Ryan Hill ran a handful of NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod events in 2020 with his “Betty White” supercharged 1963 Chevy Corvette, so, when he hurt the car and decided to sit out and focus on business, he knew it wouldn’t be long before he was back at it. Fortunately, Ron Potenzo offered up a deal to make it happen a lot sooner than Hill originally expected.
Based out of the popcorn capital of the world, Valparaiso, Indiana, Hill and his father, Dave Hill, purchased their car in 2018 with high hopes of racing it as often as possible after having had Chris Duncan Race Cars update it, but circumstances prevented that. Instead, they stayed busy with their recycling company, Electro Mechanical Services, until fate intervened.
“I was in Texas working on my friend Rick “Aldi” Krafft’s car and he said he had met a guy who had a car, but didn’t have anyone to drive it,” explained the 30-year-old second-generation racer and former Top Sportsman driver who always enjoys the unexpected. “Come to find out, that was Ron Potenzo—we were even Facebook friends and I didn’t know it.”
Potenzo had previously campaigned his “Twisted Sister” 1963 Corvette in Pro Modified with the late Bobby D’Andrea behind the wheel. Unfortunately, D’Andrea’s passing left the driver’s seat open… so, after a bit of talking and exchanging ideas, Potenzo decided to trust Hill to take over the job.
Currently, Potenzo’s car is residing at the Hills’ shop in Indiana, although its owner himself lives in Illinois. Built in 2008 by Tim McAmis Race Cars and bodied with a split window classic Corvette façade from Hairy Glass, the carbon fiber-wrapped Chevy was once owned by big-time Pro Mod players such as Mike Janis and Mike Knowles, among others.
Under its front end, an Alan Johnson Performance Engineering Hemi engine sits with a set of Precision turbochargers flanking it on either side, and a Hogan’s intake manifold sits up top. A three-speed Turbo 400 transmission from Proformance Racing Transmissions and non-lockup torque converter round out the combination, and it’s all managed via BigStuff3 Gen 4 powertrain management system that Potenzo tunes himself.
Out back, a Strange Engineering rearend with a 4.10 gear helps put the power to the ground.
“It even still has a huge wing, and wings are f*cking cool!” asserted Hill confidently.
Previously, the “Twisted Sister” had run as quick as 3.81-seconds in the eighth-mile, which is quicker than Hill has gone in his own.
“It’s a lot faster than mine, but will it be a 3.60 car all day long? Probably not. We don’t have the coin for that, so we’ll just work the little guy thing to our advantage,” noted the privateer who is familiar with racing on a budget.
Hill, who has always piloted supercharged machines in the past, is excited to give the turbocharged setup a try and get to feel the difference in when the power ramps in.
“This will be my first time driving a turbo car. I’ve been told to hold on because I might sh*t myself and need new underwear,” he laughed in full disclosure. “I used to talk bad on turbo cars and now I’m driving one, but I love class parity so I’m happy to be running this.”
Given the recent domination of Pro Modified by supercharged and nitrous-assisted combinations, Hill has no qualms about being at a potential hindrance with the turbos as he knows—eventually—the rules will come back around to favor the snails and then he and Potenzo will already be ahead of the game on figuring things out.
Until then, the guys plan to run a few NMCA events as their schedules permit, including the Inaugural Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival Presented by Force Engineering in July at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan. They’ll stay plenty busy for sure, as the elder Hill also has a nitro Funny Car that he regularly races, sometimes in Fuel Altered-trim, while the younger frequently serves as a test driver for Chris Duncan Race Cars’ new builds and wheelman of Eddie Heil’s 1967 Chevy Camaro.
“We’ll go testing before NMCA Michigan to make sure I can handle all of the horsepowers, and if that goes well, then we’ll definitely be at the [20th Annual NMCA World Street Finals] race in Indy,” shared Hill of his future plans. “I believe this will be a good, long-time deal for both me and Ron [Potenzo] and I’m excited for it.”