Coast Packing/R&E Racing in Atlanta for Pro Mod All-Star Nationals: New Camaro Came, Saw and Conquered With Fastest Time Ever
When you’re creating the world’s fastest street car, things happen quickly – in this case, even more quickly than anticipated, as Coast Packing Company’s R&E Racing Team learned to its delight at the 10th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals in Atlanta on April 5-8.
Predicted to be a front-runner, the new, built-from-the-pavement-up screamer, driven by Coast Packing CEO Eric R. “Goose” Gustafson, did the forecasts one better, making the new Camaro the quickest Pro Charger-equipped car in 1/8th mile drag racing. Gustafson recorded a 3.755@200 mph at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.
In the VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod class, 22 cars sought to qualify for the 16 available spots. Pacesetter Jason Hamstra went out in the semifinals to Gustafson, who met Craig Sullivan in the final round – the first time both drivers had been to an NMCA Pro Mod final. Sullivan’s .020-second reaction time wasn’t enough to top Gustafson, who snagged the win, 3.77 to 3.85.
Gustafson – world-class drag racer and multi-time NMCA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw and NMCA West ProCharger Street Outlaw champion — and crew chief Cameron Hensley returned to action for the first time since 2016. The Camaro made its debut in March at the Muscle Car Mayhem season-opening event in Bradenton, Florida.
“Everything happened so much quicker than anticipated,” Hensley said. “We didn’t expect anything like this on just our second race out. This is all due to our incredible team and our years of knowledge, all coming together in one amazing project.”
“Nobody had ever run 3.70s or 200 mph with a centrifugal supercharged door-slammer Pro Mod car, so we were the first to do that,” Gustafson told NMCA Digital. “I still can’t believe it’s true. Things were working properly and the car was responding to changes we were making by going quicker and faster.”
The Gary Naughton Race Cars-built chassis is topped with a carbon fiber 1969 Camaro body made by Cynergy Composites and painted and airbrushed by Larry Jeffers Race Cars.
Tuned by Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing of Worthington, OH, the 526ci Brad Anderson Enterprises Hemi and ProCharger F-3R-136 sit under the one-piece front end. The car is equipped with a Liberty’s transmission and rolls on a Mark Williams Enterprises rear-end, Strange Engineering suspension components, struts and shocks by Precision Racing Suspension and Hoosier tires, and 2017 NMCA VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod champion Steve Summers handled the wiring and finishing touches. John Urgo drives the team’s rig to the races; additional support comes from Coast Packing Co., Gustafson’s father, Ron, and ProCharger.
Next up for the Chevy is the 17th Annual NMCA Quick Fuel Technology Bluegrass Nationals, May 17-20 at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Meanwhile, Coast/R&E Racing’s 1989 Mustang will continue to traverse the circuit, in races organized by the NHRA, NMCA and NMRA. Gustfason and Hensley are expected to split driving duties in select NMCA or NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw events. The Mustang is currently receiving chassis upgrades at Lyons Custom Motorsports, and is now powered by a Pettis Performance-built small-block Ford fronted alternately by a ProCharger supercharger or a Precision turbo.
Doffing his crew chief hat, Hensley – who, away from the track, is Coast Packing’s Plant Engineer — is spending this week at the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Future Leaders Meat Industry Summit in San Antonio, networking and taking in education sessions and committee meetings.The honor is the second for Hensley this year. In February, he was named to the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) Sixth Annual Young Leaders “30 under 30,” Program, designed to engage the next generation of professionals in the foodservice industry. IPPE is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY). Hensley, 28, of Hermosa Beach, is the first Coast Packing employee so honored.