Turbo Terrific!

The aspiring Pro Modified team owned by Jim Bell showed some great resiliency in recent times as they recovered from a serious setback….

Following his crash, Jim Bell's comeback with his turbo Camaro has been a calculated quick response.

Following his crash, Jim Bell’s comeback with his turbo Camaro has been a quick response.

Fans will recall that Bell, who is in his first full season behind the wheel in the Pro Mod category, experienced a major crash in April while racing his turbocharged Ford Mustang during a 1/8th mile PDRA sanctioned event held in North Carolina.

In a set back that was of a degree that might have sidelined many others teams much longer, that was not the case for the Edmonton-based Speed Shop mogul, as he is now behind the wheel of an all new turbocharged Camaro.

Jim is quick credit his fast rebound to a lot of hard and behind the scenes work from his strategic racing partner, Georgia-based Pro-Line Racing, and also in particular to his JB’s Power Centre race team’s crew chief, Rob Nascimento.

Rob Nascimento

Rob Nascimento

“After our setback on the Saturday night at Rockingham, the decision making progress was actually pretty fast,” revealed Nascimento, who is regarded as one of the faster rising new tuners on the circuit. “I went to pick-up the new car the following Wednesday. As fate would have it Jerry Bickel had built a brand new 1969 Camaro originally for Khalid al-Balooshi and after a few calls that car had became available.”

After acquired the new car, Rob and his talented group set to the task of outfitting the spectacular new Camaro with both some existing and new components.

“We did face a lot of conversion work,” Rob continued. “The Camaro was built to handle an Hemi-engine program but wanted to install our very proven Pro-Line 481X engine. We had to design and manufacture some new headers, charge pipes and re-fabricate the hood for intake manifold clearance.”

Rob and Jim are both excited about the opportunity to put their recent racing misfortunes behind them and move forward again. And now with everything in retrospect, they feel their new machine (which features a 526 CID engine with twin Precision 88 mm turbochargers) will in fact offer some advantages.

“This car has a lot of updates and improvements compared to the Mustang,” Rob continued. “Steve Petty and Eric Dillard (Pro-Line Racing) have worked very close with Jerry Bickel on perfecting chassis for these turbo applications — and this has the very latest in that mindset. Once we get everything dialled in – we are confident this car will be faster.”

The car made it’s debut with some test laps at South Georgia Motorsports Park before heading out to the recent NHRA Summit Racing Southern Nationals near Atlanta. It did not qualify at Atlanta but did run some promising short times. With that the team’s expectations and performance target is ultimately for the 5.8 secs zone at 250 mph – math which is pretty much now necessary to be competitive within NHRA’s brutally demanding RPM Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

The Camaro has a Pro-Line 481X engine program which can produce in excess of 3000 HP

The Camaro has a Pro-Line 481X engine program which can produce in excess of 3000 HP

For Nascimento, who resides in the Atlanta-area the opportunity to hook up with a true Canadian “gear head” from the very far North is both unique and timely.

“I did work at R2B2 Racing during which there was a close relationship with Pro-Line Racing,” Rob added. “I found out from those guys there that Jim was looking for a full time guy and we got hooked up last December. Jim is an awesome guy and we have spent so much time together it’s almost like family already. Jim has some high goals – he wants to win a “Wally” and my focus is to help him do that. We are planning to run some 1/8th mile Pro Turbo stuff too, but NHRA Pro Mod racing, which is the pinnacle of the sport, is our main focus.”


Next up for Jim Bell’s JB Power Centre Racing Team is a return to action this coming weekend – during NHRA’s annual East coast marquee event — the Toyota Super Nationals at Englishtown, NJ.

Photos and Posting by: Bruce Biegler