When he’s not building race cars with Tin Soldier Race Cars business partner Brad Schnieders, Jason Terrell has been keeping busy on the weekends this year by driving TSR customer Mike Farmer’s Second-Gen 1980 Chevy Camaro in Edelbrock Xtreme Street. This weekend, the 2020 NMCA season comes to a close with this weekend’s NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, and Terrell will be joined at the race by his father, Ron, who is dusting off his own Third-Gen Camaro to go racing this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
“There’s never been an event where there’s been two classes we can both race,” Jason Terrell explained to us. “He hasn’t raced anything other than the NHRA in probably 20 years, so it’s the first time for both of us to race together.”
Ron Terrell has been to a few NMCA races to support his son, and spoke with numerous racers competing in the Coan Stock/Super Stock class.
“He saw a lot of people he knew and asked how they liked racing with the NMCA and he liked what they had to say. He has called me like eight times this week asking me questions.” The elder Terrell hasn’t been able to race all that much lately due to some health issues, but is tuned up and ready for competition this weekend.
A lifetime GM employee and Stock Eliminator racer dating back to the ’60s when he competed in his big-block Corvette—a car he still owns today—Terrell had quite a bit of success, and often claimed his winnings made the payments on his car.
Around 1971, he purchased what would become the original Tin Soldier, a 1969 COPO Camaro. He drove it with the four-speed in Stock Eliminator car, but it wasn’t long that he had the car back-halved and had Lingenfelter rebuild the big-block. Eventually, the COPO received an automatic transmission and Terrell had Wayne County Speed Shop set up the chassis up. With that car, he claimed numerous victories over many years.
By the 1980s, it was time for a change and Terrell picked up a 1985 Camaro Berlinetta from a salvage yard in 1986. The car was still relatively new, but had suffered a fire. To give it a new lease on life, some Z28 ground effects were added as well as a new paint job. Dick Butler built the capable chassis.
“It’s the original paint from 1987; it still looks amazing,” Terrell’s son told us. “He takes very good care of it. I grew up looking at it every day. I was born in 1989, so he has had it longer than me. I spent my childhood working on it and pretending to drive it.”
In keeping with what was familiar, Terrell installed another big-block engine in the late-model Camaro and competed in the SS/GT category. It wasn’t until he broke it and needed a quick replacement to be able to compete at the NHRA US Nationals that he tried out something smaller.
“He had a buddy that loaned him a small-block, and he never went back,” Terrell told us.
Currently, the Camaro is equipped with something way smaller, a 305ci engine with a Tuned Port Induction EFI system. Despite it’s 8.5:1 compression ratio and tiny cylinder and combustion chambers, the engine was built by the capable hands at BES Racing Engines and pumps out over 600 horsepower. What’s perhaps even more impressive than the power output is the 8,700 rpm singing through a 48mm throttle body!
“He qualified number 2 last year at U.S. Nationals out of 160 cars,” Terrell told us. “The car has been 9.60s in SS/J trim. People forget how much technology we’ve learned from these guys,” Terrell said. “The camshaft in it has over .900-inch of lift!”
After making car noises behind the wheel for some time, eventually Jason had the opportunity to pilot it for real.
“I drove it once at an Indy points meet when he was having back troubles,” Terrell recalled. “I had never bracket raced a day in my life and never raced on a Sportsman tree. My first lap in the car, I had a problem doing a burnout and all I could hear was my Dad in my head telling me to make sure I don’t over-rev it in the burnout.”
As his time in the “most impressive, unimpressive car” was short, Jason continues to focus on his current racing program, which includes driving Mike and Samuel Farmer’s 1980 Camaro, which you can read more about HERE, in the Edelbrock Xtreme Street class
Since debuting the car at the NMRA/NMCA All-Star race in Commerce, Georgia, earlier this year, Terrell and Schnieders have consistently qualified mid-field with the LSX-based and turbocharged Camaro.
“In Michigan, we had our best weekend. We had lane choice against Joel [Greathouse] in the quarter-finals and the fuel pump went out. We seem to have found our stride in it, though.”
This weekend’s event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis will no-doubt prove to be just as tough, and cool weather should provide some Xtreme elapsed times. Can the Terrell’s double up this weekend? You can get tickets to the race HERE or watch it all happen on Floracing.com.