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Autocross Champion Carries On A Family Tradition

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Accomplished SCCA autocross racer Danny Popp has had a great year, winning several big competitions in 2013 with his Holley EFI equipped 1972 Corvette. Popp was crowned 2013 Holley LS Fest Grand Champion after taking top honors September 6-8th at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, KY. He also won the Goodguys AutoCross Championship, November 15th-17th at the Goodguys Southwest Nationals. Despite these accomplishments, Popp is also known among those in the autocrossing community, as a humble and helpful individual.

Autocross racing has always been a family affair for Popp. His father Herb, who was a charter member of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, became a national autocross champion. Watching his father compete, Popp grew up on parking lot courses across the country, and couldn’t wait to start racing himself when he turned 16. Now, with a carrer spanning more than 27 years in amateur autocrossing, Popp has earned 13 SCCA and NSA championships. Yet, this veteran racer is always willing to offer tips and instruct other autocross participants.

During the Holley LS Fest, he provided instruction to participants before the autocross and 3s Challenge, (speed, stop, steering). “These two events demand the most from the driver and car combinations," says Popp. "I love to teach, instruct and help participants learn to drive technically first, and then fast.” His only regret after winning the competition at the LS Fest, was not getting any formal time to ride with drivers to further instruct and build their confidence.

The Corvette he drives belonged to his dad and has been in the family for over 40 years. The car itself holds a lot of memories, national championships, race wins, and a deep racing heritage under the hood. While much of the body remains stock, a 550 hp Lingenfelter LS7 powered by a Holley EFI system now resides under the hood. The engine uses Hooker LS headers, a custom side exhaust, a period correct Muncie M21, and a stock Corvette rear differential with 4.11 gears. Suspension mods include VanSteel front and rear control arms, JRi coil-over shocks and Addco anti-sway bars. The Forgeline GA3r wheels and BFGoodrich Rival tires put the power on the pavement while the Wilwood brakes (six-piston front and four-piston rear) keep it all under control.

In addition to taking championships at Holley’s LS Fest and at Goodguys, Popp participated in, and won, a variety of other events this year. These include the Heidts Performance Challenge, Motorstate Challenge, Goodguys Columbus Street Machine Nationals, Goodguys Indy ProClass, and Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. Popp was also runner up at the Popular Hot Rodding Muscle Car of the Year Shootout, and took third place overall at the Optima OUSCI.

With a cool Corvette that seems like it's glued to the pavement, Popp's racing career continues to look promising. Yet he understands that none of it is possible without the help and support of family, friends and sponsors. "I really want to acknowledge the whole RAFT Motorsports network of sponsors and affiliates," says Popp. "Without the help of people like Holley, BFG, Lingenfelter, VanSteel, Forgeline, JRi, Hooker Headers, Wilwood, McCluskey Chevrolet, and Vetteworks, it would be much more difficult to win and be as competitive as we are now."

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