Donnie Edmonds: “Big Bertha” Unleashed!

Kimmy’s Garage would like to feature Donnie Edmonds in today’s blog!


Donnie Edmonds’ car, which has been cleverly named “Big Bertha”, is a 1969 Chevelle SS 396. Donnie’s been racing for most of his life, and this 6th generation Chevelle has been a work in progress since fall of 2013. Bertha is a solid, all original panel car and has had only one repaint in Dark Red Mica. She has a Extreme Automatics turbo 400 trans prepared by Lonnie Diers with a Griner Billet Pro Tree trans brake, and Coan and EXA billet aluminum goodies inside. 

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Donnie updated Bertha in December 2016 with an Aerospace Components Vacuum Pump kit. “It looks awesome!”, Donnie shared after the new kit was installed. The following spring, Donnie was able to test out the upgrades and the difference was immediate and very noticeable. Right from the start, the car picked up in ET and MPH!

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The very first time Donnie ran the car with the Aerospace Components vacuum pump on it was at the NMCA race in Bradenton 2017. “I flipped out because the car matched its best ET to date in the warm Florida air, which was around 2700 feet DA. When I ran the car at my local track the previous fall, the DA was 6 or 800 feet — so I knew we were on to something!”. Then when Donnie and his team got back from the race and were able to test at their home base; Bertha made her quickest and fastest pass ever with the 9.36 at 142 MPH.

Donnie also recently decided to upgrade Big Bertha with Aerospace Component’s hybrid Ceramic Bearings, after seeing the below Kimmy’s Garage video featuring the new product. Donnie is always on the hunt to find ways to make Bertha quicker and faster, as well as safer in any way he can. This upgrade was no exception and ultimately provided that added force as well as keeping safety at the forefront. The ceramic bearing upgrade provides faster ET’s with lighter weight overall; they’re also longer lasting and corrosion resistant!

“Personally I couldn’t be happier with the product and the people I purchased it from. The Aerospace Components team has been there any time I’ve needed any assistance. If you’ve been looking at my Facebook page for any length of time, you’ll know I don’t candy coat anything — I call ‘em as I see ‘em!”

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Donnie has poured his heart and soul into his car, but it’s the unique atmosphere of racing that he also gravitates towards. “I love everything about NMCA!”, Donnie explained. “The cars, the racers and the staff make it very enjoyable for me”. So much so, that the only other race Donnie normally runs in is the Shakedown At The Summit, and a race or two at his local track: Kil-Kare in Xenia, Ohio. 

Before his racing career began, Donnie worked with the Cincinnati Fire Department for 25 years and retired in 2006. He spent almost all of his career in high crime, low income areas of Cincinnati. After continuous exposure to this intense environment, he decided it was time to pursue other passions in his life. Although Donnie’s greatest enjoyment is spending time with his wife and family, his ultimate passion is continuing to make Bertha the best car she can possibly be. 

“I choose to do that the hard way by making her quick and fast with no power adders. She is completely NA and I like it that way”, Donnie mentioned. He understands that anyone can make their ride quick and fast with NOS or power boosters, turbos or blowers, but getting a 3,700 lbs car to run bottom 9s on a small tire is a feat all in itself. This is a feat that Donnie is excited and ready to tackle this coming racing season!

“I truly appreciate the support that Kim, Al and the rest of the crew from Aerospace Components gives to its customers and racers in general. I would and do highly recommend their products to anyone and everyone I come across.”

We wish Donnie and the D&S Motorsports team the best of luck and we can’t wait to see you at the NMCA Summit Motorsports Park Norwalk race (August 23-26) in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle!

Check out these awesome videos below of Donnie demonstrating how the Aerospace Components vacuum pump improves his overall performance on Big Bertha and also shows the installation!

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