Ontario-based Fast Street Car proponents Wade and Suzy Stevens endured a lot during 2015….
After what very well might have been the “true grit” performance overall for Canadian drag racing last season — the future looks bright for the Queensville-based Maximum Performance husband and wife racing team.
Fans will recall that last August the future fate of this aspiring race team was in major jeopardy following not one — but two — incidents during the 2015 Canadian Street Car Nationals edition held at Toronto Motorsports Park.
During the first round of eliminations for that event, Suzy Stevens had some very hard luck when her spectacular and newly built EZ Street classed Camaro went out of control right off the starting line, flipping on it’s side and then catching fire. After a few very anxious moments she emerged OK – however her machine was severely damaged.
Incredibly during action held the previous day, Wade Stevens rode out a wild top end incident driving his Outlaw 10.5 Firebird after a major explosion in the lights which lit up his car much like a fuel FC. Regrettably too — Wade’s Firebird also experienced heavy damage.
But that was just the beginning of the story. While the degree of these setback’s might have sidelined other teams on the circuit for the season, this group quickly regained it’s focus and ultimately shrugged off that hard luck by returning to action sooner then most expected.
“At the Canadian Street Car Shootout in qualifying I had a camshaft failure in my Firebird which resulted in a huge back fire which burnt the car badly from firewall forward,” Wade Stevens explained. “Then if that wasn’t enough Suzy’s car had and oil line come loose on the launch which sent her side ways and on the roof. It was a devastating weekend to say the least.”
But immediately after that weekend, using both determination and a vast network of support – the rebound was on.
“We have a great race team that is very devoted — so we started the repairs right away the Monday after,” Wade continued. “My crew Luch, Mike, Dennis, Dylan got to work stripping both cars. The Camaro was sent off to Gord Peel Autobody for a lot of work. Gord pulled through big time — he had the car finished and back to me in 7 days all painted! Then the car went to LE Chassis to install new Joe Vano front clip. At the same time all this was getting done — my Firebird was with Joe at 7/27 Autobody for repairs and paint while I was addressing the engine repairs. Without people like Gord Peel, Joe 7/27, Luch (LE Chassis), Tim from Cynergy Composites, and Joe Vano, none of this could have been possible. The fact is that both cars returned to the track just three weeks after — looking like nothing even happened!”
Then fate did a nice 180 degree turn and the team was recipients of some much deserved rewards.
During a subsequent OSCA event back at Cayuga Dragway — Wade’s Outlaw 10.5 Firebird won his class category (qualifying #1 at 4.08 secs and running over 203 mph 3X) while Suzy, using some great driving too, also raced her Camaro to the event’s EZ Street title.
“That was certainly the highlight of the year for us after all that had happened,” Wade affirmed. “I was so happy to see my wife win her first race after what we went through – the weekend couldn’t have went any better.”
Both of the Maximum Performance race cars feature premium concept construction and techology.
Wade’s 2000 model Firebird (built at the Chassis Shop) was debuted in 2015. It has a billet Stage 3 526 CID 481x motor program built by Maximum Performance (ME). That motor uses twin Precision 94 mm turbochargers and a Big Stuff 3 fuel management system. It runs a 2-speed M&M built Turbo 400 transmission program overseen by Marty Vanin and Mike Yedegarian.
Suzy’s car is a 1967 bodied Camaro which also debuted last year. That machine features a LJ Chassis and the engine is a Gene Fulton piece – a 460 CID small block Chevy at runs 2 stages of nitrous oxide. Wade is the crew chief and tuner for that car. To date the Camaro has run a best of 7.49 secs at 187.80 mph on the 1/4 mile.
The race team has an aggressive schedule planned for this coming season. Suzy will focus her EZ Camaro primarily within the Canadian scene while Wade will venture further into the U.S. for the major 1/8th mile Outlaw 10.5 events (including the Yellow Bullet Nationals, Shakedown at the Summit & select PDRA races).
“I have set a performance target too for my Firebird — to put it in the 3-seconds zone,” Wade Stevens stated.
Stevens, who has been involved in engine building and drag racing for two decades is the owner and operator of Maximum Performance. That is a facility with a high reputation for building high performance engines for both street and race car applications. They also specialize in exhaust header fabrication, turbo kits, computer tuning and they have an in-house chassis dyno rated to 1800 HP at the wheels.
Post and photos by: Bruce Biegler