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.
While combing the NMCA pits,...
While combing the NMCA pits, we encountered the lovely Teri Coleman from Orlando, Florida. The 49-year-old loss prevention manager works for Macy's, and digs helping her husband, Les, work on the family '95 Impala SS. We promise we'll never boost another thing from Macy's.
Meet Michael Pervetich, a...
Meet Michael Pervetich, a 54-year-old pipe fitter from Fort Myers, Florida. His claim to fame? He's put his '87 Corvette into the 11s (11.97/115 best) with the stock TPI injection system. This combo is amazingly stock, but he gets help from a 383 rotating assembly and a Lingenfelter 219 cam, as well as larger intake runners from AS&M.
This year's MSD True Street...
This year's MSD True Street car count was up significantly from last year, partly because NMCA promoters invited the True Street competitors from the NMRA race held weeks earlier at the same track. This explains all the late-model Mustangs in attendance, including the '87 LX belonging to Scott McCleery. Scott's 351-based 408 Windsor packs A 100-HP Edelbrock nitrous plate, Victor heads and intake, an 850-cfm AED carb, and a JW-built C4 trans. On this day, it was good for mid-10s and Third Place.
True Street is a family affair,...
True Street is a family affair, as 50-year-old Tom Puhek proves. He brought his grandson, 2-year-old Thomas Puhek IV, proving you're never too young-or too old-to start hot-rodding. Tom ran his '92 Dodge Daytona, which has a 3L V-6 and an automatic trans. With a 75hp shot of nitrous, it's run a best of 14.6/91.
After the 30-mile drive, the...
After the 30-mile drive, the staging lanes were packed with True Street iron. The FWD Chryco guys seemed to like being at the front of the line, which we also noticed last year.
And now for perhaps the oddest...
And now for perhaps the oddest car of True Street: Steve Coccaro's '65 Metallica Malibu. Steve built it under contract at his shop (Murray's Speed and Custom in Pompano Beach, Florida), for a Miami radio station doing a give-away promotion for the metal band Metallica. The guy who won it wanted cash instead, and sold it to Steve for a song. It runs high-10s on motor with a 9.75:1 383 small-block. We asked the 50-year-old Steve why he still has "Metallica" on the door when he's not obligated to keep it, and he said, "I like Metallica's music."
Dorinda Blaney is a latent...
Dorinda Blaney is a latent fingerprint analyst for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, and she loves her brand-new automatic '07 Mustang GT. She's no slouch behind the wheel, either, running a best of 13.74/104 with just an Airaid cold air package.
We found Brittany Hemmerly...
We found Brittany Hemmerly (21) watching the action in the stands, and asked her to pose for a picture or five. She swears she's not a model, professing instead to be a manager of a Publix supermarket in Sarasota, Florida. Yeah, sure. Brittany took to the camera like a fish to water-can a modeling career be too much of a stretch? "I really want a big-block Chevelle," says Brittany, "They just look the best to me."
Lonnie Ellis hails from LaPlace,...
Lonnie Ellis hails from LaPlace, Louisiana, one of the communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Life goes on even in the face of adversity, and Lonnie showed us a thing or two with his '81 Monte Carlo. Mid-11s are the usual fare, thanks to a 400 small-block with Dart Iron Eagle heads, a Victor Jr. intake, a Holley 750, and a 250hp shot of NOS. Unfortunately, Lonnie was a bit off pace on this day.
Greg Whitaker's rebodied '95...
Greg Whitaker's rebodied '95 Trans Am leaves hard on his second run, as it huffs a snootful of nitrous into its 383-stroked LS1. Last year, Greg broke on the 30-mile drive. This year, he made it through his second run before calling it quits. Is this guy's luck ever going to improve?
Pontiac Power!We love seeing...
