There are those times that you are walking through the pits at a racetrack and someone says hello in a genuine enough voice that you want to stop and talk to them. That is actually what happens to me every time I run into Stephen Adams. His dedication to our sport is enormous to say the least, and the work his puts in day in and day out rivals anyone. For those that don't know of Stephen, we are here to shed some light on him and his journey.
Stephen lives up on the mountain, Signal Mountain, TN of all places, where he owns and operates Adams Automotive & Performance. A while back we also did a highlight of Stephen's shop, which you can read all about here. Stephen decided after more that two decades as an accountant that it was time to put away the calculators and crunch smaller numbers, like V8 and 4 cylinder. That's when he bought the shop that he is in now.
But how did someone go from being an accountant to being a mechanic? Stephen has always understood business and numbers. He understood and saw the need, along with the ability to have a second career. So once he retired from the stuffiness of that accounting career, he bought the shop, hired the right people, put on some overalls and got dirty. This small two front bay shop is exactly what Stephen needed.
AAP is located on the top of Signal Mountain, which is connected directly to the larger city of Chattanooga, TN right along that boarder of Tennessee and Georgia. It's also far enough away from downtown Chattanooga, that fighting with the big guys for business is not something that Stephen has to worry about. He is the local that everyone trusts to work on their cars.
It's this hard work and dedication to everything that he does that brings us to current day and Stephens big block, nitrous powered Camaro. Since being a business owner and thinking about the future is priority number one, he doesn't get to spend 24 hours a day working on a race car, though when he does, it becomes a singular focus. This car is something to behold and we have had multiple opportunities to photograph this beast on track and off.
Unlike most in the drag racing world, Stephen stays low key and doesn't have a huge entourage with him at the race track. Usually it's Stephen and his son Michael, who in my mind is an absolutely genius in his own right. Stephen's son Michael owns and operates his own company Victory Engineering, in Soddy Daisy, TN. Watching the two of them work on the car and toss ideas around is just amazing. The other person, and likely the most important person in Stephen's day to day life is his wife Kelley. When Michael though, who has his own family, and of course the business, can't go to the track, Stephen usually will take someone to the track to help crew on the car. Though it really is he and Michael as the team.
To get the radial tired Camaro from A to B on a regular basis, the power is made by a BBC engine that Stephen handles the assembly on. Sitting atop the engine, handling all that air and fuel is a Pro Systems carb. Stephen believe in using the parts that he is also a dealer of. With that in mind, the Camaro utilizes a cold nitrous setup. The components are all Induction Solutions. Stephen is an I/S dealer as well. And what would all the power in the world be worth if you can't put it to the ground? Well that is where the best of the best come in to play. Stephen is utilizing a pair of Menscer Motorsports shocks on the rear to get those radials planted and keep the car moving in the right direction.
Not only does Stephen do the engine assembly on the car, he also does all the trans work, the wiring, tuning, rear end assembly, and even the chassis work. It is rare these days to find someone that is so involved in their program from nut to bolt. That's what sets Stephen apart from the rest of the crowd. In the future we at E3xtreme will be working with Stephen to bring you some more great race content, but in the mean time, enjoy the photos, check out Stephen's shop and/or website, and if you want to check the car out in person and meet the man, they will be racing at Slugfest Productions: The Big Show. This is at Knoxville Dragstrip on July 15th. He will be competing in the 28/275 class up there.