Justin “Big Chief” Shearer of Street Outlaws surprised street and drag racing fans alike earlier this year when he announced his intent to participate in the 2016 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals – driving a car fueled by a factory engine. While he didn’t get through the first qualifying round, ranking in 31st place, the fact that he got there at all is impressive considering the age and make of his engine.
Shearer’s car, the Crowmod, is a 1968 Pontiac Firebird running on a Butler Performance twin turbo 2500 hp engine; some of the other cars in the Chevy Nats sport engines more than twice the size of Shearer’s reportedly 53-year-old model. The Crowmod was built in 2015 to replace Shearer’s original car, the Crow, which was totaled in a crash that nearly led to Shearer’s death but left an intact engine, which was placed in the Crowmod. Despite drawing power from the same source, the Crowmod was constructed along very different lines than its predecessor, with a far lighter body for improved speed.
Shearer did make an impressive speed showing with his Pontiac, hitting 226.47 mph at 6.36 in one run. He had previously set a record at the 1/8 mile, where he ran 4.03 at 185 mph. Despite not qualifying to continue in the Nats, he was happy with his performance and stated that getting into the series was a lifelong dream.