Volume I, Issue 1, Page 33

Things didn’t quite go as planned back in April when Pat Stoken debuted his brand-new Tim McAmis-built '68 Camaro at Gateway International Raceway, near St. Louis. Sure, the car’s classic lines, flawless paint and intricately airbrushed detail garnered a lot of media attention and quickly established it as a fan favorite—but its Pro Modified pulchritude was short lived.

After coming up just a little short with a 4.162-seconds pass at 173.25 mph in first-round eliminations at the eighth-mile American Drag Racing League (ADRL) event, Stoken lost control of his new ride as it crossed the finish line and bounced off the wall in the shutdown area. He recalls it as a sickenin g moment.

“That was our fourth hit on the car and when I crossed the line I just touched the brakes and the back tires locked up and it started sliding. Then it swapped ends and smashed the front end and the right rear quarter. Tim’s crew was there at the track and I think they felt just as bad as I did.”

Clearly a disappointing start for Stoken after waiting a good six months for the car’s construction, but fortunately McAmis’ shop is situated not far from the track and “it was an easy fix,” according to the master chassis man.

“It didn’t even touch the header or the door; it was just those two corners, just body pieces and some paint and the front-end mount touched the fuel cell,” McAmis says. “We don’t ever like to see them come back like that, but it was just one of those things.”

Stoken, 52, has been a Chevy man as long as he’s been a drag racer, dating back to his high school days in Eureka, Montana, a town of about 1,800, less than 10 miles from the Canadian border. He owns a logging company with his brother, Mike, and still lives in Eureka with his wife, Terrie. “We’ve been married 31 years, so she’s been with me through pretty much all the racing I’ve done and she’s very understanding. It’s a very expensive hobby,” Stoken concedes.

Trackside, Stoken is ably assisted by sons Cory, 31, who handles the clutch, and Casey, 29, master of the engine tune-up and computer work. “I more or less just drive; they do most of the work on it,” he says. Although his daughter, Caley, doesn’t work on the car, she does travel to many races. “We do it as a family because it wouldn’t work otherwise, let’s put it that way.”

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