Street Smarts at the 2005 MSD True Street Competition
All eyes turn to Memphis for the last round in this year's MSD True Street Drag Racing Series
From the February, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Steven Rupp
Once the drivers arrive and...
Once the drivers arrive and sign in, their cars must pass tech. For the Popular Hot Rodding/MSD True Street competition, that also means cars must pass for things such as turn signals, horn, lights, and all of the legal paperwork, like insurance and registration. Here, race steward Ron Ward techs in Paul Kwiatkowski's '74 Nova.
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.
Ron Ward lays down the law...
Ron Ward lays down the law to the True Street competitors at the drivers' meeting. He went over the rules of the 30-mile cruise and doubly emphasized what was and wasn't allowed to be done to the car upon return.
Even with a cold wind blowing,...
Even with a cold wind blowing, many spectators came out to enjoy the racing action. In addition to the True Street class, there was quite a bit of action provided courtesy of the NMCA, including a car show and vendor display area.
Barrett White slaps a brand-spanking-new...
Barrett White slaps a brand-spanking-new set of ET Streets on his clean '78 Malibu. This was Barrett's first race, and he managed to win the 13-second index with an average time of 13.108 seconds.
Part of the weeding-out procedure...
Part of the weeding-out procedure involves all cars having to complete a 30-mile trip on highways. This helps ensure that cars in this class are really deserving of being called a street car. Chuck Clague's S10 truck is capable of running in the 8s, but a fuel system problem forced him to drop out during the cruise.
Bringing new meaning to the...
Bringing new meaning to the term " chassis flex, " Lonnie Ellis's '81 Monte Carlo claws for traction with his late-model g-body.
Directly after the cruise,...
Directly after the cruise, the remaining cars were staged up, and a strict ban on opening the hood was put in place during the 30-minute cool-off period. Most racers just relaxed while some prepped their cars by adding fuel or lowering tire pressure.
James Hughes takes a few moments...
James Hughes takes a few moments during the cooling-off period to turn on the nitrous system in his '89 'Stang. Nitrous proved to be the most popular power adder at the event. James managed to take the runner-up prize with an average e.t. of 10.370 seconds.
The couple that races together,...
The couple that races together, stays together. Mike and Angela Zamboni pose by their '05 Mustangs, which we first showed you in our coverage of the Bradenton, Florida race. Mike runs a supercharger that takes him into the low 12s, while Angela's almost-stock pony got her into the high 13s.
Mike Zamboni heats up his...
Mike Zamboni heats up his tires in preparation for the first of his three passes. Mike didn't win his bracket, but traveling all the way from Dade City, Florida, to be a part of the race made him a winner to us.
Hail to the King! Frank Savage...
Hail to the King! Frank Savage and his wife strike a pose with race director Ron Ward. The big winner received a check for $250 and a 6-foot trophy.
Mark Brewton's '72 Nova was...
Mark Brewton's '72 Nova was nice enough to earn it a pick as our Editor's Choice. Unfortunately, a nitrous problem kept him from winning his 11-second bracket. Look for more of Mark's slick silver Nova in an upcoming issue.
Frank Savage (right) goes...
Frank Savage (right) goes head-to-head against James Hughes' '89 Mustang in the battle for the number-one spot. Savage's Caprice ran the 1320 for a best time of 9.187 seconds to take the top spot. His big Caprice tips the scales at over 3,800 pounds and has a complete interior, including the rear seat.
|Name ||Home ||Vehicle ||Run 1 ||Run 2 ||Run 3 ||AVE. ||Result |
| || || || || || || || |
|Frank Savage ||Bartlett, TN ||'86 Caprice ||9.399 ||9.471 ||9.187 ||9.352 ||King of Memphis |
|James Hughes ||Bock Island, IL ||'89 Mustang ||10.229 ||10.550 ||10.332 ||10.370 ||Runner-Up |
|Paul Kwiatkowski ||Cary, IL ||'74 Nova ||10.376 ||11.656 ||10.601 ||10.878 ||10-sec Index |
|Terry Herbert ||Elizabethtown, KY ||'84 Monte Carlo ||10.909 ||11.635 ||10.736 ||11.093 ||11-sec Index |
|Tony MacDonald ||Anoka, MN ||'68 Nova ||11.260 ||10.103 ||12.098 ||11.154 || |
|Mark Brewton ||Winfield, LA ||'72 Nova ||11.461 ||11.398 ||12.083 ||11.647 || |
|Kerry Landry ||St. James, LA ||'85 El Camino ||12.184 ||12.214 ||12.156 ||12.185 ||12-sec Index |
|Mike Zamboni ||Dade City, FL ||'05 Mustang ||12.270 ||12.095 ||12.313 ||12.226 || |
|Lonnie Ellis ||Unknown ||'81 Monte Carlo ||12.898 ||12.912 ||12.923 ||12.911 || |
|Barrett White ||Louisville, KY ||'78 Malibu ||13.137 ||13.157 ||13.031 ||13.108 ||13-sec Index |
|Angela Zamboni ||Dade City, FL ||'05 Mustang ||13.482 ||13.929 ||14.551 ||13.987 || |
|George Poteet ||Collierville, TN ||'05 Mustang ||14.236 ||14.680 ||14.269 ||14.395 ||14-sec Index |
|Robert Wilson ||Parrish, FL ||'65 Impala ||14.986 ||15.182 ||15.294 ||15.154 ||15-sec Index |
|George Carey ||Monee, IL ||'04 Grand Prix ||15.214 ||15.312 ||15.654 ||15.393 || |
|Dan Shipley ||Ofallon, MO ||'91 Mustang ||11.595 ||9.412 || ||broke ||DQ |