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Street Outlaw Jerry “Monza” Johnston, in his own words. “We did a daily driver race on Street Outlaws, and a...

February 7, 2019

Street Outlaw Jerry “Monza” Johnston, in his own words.

“We did a daily driver race on Street Outlaws, and a friend of mine let me borrow [my 2015 Hellcat] for that race. And I kind of fell in love with it, so I bought it.

“The car’s got a 6.2-liter supercharged hemi. We did a few upgrades on it. It’s got a cold-air intake. The upper pulley has been changed on the supercharger so it makes a little more boost. The car’s been tuned for 93-octane.”

“They come from the factory making 707 hp. This one makes about 805. My goal is 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower with this to be able to drive it anywhere.”

How it all started

“I started basically street racing in the ’80s as soon as I was able to get my driver’s license. I’d race anybody that pulled up beside me at a red light. Anything I ever drove – dirt bikes, cars, trucks, it didn’t matter – I only knew one speed: wide open.

“One of my cousins had a little hot-rod, Monza-body, big-tire car that had been built and never been run. So I ended up trading him out of that and thought, ‘This is the perfect opportunity for me to do something and get my boy involved in it with me.’ So we built that big-tire Monza. That’s when we got associated with Midwest Street Cars.”

Straight to No. 1

“We ran across a forum on the computer called ‘Midwest Street Cars.’ They had a top-10 list of the fastest street race cars in Oklahoma City. We went out one night with them, started racing with them and we booked our way all the way to number one on their list with this Monza we built. And everybody on there is so competitive. Cars just get faster and faster and faster.

“And that’s when we started building my 1972 Rally Sport Camaro that we raced on the TV show Street Outlaws. We called it the ‘Sinister Split Bumper.’ Sometimes I call it worse than that if it makes me mad.

“It has a Proline 481X in it, pair of precision 98-millimeter turbos on it, FuelTech fuel injection engine management and RC component wheels on it. It has a Mr. Windell’s 3-speed turbo 400 in it with pro torque converter. Mark Williams full-floater rear end under it. We switched it up to turbo, which I didn’t think I would ever do. But I promise you at this point we have no regrets.”

“This car is way faster than it ever was with nitrous. And, actually, it’s a lot of fun to drive. We have a number-one car here. It’s relatively new, but it’s getting faster every time we take it out.”

“And I will get this car to number one. There’s no doubt about it. No doubt in my mind. It will happen.”

All in the family

“Back in, say, 2005 when we built the Monza, it was all knobs and timers in the car. Now this car you don’t do nothing to it without breaking a laptop out. That’s where my boy comes in. I’m kind of a computer dummy. What I don’t know how to do he picks it up really fast, so we make a really good team.

“I’m probably with my son more than anybody. We come down here every night working on this car. I couldn’t do what I do without him. I wouldn’t want to do what I do without him. Pretty much every time I pull up there to make a pass I’m trusting him with my life. He makes sure I’m lined up like I’m supposed to. He makes sure everything on the outside of the car that has to be done is done. And I don’t second-guess none of it.”

Not ready to quit

“I guarantee you I’m the youngest 52-year-old you’ll ever meet in your life. I mean, I think I’m as good now as I was 20 years ago. I can still cut a light at a race track. I can still drive the wheels off of anything. I’m going to do it until I feel I’m not competitive anymore. I may be 60 years old out here doing this. I don’t know.

“When I get to the point where I’m not competitive or I don’t feel like I have the number-one car on that list, then it’ll be time for me to bow out. But I’m not ready to give it up yet.”