Car - 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
Paint - KIA Corsa Blue Metallic
Engine - 406 C.I. Small Block built by Leindecker Racing Engines
Transmission - 2 Speed Powerglide with an 8" ATI 4000 stall converter
Rear - Ford 9 inch with 4.56 gears on Moser axles
Tires - Hoosier 29x10 slicks out back & Skinnys up front
Weight - 2968lbs
Best Pass To Date - 10.38 @ 127mph
Years Owned - 6 years
This issue’s featured car is a beautiful 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS owned by Amanda S. from Center Valley, PA. Yes a girl! Amanda and her dad purchased this true SS nearly six years ago after Amanda's dad Mark finally gave in to her relentless desire to drag race. Amanda is quick to mention that her dad was her idol growing up and is responsible for planting the drag racing seed. You see, Mark raced every weekend in the super pro class, and Amanda and her sisters were raised at the track. If that’s not enough gas and oil getting into your blood, how about adding this to the mix? The family owns and operates an automotive repair shop in their hometown. It’s no wonder dad eventually gave in. After all, he was responsible for farming this passion for speed.
A big part of Mark’s reluctance to Amanda getting involved in drag racing was due to a horrific crash he had in the summer of 2002. Mark got his super pro Pinto upside down and slid for 300 feet on the roof. When they rolled the car over, the deck lid was gone. The roll cage was actually grinding on the track as well. By the grace of God, Mark was fine, but as can be expected, he was a little more cautious about getting back into the car. To this day, Amanda's sister still has a hard time going to the track to watch her dad and sister race.
In November of 2010, Amanda's dream was finally beginning to come true. They found an eye sore of a 1987 Monte Carlo on sale for $1500. After a thorough inspection dad agreed the roller would be a great candidate for Amanda's racecar. The Monte had its original black and red SS paint scheme, but was full of rust and in desperate need of a day at the spa for a complete makeover.
The Birth Of Mommy Boo Boo
The Monte went through a few different stages while Amanda cut her teeth at the drag strip. The first thing the daddy-daughter team did was put in a 355 small block and a Turbo 350 tranny. They kept the stock rear but added a set of Mickey Thompson drag radials to help connect to the track. Amanda made her first pass in the unpainted Monte and produced a staggering 20-second pass at 60mph. She was quick to point out that her dad told her to take it easy and get a feel for the car and the track. We say, good advice dad!
Amanda eventually worked her way up to the mid-12 second range with that original combo. The stock hood was replaced with a fiberglass cowl hood to save some weight and complete the look they were after. With the new body taking shape, Amanda soon had the car painted in a beautiful Corsa blue metallic. The Monte was beginning to blossom, and so was Amanda as a racer, winning her first Trophy race in May of 2011.
Later that year, Amanda and Mommy Boo Boo were running 11.50 and a roll cage was the next upgrade on order. After gutting the interior of the car, the daddy-daughter racing team discovered the floor on the Monte was completely rotted out. A new floor and cage were installed, and Amanda personally painted both to match the exterior of the car. Around the same time the stock rear was replaced with a Ford 9-inch rear with 4:56 gears riding on Moser axles.
In 2012, Amanda grenaded the engine while doing a burnout at the track. She was completely devastated. Her Monte Carlo had its first major "boo boo" and by now the need for speed was running even deeper in her veins. In July of 2012, Amanda and her dad enlisted the expert help of Jason Leindecker of Leindecker Racing Engines. Jason began the build of Mommy Boo Boo's new powerplant and used every bit of his genius and machine shop in the process. He began his masterpiece around a 406 cubic inch small block Chevy. A Scat crankshaft was set into place with a stroke of 3.750. Scat connecting rods and Mahle flat top pistons / rings completed the rotating assembly. The bottom end was finished with a Moroso oil pick-up and oil pan. A pair of Dart 200 heads are driven by a Lunati Camshaft and Comp Cam lifters. An Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold sits on top of the 406 and makes home for the Quick Fuel 4150 carb with 1050 cfm. This potent small block relieves its 11.5 to 1 compression through a pair of Schoenfeld headers.
The new 406 was connected to the old Turbo 350 and made its best pass of 11.21. Amanda and her dad knew there was more performance left in Mommy Boo Boo, and the decision two swap out the Turbo 350 with a two speed Transmission Specialties Powerglide was made in August of 2012. At the same time the old wheels and tires were replaced with a pair Hoosier 29 x 10 slicks, mounted on a set of Weld Wheels. A pair of Hoosier skinnys out front keep the weight down and complete the race car look.
The interior still retains its stock dash and windows, but is now protected by an 8-point roll cage. The stock seats were swapped with a set of racing seats that keep Amanda safe with the help of a G-Force 5-point harness. A Hurst Quarter Stick helps Amanda control the Powerglide and make quick shifts.
Up until this past winter the Monte still had its
stock 87 suspension. After watching "Big Chief" wreck the Crow on TV, Amanda's dad wanted to complete a few more improvements to make the Monte a little more safe to race. With the help of Amanda's boyfriend Matt, the three of them installed a set of fully adjustable Spohn performance control arms and bearings. The springs were updated with Moroso drag springs that help complete the suspension makeover and give the Monte a better and safer ride.
Amanda and Mommy Boo Boo now race in the Pro class and an occasional Trophy class. The Monte's best run to date is a 10.37 at 127 mph. That's a huge difference from its first 20 second pass! In 2014 Amanda won three different races and was beginning to establish herself as more than daddy's little girl. She and her beautiful Monte were a force to be reckoned with.
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Amanda and her boyfriend Matt in the beginning of June 2016. I was at the track to test and tune, trying to see if the latest upgrades I made to my car were working properly. While waiting in the staging lanes together, I got a chance to know the girl behind the helmet. She was so nervous that day because it was the first time her dad was not with her at the track. She told me that her dad is her #1 supporter, crew chief, inspiration, and idol. She had never raced without him and simple things like doing her burn out and getting lined up in the groove had her freaked out. She had no need to worry as her boyfriend stepped right in and coached her through the whole process. I was fortunate enough to get paired against her and watch the two of them work together like a well-oiled machine.
Amanda warmed my heart that day simply by sharing her love, respect, and gratitude for her dad with me. I too have a daughter and couldn't help but imagine her going through a day at the track without me. Well, racing against Mommy Boo Boo ended up giving my car a boo boo that day. I was making the pass of a lifetime and broke a valve keeper. Amanda and Matt ran to my car hauler after the race to see if everything was okay. Matt stayed and helped me look the car over and enlisted the help of his friends to help push Big Red a bit closer to my hauler so I could connect the winch and take her home. They were the type of people I remember from years past…sincere and treating everyone at the track like they were family. In today's world of egos gone wild and thieves in the pits, I welcomed them like an old friend and look forward to seeing them both soon. Before I left the track that day, I made sure to run over to the pits and congratulate Amanda on her trophy. I also had Matt take a picture of the two of us so I could show my wife the girl who beat me at the track.
For all of the dads out there who bring their daughters to the track, take a page from Mark’s notebook and not only get your princess her very own race car, but become her #1 supporter and teach her all that you know. The time you spend together will be priceless and will make memories that will last a lifetime.
Until next time, keep Wrenching,