All-Motor Domination: Van Geibel’s Camaro Sets Half-Mile Records

Van Geibel’s 1969 Camaro has been a work in progress since he purchased it back in 2006. One thing has remained the same during that time: the car has never seen a power-adder bolted to the engine while Geibel has owned it. That dedication to the all-motor craft has earned him many wins and, recently, the title of the fastest naturally-aspirated car in the WannaGoFast half-mile series.

The Camaro that Geibel pilots retains the factory steel body and weighs in at 3,150-pounds. Under the hood is an Uratchko Racing Engines 694 cubic-inch big-block Chevy engine that uses a Brodix aluminum block as its base. Inside the mill is a set of Diamond Pistons slugs and Trend wrist pins and pushrods that work with the Uratchko-designed valvetrain. A single Book Racing Enterprises Dominator carburetor and sheet-metal intake manifold suck in the air and mix it with the racing fuel. The TH400 transmission that puts the power down was built by Geibel himself, while a converter from Neal Chance Racing Converters rounds out the driveline.

Over the years, Geibel and his Camaro have been a fixture in the Milan Friday Night Heads Up series as a part of the All-Motor class. The team has accumulated three championships in the series and were the first in the class to run in the 7-second zone. In full 1/4-mile drag racing trim and set on kill, Geibel has gone 7.62 at 180 mph.

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So how did Geibel end up setting records in the world of half-mile racing? According to his crewmember Rick Dodge, it all started by accident after a conversation with the previous record holder.

“While doing some other racing in Florida, we attended an event Ocala….we were talking with the previous record holder for the Naturally Aspirated class and found out the record (177 mph) was only one mph faster than we were going in the 1/4-mile. We were told it’s not that easy and were told to show up and show them, so we took that as a challenge. A few months later we came to the Indiana event to see what the car would do. It ended up going 183 mph right off of the trailer setting the record. We backed that up with 202, 205 and then 207.37 mph runs, setting the world record each time. “

What makes setting the record so much more impressive are the changes, or lack thereof, that Geibel had to make to switch from 1/4-mile to 1/2-mile racing trim: the team only needed to change the rearend gear and torque converter gear as far as hard parts go. Adjustment-wise, they only needed to rescale the car, change some shock settings, and add 150-pounds to the Camaro. After the first run over 200 mph, Geibel did add a second parachute for safety.

So, what’s next for Geibel and his record-setting Camaro in regards to standing 1/2-mile racing? Well, that depends on what others do and if he needs to turn up the wick on his ride.

“Right now any 1/2-mile racing plans are on hold with the 207.37 record still standing. We are trying to sort out some things in the 1/4-mile trim currently. The car could also run in Ultra Street at some point in the near future. Not only does Van want to run the car in the 1/4-mile again after we get things situated, but he also wants to take it out and do some full mile racing in the future, as well,” Dodge explains.

Van Geibel’s Camaro is an absolute sledgehammer when it comes to going fast without out a power-adder. After piling up wins and records in both the quarter and 1/2-mile Geibel is ready to keep stretching the Camaro’s legs any chance he can get.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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