The biggest names in grudge racing earned their reputations by racking up big wins and not backing down from races. Herb DaRula is a multi-time grudge racer of the year honoree, and he’s ready to make his return to the no-time world.
Herb comes from a racing family — when he was growing up, he used to watch his uncles participate in the Big Dog Shootouts at Piedmont Dragway. Norris Mitchel, one of Herb’s uncles that raced, was injured in a car accident, so he put his wife Gloria in the family’s racecar. This dedication to racing motivated DaRula to keep the family’s racing legacy going, pushing him towards grudge racing.
DaRula was given a pair of Novas by his uncles and would go on to win numerous races behind the wheel of each Chevrolet. In 2018, Herb decided to step away from racing to spend more time with his family, but it ultimately was his family that got him to return to racing.
“My son MJ just turned 18, and he always went racing with me when he was a little boy. I stopped following racing entirely when I sold everything, but he kept following it. He graduated from high school early and just kept trying to get me back into racing, and it worked. He’s the reason I built this car and got back into it. I was going to start racing Pro Nitrous, but he really wanted me to start grudge racing. Racing this car is something that we can do together,” Herb says.
Precision Chassis built the 1969 Camaro chassis. DaRula purchased the bare chassis after someone started the project and decided not to finish it. Under the car, you’ll find a set of Menscer Motorsports shocks, a Hammer Concepts and Designs rearend, and TBM Brakes. TRE Racing Engines built the 765 cubic-inch, 4.84-inch bore space monster that lives under the hood of the Camaro. Nitrous is pumped into the engine through a Speedtech nitrous kit. Behind the TRE mill is an M&M Transmission lock-up torque converter and transmission. Ryan McCain tunes the Holley EFI system that controls the Camaro’s engine.
DaRula wanted to get this car ready and to the track in 2022 — to make that happen, he had to call in a few favors to several different shops he’s worked with in the past.
“We started this car in January, so I had to use all the different shops I’ve worked with in the past to get it done this year. The car was wired by Rick at RaceWire Technologies and he did a great job. TNT Fabrication did a lot of work on the car, along with Robert Hayes Motorsports. I bounced this car around between shops because of how busy everyone was. TNT mounted the body and put the rearend in the car. Robert Hayes Motorsports made the headers and did a lot of fab work on the car, too,” DaRula states.
The stunning orange and white paintjob was laid down by Kip Coffman. That color combination has been a trademark of DaRula since he owned his first racecar because it was his son’s favorite color scheme. So, since the Camaro is a father-and-son project it had to be painted up just right.
DaRula plans on bringing his Camaro to as many 4.84 shootouts as his schedule will allow. He also plans on racing at a few Carolina N/T events and might try to fit in a few grudge races, too. You might even see DaRula race his Camaro in the Limited Drag Radial class if the 4.84 racing scene dies out.