They say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. So, when NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod driver Rob Cox realized his 2017 Chevrolet Camaro was struggling to keep up with the rest of the field, he decided to ditch his twin turbos in favor of a ProCharger centrifugal supercharger instead.
Cox, who resides in Michigan, began campaigning the Camaro after an unexpected blaze at Jerry Bickel Race Cars in 2017 destroyed the Bickel-built 2007 Pontiac GTO he purchased from Jake Harrison and had sent back to the Missouri-based chassis shop for updates. The Camaro was built by Bickel as a replacement for Cox’s ruined ride, as the body style was specifically selected to have an aerodynamic edge over the competition.
“We had been running a 5-inch bore space 526 cubic-inch big block Chevy engine from Elite Motorsports with the twin 94mm turbochargers, five-speed Liberty transmission and a Quick Drive lockup,” explained Cox of the jettisoned power adders. “We just couldn’t get the combination to be consistent enough, and ProCharger has been exceeding everyone in performance lately.”
Cox joined forces with Modern Racing in Mooresville, North Carolina, to collaborate on the conversion to a supercharged setup. A new Elite Motorsports Noonan Hemi engine has been placed between the late model Camaro’s frame rails, and Cox will stick with the Liberty 5-speed gearbox but has moved away from the lockup converter. However, his Penske rear shocks, Bickel four-link, and Lazarus 11” rear end will all remain on board.
The massive Pro Mod-legal ProCharger has already been bolted on and looks especially menacing hanging off the front of the powerplant. Modern Racing handled all of the fabrication and finishing work of the Haltech Nexus R5 that was wired in by Haltech’s team, but there’s still a bit more to complete before it all can be fired up.
“As soon as it’s done, we’ll get the car on the dyno and get it tuned so we can make it to the U.S. Street Nationals,” Cox said of his plans for the weekend of January 28-30, 2022, at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. “We’re hoping to get down there early in the week to test first, though.”
The outing will be his first time piloting a supercharged combination, although he did begin building a 1999 Pontiac Firebird a few years back for use in Limited Drag Radial that will be powered by a screw blower when it comes out in mid-to-late 2022.
Modern Racing’s crew will be on the property at Bradenton to get Cox’s cool Camaro set up and dialed in. “They’re a great team, and they’ve done amazing things with Lyle Barnett. Hopefully, we’ll be flying soon,” added Cox excitedly. “The quickest we ran over the last four years with the turbos was a 3.70, so we’re hoping to keep up with the Joneses now with a 3.65 or better and good repeatability.”
After what he hopes will be a successful first outing with the new supercharger, Cox plans to return to Bradenton in mid-March for the 19th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines season opener to run in VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod before continuing on with his beautiful blue beast for the 2022 NMCA drag racing season.