NMCA Racer Jenna Pierce-Wilson Talks About Drag Racing and FUELAB

Jenna Pierce

Jenna Pierce-Wilson successfully races a COPO Camaro clone built by family and friends. Her husband Jesse is heading up a project to build a second COPO Clone, which we have been covering in a Race Car Build Series of articles – see the latest installment at http://fuelab.com/race-car-build-series-building-a-copo-camaro-clone-part-3/.

Here is what Jenna had to say about drag racing and FUELAB.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: My dad got me into it. He has raced all my life so I knew about racing from a young age. He let me start racing the summer I was 14, I turned 15 that winter. My mom refused to let me race a junior dragster when I was younger so my dad waited till I was closer to 16.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: My dad started me in a chrome yellow 1999 Mustang GT. That was also my first car when I started driving.  It was completely stock except we put Nitto tires on the rear. It ran high 14’s in a 1/4 mile. My second time ever racing I took home runner up in this car. I ran in the street class for several years before moving on to a race car with slicks.

Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced and when?
A: After the yellow Mustang was a 2001 red Camaro Z28. I didn’t race that one long. Then a blue 2002 Mustang GT. We put nitrous on it and everything else was stock. It didn’t react well with just nitrous so we ended up pulling it off and sold the car. The last street car I raced was a black 1998 Trans Am. We only did a few mods on it including a rough tune, air intake and cooler thermostat. It would run mid 12’s. I raced that car for about 3 years and then sold it to my uncle in Florida. To this day the car is still in the family, my cousin races it, and it’s still going strong. Coincidently that car saved me from having to lose points for one of our NMCA races last year. The COPO wasn’t running so we had to park it for the Bradenton Florida race. If I didn’t race I would not get the points, so I borrowed my old car and raced it. I didn’t do so well, but I got my points.

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: I had only raced at our local track up until 2013, when Jesse introduced us to the NMCA. We have also run in the LSX Series along with the NMCA.

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the past 5 years?
A: I have had several wins at the local track. Our first year out in the NMCA in 2013 we finished 8th in the Open Comp class getting us a top ten win. In 2014 we finished 3rd in the LSX Series 5th Generation Camaro Class. We won 2 races back to back wins that year as well. We won Norwalk and LS fest in Bowling Green. This year we won first place in Open Comp for the NMCA.

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: The speed. The adrenaline. The fumes. Ha-ha I love the freedom. Out on that track it’s your own world.

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Yes. My dad races alongside me in the NMCA. My mom is my biggest fan.

Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: 2 years now

Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: At the time we were a new race team with a new car, and they were the only ones willing to work with us on a sponsorship. They had what we needed and they liked our car.

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that FUELAB solved?
A: We didn’t really have any particular problem.  We needed parts and they had what we needed.

Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: Reliability; out of all the systems on this car, the fuel system has never failed us. It works every time without any hiccups. We can count on their parts to work and not fail us.

Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: We use the 51501 fuel pressure regulator, 41401 Prodigy fuel pump, and 82803/82813 fuel filters.

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A: Reliability. I can’t stress that enough.  When you have one less thing to worry about on your race car it makes a world of difference in stress relief.  They work, end of story.  Customer service is great as well.  If you have any questions, they will do everything they can to get you the answers you need. They’re a great company with amazing products.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in 5 years?
A: Hopefully still racing with the NMCA but getting into OSCA and some other racing. We just go season by season.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Remodeling a house right now. Ha-ha. Usually just the simple things; movies, hanging with family and friends, hanging with Jesse.

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Race Car Build Series – Building a COPO Camaro Clone

Jenna Pierce Wilson

Last week we introduced our Race Car Build Series, as well as introduced the first race vehicle that will featured; Rob Farley’s NMCA Mustang. This week we are introducing the second car that will be covered, and that is the COPO Camaro clone being built by the Pierce-Wilson family of Muncie, Indiana.

The Wilson’s are no strangers to COPO Camaro clones. Last year Jenna Pierce-Wilson raced a Fuelab sponsored 2010 replica COPO Camaro built by her husband Jesse Pierce-Wilson. She was quite successful we might add. Competing in the NMCA Chevrolet Performance LSX Challenge Series, Jenna ended up ranking 3rd in the 5th Generation Camaro Class for the 2014 season. Shameless Fuelab plug: The Camaro’s fuel delivery system featured Fuelab’s Prodigy High Pressure EFI In-Line fuel pump, a 515 series fuel pressure regulator, and a pair of 282 Series In-Line filters.

“Building a 5th Gen COPO clone isn’t a common thing, and only a handful of race teams are doing it” Jesse told us. “We wanted to show that it was possible for a small time race team with a limited budget to build a car that would be competitive in the 5th Generation Camaro class. We started with a 2010 base V6 Camaro and built a tribute COPO using notes from a GM COPO build book. The car turned out so well built that GM took notice. A high level manager from Chevrolet Performance saw it at race and thought it was the real thing. He had to check the VIN to be sure it wasn’t! Even a competing COPO owner couldn’t tell the difference. Then we saw our car posted on GM’s Instagram and Facebook pages. That was a big compliment. After a couple of races we were invited to the COPO build center in Michigan by Kurt Collins and Dr. Jamie Meyer – the Performance Marketing Manager at GM. They gave us a tour and discussed the COPO program. We were like kids in a candy store! It was really neat to be there talking to them. We never thought in a million years that something we built ourselves would get so much notice. It’s hard to believe it snowballed into this”.

“We decided to build a second COPO replica so Jenna’s dad can race it in the new NMCA Chevy Performance Stock Class” Jesse continues. “Of course I want to do some racing in it too, but the car is being built primarily with Jenna’s dad in mind. As with our previous build, we are going to rely on our basic tools, craftsmanship and ingenuity to get the job done”.

Fuelab will be covering the build of the Pierce-Wilson’s second COPO Camaro, including the installation of a Fuelab In-Tank Power Module fuel pump. So, stay tuned to the Fuelab Vehicle Builds website page (http://fuelab.com/category/vehicle-builds/) for regular updates.