It's been a busy year for the MSD Drag Racing series, but with winter fast approaching, it was time to wrap things up with the final race of the year. Memphis, Tennessee, is well known as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll and the home of the blues, but to race junkies, it's better known as being home to Memphis Motorsports Park. Situated at a mere 230 feet above sea level, this quarter-mile dragstrip was chosen to play host to the big season-ending showdown. With the memory still fresh from last year's rain-soaked race, it was a relief to see nothing but sunshine in the three-day forecast.

The National Muscle Car Association's MSD True Street class presented by Popular Hot Rodding is a way for true street-legal cars to battle it out to see who is the fastest. In addition to the awards for the quickest car, there are also awards for the winners of each index bracket. Each car makes three back-to-back runs and those times are averaged to get their final qualifying number. Within the brackets, winners are picked for the times closest to 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 seconds.

To sift out the race cars from the street cars, NMCA employs a clever set of rules that do a good job of keeping the class true to its name. Racers are required to have all the street and safety equipment as required by law, such as signal lights and a functioning horn. They must show proof of registration, insurance papers, and any state inspection stickers. Full-tube chassis cars are sent away, but the class does allow for back-halved, pro-street cars.

Additionally, D.O.T. cheater slicks and drag radials are good to go, so long as the maximum measured tire width does not exceed 10.6 inches of tread.To further test the streetability of the entrants' cars, all competitors must finish a 30-mile cruise through the countryside and surrounding towns. Afterward, the cars immediately stage up and there is a 30-minute cool-down period. Under the watchful eye of race officials, racers are allowed to let air out of the tires, install nitrous bottles, and add water or ice to any intercoolers they have mounted in the interior or trunk. Opening the hood, however, is not allowed from the beginning of the cruise until after all three consecutive passes are made down the track. The three back-to-back passes are averaged to find who wins the Bracket classes and, more importantly, who is crowned King of True Street.

Seventeen cars showed up to compete in the class, and the 30-mile cruise took two of them out of the running. The remaining 15 cars lined up and the battle for the crown came down to Bow Tie versus Blue Oval. In the end, Frank Savage, in his 3,800-pound '86 Caprice took the title with a three-run average of 9.352 seconds. The runner up, James Hughes, in his black '89 Mustang, took the second spot with a three-run average of 10.370 seconds. Dan Shipley, the winner of our Bowling Green, Kentucky event, had high hopes after his first run of 9.412, but an oil leak led to the disqualification of his twin-turbo Mustang and dashed his hopes for another crown. Other racers were plagued with heat soak and finicky nitrous systems, but all had a great time.

With the 2005 season wrapped up, you can bet that many racers will be tweaking and wrenching on their cars in preparation for next year's competition.