Pontiac Power!We love seeing full-blooded Pontiac-powered Pontiacs, and Anthony Truzzolino's '81 Grand Prix didn't disappoint. Anthony and crew chief/buddy Robert Uremovich drove it the 94 miles from Cape Coral, Florida, just to attend MSD True Street. It's run a best of 11.20/118 on motor, but was a tad off pace with a 12.54 average on this day. With such nice launches, we suspect problems on the top end. Anthony is a line mechanic at Roger Dean Chevrolet in Cape Coral, and built his 474-inch 455 with iron '69 400 heads, an Edelbrock Victor intake, a Holley 950 HP carb, and a solid flat-tappet Xtreme Energy cam from COMP. Driveline mods consist of a manual-valve Turbo 400, an ATI 4,200-stall converter, and Southside bars. Launching on the footbrake, the Grand Prix has put down a best 60-foot time of 1.56. For ignition, Anthony just got a new MSD Digital 6 box. "It's freaking awesome," he says. "It starts up better, it idles better, and it has crisper throttle response."
The Magnacharger OptionSince...
The Magnacharger OptionSince this is our supercharger issue, we took special note of the blown mill in Chris Downie's '02 Silverado. Starting with the stock 5.3L Gen III engine, Chris added a 10-psi intercooled Magnacharger blower kit, stuffed in a .580-lift COMP roller cam with 220 degrees duration (at .050), then plumbed it with a 100hp shot of nitrous from NOS. A Snow Performance Boost Cooler runs straight methanol into the air intake under boost, and, voila!-it runs 12.0 at 114 mph. Exhaust from the otherwise stock engine exits via a set of Arizona Speed & Marine headers and a custom 2.5-inch dual exhaust. On the drivetrain side, the Silverado leans hard on a Yank 3,000-stall converter. Chris operates Jim Taylor Automotive, an auto repair center in Sarasota, Florida, so if you live in the area and you share the same jones for high-tech boost, look him up.
Going Fast On The CheapRich...
Going Fast On The CheapRich Perry is a family man with two kids. He also has six cars, so you know he's on a skinny-kid budget with this '66 Nova SS. After picking up the basket-case project for $2,500, Rich built a .030-over 350 using '76 vintage iron heads, which he ported himself. A mild COMP 262H flat-tappet cam went in, and the deal was topped with a Victor Jr. intake and a Holley 950 HP carb. To keep the gas bill in check, Rich endowed the mill with a modest 8.5:1 compression to work with 87 octane. Here's where it will blow your mind: off the nitrous, the Chevy II has run a best of 12.23/110 (11.49/116 with a 100hp Edebrock nitrous hit), with a 2.67-geared open rearend he nabbed from an S-10 truck. It gets better, though. Rich bought a budget B&M 10-inch converter for $109, which he launches on the footbrake. He then shifts the Turbo Action Turbo 350 at just 4,000 rpm. ("I hear it and it sounds like it's right to shift," he says.) A set of swap meet 1 5/8-inch headers and a full-length Flowmaster exhaust move the gasses. ("The kids said the old dump pipes were too loud in the back seat.") The most expensive part of the car? The Heidt's front end. The entire project took nine months to complete, and cost a total of $8,000. Did we mention that Rich did all the paint and bodywork himself in his back yard? Score one for the family man!
| MSD TRUE STREET RESULTS BRADENTON, FL |
