Randy Adler’s 1957 Blown Bel Air is Big, Bad & Beautiful

Of all the places they could gather years ago, Randy Adler, his brother, Rob and their father, Richard, chose the parking lot at White Castle and Duke’s Drive-In near their homes in Tinley Park, Illinois, but rather than drinking milkshakes and devouring fries, they were lining up street races.

They held their own in the 1966 El Camino, 1969 Nova SS and 1976 Trans Am belonging to their father, and eventually, they became known as the A-Team.

“I never lost a street race, and dad did well, too,” said Randy Adler. “He may have been quiet, but you know what they say about people carrying big sticks, right? Well, dad’s big stick was his big engine, and he was taken seriously. Even though he has since passed, all three of those cars are still in the family.”

Alder and his brother, Rob, went on to purchase a 1969 Nova from a local seller in 1990, gave it a big-block Chevy and 871 blower, and fed it fuel through a carburetor.

“My brother likes to tinker, tune and build, and I like to drive,” said Adler, who opened the appropriately-named A-Team Speed Shop with his brother in 1993. “So we started going to NMCA events to grudge race and make exhibition passes in the car many years ago, and when we would fire it up and do a burnout, people would come running to see what it was.”

The car would lay down 8.20s, and Adler’s frequent grudge racing opponent was Bob Schukei, whose 1969 Mach 1 Mustang had a blown and injected big-block Chevy.

“He would beat me a lot, but that was okay, because I had the big, long burnouts,” said Alder, with a laugh.

Adler’s adeptness behind the wheel was becoming more and more apparent, and in 1992, he was invited to drive a 1966 GTO for Lynwood Wood, who, much to Adler’s amusement, lived on Wood Street and made a living installing hardwood floors.

“Between 1992 and 1999, we ran that car and its twin with a 526 cubic-inch Keith Black Oldsmobile and a 1471 supercharger, and that’s what put us on the map,” said Adler. “We would always do wheelies in it, and we were the first to do over 200 mph on DOT-approved tires. We set numerous records, won a lot of races, did a lot of radio interviews and won the NMCA Outlaw Street championship in 1999, but most importantly, we had a great time.”

In 2000, Adler moved to a black 1957 Chevy and went on to be named the 2000 Outlaw Street Driver as part of Car Craft Magazine’s 33rd Annual All-Star Drag Racing Team, and in 2002, he earned the UDRA’s Unlimited Pro Stock championship. He also earned Super Chevy Nitro Coupe championships in 2004 and 2006, but he suffered a setback at a Super Chevy event in Pomona, California, in 2006.

“An axle broke and blew the rear tire out at 160 mph, and I had to be airlifted from the track,” said Adler. “I woke up on the helicopter, and I ended up with a concussion, green bruises from head to toe, and my brain was swollen. I actually lost vision for a little while and I was off of work for a month.”

By February of 2007, Adler was making waves from the driver’s seat of a Tim McAmis-built 2006 GTO, and wheeled the colorful car to the 2007 Super Chevy Nitro Coupe championship. He ran into trouble, however, during a Super Chevy event at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, where his car made a move at 196 mph and got into his competitor in the next lane before impacting the wall and catching fire.

“I slid from the eighth-mile to the shut down area on the roof,” said Adler. “Like all of our other Tim McAmis-built cars, that one was well-built, and I was not injured. The car was not a loss, but we sold it and hired Tim McAmis to build our current 1957 Bel Air in 2010.”

Adler gave it an Alan Johnson-designed and A-Team Speed Shop-built 526 cubic-inch Wedge engine with a roots-style blower, and then surprised NMCA fans by entering what was then Pro Mod and contested on the quarter-mile and is now VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod and contested on the eighth-mile, at the NMCA event at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois in 2011, where he won. He then participated in the NMCA events at Route 66 Raceway and Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2012 and 2014.

