What you see on something’s exterior doesn’t always tell the entire story. This not only goes for cars, but people, as well. Street Outlaws: New Orleans star Shannon Poole, to many, is just a racer from a television show … but his story and that of his 1964 Corvette known as “Red Bull” go much deeper than what you’ve seen on the small screen.
Shannon’s first trip to the dragstrip was a nitro-filled adventure as an infant with his father, Dale, back in 1976. Dale took Shannon to the NHRA Gatornationals as part of a family vacation to check out the event. Ever since that trip, Shannon has surrounded himself with cars and racing, with his father helping guide his journey. Shannon’s racing odyssey switched from that of a spectator to the role of driver at the age of 14, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Before he was on Street Outlaws, Shannon was involved in legitimate street racing, but eventually, he shares, that scene died off, and he sought out a means of filling the void. With help from his father, Shannon began to bracket race locally, where he did quite well for himself.
“Footbrake racing was my most successful venture in racing, by far. With the help of my dad, I was able to win several championships in both footbrake and the 5.70 index class at local tracks. Even though I showed promise locally, I struggled a bit when I stepped up to bigger races at the national level. It’s the old story of going from being the big fish in a little barrel, to being a small fish in a really big barrel,” Shannon explains.
After college, Shannon returned home and began racing in a heads-up series at his local track and did well while that series lasted. When the class faded away due to a lack of participation, Shannon jumped back into index racing, where he started winning again right off the bat. Spending time index racing was fine for Shannon, but the competition of pure, heads-up racing was something he loved. Hearing about these big heads-up races being put on at South Georgia Motorsports Park, Shannon decided he wanted to see what they were all about and try that style of racing again.
Each of my cars has a significant amount of sentimental value, as does anything you have put your heart and soul into. – Shannon Poole
“Around the time we were doing well with the index racing is when Donald Long started putting on his events under the DuckX Productions banner. We decided to start slowly switching over to that scene and heading to those events. I was way out of my league at those races, but continued with it, even with little to no success on the track. We kept going to his events for about seven years, twice a year, taking our beatings, but we never gave up. Around that time Discovery called and we took the chance on making the move to Street Outlaws,” Shannon shares.
When he’s not racing, Shannon is a firefighter in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Being a part of Street Outlaws has allowed him to do some very special things for those in need that he has encountered on the job as a public servant and hero to many.
“I would say that the best thing I’ve been able to accomplish after being on television is having the ability to help sick children by providing relief for them and their families. Being able to help those who really need it is a great feeling, and I’m a blessed man for being able to do that. Helping all of these people is really a big passion of mine now … even more than racing,” Shannon explains.
Part of racing at any level is the bond you build with your car and with those around you who help in the construction process. Shannon has been fortunate to spend ample time with his father building cars, along with another mentor of his, Lavern Fe. As a friend, Lavern has been extremely influential in the progression of Shannon’s Chevelle that was heavily featured on Street Outlaws.
“Each of my cars has a significant amount of sentimental value, as does anything you have put your heart and soul into. I bought the Chevelle off of a car lot 20 years ago, drove it home and began to work on it. It’s been a lifelong project and has consumed a lot of my free time over the years. It’s not professionally built, but I pieced it together with some of my own ideas and theories. I’ve had a lot of advice from my dad and others along the way,” Shannon says.
Shannon enjoys putting serious effort into every car he builds, so when the opportunity came up to build the “Red Bull” Corvette with his father, he was more than game.
The backstory behind the Corvette is what makes it such an incredible build. The car was originally purchased by local racing legend, Wayne Mosley, and his wife. Mosley worked on and raced the car for years before he died in a car accident. After Mosley’s death, his wife decided to sell it to get something more family-oriented. Shannon’s father acquired the car in the 1990s and it sat in a corner of his shop before he and Shannon began work on it for the Street Outlaws spinoff show. After the car was complete, Shannon and his father brought Mosley’s widow, Marinell, over to see the finished product.
Originally, Shannon’s Corvette was powered by an iconic engine from Chevrolet: the 327 cubic-inch small-block; but for big-money racing, that wasn’t going to be enough. Now, a Poole Speed-built 632 cubic-inch mill rests between the fenders and features a Winberg billet crank, Icon pistons, and GRP aluminum connecting rods. Poole assembled the engine after Precision Machine completed the short block preparation.
Generating the nitrous-fed horsepower is a set of RFD cylinder heads and a custom Howards Cams camshaft, T&D offset steel rocker arms, and a custom ported Edelbrock intake with a ProSystems carburetor up top. Two kits of Induction Solutions nitrous oxide provide the extra rip the engine needs, and exhaust gases are expelled through Woolf Aircraft stainless steel headers fabricated by Shannon. All of the undisclosed power the engine and nitrous generate flows through a Suncoast Transmission Powerglide and PTC converter.
I would say that the best thing I’ve been able to accomplish after being on television is having the ability to help sick children by providing relief for them and their families. – Shannon Poole
The underpinnings of the Corvette feature a Ford nine-inch rearend with a Strange Engineering spool, axles, shocks, and brakes all around. The front of the car uses a set of Santhuff struts with Holeshot wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber at all four corners. Before Doug Key laid down that luscious shade of red, Shannon built the roll cage himself with plenty of chrome-moly tubing.
The entire build only took Shannon and his father nine months to complete. Fans of Street Outlaws were even treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the build-up, as it was featured during the show as Shannon worked to get the car ready for the streets. Ultimately, the show was cancelled before Shannon could show the true potential of the little red Corvette, but that wasn’t the end of this project by a long shot.
“We really tried like hell to make this car a winner on the new Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings show during the first season, but really struggled with it. This thing was built for the street originally, so it is an absolute handful to drive on the track. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a big turnaround during the second season and show the true potential of this car,” Shannon says.
Even though Shannon has been fighting the new car blues with the Red Bull, he has seen some forward progress, keeping alive his desire to keep pressing on to find more performance, regardless of the venue.
“I’ve been pretty limited in the success department lately with the Corvette. I’m fighting a new car, and I’m out-gunned right now in the power department at the bigger events. I do have some positive things happening currently and some good people showing interest that are sure to make some improvements in my racing program. This will increase our chances of turning the corner with the car and taking it to the next level. The car was featured last year at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in the Woolf Aircraft booth — that’s something that was really on my bucket list,” Shannon explains.
Shannon Poole has embraced the grind of racing from his days as a foot-braking champion, to gracing living rooms across the globe on Street Outlaws. Finding a way to make things work has been his hallmark, and when he finally gets the Red Bull running as it should, it will make the success all the sweeter.