MSD True Street Challenge - Blowing Sunshine
The NMCA's MSD True Street Challenge Hits Bradenton, Florida, For Its Season Opener.
From the August, 2007 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
The MSD True Street Challenge must be the most unique racing class in the country. In its 14-year history, the rules haven't changed one bit, and the performance of the cars hasn't slipped inexorably into the realm of absurdity, either, like so many other "street" classes. We've seen it happen every year-a really cool class starts out as a grassroots deal, and ends up as rich-guy racing by the end of the season.
That'll never happen to MSD True Street, and here's why: Only an idiot would build a race car for this class. To license it, register it, insure it, drive it 30 miles on the street and back-to-back down the quarter-mile three times without being able to pop hood between rounds, and only win $250 when you're done? We won't argue if somebody decides to do it, but let's face it, they'll meet more laughter than praise if they do. Nope, True Street is tailgate-grilling family fun, not spark-plug readin', data-logger mappin', clutch-adjustin' science.
Three years ago, Popular Hot Rodding and the NMCA got together with MSD to sponsor the True Street Challenge because it made the most sense for you, the readers. You wanted real street cars you could relate to-not race cars masquerading as streetable-and the arrangement has worked great for all involved. As a result, we're doing it again in 2007, starting right here with the season opener in Bradenton, Florida. If you missed MSD True Street and want to take part with your own car, there are plenty more opportunities-just go to the NMCA Web site at Fasteststreetcar.com for a schedule. The rules are simple: It's gotta be a street car with working street equipment, and the car must be registered, licensed, insured, and able to finish a 30-mile street drive followed by three back-to-back dragstrip passes. The driver with the fastest three-run average wins, but we also give out prizes for runner-up, as well as to those whose three-run averages are closest to, but not quicker than, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 seconds.
MSD True Street will be held at all NMCA events this year, and PHR will also be there to cover the two events in Joliet, Illinois (July 19), and Memphis, Tennessee (October 11). See you there!
MSD True Street is all about...
MSD True Street is all about street cars-not race cars posing as street cars. We run 'em 30 miles on real roads (before they get the chance to hit the track), which is how we snapped this shot of James Quick's '69 Chevelle SS. James (Dunedin, Florida) just finished his car the night before the race, so the bugs weren't entirely worked out yet. It's got a 496 big-block (a .060-over 454 with a 4.25-stroke crank), with a Weiand Team G intake and Holley 950 HP. With a three-run quarter-mile average of 13.07, we know there's more in it.
Before the 30-mile flog on...
Before the 30-mile flog on the road, there's a drivers' meeting to answer questions like, "If I break down, can I still run?" and "If I get lost, how do I get back?" Here, True Street Tech Director Mike Bruns gives the briefing to all 37 Bradenton competitors and their families. It's quite informal, and a good time for all.
Everybody got a kick out of...
Everybody got a kick out of Jamie Hinds' lime green '80 Ford Fairmont, which is a solid 12-second player. Fairmonts make great beater hot rods because they're based on Ford's Fox platform, so they take all the suspension, running gear, and powertrain parts for late-model Mustangs. Hinds has run a best of 11.19/122 with his 360-inch Windsor. The pertinent specs: Victor Jr. heads and intake, COMP solid roller cam (258-at-.050, .660/.672 lift, 112 LSA), Holley 750 double-pumper, Tremec five-speed, and 8.8-inch rear with 3.55 gears and a spool. Oh, and no nitrous.
We caught Wilghem Irizarry...
We caught Wilghem Irizarry setting the ignition timing on his bone-stock '94 Mustang before setting out on the 30-mile drive. This is the only time MSD True Street competitors are allowed to pop the hood. Once the 30-mile tour leaves the track, it's closed hoods for everyone until all drag runs are finished.
Like we said, MSD True Street...
Like we said, MSD True Street is pretty informal, and Mike is an all-around good-time Charlie-except where it comes to safety inspection and life and death details. We came along right around the time he was explaining to Greg Whitaker (Davenport, Florida) that without an NHRA license, his '95 Trans Am would be restricted to running 10.0 and slower.
You might remember Mark Eggers...
You might remember Mark Eggers (Clearwater, Florida) as a previous True Street winner. Why? Because he ran a '71 Datsun 240Z with a 427 small-block Chevy. That car is gone, and has been replaced by an '01 Suburban packing an STS turbo system. It's not nearly the step down it may seem: he's spending quality time with his 9-year-old son, Justin.
We dig Cole Rheal's '70 Chevelle...
We dig Cole Rheal's '70 Chevelle SS, but it gave up the ghost after a promising first pass of 13.426. Here it is motoring on the 30-mile cruise prior to the dragstrip runs.
Andy Juhl was crowned the...
Andy Juhl was crowned the "King of Florida," thanks to the winning performance of his '98 Mustang Cobra. A three-run average of 9.951 was made possible by an intercooled F1R Procharger, Crower Stage 2 cams, a ported intake with short runners, a FAST XFI computer, 72 lb/hr injectors, and Magnaflow mufflers.