Joe Copson Heads to Radial Racing with C7 Corvette by Gary Naughton Race Cars
Radial started with legit cars on stock suspension and a set of marginal—at best—drag radial tires from BFGoodrich.
Twenty years later and the upper echelons of the radial revolution has brought out the most high-tech racecars, including Pro Modifieds. To compete at the highest levels, like in Radial vs. The World and NMCA Radial Wars, the chassis must be in tip-top shape to handle the ludicrous powerplants and 315/60-15 DOT radial tires. Joe Copson knows all too well of the big power from a twin turbocharged Pro Line Racing engine so he turned to Gary Naughton Race Cars (GNRC) when he made plans to return to drag racing.
A C7 Corvette has been mounted to the chassis jig at GNRC as the team has grafted a double frame-rail design under it. Experience is an attribute that goes a long way in drag racing and Naughton designed the chassis specific for this application thanks to working many years in the chassis building business. Two of his highest profile Corvette creations went on to crush records and he has taken Copson’s Corvette one-step further.
“The car is being built to NMCA rules—OEM body, OEM wheelbase, and any chassis,” commented Naughton as he began to describe the Corvette. The body is a mix of OEM and Cynergyn Composites. He went on to explain the nodular rear housing is from Mark Williams and features shock mounts and brackets that he helped design. The massive anti-roll bar is also from Mark Williams and a set of Menscer Motorsports shocks round out the four-link rear suspension. Moving to the front-side, the tubular front-end has been setup with Santhuff struts and Pro Werks rack and pinion steering system.
Inside the car, the driver will be strapped tightly into a Racetech seat using DJ Safety harnesses and other safety gear from the manufacturer. Depending on who drives, the brake and gas pedal are adjustable thanks to a kit from Tim McAmis Race Cars. The driver will be sitting next to a TH400 that was built by M&M Racing Transmissions and features a Pro Torque EV1 converter. The engine management system is a Fuel Tech FT600 as it keeps control of the massive Hemi engine, which features a pair of Precision Pro Mod 94mm turbochargers.
The GNRC shop is thrashing on the car to get it ready for testing as Joe’s son,—rookie driver—Blake Copson, as he will take control of the high-tech Corvette. The team expects to be on track when the weather in the Northeast breaks and they plan on hitting the NMCA circuit once the car is dialed in.