Like many, Rob Asbury has a long history in drag racing that’s been multi-generational within his family. Asbury’s father raced at the local track from the time Rob was two years old, an the hook was set. Thirty two years ago Rob bought a 1971 Chevelle that he found sitting in a field for a meager 75 dollars — a car that he still races to this day.
“I worked at the local Chevron gas station that my dad managed and a grocery store as a courtesy clerk to make the money to put the car together. I drove the car to school during the week and raced it at the local track on the weekends. I don’t remember a time in my life where racing was not a part of it.”
Rob and the Chevelle won the High School drags all three years at his local track during his high school years. Meanwhile, he went to the E.T. finals in 1989 and was runner up in the High school class for NHRA Division 6. He continued racing and won championships in Sportsman, Heavy, and Pro. In 1994, Asbury moved to the Super Pro ranks after upgrading the Chevelle with some friends. In 1999, Rob won his first “Wally” at Renegade Raceway at a Division 6 points meet. Racing continued to be a family sport for Rob as his two sons started in Jr. Dragsters with help of his daughter and wife. Rob continued to make improvements to the Chevelle as time and money allowed and won yet another Wally in the Super Pro class.
In 2014, he won King of the Track and in the process earned this third “Wally” trophy. Even though he had the Chevelle for so many years, Rob felt he had gone as far as he could go with a back half heavy car.
“I will never sell it but wanted to try my hand at racing a chrome-moly car in Top Sportsman and Quick E.T.,” he shares.
Rob scored his 1963 Corvette from some friends that had the car structurally built over eight years ago. After seeing it sit there, he envisioned the potential of what this machine could become; and later did, as one of the cleanest race cars you’ll find anywhere.
“The timing on purchase of the Corvette was just amazing,” Rob said.
Rob has been racing for many years but mentioned he never had a car before with this amazing of a foundation. He wanted a showstopper, so the teardown began, touching every part on the car. For over two months, Rob stripped every nut, bolt, and panel out of the car. When it was finally completed he took a runner-up at Renegade Raceway the first time on the track. After that, he traveled to Boise, Idaho for the Firebird Raceway Halloween Classic and was fortunate enough to runner-up in Top Gun Door Car class and won Best Appearing door car. Rob was also invited to the Boise Roadster Show where he won first place in the Pro Modified class and Outstanding Competition Car.
Rob is quick to credit his wife, who stood by his side as he reached for greater heights in his racing career.
“I have the most amazing wife. She is the sole reason I was able to build and race this car. I really didn’t need this car because we already had our Chevelle, but she wanted to race, as well, so we’ll both be able to travel an race together. We have given up alot just to run both of these cars; we put off a bathroom and kitchen remodel that she wanted just to purchase this car. We felt we had a very strong engine in our Chevelle, so we took it out and stuffed it in the Corvette.”
The powerplant under the hood was built by Rob himself at Thunder Racing Engines in Yakima, Washington. It utilizes a Chevrolet generation-five block with a 4.250 bore and stroke combinatio-, making the total cubic inches 565. The block was CNC machined with bronze lifter bores, and the block was also clearanced for the stroke and the belt vrive. The rotating assembly consists of an all-Callies bottom end and JE gas-ported pistons. Reher Morrison supplied a custom ground Erson 4/7 swap roller camshaft for the buildwith an advanced lift of .817 intake and .774 exhaust.
The Dart Pro 1 cylinder heads were sent off to HRD cylinder heads in Idaho for a complete makeover. HRD ported and polished the heads with extensive chamber work for maximum flow numbers. Once the heads were machined, a set of Ferrea valves and T&D shaft rockers were installed. Up top of the engine sits an Edelbrock 454R intake manifold ported by Wilson Manifolds.
Feeding the big-block Chevy is a Magnafuel fuel pump through a Chuck Nuytten 1150 Holley Dominator. Rounding out the powerplant is a set of Dynatech 2-1/4- to 2-3/8-inch headers with merge collectors. Rob chose to go with a complete MSD ignition setup on the ‘Vette. This includes an MSD Grid ignition box, coil, pro-billet distributer, wires, and NGK spark plugs — a proven combination. Rob estimates the power to be anywhere from 990 to 1,000 horsepower in its current configuration.
A rugged Powerglide transmission was built for the Corvette by PAC Transmissions. It features a B&M shifter and transmission cooler, an SFI-approved Reid case with a billet Sonnex 1.80 gear set, and a 300 mm turbo spline input shaft. For the big launch, Rob chose a Hughes 9-inch, 6200 stall speed converter, and a Mark Williams aluminum driveshaft.
The full tube chrome-moly chassis was originally built by Vanderbeck Race Cars but wasn’t assembled until Rob purchased it. The front half of the suspension includes, Strange double adjustable struts with Hyperco springs and manual Wilwood rack & pinion steering box. Out back boasts a 4-link assembly with a custom Fab 9-inch housing with Mark Williams 40-spline gun-drilled axles and 40-spline lightweight spool. AFCO double adjustable shocks also with Hyperco springs and a Pro Mod-style sway bar were installed for the rear suspension.
The split window is riding on Weld Alumastar spindle mount front runners and Weld Magnum double beadlocks in the rear, all wrapped in Hoosier tires. Although the car is nowhere near the weight of his Chevelle, he didn’t skimp out on the Corvette’s braking power. Strange dual piston brakes were installed up front while Mark Williams 4-piston brakes are doing the work out back. Rob tells us, “This car can hook on dirt.”
Undoubtedly, the wicked paint job is the first thing you notice about Rob’s’ Vette. He knew there were many split window race cars out there but he wanted his to stand out amongst all of them, and we think he did a fantastic job. Two shops played integral roles in the aesthetics of this car: Trick Shop of Yakima, Washington and Sick Customs of Outlook, Washington. The paint scheme was carefully chosen utilizing House of Kolor yellow and blue. Additionally, a Rick Jones Race Cars Pro Stock-style hood scoop and rear wing were also added.
Each piece of the interior can be removed one by one. And just like the outside, you can virtually eat off the inside of this machine, as well. The roll cage is certified to 6.00 in the quarter-mile and is custom painted along with dash. With a car as pristine as this one, you have to protect it as much as you can, and that’s why Rob installed a 20 pound Halon fire suppression system for those what-if moments.
Rob has only run the Corvette a handful of times since it was finished in August of 2016. To date, it was clicked off a best run of 7.70 at nearly 180 miles per hour in the quarter-mile, with a 1.08 60-foot time. In April of 2017, he entered what may arguably be the biggest race of any sportsman racers’ career, The Spring Fling at Las Vegas Motorspeedway. plans besides racing some local tracks is to try and compete in the NHRA Top Sportsman ranks! Nonetheless, it will always remain a race-and-show car
- Runner-Up in Door Car Top Gun class – Boise Halloween Classic
- Best Appearing Car – Renegade Raceway Yakima, Washington/Boise Halloween Classic
- Best in “Pro Mod Class – 2017 Boise Roadster Show
- Outstanding Competition – 2017 Boise Roadster Show