We like the “dark side” and the drag racing passion from Eastern Ontario-based Paolo and Shannon Guist….

The very popular husband and wife team, who have been participants within Pro Mod circuit racing on both sides of the 49th parallel in recent seasons have added yet another dimension to their racing equation.

Paolo and Shannon (from Osgoode ON) who continue to make impressive strides forward with their Pro Modified class C7 Corvette, have in more recent times also began to experiment and compete within drag racing’s alternate reality : the “RVW”. During part of 2017 and more recently this season, Paolo has been behind the wheel of a new entry in that specialized genre driving a equally spectacular G-Force Chevy 1969 Camaro.

The RVW (Radial Versus the World) circuit is an all 1/8th mile racing phenomena which continues to make massive gains in both fan and racer popularity.

Canada-based “Black Betty” has been making some noise within drag racing’s unique RVW circuit racing.

For the yet to be initiated fan – RVW has rapidly become one of the most hyped and discussed classes in all of drag racing. Born just a few years ago it evolved from just few drivers who optioned to try to race and tame some ridiculously high horsepower door cars but with a common “Achilles heal” factor – mandatory drag radial small tires only (produced by M/T). Since then the outlaw appealing aspect of the class had grown steadily and produced some very highly touted popular and independent events that for certain have stuck major cords with the emerging and younger fan base for drag racing.

“My wife Shannon and I starting watching these RVW races on-line and the class looked like a blast,” Paolo recalled. “She wanted to go and watch but since I’m not a great spectator there was only one way to make that happen – we needed to participate. So we committed to purchasing a new car from G-Force Race Cars and it was ready to go in February 2017. Our first event was at the “Lights Out 8” race in Georgia and that was in fact the first time I had actually laid eyes on the competed car. We ran well too – it went 3.98 secs during our debut weekend.”

Paolo Guist

“Since we’ve got into this – it’s been amazing,” Paolo added. “I’ve never seen crowds like at these RVW races. The hype, the fans, the other race teams and the purses have been really great. We’re having a great time and making great new friends.”

The new Camaro which now compliments the team’s Corvette, features an engine program built by Mike Stawicki (MSR Performance). That is a 526 CID Hemi platform with a Chuck Ford supercharger. The Camaro’s drivetrain also features a Quick Lock transmission and Liberty 5 speed and it tips the scales at 2600 lbs.

“Because they are both G-Force race cars they’re pretty similar,” he added. “We have a great program going with the Corvette so it was an easy decision to use many of the same components. From the fuel tech system to the steering wheel and switches – it’s pretty much identical interiors between the two cars.”

“But the big difference is driving them,” he emphasized. “Radial cars are very unforgiving. If it begins to lose traction the race is over — there is no recovery. We are putting the same power we have in Pro Mod racing on big tires to these little 315/60/15 street legal radial tires. In my mind this shouldn’t work — but it does. It’s different leaving the staring line because the Camaro lifts when it launches while the Pro Mod squats and hits the wheelie bars and the shocks work opposite of a Pro Mod. With a radial tire at 15 lbs of air the car is very solid and smooth at the top end on deceleration compared to a Pro Mod which can be very loose at the top end (with only 6.5 lbs of air).”

Both of the team’s very stealth looking all black race cars have interesting monikers attached to them. The Pro Mod C7 Corvette is affectionally dubbed “Elvira” and the Camaro is known as “Black Betty”.

“Elvira was my childhood crush,” Paolo laughed. “And the Corvette reminds me of her — they’re both so pretty! The name “Black Betty” came from Shannon because she just loves that song! Bam-A-Lam was a perfect fit”.

Hello Shannon!

Paolo and Shannon have been rewarded with solid progress with both their race cars. Just a little earlier this season the Camaro ran 3.78 secs (X2) while at events in the US Southeast. Tuned by Jim Salemi, the Camaro has also clocked in a best terminal speed of 198 mph.

“We know the car will go low 3.7’s no problem,” he said confidently. “And we will break 200 mph – thats an objective. We’ve only had this car out at 4 events with less than 30 runs so know there is more in it.”


Paolo & Shannon have enjoyed some good success with their Pro Mod C7 – including a memorable win during the 2016 Mopar Canadian Nationals at Grand Bend.

The race team is planning an aggressive 2018 season with plans to take “Black Betty” out at numerous outlaw events, including Lights Out, Sweet 16, Wooostck, Shakedown at the Summit and No Mercy. “Elvira” is expected to make her presence known at Maryland’s Yellow Bullet Nationals, some “Asphalt War” races and also in Canada at some of the UDRA races in Quebec this summer.

The 100% independent runners point to their strong associations with G-Force Race Cars (Jim Salemi), Resolution Racing Services (Jon Salemi) MSR Performance (Mike Stawicki), Quick Drive, Quick Lock, Menscer Motorsports (Mark and Ally) and Fuel Tech USA. The team also includes valued crew members Jamie Clarmo & Joe Cavanaugh.

Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Brennan Shortall and Bruce Biegler