Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet in Napa, Calif. — yes, THAT Jimmy Vasser — announced on Sunday that it will field a Chevrolet COPO Camaro in the inaugural Factory Stock Showdown that will take place at the upcoming Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend, August 29-September 3.
Drag racing fans keen to other corners of the auto racing world over the last two decades will certainly recall Vasser as one of open wheel racing’s biggest stars, earning the 1996 IndyCar World Series champion as a driver and today serving as co-owner of KV Racing Technology with his father Jimmy Vasser Sr., which fields an entry for popular driver Tony Kanaan in the IndyCar Series. What straight-line fans may not know however is that Vasser is a long time drag racing fan, and at Indianapolis, just down the road from the holy grail of open wheel racing, Vasser will be front and center for one of the most anticipated one-off drag races of the season.
Vasser’s Chevrolet dealership will field the COPO Camaro, known as the Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet King Kong COPO Camaro, in the AA/SA category with Bay Area driver Eric Reyes at the controls.
“We are very pleased to be able to compete in the Factory Stock Showdown at the U. S. Nationals,” said Vasser Sr. “NHRA is a passion of mine and this is a tremendous marketing opportunity for the dealership.”
Said Vasser, “I am very excited that Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet is entering a car in one of the most prestigious racing events in the world. Given my long history with Chevrolet, both on the track and with the dealership, to be able to represent them at the U. S. Nationals in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown is both an honor and a privilege.”
“Chevrolet Performance is excited that motorsports professionals such as Jimmy Vasser have selected the COPO Camaro as their vehicle of choice for NHRA sportsman drag racing” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “COPO builds off the strengths that have made the Camaro the best-selling sports car in America and brings the heritage of Chevrolet Performance to the drag strip. Fans have a great new reason to cheer on the Bowtie.”
46-year old Reyes, from Petaluma, Calif., is a three-time NHRA national event and six-time Lucas Oil divisional series winner and claimed his most recent victory at last year’s FRAM-Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, Calif.
“A few months ago Jim Vasser Sr. came to see me about designing the graphics for his COPO Camaro,” Reyes said. “Before I started to work on the design, he came by my shop again, When he stopped by the first time, he noticed the shelf above my computer had a row of Wallys. He asked me about NHRA racing and how much it cost to hire a driver. I bit my tongue, and I thought, ‘I hope he considers me to drive his COPO’. I explained the process and he said, ‘People tell me that I would be making a good decision if I got you to drive the car.’ I was shocked and so honored.”
Continued Reyes, “Meeting Jimmy Vasser Jr. was like meeting motorsports royalty. The best part is that he is from the Bay Area, something that I am very proud of. To say that I am excited about driving the COPO Camaro at the NHRA U.S. Nationals under the Vasser colors is a huge understatement.“
The first of the highly anticipated COPO Camaro’s were delivered to their owners just last week, and the Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet is among a number of team’s that will be preparing a car in short order for the heads-up Factory Stock Showdown at Indy.