Green rolling hills, horse farms, soft spoken words, kind manners, and loads of hospitality would lull most folks into letting their guard down. But don't let the calm faade of a sleepy southern town like Bowling Green, Kentucky, fool you. Big mistake, especially if you're there to race at the NMCA's Seventh Annual NOS Nationals at Beech Bend Raceway. Hot cars, fast times, and big-money racing are a large part of the fabric of this small town, which is about an hour's drive north of Nashville, Tennessee.

For a small town of around 50,000, Bowling Green has an unusually potent predisposition for horsepower. Besides Beech Bend Raceway, Bowling Green is home to GM's Corvette plant, the Holley Performance Group, and Quick Fuel Technologies. If that isn't enough, go eat a piece of cake-Bowling Green is also the hometown of confectionary magnate Duncan Hines, who also bears a striking physical resemblance to this author. Go figure.

Beech Bend Raceway is also a unique venue among dragstrips. It's the only one we've ever seen with an amusement park attached, so it prides itself on being a family friendly place to visit. It also boasts an eighth-mile paved bullring circle track right behind the dragstrip starting line, which was used as an overflow pit area. But of all the things that set Beech Bend apart from the others, it's probably the covered, theatre-style grandstand seating that keeps fans coming back. The spectators really enjoy the shade and welcome breeze that the wind-tunnel-like cover provides.

The NMCA provides a truly diverse cornucopia of racing ranging from heads-up 6-second Pro Street cars running speeds over 200 mph to stock street cars pocketing prizes in the grassroots True Street class. In between, you'll find the Super Street class, essentially the same as Pro Street, but running on narrow 10.5 "W" tires for more spectacular action. Nostalgia Pro Street is the ultimate heads-up, stock-body, door-slammer class, and Xtreme Street pits power-adder cars in a heads-up format with true 10.6-inch slicks. Pro Stock is racing like it ought to be with pure cubes, lots of revs, and small 10.6-inch tires. Street Race allows power-adder and non-power-adder street cars to compete heads-up with set weight breaks and cost-conscious combos. Mean Street is a budget-oriented, entry-level naturally aspirated street car class, and Nostalgia Muscle Car turns the clock back to index racing in the 1960s with our favorite musclecars. Nostalgia Super Stock takes it a step further with period-correct looks both outside and under the hood. And then our favorite class-True Street-keeps it real, with a 30-mile drive and three averaged back-to-back runs for King Of The Hill bragging rights.