Carmon Salomone in the pack at the Daytona Finale 1978.
||Chassis # ||
||Team ||Carmon Salomone
||Drivers ||Carmon Salomone-Fred Lang
|Body||Box flairs were added. Then, fiberglass front fenders designed to produce down force were added in the front. Similar down force style flairs were added to the rear. Shafer panels. Full cage, Freon, Minilites. Many more extras, this car weighs 2900 lbs, w/o ballast.
||Modified 9" Ford axle, adjustable upper control rods, center mounted al adjustable Z-bar, 2,5" Carrera springs, Bilstein shocks, 10" rear rotors with ATE calipers. Brake control Tilton dual master cylinder.
||355ci small block or 305ci turbocharged.
Unless you were a fan of the Trans-Am Series in the late Sixties, it's likely you've never heard of Midwest-based Laurel Racing, which was organized by Larry Drover in 1968. Selecting a Chevy Camaro as their on-track chariot of choice--which received only minor mechanical and appearance upgrades for the '69 season--the team, with drivers Larry Bock and Larry Dent, competed in various SCCA Trans-Am and regional A/Sedan races, as well as several endurance campaigns, such as the 24 Hours of Daytona. They were competitive enough to attract the attention of Chevrolet Product Performance after it was announced that Penske was switching brands.
Although it took some time, the pairing resulted in the build of a new mid-1970 Camaro, which was completed in May of 1971; additional backing came from Goodyear under the stipulation that their decals appear over each wheel opening. Larry Bock was initially retained as the driver, and the team's new effort appeared at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park for the 1971 Trans-Am opener. Plagued by rain, Bock qualified 14th, but pushrod failure on lap 64 relegated the Camaro to a disappointing 23rd-place finish.
Prior to the next event at Bryar Motorsport Park (now New Hampshire Motor Speedway), fresh support arrived from Fushida Racers; this included installing accomplished Japanese driver Hiroshi Fushida behind the wheel. Bryar became Fushida's first start in a full-bodied sedan, and showed his potential with an 11th place in qualifying; overheating led to a DNF in 27th. Fushida's next start came at Road America in Wisconsin, which was a memorable event for all the wrong reasons. After starting 16th, he lost control of the Camaro on lap 26, penetrated the facility's guardrail and hit a tree. It took rescue workers two hours to extract Fushida from the Chevy; he was later diagnosed at Sheboygan Memorial Hospital as having broken his collarbone, ankle and four ribs, though he was released within a week. Trans-Am's first Japanese driver would not start in the series again, although he continued participating in various forms of motorsports in the decades that followed, even after retiring as a driver.
Amazingly, the Laurel Racing Camaro was repaired and returned to competition in 1972. Larry Bock returned and drove the car in two Trans-Am events--its best finish was a 14th at Road America--while owner Drover piloted the car in SCCA A/Sedan races; they even competed in the '72 running of the Six Hours of Daytona (reduced from 24 that year). Virtually unchanged, the Camaro continued to run in A/Sedan events and several IMSA races during 1973, after which it was retired and then sold to fellow Midwestern racer Carmon Solomone.
Repainted and renumbered, the Camaro attempted to qualify for the 1975 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring with Solomone at the wheel; however, mechanical issues sidelined the effort before the start of the race. Solomone next appeared at the Trans-Am race at Road America, but failed to finish due to engine failure. Rather than continue with Trans-Am, he instead decided to focus his racing effort on the IMSA series, which meant period alterations to the Camaro's exterior: primarily front fiberglass flared fenders and rear fender flares, each designed to add downforce.
For the next three years, published records indicate that Solomone started no more than three events per season, including three consecutive 24 Hours of Daytona. In 1976, his best effort in three starts was a 35th (17th in class) at the aforementioned Daytona race. The following year, Solomone entered just two races, his best finish coming at the 12 Hours of Sebring (43rd), while in '78 he came in 24th in a 250-mile sprint at Mid-Ohio. Although Solomone reportedly continued to race the car from 1979-'84, IMSA records indicate that the Camaro's final series start was at the Miami street circuit in '85, finishing 24th, before it was unceremoniously retired.