Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 148

JONATHAN ATKINS
ALL EYES WERE ON ATKINS WHEN HE ROLLED TO THE STARTING LINE ,
KNOWING THE TURBOCHARGED ,
STICK-SHIFT CAMARO WAS CAPABLE OF DIPPING WELL INTO THE 6-SECOND ZONE EVERY TIME IT HIT THE TRACK . boxes forever and ever ,” Atkins says . “ The idea behind that is being able to get the car to sit super low and lower your center of gravity , but then still keep your suspension geometry so the suspension will separate . We run a radial , so we set our car up like any other radial car even though it ’ s a stick shift car .”
A stick shift car riding on radials isn ’ t exactly a common combination , but Atkins and his team have found a way to make it work .
“ Most tire manufacturers and most anybody you talk to , even the clutch guys , they all for
ATKINS ’ TICK PERFORMANCE SPECIALIZES IN 6-SPEED MANUAL
TRANSMISSION REBUILDS AND UPGRADES , SO IT MAKES SENSE FOR HIM TO PUSH THE PLATFORM TO ITS
LIMITS IN THE “ GRUBB WORM ” CAMARO . years have frowned upon radials on stick cars ,” Atkins starts , “ but a couple guys before we even started doing it kind of figured that out and we followed their trend . It ’ s just awesome . We ’ ve been as fast as a 1.06 60-foot with a stick car and an old-school clutch . I hope I don ’ t ever put a bias-ply tire back on the car . We just gotta run on sticky , good-prepped tracks .”
Atkins says he ’ s drawn to the challenge of stick shift racing . Along with that , it ’ s a format he believes in and endorses as the owner of Tick Performance .
“ From a tuning standpoint , it ’ s just another variable that lets us go from pass to pass and make adjustments ,” he says . “ We can tune for track conditions and we can change a lot of things that I don ’ t think a torque converter guy could . There ’ s just a little more maintenance involved . But it ’ s the challenge . We do build those transmissions in house , so it ’ s kind of natural , if we ’ re going to build Tremec T56-based transmissions for racing purposes , we need to race one and show it . That ’ s the main motivation behind it .”
Atkins adds that he wouldn ’ t be able to race at this level without companies like Smallwood Race Development , Rock Solid Motorsports , Diamond Pistons , and TKM Performance . He also credits the guys at Tick Performance that help with the car , as well as his team at the track that includes his dad , Johnny , and Aaron Duncan and Josh Manning . DI
148 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 179