Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Jermaine “Jay” Boddie is no stranger to struggle or to success. A member of the series’ Team California, Team Boddie Racing’s owner certainly has a reputation for fast talking and fast cars, but his stardom is the cumulative result of relentless hard work and decades of determination. Now, as Boddie recently debuted an all-new car of his own, he’s making yet another big jump and will be wheeling Chris Michael’s stunning new “Gucci” 1969 Chevy Nova for the 2022 NPK season.
Growing up in the high crime inner-city area of San Francisco, Boddie learned early on in life how to fend for himself. “I had a good support system at home, but when I went outside, it was rough with a lot of bad influences,” he recalled of his early years. “I got into some stuff here and there and picked up a few bad habits.”
Gifted with intelligence, Boddie quickly learned right from wrong and that there were consequences for his actions. He showed a tremendous aptitude for basketball, though, and translated his talents into a successful high school career. After ranking number one in the Bay Area and setting several scoring records, some of which still stand, Boddie continued to pursue higher education. He enrolled in San Francisco City Junior College and later California State University at Bakersfield, but his fast lifestyle ultimately caught up with him.
“I made some bad choices which landed me in federal prison for a 10-year sentence,” stated Bodie, who was arrested at age 27. While serving, he had tons of time to reflect on his life and his other passion aside from basketball – racing.
Boddie’s father, Albert, as well as his uncle and grandfather, were all gearheads and he grew up wrenching and racing alongside the men. Although Albert got out of the game when Boddie was 14 years old, Boddie was hooked and always had his hands on some sort of hot rod.
“I went street racing, bought a few cars, and made a name for myself in the scene,” he elaborated of what went down before he got locked up. “When I was in, I thought about what I wanted to do with racing and decided I would go home and start putting on my own grudge races to attract people from all over the area. My dad still had my car in his garage – he took great care of it and I was able to go right back to the track.”
Released from the penitentiary at age 36, Boddie quickly developed a following and his new career as a race promoter grew while he kept his family’s legacy alive. Working with tracks to host events, he found that more and more people wanted to be a part of what he was doing. His notoriety grew, and, as a result, the king of West Coast grudge racing landed a spot on the Discovery network’s wildly popular Street Outlaws and No Prep Kings series.
With his twin turbocharged and Hemi-powered 1963 Chevy Nova, which started out as a big cubic inch nitrous combination, Boddie showed the world why he’s one of the baddest no prep drivers on the circuit. It didn’t take long for him to realize, though, that the big tire car was making big power – way more than what it was originally designed for. “Everyone told me I needed a new car, but I was hardheaded for years and wouldn’t give up on it,” he laughed of the 4,000+ horsepower monster. “But, things change… and that’s what made me build Kurupt. I wanted something that could handle it.”
Boddie ultimately purchased an iconic first-generation Chevy Camaro RS, although the car needed a few upgrades to match his vision. “A lot of people thought I built it from scratch, but I didn’t,” he affirmed. “I took it to Larry Jeffers Race Cars in September of 2020 and now it’s everything I thought it would be and more.”
The Jeffers team took about a year to finish the work and the result was a high-caliber Camaro that would enable Boddie to compete at the top level on a worldwide stage in the No Prep Kings series.
Christened as “Kurupt,” the double frame-rail Camaro was fitted with a 527 cubic-inch Miner Brothers-built Chevy-style Hemi engine utilizing an Isky camshaft. “These motors are known more for Top Alcohol Dragsters and boat racing,” noted Boddie. “They make a lot of power.”
Boddie was dead set on sticking with his traditional twin turbo power, and had a set of both 98mm and 88mm Precision turbochargers at his disposal to best match the given track conditions. Always one to put on a good show for his audiences and fans, the compressor covers were polished to a high shine and the snails positioned right behind the front wheels for a truly jaw-dropping installation.
“My favorite part of the car is to hear it shift four or five times in a run. It sounds so good!” he proclaimed excitedly of the five-speed Liberty transmission and Bruno drive he uses along with a ProTorque EV1 torque converter. “The converter has worked really well for me, too, and I’ve been fast with it.”
Top-of-the-line Menscer Motorsports four-way adjustable shocks help suspend the four-link car, and proprietor Mark Menscer worked closely with Boddie to get everything dialed in so that the car would hook like a dream at the hit.
