Holley EFI Infuses Modern Technology Into Legendary Super Stock Camaro

By: David Hakim | 02/25/2020 < Back to Motor Life Home

Dan Fletcher has been described by many as a “professional” Sportsman Racer. Unlike many competitors that have real 9 to 5 jobs that support their racing habit, Fletcher relies on his sponsors and the contingency money that NHRA manufacturers put up to support the numerous Sportsman classes competing on the national and divisional level. That means Dan has to be on his game and go rounds come race day. A bad weekend at a race will have a negative impact on his bottom line. Dan, a 55-year-old from Churchville, New York, has been hooked on drag racing from an early age. His biggest influence and mentor was his father who went out and purchased a brand 1969 Camaro Z/28. When Dan turned 16, he couldn’t wait to get to his local drag strip and start racing. 

Dan has raced many machines over that last four decades, but he’s mostly known for wheeling his late father’s orange 1969 Camaro Z/28 to the winner’s circle at over 50 NHRA national events. Now before the purists begin to scream, Dan’s dad may have bought the Z/28 brand new and driven it home from the dealership, but he immediately turned it into a race car. It’s what many folks did back then. When Dan turned 18, he took over the driving chores and as they say, the rest is history. He and the Camaro went on to dominate in the NHRA Super Stock classes while racking up two World Championships in the 23 years he’s professionally raced. Throughout the decades, Dan has run many different engine combinations in the Camaro while competing in Super Stock. He’s had his favorites over the years based on horsepower factors that make one combo more competitive than others. “I have to admit, that car may have had more combos run through it than any other car at the track,” laughed Dan. “When my Dad raced it, it was a 302 or 350 and ran in Modified Production. When I started out, it was a Big Block Chevy for bracket racing. When we started Super Stock racing, it was a 350/255 horse combo, then a 350/300, then a 396/375, then a 358” SB2 small block, then back to a 350/255, and now finally we’re running a fuel injected LS COPO motor.”

With racing comes change and trying new things. If you want to stay ahead of the guy in the next lane, you continue to work and refine your combination. That’s what Dan did when he pulled the 350 LS engine out of his 2014 COPO Camaro and dropped it into his Z/28. Since the Super Stock eliminator is virtually a bracket race unless you get in a heads up match up with a car in the same class. Many combo changes are done in an effort to go faster, which most perceive to be an advantage when bracket racing. “Switching to the LS was driven by the desire to move with technology and get into a better class from a competitive standpoint, and hopefully by running LS 350 in the Super Sock FGT/G or H classes, it will be one of the best choices I’ve made,” commented Dan. “I didn’t have a million dollars to throw at it, so the bottom end is pretty much stock, but it does have Super Stock prepped heads and valvetrain. Obviously, the Holley EFI system is the key component to the puzzle.” Making wholesale changes to any race car comes with risks and concerns and Dan had his when he made the switch to a modern engine and induction system on his Camaro that’s now a half century old. “There’s nothing like replacing a 50-plus year old Quadrajet with an EFI system,” chuckled Dan. Judging by how fast the car was at the recent NHRA Winternationals, Dan’s new Holley EFI-prepped 350 LS is doing just fine. He made it all the way to the semifinals in Pomona by clicking off a string of consistent low 10-second ETs.

The partnership between Holley and Dan came about when he picked up his COPO Camaro back in 2014. Holley Motorsports Director Robin Lawrence was doing NHRA Pro Stock Holey EFI support and racing a COPO owned by Daren Poole-Adams. He knew Dan and spoke to him many times at NHRA events. “I helped him with some questions, and he was able to learn the Holley software quickly. Over time Dan would have questions and was able to consult in some of the changes that he wanted to make in the tune up,” said Robin. “Dan decided that he wanted to swap a similar COPO 350 Chevrolet Performance engine into his 69 Camaro Super Stocker. Dan called and we discussed using the same system that he used in the COPO in the Super Stocker.  Holley sells a ton of Swap Kits for LS engines into a lot of early Camaros, Novas and Chevelles.  It will be a great example of the ease of swapping late model engines into early muscle cars,” exclaimed Robin. While the Holley EFI system is used in many high horsepower applications such as Pro Mod and Pro Stock, the real base is the average Sportsman or Bracket Racer and even just a street enthusiast looking to tune his or her own combination. The Holley EFI software is very user friendly and typically easy to understand.

“We had a few issues to start in the Super Stock application, but honestly most of them were and are mechanical. The Holley engine management harness and EFI system were very much plug and play,” said Dan. “As for driving style, no issues at all. I will say I’ve noticed the car seems “smoother” on the two-step, very soft not an obnoxious “bang bang”. And the throttle response when working the gas pedal on the top end is flawless.” As Dan tells us, “I’ve had the COPO stocker since 2014, and Holley rep Robin Lawrence has been gracious enough to take pity on me over the last few years. He’s helped educate an ignorant Quadrajet guy like me on some of the subtle nuances and intricacies of the Holley EFI system. When I decided to put the LS motor in my Dad’s car, Robin and Holley decided to help out with the change. Putting a fuel injected LS in a 1969 Camaro has to be the quintessential example of this era’s power plant conversion!” We couldn’t agree more with Dan so make sure to check out his awesome LS powered 1969 Camaro Super Stocker at all the major NHRA events this year!
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