Phil Henry Race Car Driver
1954 Austin Healey
Phil began his racing career in 1963 with the Sports Car Club of America. Finding an old 54' Austin Healey 4 Banger in a vacant lot with weeds growing up through it. He stripped it down to the frame and completely rebuilt the car from the ground up. In the process he added many performance upgrades including the Le Mans package which had been a racing option for Healeys in the mid fifties who won many races at the famous venue of the same name. Phil competed in Closed Circuit Road Racing around Southern California at such tracks as Riverside, Del Mar, Holtville, and others. He also participated in autocross and slalom events in Southern California and Mexico. After marrying and taking on the obligations of family, Phil dropped out of competitive racing in 1966.
Phil resumed his racing career in 1986 with a brand new Corvette. This time he opted to participate in NHRA drag racing in Las Vegas, Nevada. He contacted John Lingenfelter to supply the parts for a full race small block engine, and Art Carr provided the tranny. Rick Tucker turned the wrenches and produced a very quick Corvette for Phil. In 1989, with the return of Open Road Racing to the scene, Phil switched over to that variation of the sport, where he found a home and still competes today. Phil uses his racing career to promote his automotive electronic inventions. In 1990 Phil converted the Corvette into a project car for Car and Driver Magazine. Now his race car was serving double duty. It was featured in the May 1990 issue of Car and Driver in an article entitled "The Stealth Corvette" written by editor Phil Berg. The Corvette made many public appearances at car shows all over the country and on television being featured on such shows as Hard Copy and Inside Report, as well as national news programs helping to increase sales of Phil's invention the "Bear Tracker". Phil finally sold the Corvette in 1992 to a collector.
Mello Yellow Lumina
In 1992 Phil acquired a new 93' Chevrolet Lumina running a basically stock configuration. This car became one of the most popular cars on the open road racing circuit, primarily due to the addition of the Mellow Yellow theme made famous by Kyle Petty, and the Mellow yellow girls! Phil started a tradition at the open road racing car shows as the "Master of the Grand Entrance". At this point many open road racers starting handing out sports cards for the kids (big and small) and autographing pictures. This is a tradition that continues today. Phil converted the Lumina in 1995 back to full sponsorship by Bear Tracker.
Bear Tracker Lumina
n 1995 Phil introduced the Bear Tracker Lumina to open road racing. Now an established figure at open road racing events, the new theme gained an immediate following on the circuit. The kids especially took to the bear that made appearances whenever the car was on display, and of course the guys all wanted to see the "Bear Tracker Girls". With a few minor modifications to engine and suspension, the Bear Tracker Lumina became more competitive than its predecessor. The Bear Tracker Lumina also saw duty as the Official Pace Car and the Official Camera Car for EPSN at some of the events between 1995 and 1997. In late 1997 Phil sold the Bear Tracker Lumina.
Bear Tracker GTP
In 1998 Phil rolled out a totally new racing machine, a 1998 Supercharged Pontiac Grand Prix. With a substantial increase in horsepower from the Bear Tracker Lumina, Phil now became more competitive, and switched his focus form Showmanship back to Competition. After its first year on the circuit, the GTP made a trip to Phoenix and Mecham Performance. This car holds a number of records in open road racing. The addition of a sophisticated time/distance computer that can be recalibrated on the fly has resulted in more trophy finishes than in years past. Phil plans to keep this competitive little car for the foreseeable future.
Built specifically for the Silver State Classic Series of Open Road Races, this car has got lots of top end! We are talking 150 mph plus! To accomplish this kind of speed safely, the vehicle utilizes 8.5" wide alloy wheels running 245/50ZR16 front and 255/50ZR16 rear tires. The front wheel drivers put the horsepower to the ground as well as providing superior traction on all kinds of road surfaces. Lowered 1.5 inches with Eicbach springs and aftermarket adjustable shocks the ride is perfect for sustained highspeed open road racing events.
The engine has been modified to produce over 300 horsepower. Boost has been increased to 11+ psi, and the computer has been flashed with a new high performance program. It breathes through a ram air hood which also vents heat from the engine. The exhaust is a custom designed cat-back system terminating in taper cut 3" black pipes. It both looks and sounds awesum!
Additional instrumentation is a must for open road racing where sustained speeds of 130 + mph must be maintained for long periods of time placing a strain on both car and driver. Notice the fuel/air mixture indicator above the steering wheel. A boost, engine oil pressure and temperature, as well as a transmission oil temperature gauge have all been added to monitor performance.
Safety equipment required for open road racing has been installed. A roll bar, five point harness restraints and an on-board fire extinguisher are required. Additionally, driver and navigator must wear fire resistant suits, gloves, shoes and full helmets. Safety must be paramont in open road racing as there are no safety crews close at hand in case of a mishap. A first aid kit is carried at all times.