Finally, a Haltech engine management system was wired in for ultimate control over the combination, which runs on Renegade race fuel, and PTP Racing’s Patrick Barnhill worked with Boddie to maximize Kurupt’s potential.
Kurupt made its Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings debut during Season 4’s filming at the sky-high Bandimere Speedway in Colorado on October 1-2, 2021, and Boddie was excited to make a statement with his new Camaro. Circumstances dictated that he was unable to properly prepare prior to the event, however, and he knew he was behind the eight ball as a result. “I was hoping to do well, but we were still sorting things out at the track even though I know that’s a complete no-no,” he said candidly of the usual new car blues he experienced.
Much to the delight of his fans, Boddie brought Kurupt to Oklahoma’s Tulsa Raceway Park the following weekend and put on a show. A quick trip to Ennis, Texas, just a few days later brought the No Prep Kings party to the famed Texas Motorplex before the fanfare continued on to No Problem Raceway in Louisiana at the end of the month.
Four weekends in a row of racing can be brutal on even the best-built cars, but Boddie and Kurupt both came through with ease and were even able to attend the Street Car Super Nationals event in Las Vegas, Nevada, in mid-November. There, Boddie stayed in the game through to the semi-finals of the No Time Big Tire category but the race was ultimately cut short due to unsafe conditions.
“We did a lot of testing after the NPK season was over and the car ran very well. We found out a lot and realized how fast it is,” added Boddie, who also receives support from EliteHP’s Marty Robertson. “This car showed me how far behind I really was with the Nova, and it was a great decision to move away from that platform.
No Prep Kings Star Jay Boddie to Drive New “Gucci” Nova for 2022 NPK Season
Although it would seem likely that Boddie would continue to campaign the lightweight and well-built, beautiful blue machine for Season 5 of No Prep Kings in 2022, he will instead be sending the Camaro off for additional upgrades to make it even more competitive for its anticipated return in 2023.
In the interim, Boddie has partnered with his friend, Chris Michael, to wheel Michael’s incredible new “Gucci” twin turbo 1969 Chevy Nova for Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings Season 5 instead. Chris Michael will take over the car after the season and will join Team Cali in 2023. “I’m excited because I’ve always had a love for Novas and Gucci brings me back to my roots,” he noted of the switch.
Michael’s Nova is an absolutely stunning work of art, also built by the world-class team at Larry Jeffers Race Cars. Four years in the making, the project is powered by an all-billet, 4.9-inch bore space Hemi engine from Noonan Race Engineering with a set of twin turbos on board to provide plenty of boost.
A similar platform as Kurupt’s, Barnhill will also manage Gucci’s Haltech ECU although a Rossler Turbo 400 transmission and Neal Chance converter have been chosen for the Nova. Out back, a trick Mark Williams full floater billet rear end housing helps push power to the RC Components wheels which have been shrouded in 36” tall tires. “With the Camaros, it’s tough to get the big tire on ‘em but the Nova takes it well and that gives us an advantage,” continued Boddie, who is excited to pilot Michael’s masterpiece.
Given the recent domination of drag racing by ProCharger’s centrifugal superchargers, some may question the decision to stick with turbocharged forced induction but Boddie believes in his boost of choice. “I like being the underdog and I’ve always believed in the turbos. People think now that they can’t hang with ProChargers, but I don’t buy it,” he said, confident of his cars’ ability to compete in Season 5 of No Prep Kings and beyond. “Once we get this car tested and sorted out, I honestly believe we’ll shock a lot of people.”
It’s not just Gucci that’s got Boddie looking forward to the 2022 season, though. His 26-year-old son, Jermaine Boddie Jr., will be introduced to the world in No Prep Kings competition with his own ProCharged 1968 Camaro known as “Money Shot” and the men fully intend to have the fourth-generation racer hurt some feelings in a hurry.
“We’re a racing family and to teach each other old and new tricks is really a blessing,” Boddie shared. “I love being able to pass down the knowledge that my father and grandfather gave me.”
From his youth spent facing adversity to his rock-bottom stint in the slammer, Boddie has defied the odds by overcoming poverty and persecution when all hope seemed lost. Now, he’s not only built a wildly successful career as an entrepreneur and as an entertainer, but also a future as an inspiration to those who follow his drag racing dreams all around the globe.