Over the years New Orleans has giving us plenty of good things: jazz music, creole cuisine, and Mardi Gras just to name a few. Now we need to add one more thing to that list: the world’s first 2010 Pro Street Camaro. And after overcoming so much, it’s all thanks to Tony Baudier.
Like many of the great drag, Baudier got the racing bug when he started street racing as a young adult. As time when on, and his cars got faster and more dangerous, racing on the street just wasn’t working out like it used to. Luckily street legal racing was being organized around that time. The drag strip became a place for Baudier and his friends to run their cars without the fear of speeding tickets. But the competition was tough, with names like Mike Moran, Tony Christian, and Pat Musi, one could only imagine how tough the going was. But Baudier seemed to thrive in it, “I always liked heads up racing,” he said, “the people out there are friendly and the racers are real friendly. It’s not like a dog-eat-dog world, its just fun racing.”
Baudier, with the help of his good friend and crew chief Steve Grebeck, went on to have loads of fun in his ’67 Nova equipped with a nitrous-fed 650 ci Chevy big-block taking it to 8 finals in ’98 and finishing 2nd over all that year in the NMCA Pro Street class. “He was a rocket scientist when it came to building cars,” Baudier explained about Grebeck, “he always strived for perfection.” Grebeck had gained his expertise by being one of the top car builders and crew chief for years. In fact, when he was crew chief for Mike Moran is when he first meet Baudier. “You would never know how smart he was by just talking to him… real reserved guy, and that’s why I liked him.”
In 2001, Baudier son was diagnosed with kidney disease. Suddenly drag racing took a back seat to more important issues. Then, he lost his good friend Steve Grebeck to a drag racing crash the very next year in Orlando. Having to keep food on the table, Baudier launched a graphics company, Baudier Graphix. Even today he still designs, produces, and installs countless graphics for some of the top race teams in the country. He even picked up photography as a hobby.
In early 2007 Baudier teamed up with Darrell Devenny to build a new car to make his return in. Wanting to get right back in the thick of competition, he called up Mike Moran and he had him piece together a GM DRCE big-block foundation with all the works done to it. But just to make sure they were going to be up to par, Baudier and Devenny decided to go with not one, but twin Precision 88mm Turbochargers and used them to feed 50 psi to the 510 ci V8. With all that power, the only option they said was a Rossler Turbo 400 transmission to channel the over 2600 hp to the 34×17 tires. And to start it all and keep it running Baudier went with, Powermaster for his starter and alternator.
With all that power running wild under the hood, Baudier needed a good strong frame to hold it all together. So he called up Jason Wood, owner of Wizard Racecars out of Louisiana, to build a frame and chassis. They would spend the next nine months making all of these great components play nicely. During the build, Transformers the Movie exploded at the box office. It was then that Baudier saw the 2010 Camaro known as “Bumble Bee” in the movie. Maybe it was seeing it on the big screen, or a child hood love of the cartoon, but Baudier decided to make his new Pro Street car a 2010 Camaro.
Note the detail in the airbrushing of the interior panels.
The problem was that it was 2007. No Camaro parts were even being made yet. That’s when Baudier heard that Richard Earle at Suncoast Race Cars was in the process of making a mold for a 2010 Camaro based off of pictures and known dimensions from the Camaro Concept. He then convinced Richard to let him buy the very first completed body so that he could be one to bring the new Camaro into Pro Street.
Initial testing was frustrating, problems with the EFI software were easily fixed. With the help of Moran, they were able to over come a turbo issue and get the boost to build up quickly enough to cut a good light. The only other problem the team is facing is getting that much power going in the right direction. Baudier explained that the car was having problems hooking up down track that was forcing him to shut it down early. But even with shuting it down, the car ran a 6.60. He is continuing his testing and still has not made a full quarter mile run, although the car has run a 4.40 at 165 on the eighth mile.
“It’s hard to describe driving the car” said Baudier, “The G-force is unbelievable, you’re pinned back in the seat and it feels like it’s eating the concrete from beneath you.” Now with the car in the final stages of completion, Baudier now is the one striving for perfection to impress his old friend, “I know he is looking down on all of us right now.” Spiting the driving with Devenny, they plan to run most of the NMCA races this year. And when Baudier straps into the belts for his first race back in Pro Mod don’t think that Steve Grebeck wont be there admiring and quietly riding along. Be sure to stay tuned to Street Muscle as Baudier puts on a show for his family, his former crew chief, and all of us.