Prev Article Next Article


Jerry Stamps' Love of Cars Began on a Country Road

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photographer by the FSC Staff
 
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Jerry Stamps watched his father work on muscle cars in the backyard of their home in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
 
His father was especially good with carburetors, and when it was time to take the car up the country road to tickle the throttle a tiny bit, Stamps would hop in the backseat and beam ear to ear.
 
From the fence post to the tree was a quarter-mile, and that is where Stamps learned to love racing.
 
He went on race a 1971 Duster followed by the 1973 Duster that he drives in NMCA competition, and after a little over a decade in Erson Cams Nostalgia Muscle presented by World Products, he decided to move to Micro Strategies Super Stock in 2024.
 
Stamps made his debut in the category at the Holley NMRA/Red Line Oil NMCA Race for the Rings & Saturday Thrill Festival in early May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, and he is already comfortable and confident.
 
Read on for more about Stamps, who painted cars at body shops for 25 years before working at Praxair for 25 years and retiring from his position as a maintenance technician in 2022. He and his wife and crew chief, Terri, call Greenwood, Indiana, home, and they call the six races on the NMCA tour their home away from home.


 
DO YOU REMEMBER GOING TO THE RACETRACK FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME?
 
I sure do. I grew up in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and my father, Harold, or Muggs as everyone called him, took us to the NHRA U.S. Nationals. It was when Funny Cars were first coming out, and for a six-year-old, that was really something. I also liked the 1963, 1964 and 1965 Plymouths, which were dominant in some classes at the time. My brother, Greg, and I have been to that race every year since that first year.
 
DID THAT TRIP TO THE RACETRACK INSPIRE YOUR CHOICE FOR YOUR FIRST CAR?
 
It definitely did. I worked at a used car lot when I was 15. I cleaned up all of the cars there, and when the muscle cars were traded in, I would tell my dad I wanted a 1970 Road Runner or something comparable, and he would tell me I didn’t need anything with that much horsepower. Then when the 1963 Belvedere came up for sale,  he said I could get that, so my first car was a 1963 Plymouth Belvedere. It cost $500, and I bought it when I was 15 with money I had saved up while working at the used car lot. It had a 318 cubic-inch engine, which my dad thought would be okay. It was red, and I started driving it when I turned 16. When I worked at the used car lot, we took some of the cars to a fellow who had a body shop so he could do some work on them, and after I painted some valve covers for him, he asked if I wanted a job at his shop, Al’s Body Shop, so I accepted that job and went there. I was still a senior in high school.
 
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AT THE BODY SHOP?
 
I sanded and performed general work, and Ron Boat, who owned the shop, taught me how to paint cars. He had a 1971 Duster sitting outside of the shop as a parts car, and he gave it to my brother and me. We collected parts for it, and it became our first race car. We had to buy a new front end, and I had a 340 cubic-inch engine for it and my brother had a 727 transmission for it. We got it painted. Our sister knew about it, but our parents didn’t know about it yet, and one night, a friend of ours who didn’t know our parents didn’t know about the car asked them how it was coming along. That’s how they found out about it. Fortunately for us, they were okay with it.


 
WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU RACE YOUR FIRST RACE CAR, THE 1971 DUSTER?

My brother and I decided that I would drive the car since I was the lightest. That is a true story. We raced it from 1984 through the early 1990s. We raced it at Indianapolis Raceway Park, and in 1986, we went to National Trail in Ohio for the Mopar Nationals and I won. That was our first big win. I had the car until the early to mid-1990s, and then my brother and I bought a Dodge Daytona Super Gas car that was half-way completed. We got it mostly completed before we sold it and I bought the 1973 Duster I have now in 1995 from a guy I worked with, and it was in pretty rough shape. It had holes in the floorboard, and we had it dipped in a tank to strip it and we painted it a year later, in 1996. I re-worked the car from the inside out, and installed the rollbar. We had a 340 cubic-inch low-compression engine. While it is a 1973 Duster now, it actually started out as a 1971 Dodge Demon. We changed the front end and the tail lights.
 
THE 1973 DUSTER YOU HAVE NOW HAS CERTAINLY SEEN A LOT OF TRACK TIME.
 
It sure has. My first race in it was in August of 1996, and it was an IHRA points meet at Muncie Dragway in Indiana. I was running 11.70s in G/Stock Automatic. We ran some NHRA Stock Eliminator and Bracket categories while staying pretty close to home. In 2011, NHRA had the Unleashed series, and we raced that at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. It was on a pro tree, and I figured it out and we won the race and a Wally. Then we went to Columbus and won that race, too, but we ran the 12.00 index for that.
 
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST NMCA EXPERIENCE?
 
In 2012, I entered Nostalgia Muscle at the race at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky. I liked it right away. Everyone in the category was friendly, and made us feel like family. I was sold on it right away, and I took part in several Nostalgia Muscle races that year. I can remember all of the rain that was forecasted to come in on Sunday at the race in Indiana, so we raced late on Saturday, and I raced in the final round at 4:49 a.m. and that is when I earned the 2012 Nostalgia Muscle championship. I will never forget that.
 
WHAT ARE SOME ERSON CAMS NOSTALGIA MUSCLE PRESENTED BY WORLD PRODUCTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU?
 
In addition to the 2012 championship, we won several times, and we won the Race for the Rings four times, and we finished in the top ten every year. The category has a family atmosphere. We had dinner together as often as we could at the races, and we will continue to do that even though I’m in a different category now.


 
WHAT COMPELLED YOU TO MOVE TO MICRO STRATEGIES SUPER STOCK IN 2024?
 
When I was a kid, I always liked the Super Stock stuff, so over the winter of 2023-2024, I decided to make my car a Super Stock car. I put a new rear end housing on it, and welded a brace on the back of it, and I put a shield around the transmission, per the rules. I had to work the trans tunnel a bit to make it fit. I had the engine redone to align with the Super Stock rules. Valley Performance and Machine of Ionia, Michigan, built a 360 cubic-inch small-block Mopar for me. They are pretty well-known for building small-block Mopars and that is why I called and talked with them. We paired it with our 904 transmission by Darrel Stiger. We also installed two new Kirkey racing seats.
 
HOW DID YOUR MICRO STRATEGIES SUPER STOCK DEBUT GO AT THE HOLLEY NMRA/RED LINE OIL NMCA RACE FOR THE RINGS & SATURDAY THRILL FESTIVAL AT WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY?
 
It was a whole new deal for us. The car leaves a lot differently than it used to, it is a second and 10 mph faster and I had to get used to the shift points, but after a few passes, I told myself I could do this, and I liked it. We made it through the first round. We have to run a Thermoquad carburetor, and while they can be great, they can also be tricky. I had a few passes on the car before the race. A lot of people don’t know that in Super Stock, you want to go as fast as you can in qualifying. It is a handicap breakout category, so consistently choosing the 11.00 index and running 10.40s or 10.50 would make me really happy. We made it through the first round at the race.
 
WHAT DOES YOUR WIFE AND CREW CHIEF, TERRI, THINK OF THE MOVE TO MICRO STRATEGIES SUPER STOCK?
 
She likes the change in class, and she is excited about it. We will, of course, continue to pit with our good friends, Don and Pat Fotti, Bruce and Mary Boyle and Jeff and Kim Toepper, among others, so that certainly is not going to change. They are a big part of this experience for us.

(Interview from the Aug. 2024 issue of Fastest Street Car)


 
 
 

join our

email list

You’ll be first to know about NMCA events, race results and so much more!