True Blue: Danny Stonestreet’s Nitrous Huffing 1992 Camaro RS

The first thing you notice about this third-generation Camaro is the color — it’s an eye-piercing blue that you don’t usually see cruising down the street. It’s an attention-getter for sure, but it isn’t the paint that makes this 1992 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport (RS) special, it’s what is under the hood. With an LQ9 powerplant juiced with lots of nitrous, this RS gets up and goes into the wild blue yonder in a hurry. Built for grudge racing, this car’s official e.t. is top secret, but I can tell you it is a road-going street car capable of 8-second passes.

Photos by: Lethal Shutter Productions LLC.

It’s not every day you see a car this serious with a registered license plate, and that license plate is blocked from view by a carefully packed drag racing parachute. This parachute is by no means just a visual amenity, but a much-needed device to keep this Camaro from running off the end of the track.

This smooth-looking blue Camaro is the hard work and dedication of Washington D.C. firefighter Danny Stonestreet. Danny lives in Maryland and commutes an hour and a half to Washington D.C. to do his part to save lives in the nation’s capital city. He puts a lot of miles on a vehicle each month getting to work. He owned a Chevy S10 that he built into a show truck, and he needed something else as a daily driver. Back in 2006, his father called him one day and said there was a polo green Camaro RS parked on the side of the road for sale. Danny bought the car for commuting and started grinding away miles on it as a daily driver.

“It came factory with a 305 engine, and I figured when it blew up, I’d do something with the car,” Danny says. “But the engine never blew up, so I just kept driving it.” Danny also had a 2000 Camaro that he had set up for autocross, leaving the ’92 RS for daily driving.

The RS has four confirmed deer kills during the seven years he commuted back and forth to work in it. According to Danny, “there wasn’t a straight panel on that car after all the deer hits.” The car was beginning to rust and had over 360,000 miles on it. It was getting to the point where it needed some work. It was time for an upgrade.

It’s when you get up close to this Camaro that you start to see some of the craftsmanship and details. These custom headlamp covers are just one of the many clean upgrades this car has on it.

Danny said the car was never supposed to come out as good as it did, “I was just going to fix the car, but my cousins and I are perfectionists, so the car got better and better.” The complete build of this Camaro was done in Danny’s parent’s garage. The entirety of the build, every nut and bolt, was conducted by family: Danny, his father, his grandfather, and his cousin, Billy Bowie. The “Petty Blue” paint was even done in the garage with his cousin Billy laying down the spray.

This car is built for one purpose: straight-line speed, as evidenced by the narrow front wheels and skinny Mickey Thompson tires.

This project didn’t come together quickly; in fact, it took years. Danny has a side business from his firefighting heroics and owns Stonestreet Racing, where he builds cars. Between his day job and building customer cars, the Camaro took a bit of a backseat. He would work on it during the weekends when he had time. “The biggest task was the body,” Danny shares. Obviously, there was a lot of work to do after years of commuting on salty roads and hitting deer.

When it comes to the color, people often wonder, “If you’re a firefighter, why isn’t the car red?” Danny said he wanted the car to be different. When they started shooting the “Petty Blue,” his cousin stopped and asked, “Are you sure you want this color?” But when the car was painted entirely, his cousin came around and said, “You were right, this color looks good.”

The engine powering this blue beast is an LQ9 sourced from a 2003 Cadillac Escalade. The bottom end is stock and is plumbed with a lot of nitrous..

Danny dumped the original 305 small-block and found an LQ9 from a 2003 Cadillac Escalade that was in a guy’s backyard with a tarp on it. “The engine wasn’t stolen,” Danny explains. “I pulled the heads, everything looked good, so I bought it.”

Originally, Danny was planning on building a forged 408 stroker out of the block but decided to leave the stock bottom end as long as it keeps running. And it is getting things done with the stock 364 cubic-inch bottom end. “For me, it’s all about bragging rights at this point.”Danny. It’s about how long this thing has gone and is still running. Plus, I haven’t found anyone posting times that are faster with a stock bottom end LS on nitrous, he says”

Danny runs a 15-pound nitrous bottle from Nitrous Outlet for a single-stage wet kit. In this photo you can see the car has all of the carpet removed, yet still has rear floor mats for reasons that frankly no one is really sure.

Even though the bottom-end is bone stock, the top of the motor has been given some excellent upgrades. The heads are Trick Flow and have been ported and customized by Brian of Brian Tooley Racing (BTR) out of Kentucky. The engine also has one of BTR’s custom camshafts. The intake manifold is an Edelbrock Super Vic, and the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is a Daytona Sensors Smart Spark. According to Danny, “The tune is pretty conservative.”

To put all of this power to the ground, Danny uses two different sets of rear Mickey Thompson tires: for the street, he rolls on ET Street SS 275/60R15s, but for the track, he is on the stickier ET Pro 276/60R15s.

Both the front and rear wheels are Vision 571s (as seen in the photos), but for the track Danny switches to Weld Pro Stars. He uses Mickey Thompson rubber all around, for both street and track duty. 

How does he slow down all of this LS nitrous power? Stock 1992 Camaro brakes (and the parachute, of course). Power gets to the ground through a TCI-built T400 automatic transmission with a Neal Chance 4,800 rpm stall converter and a B&M trans cooler. Everything is set to go on a transbrake. All of this torque goes through a Strange-spooled rearend with 4.10 gears and Strange axles.

“The hardest thing on the whole car during the build was the front K-member that wouldn’t line up with the solid motor mounts,” Danny says. “So, we went ahead and did custom motor mounts to get it to work. I guess this is a common issue with solid mounts and that particular K-member.” Even though the project ran into a few rough patches, Danny soldiered on and finished the car. And though the Camaro is running, he still wants to make upgrades. 

The RS currently sports factory glass, and all the panels are completely steel. It even has stock power windows. Danny recognizes there is still weight to be removed.

Danny launches off the line riding in an aluminum Kirkey racing seat. The interior of this car is all business (built for speed) and includes Autometer gauges, Crow seatbelts and a quick-disconnect steering wheel.

The chassis was upgraded with Viking coil-overs and Spohn springs and control arms upfront. The rear of the Camaro houses a Spohn torque arm, Panhard bar, and subframe connectors, along with a TRZ Motorsports sway bar. 

“The car leaves harder than you would think for a stock block nitrous car,” Danny shares. With a confirmed 60-foot time of 1.18-seconds, no one is going to argue with Danny about how hard the car leaves. “Within the first 30-40 feet, you will know if the car is going to do something dumb,”  he says. “Otherwise, it’s: stage, cut a good light, gap the other driver, pull the chute, repeat.”

This car not only makes extremely quick passes down the 1/8- and 1/4-mile, but it also takes Danny down the street for ice cream. What is impressive is how clean it is for a car that is driven on the street.

Danny has always been into cars. He grew up working on them with his father and his grandpa. He was always into some sort of racing, whether it be cars, boats, or motorcycles. This Camaro project is a culmination of learning how to work on cars with this family and building this car at home with his own talents. He’s currently running no-time shootouts and grudge matches. When the vehicle isn’t rocketing down the track, Danny drives it around town. If (and when) the stock lower block finally lets go, in the future, he would like to upgrade to a forged 408 cubic-inch bottom end and some more nitrous, of course.

Danny had one more thing to say about his blue Camaro. When we asked him what kind of mufflers he had on the car, he simply stated: “Earplugs are the mufflers.” 

Well played, Danny. Well played.

About the author

Rob Krider

Rob Krider will race absolutely anything. He is a multi-national champion racing driver and is also the author of the novel, Cadet Blues.
Read My Articles

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