Pro Street category in 2011-2015. “The car is beautiful, and I think it will be very similar to the GTO aerodynamically, but it will be more stable down track because it has a bigger wing.”
Ample amounts of horsepower will come from an Elite Performance-built big-block Chevy on a CFE block with a five-inch bore space topped with CFE heads. Jake as well as Nick Ferri designed the intake manifold at Elite Performance, and CFE then made it.
Keeping the engine well lubricated is a Moroso oiling system, and enhancing the already-powerful powerplant are a pair of 88mm Precision turbos, which were mounted by Mickey’s Chassis Works, which also fabricated the headers.
An M&M Transmission-built Turbo 400 and converter help put the power down in the car rolling on Hoosier slicks and wearing a 2017 Camaro body made by Five Star Race Car Bodies and painted by SD Enterprises, and a MoTeC M150 electronic engine management system and Race Pak data acquisition system — which, according to Clint, has every sensor imaginable — are in place.
“Most people in the class run a magneto ignition system, but we run a coil-near-plug ignition and think there’s a performance and tuning advantage,” said Clint, who receives support in that department from Shane Tecklenburg.
Work on the car recently wrapped up, and because Clint wasn’t available to shake it down, he and Jake asked friend, Elite Performance-backed driver and multi-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens to shake it down on November 2 and 3 at Tulsa Raceway.
“Testing went well, and we’re confident that we can go out and be competitive,” said Clint, who declined to share specifics. “Along with Erica driving, the crew consisted of Jake, Kyle Bates, Royce Lee Freeman, my uncle, Tracy Holmes, Mark Ingersoll and Brian “Lump” Self. Basically the message is, we’ve got some pretty special people supporting us on this car.”
While Clint is preparing to climb into the driver’s seat for Pro Mod action at the Street Car Super Nationals, Nov. 16-19 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he’ll share the driver’s seat with Enders-Stevens in NHRA Pro Mod, NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod and other events in 2018.
“We want to run up front,” said Clint. “We went mid-5.70s in the GTO, and we think we can do better than that in the Camaro. I’d like to thank my sponsors and supporters, including Elite Motorsports, LLC, Pertronix Performance Products, RJ Racecars/Quarter-Max, Lucas Oil Products, RacePak, M&M Transmission, Strange Engineering, Precision Turbo & Engine, MoTeC Tuned by Shane T, Hoosier Racing Tires, CFE, all the guys at Elite Performance: Nick Ferri, Jake Hairston, Casey Gardner, Kyle Bates, Brian “Lump” Self, Kendall Long, Chase B. Freeman and Austin “Spicolli”, Rick and Rickie Jones, Mark “Buddy” Ingersoll, Kenny Duttweiler, Royce Freeman, Sr., Robert Freeman and especially Richard and Royce Lee Freeman for their support and also use of a beautiful toterhome and race trailer, and, of course, Erica Enders-Stevens for being awesome and shaking the car down for me.”
(Photos and video courtesy of Clint Hairston)