Drag Racer - - Over Center - Text and Photos by Brian Los­ness

His T/S Ca­maro is a Prime Ex­am­ple




If you stand back and look at Dan Laf­ferty, you will see a man who fits all of th­ese met­rics.

Laf­ferty is a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man who owns Laf­ferty Drilling and Blast­ing, a heavy con­struc­tion con­trac­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in drilling and blast­ing, along with other rock ex­ca­va­tion meth­ods, based in Wen­dell, Idaho. He has built a rep­u­ta­tion for tak­ing on and com­plet­ing the tough­est projects, there is no moun­tain too big to move or go through for Laf­ferty Drilling and Blast­ing.

This busi­ness suc­cess has trans­ferred to other as­pects of his life. With the sup­port of wife, Brenda, and their chil­dren, Gun­nar and Olyssa, Laf­ferty has been able to find suc­cess away from the rig­ors of work, most specif­i­cally in the sport of drag racing.

Al­though pos­sess­ing the re­sources to field ei­ther a Comp Elim­i­na­tor or even a Nostal­gia Nitro, Laf­ferty prefers the com­pe­ti­tion of high-end bracket racing. That’s why he’s jumped head­long into the top ech­e­lons of this type of com­pe­ti­tion, in­clud­ing Top Sportsman and Top Drag­ster. Laf­ferty be­gan racing in a Su­per Pro Drag­ster more than two decades ago, be­fore mov­ing to Top Drag­ster. Laf­ferty has nu­mer­ous wins in the long, skinny cars, so when fel­low rac­ers see his im­mac­u­late hauler show up at the race­track, it means trou­ble for them.

When Laf­ferty made the de­ci­sion to get se­ri­ous about Top Sportsman racing, he sought out a very suc­cess­ful car builder to take care of his new car needs. He tasked Jerry Bickel Race Cars with the project. Ab­so­lutely no ex­pense was spared in the con­struc­tion.

A sleek Tim McAmis car­bon fiber 1969 Ca­maro body is draped over Bickel’s 111/110-inch wheel­base chrome-moly chas­sis. Car­bon fiber and ti­ta­nium are used ex­ten­sively through­out the build. Jeff Hoskins ap­plied the 6-foot­deep black paint and white Z/28 stripes to the car. Weld Wheels and Hoosier tires on all four cor­ners com­plete the vis­ual pack­age. Lamb brakes and Simp­son chutes help in the all-im­por­tant stop­ping process.

The car’s in­te­rior is de­signed with func­tion­al­ity in mind. Car­bon fiber is used for the dash and in­te­rior “tin” for weight sav­ings and strength. ISP head pads and seat liner keep Laf­ferty safe, along with Simp­son Race Prod­ucts belts.

Laf­ferty be­lieves in racing hard and keep­ing his equip­ment clean and tight. For in­stance, the place­ment of the dual dial-in boards lo­cated in the rear win­dow make them easy to see no mat­ter where he’s com­pet­ing, plus it keeps them out of the way. His at­ten­tion to de­tail is also re­flected in the use of fully func­tional tail­lights, which are orig­i­nal 1969 Ca­maro units.

When it came to mo­ti­va­tion, Laf­ferty again spared no ex­pense, Sun­set Per­for­mance En­gines LLC built the en­gine, start­ing with Brodix 5-inch bore-spaced block and cast cylin­der heads. The block has a 4.750-inch bore and stroke, and 10.200-inch deck height hous­ing a Cal­lies bil­let crank­shaft and con­nect­ing rods at­tached to CP pis­tons. COMP Cams pro­vides the bump stick, while the val­ve­train is com­prised of Man­ton, T&D and Trick Ti­ta­nium com­po­nents.

A Ho­gan sheet metal man­i­fold and BRE 2.800 carb de­liver the fuel. Even though it’s pol­ished and gleams like a di­a­mond, this motor is all busi­ness. Horse­power rated in the four dig­its is more than enough to get the Ca­maro solidly into the six-sec­ond zone. An M&M t-400 trans­mis­sion equipped with a Coan bolt-to­gether bil­let 10-inch con­verter han­dles the power, trans­fer­ring it to Mark Wil­liams rear gears.

The new racer is de­signed for ease of main­te­nance be­cause Laf­ferty usu­ally does not travel with a crew, re­ly­ing upon him­self to han­dle race-day du­ties. How­ever, he’s not an is­land unto him­self and gets help from his close friend and fel­low Top Drag­ster racer Blu Hay­ball, a much-re­spected racer in his own right. The two reg­u­larly travel to­gether and pit next to one an­other.

It did not take long for Laf­ferty and his new ride to get ac­quainted. The first out­ing for the new car was the NHRA Divi­sion Six race in Ore­gon. Laf­ferty wasn’t just num­ber one qual­i­fier in Top Sportsman, he also scored the event win. Since the car’s de­but, Laf­ferty has shown very well at sev­eral ma­jor re­gional events, in­clud­ing Divi­sion Seven races in Utah and Las Ve­gas and an in­de­pen­dent race in Idaho.

Laf­ferty’s Ca­maro ex­em­pli­fies the con­cept of “beauty and the beast.” It’s ap­pear­ance and per­for­mance are awe in­spir­ing.

//Laf­ferty’s Ca­maro ex­em­pli­fies the con­cept of ‘beauty and the beast.’ It’s ap­pear­ance and per­for­mance are awe in­spir­ing.

/ Jerry Bickel’s creations are noted for their well-ex­e­cuted con­struc­tion. The front of Laf­ferty’s Ca­maro is a prime ex­am­ple of Bickel crafts­man­ship.

/ Bickel and Laf­ferty es­chewed alu­minum in fa­vor of car­bon fiber when fabri­cat­ing the cock­pit. The re­sults are strong, clean, aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing and fly­weight light.

/ Sun­set Per­for­mance En­gines con­tin­ues to be Laf­ferty’s go-to source for power. The big motor eas­ily pushes the Ca­maro into the sixes.

/ Laf­ferty has ev­ery right to smile. His new T/S Ca­maro has been a win­ner right out of the gate. / The very swoopy Tim McAmis car­bon fiber 1969 Ca­maro doesn’t suf­fer from the dreaded “droop snoot” syn­drome that af­fects so many cur­rent T/S and P/M early...

/ The hall­mark of Laf­ferty’s race cars is per­for­mance, but not at the ex­pense of beauty. The paint, de­tail, fit and fin­ish of his lat­est ride bears this out.

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