If you consider yourself a street-drags expert, you get extra credit if you can answer this question correctly: Over the past 11 years, what drag-racing class has featured licensed, insured, street-legal cars that drive 30 street miles, then crank out three back-to-back quarter-mile passes without the aid of tuning to achieve a three-run average? If you guessed MSD True Street, give yourself a pat on the back. First held at Norwalk Raceway Park in the summer of 1994 by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine (where your author was tech editor), True Street has grown to encompass more than just Mustangs, and as the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Unlike other magazines' events however, MSD True Street cars actually use street gas from the pump--as much as they wanna' carry. The promoters at PRO correctly ascertained that car owners and drivers actually do know how much fuel they need and what kind to use--a task drag racers have successfully performed since the second car was built. And there are real cash prizes too: $250 for the car with the fastest average and $100 for each car coming closest, but not over, each 1-second index break. Class sponsor MSD also liberally sprinkles prizes throughout the field, and who doesn't need quality ignition products? But the best part is that True Street is open to all comers--no invitation required.

That kind of fun combined with those prizes was all that was required to fill the True Street field last August 27 at the Pro Edelbrock Drag Racing Series. Street cars came from as far away as Florida and Missouri to converge on the beautiful Maple Grove Park near Reading, Pennsylvania, but the weather gods had other plans.

While race steward Ron Ward guided each of the 35 entries through tech inspection, angry weather threatened. Fortunately, rain drops held off long enough for the field to transit the 30-mile street loop around the countryside. When the tour ended, all bets were off as the sky opened up and unloaded on the festivities. Drivers and crew members scrambled, dodging rain drops the size of quarters. Hours later, and with a dry track, cool evening temperatures conspired with a green track to provide plentiful horsepower and diminished grip--a recipe for plenty of on-track shenanigans.

Over the next 45 minutes, street-car fans were treated to a spectacle that even the most hard-core late-night street race in Chitown or Newark would be hard-pressed to beat. Pennsylvania's own Mark Schankweiler (of Douglassville) fittingly took home the title of King of Pennsylvania with a three-run average of 9.095 seconds. Schankweiler's bonzai-blue metallic '66 Nova is packed with 421 inches of small-block thunder. The SB2-headed bullet gets help from a 300hp Gene Fulton 300hp fogger and a outhouse-solid Powerglide from Dynamic. Schankweiler's best pass, a 9.017, even eclipsed his previous best of 9.03/150. In all, eight cars posted averages in the 9-second range, with four more in the 10s.

To make things interesting, POPULAR HOT RODDING chooses one car from the field to receive a special award: the Editor's Choice. This is a car that combines excellent craftsmanship, drivability, performance, and appearance. It's the car we would most like to own for True Street work ourselves. We select one car from each of the four events we cover (for 2005, that's Bradenton, Florida; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Maple Grove, Pennsylvania; and Memphis), and this time we chose the black '70 Nova of Mark Mutert. This Nova screams "drive me" with a spot-on 383, a T-56 six-speed manual trans, Baer brakes, and Budnik Gasser wheels. You will see exactly what we mean when we feature this baby in an upcoming issue. Our thanks go out to all our competitors, but especially to Mark for driving his Nova all the way out from Missouri.

Next, we're off to Memphis and the PRO Edelbrock World Finals on October 6. Will anybody knock Schankweiler off his throne? Will the ranks swell to over 40 cars? Find out in the February issue of PHR.