“We just stayed local, tested and worked on the roots blower combination in 2015, but when we heard that NMCA wanted to open Pro Mod rules up a little for 2016 for blower, nitrous and turbo cars and change from quarter-mile to eighth-mile, we thought we could be competitive,” said Adler. “Even though eighth-mile is easier on parts, I’m not a fan because I want to get the thing in high gear and let it eat because that’s where you find out what you’ve really got and because I want to go as fast as I can for as long as I can, but we decided to change our combination to run NMCA again. The rules package made sense and would allow for some tight racing.”

Adler and his brother, Rob, sold their 526 cubic-inch Wedge engine and roots-style blower, and built a Hemi and PSI C-rotor screw blower. They also went from a Lenco with a clutch to a Lenco featuring a Lenco Drive and a Coan converter, and then headed to a test session in February of 2016 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.

“We didn’t know if we would be consistent, but we knew we would be fast, and the test session went well,” said Alder. “We ran a 3.80 at 205 mph.”

A few weeks later, Adler headed to the 2016 NMCA season opener, the 14th Annual Ross Racing Pistons NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park, where he drove to a 3.80 to lead qualifying and then a runner-up.

“We were ready to win, but we had a fuel leak in the final round,” said Adler. “Fuel got under the tires, but I didn’t have my headset on, and I didn’t know what the problem was until it was too late. Still, it was good to runner-up at our first race back with the NMCA. After we found out that TJ (Bailey) could seriously make a race track work, we teamed up with Brian Robbins to help us tune. He’s very aggressive whereas my brother, Rob, is very safe when it comes to tuning. Brian always says ‘Let’s put power in’ and Rob always says ‘Let’s race from A to B,’ so it’s fun to watch the two of them meet in the middle.”

Adler went on to runner-up at the race at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio in August, where he put six runs between 3.80 and 3.87 on the board. When it was all said and done, he finished second in 2016 VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod points.

“My brother and Brian were able to help me consistently get our supercharged car down a race track in various conditions, and in the end, that’s what stands out most about this season,” said Adler, who lives in Monee, Illinois, with his wife, Alisa, son, Randy, Jr., who races a junior-dragster, and daughter, Shelby. “As long as the rules stay the same or close to the same, we’ll be back in 2017.”

Owner: Rob Adler
Driver: Randy Adler
Hometown: Monee, Illinois
Occupation: A-Team Speed Shop
Class: VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod
Crew: Rob, Linda, Alisa, Brian, Randy, Jr. and Jon
Engine: Hemi
Engine builder: A-Team Speed Shop
Displacement: 521
Block: TFX
Bore: 4.467
Stroke: 4.15
Crank: Bryant
Rods: GRP
Pistons: JE
Cylinder heads: NRE
Valvetrain: Manton
Camshaft: Cam Motion
Carburetor or EFI system: JBR fuel injection
Power-adder: PSI C-rotor
Fuel brand and type: Renegade alcohol
Headers and exhaust: Kooks
Transmission: Lenco Drive
Transmission builder: Lenco
Torque converter: Coan converter
Rearend: Strange
Differential: Strange
Body and/or chassis builder: Tim McAmis
Suspension (front): Strange struts
Suspension (rear): Penske
Brakes (front): Strange carbon fiber
Brakes (rear): MarkWilliams carbon fiber
Wheels (front): Weld
Wheels (rear): Weld
Tires (front): Goodyear
Tires (rear): Hoosier
Fiberglass/carbon body components: 7/8th by Tim McAmis
Safety equipment: Stroud
Vehicle weight: 2650
Quickest ET: 3.80
Best 60-foot: .956
Fastest mph: 206 mph
Sponsors: A-Team Speed Shop, Gates Belts, All Star Performance, NGK, Clevite and JE Pistons

Feature from the Jan. 2017 Fastest Street Car written by Mary Lendzion with photography by Dr. Rudy Rouweyha, Kevin DiOssi and Steve Baur.