By Mary Lendzion
When Regina Puckett was growing up in Florida, her mom would tell her stories about how she was driving a 1969 GTO when she was pregnant with her, and how she had other muscle cars through the years.
Influenced by that, Puckett went on to have a 1986 Camaro while she was in college, followed by a 1993 Camaro Z28, and she raced both of them in Bracket categories at the track near her home in Florida.
But ready to rev a bit higher, she purchased an Inferno Orange 2010 Camaro SS with an L99 engine in the summer of 2009, and happily put 25,000 miles on its odometer hauling around town in the first year.
“I had the car designed and built specifically for me,” said Puckett. “I didn’t just buy one from a dealership. For some reason I love that about her.”
By 2012, Puckett, who owns the car with her husband, Jeff, was racing in the 5th Generation Camaro Challenge category in the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series, and by 2013, she has secured a second-place finish in points. She moved to Proform Rumble in 2015, earned a ninth-place finish that year, followed by a third-place finish in 2016, fifth-place finish in 2017, seventh-place finish in 2018 and a fifth-place finish in 2019, all despite having to occasionally miss races. When her engine finally expired in 2015, she replaced it with an LS3 engine.
“I’m a Camaro girl,” said Puckett, who was clocking 13s before picking up to 11s. “I was driving the car everywhere, and I kept it stock for a while before I started modifying it, with a different exhaust, different cams and things like that, and it progressed from there.”
Last winter, Puckett replaced the drive-by wire in her car with a throttle cable.
“I wanted to see if it would remove the starting line hesitation that the car was having, and it did, but I had to learn how to do some things differently when staging,” said Puckett, who also added a RacePak to her race program.
Unfortunately, the rear-end under her car let go on the starting line on a pre-qualifying test pass at the 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, but she bounced back to runner-up at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in June at Atlanta Dragway. She followed that up with a quarter-final finish at the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance in early August at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
Near the top in Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series Proform Rumble points, she and her husband made the 17-hour trip from their home in Florida to the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering, the second to last race in this year’s points chase, in late August at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
“The pressure was on to go rounds,” said Puckett. “But on the first two days, the car ran horribly because it was hot and humid, so it felt like it was going to be a real challenge. On top of that, we had a terrible rain storm over the track, but I knew that the forecast called for much nicer weather later in the weekend that would put me where I needed to be.”
With a 12.00 index, Puckett ran close to that, and even right on that, on her way to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.
“I had good competition all the way through the race,” said Puckett.
Now holding down second place in Proform Rumble points, Puckett is pumped up for the 19th Annual Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, Sept. 24-27 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana, where championships will be cemented.
“I’m chasing the championship ring this year, and I really want it,” said Puckett. “It’s within my grasp, and I have a solid shot.”