The Latest on a Long List!
To say that Nebraska’s Gene Bichlmeier is a proponent for the Chevrolet brand in drag racing would be an understatement. Since first becoming involved in the sport in the mid-1960s, Gene, who is a very successful construction company owner (based out of Norfolk, Nebraska), has owned and raced no less than nine different Chevrolet Sportsman cars. That all started with a four-speed 1965 Malibu back in 1965 and moved forward with a series of Chevy IIs, Camaros, and 1955 Chevy cars. Fast forward to the present day, Gene continues that passionate pursuit with a pair of impressive and competitive Super Stock-classed cars: a 1966 Chevy II Nova (which he drives) and a 1955 Chevy wagon raced by his friend Wayne Denklau.
Gene’s 1966 Nova was built by C.T. Chassis and it has a high-winding 283ci (NHRA 220hp rated) engine that features machine work by Monty Jones and cylinder heads by Gary Hettler. With the Nova, which races as a GT/M and uses a Liberty clutchless four-speed transmission, Gene has recorded numerous national records throughout his career—most recently set at 9.92 e.t. and 132.67 mph.
Wayne, who is the crew chief for the Bichlmeier Racing team is also tasked with driving the team’s SS/P-classed 1955 Chevy. That extremely rare two-door wagon features a 265ci (NHRA 180hp rated) engine and employs a G-Force brand clutchless four-speed. This car is a national record holder, too, having set that official mark at 11.30 e.t. at 116.21 mph.
Both Gene and Wayne have been frequent winners within NHRA’s Super Stock class. Bichlmeier’s team includes an impressive and talented supporting staff with credit going to Steve Dietz (Custom Machine & Tool); Bob Sherwood (dyno work); and his crew, including Tom Meyer and Mom Lavone Bichlmeier.
Southern Hemisphere Showstopper
Australia’s dynamic drag racing scene oozes with numerous impressive Chevrolet entries. The brand dedication of one racer in particular stands out. Jason Donnelly, a highly successful business owner based out of Tamborine, Queensland, Australia, has a longtime passion for the iconic styling of Chevrolet’s 1957 model year, and his multicar D.B.S. motorsports operation emphasizes exactly that. Jason and his sons Jake and Dan drag race no less than four 1957 Chevy cars, including a one-of-a-kind 1957 Nomad Pro Slammer (Aussie-rules Pro Mod), a Supercharged Outlaws 1957 Chevy Funny Car, a 1957 Chevy exhibition wheelstander, and an amazing Top Sportsman 1957 Chevy. Jason’s Top Sportsman ’57 is a rather stock appearing and all-steel original car (except for the front clip and trunk lid) that tips the scales at 3,100 pounds. With a 623ci nitrous-injected powerplant and its remarkable paint scheme it has developed into a huge fan favorite “down under” during its 10-year existence.
Not a Cookie Cutting Corvette!
Over the past few seasons, fans of North America’s nostalgia drag racing scene have been going a bit “giddy” about an amazing 1957 Corvette campaigned by Ohio’s Bob and Pam Cook. The husband and wife team are popular players within various Midwest circuits that showcase drag racing from a bygone era. After first acquiring this straight-axle ’57 from its previous owner in Orlando, Florida, Bob tasked Ed and Ray Kasicki to build and upgrade the car to higher safety standards. His team then installed a 466ci Chevy big-block equipped with a 6-71 supercharger and a Hilborn injection system (assembled by Gellner Engineering). Although the car burns methanol fuel, it is built for competition within the iconic AA/GS class that remains very popular within exhibition racing. Bob’s Corvette, which is dubbed Crazy Grandpa, is well known for its super-smoky burnouts and has run 8.00-second elapsed times in the quarter-mile and 5.30 e.t.’s in the eighth-mile. Bob and Pam’s popular team also includes son Mike and Paul Lepris within its equation.