|DRIVER: ||HOMETOWN: ||CAR: ||PASS 1: ||PASS 2: ||PASS 3: ||AVERAGE: ||NOTES: |
|1. Andrew Juhl ||Deltona, FL ||'98 Mustang ||9.852 ||9.999 ||10.003 ||9.951 ||King of Florida |
|2. Mike Whitmore ||Zion, IL ||'79 Chevy Malibu ||10.101 ||10.362 ||11.747 ||10.737 ||Runner-up |
|3. Scott McCleery ||Fort Myers, FL ||'87 Mustang ||11.497 ||10.692 ||10.395 ||10.861 ||10-second index winner |
|4. Bob Walsh ||Bradenton, FL ||'81 Mustang ||11.082 ||10.983 ||11.205 ||11.090 ||11-second index winner |
|5. John Walker ||Palmetto, FL ||'85 Capri ||11.016 ||11.017 ||12.161 ||11.398 |
|6. Julio Don ||St. Petersburg, FL ||'89 Trans Am ||11.506 ||11.085 ||11.654 ||11.415 |
|7. Steve Coccaro ||Sunrise, FL ||'65 Chevy Malibu ||11.214 ||11.513 ||12.004 ||11.577 |
|8. Daryl Dempsey ||Tampa, FL ||'66 Nova ||11.873 ||12.252 ||11.544 ||11.890 |
|9. Rich Perry ||Tampa, FL ||'66 Nova SS ||12.381 ||11.957 ||11.829 ||12.056 ||12-second index winner |
|10. Ed Kaplonski ||Nokomis, FL ||'92 Mustang ||12.165 ||12.188 ||11.865 ||12.073 |
|11. Jamie Hinds ||Zephyrhills, FL ||'80 Ford Fairmont ||12.932 ||11.981 ||12.028 ||12.314 |
|12. Chris Downie ||Sarasota, FL ||'02 Silverado ||11.723 ||11.819 ||13.609 ||12.384 |
|13. Aldrin Rodriguez ||Tampa, FL ||'78 Chevy Malibu ||12.110 ||12.890 ||12.279 ||12.426 |
|14. Anthony Truzzolino ||Cape Coral, FL ||'81 Grand Prix ||12.278 ||12.561 ||12.784 ||12.541 |
|15. Lonnie Ellis ||LaPlace, LA ||'81 Monte Carlo ||12.882 ||12.865 ||13.177 ||12.975 |
|16. James Quick ||Dunedin, FL ||'69 Chevelle ||13.478 ||12.675 ||13.065 ||13.073 ||13-second index winner |
|17. Connie Greiner ||Sunrise, FL ||'89 Mustang ||12.862 ||13.892 ||12.524 ||13.093 |
|18. Michael Pervetich ||Fort Myers, FL ||'87 Corvette ||12.666 ||12.799 ||14.269 ||13.245 |
|19. Warren Fulmer ||Zephyrhills, FL ||'03 SRT-4 Neon ||13.290 ||13.529 ||13.511 ||13.443 |
|20. Andy Verhille ||Bradenton, FL ||'40 Chevy ||12.535 ||12.768 ||15.279 ||13.527 |
|21. Jon Sweiger ||Bradenton, FL ||'67 Impala ||13.520 ||14.428 ||14.553 ||14.167 ||14-second index winner |
|22. Wilghem Irizarry ||Miami, FL ||'94 Mustang ||14.264 ||14.157 ||14.137 ||14.186 |
|23. Dorinda Blaney ||Deltona, FL ||'07 Mustang ||14.237 ||14.188 ||14.188 ||14.204 |
|24. Earl Whoolery ||Pinellas Park, FL ||'05 Rumble Bee truck ||14.499 ||14.474 ||14.656 ||14.543 |
|25. Thomas Puhek ||Zephyrhills, FL ||'92 Dodge Daytona ||14.840 ||14.713 ||14.842 ||14.798 |
|26. Burt Greiner ||Plantation, FL ||'91 Mustang ||15.414 ||15.396 ||15.472 ||15.427 ||15-second index winner |
|27. JC Cole ||Sarasota, FL ||'89 Mustang ||15.566 ||15.712 ||15.757 ||15.678 |
|28. Jason Patterson ||Hazel Park, MI ||'07 Crossfire ||15.769 ||15.825 ||15.996 ||15.863 |
|29. Mark Eggers ||Clearwater, FL ||'01 Suburban ||16.474 ||16.324 ||16.603 ||16.467 |
|30. Bill Cochran ||Cape Coral, FL ||'68 Camaro ||16.268 ||20.804 ||20.862 ||19.311 |
|31. Greg Whitaker ||Davenport, FL ||'95 Trans Am ||14.463 ||10.646 || ||DNF |
|32. Crixo Ceruto ||Miami, FL ||'86 Mustang ||14.633 ||14.618 || ||DNF |
|33. Tom Heatley Jr. ||Gleason, TN ||'69 Camaro ||10.595 || ||DNF |
|34. Kristian Guergo ||Miami, FL ||'91 Mustang ||10.730 || ||DNF |
|35. Doug Simpson ||St. Petersburg, FL ||'86 Camaro ||11.785 || ||DNF |
|36. Cole Rheal ||Sarasota, FL ||'70 Chevelle ||13.426 || ||DNF |
|37. Trent Thomas ||Bradenton, FL ||'89 Camaro IROC ||18.402 || ||DNF |