They were once fierce competitors on the drag strip, but Joey Martin of Joey Martin Race Cars (JMRC), is now determined to help fellow chassis builder and Pro Mod driver Dan Parker continue to fulfill his need for speed.
Next March will mark six years since a devastating racing accident left Parker 100-percent blind, but as he likes to say, “I’m not a blind man who wants to go racing; I’m a racer who happened to go blind.” To that end, the Columbus, GA-based driver is currently building a 2008 Corvette in which he plans to become the world’s fastest blind man, aiming for the 200-mph mark.
“I’d always respected Dan as a driver and car builder, but what he’s overcome and accomplished since his accident has turned me into a fan,” said Martin, who recently donated a one-of-a-kind street buggy he built to serve as the top prize in a charity drawing that will benefit Parker’s “Blind Ambition” racing efforts.
Martin explained it would cost at least $65,000 to replicate the car by a professional builder and stressed everything on the donated ride, except the engine and transmission, which came out of a 2012 Camaro, is brand-new.
Resting up front in the JMRC-built chassis is a Holley-equipped 6.2-liter LS engine boosted by a pair of Precision Turbo 62-mm units that results in approximately 1,000 horsepower going through a 6L80 automatic transmission mated to a 9-inch posi rearend. Strange Engineering struts and shocks, as well as Strange axles and Strange disc brakes reside on all four corners, while the interior features racing seats and seatbelts, Street Glow multi-color gauges, and all wiring hidden within the chassis tubes.
“This is no rat rod where everything is just put together from whatever junk is lying around,” Martin said. “This is a brand-new car, basically a Top Sportsman setup for the street, minus the body.”
An opportunity to receive the four-seat, fully street-legal buggy is available for each $150 donation to Parker’s Tragedy to Triumph Racing Team. Rewards of $1,000 and $500 will go to second- and third-place recipients. Donation details can be found by calling Martin at (850) 698-1023 or via e-mail sent to [email protected]; or by reaching Parker at [email protected]. Plans call for the buggy to be awarded this spring at a yet-to-be-confirmed drag racing event.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to help, but I don’t ever have the time to go help Dan in person. Plus, I know what he really needs is money to pay for parts and stuff like travel expenses, so I just figured getting a decent-size lump sum of money would help him buy the electronics or some other big-ticket items he’ll be needing to go fast,” Martin said from his JMRC shop in Milton, FL.
Martin describes the donation vehicle as a “street buggy,” explaining it rides too low to work off road and with the engine up front it has too much weight in the nose to work as a dune buggy or sand rail.
“It’s an awesome street ride, though,” he adds. “I mean, it’s a thousand horsepower and weighs 2,000 pounds, so it’ll put you back in the seat no problem. But it’s hundred-percent street legal; I’ve got insurance and a tag on it and I’ve never had any problem with it out on the road.
“You know, you build a race car and then the driver’s really the only one who gets the real enjoyment out of riding in it, so I thought I’d build a high-horsepower deal where I could share a little of the experience with three other people,” he added. “So this is just a toy–a badass toy for sure–but still just a toy, so I’m happy to give it up if it’s going to help Dan out.”