The Muscle Car of the Year is the kind of event I’ve wanted to do for years. The only iron
I’ve been hounding my bosses for years to do some kind of “muscle car olympics.” The proposals I’ve made have included autocrossing, road course racing, drag racing, 0-100-0, 0-60-0, speed stop challenges, 60-0, figure eights, slaloms, car cruises, road rallies, and any combination of those. You name it, I’ve proposed it. My hard drive is packed to the gills with the bones of cool events that never happened, but I never gave up. In the corporate environment, you never know what’s going to happen next, or what new direction they’re going to tell you to shoot in. In many instances, you’re better off to just go with the flow, and eventually the flow will go in your direction.
Such was the case when PHR publisher Ed Zinke came up to me last week and said, “Hey bud, you want to do a big muscle car event somewhere in the Midwest next year?” Of course, I answered immediately without any hesitation—I’ve only been begging for this type of multidiscipline event in one form or another for the last eight years. With the most tact and political correctness I could muster, I put on a straight face and told him it sounded like a great idea, and geez, why didn’t I think of it sooner?
I didn’t ask the specifics of how PHR became the recipient of such a fortuitous corporate accident. When someone hands you the keys to a new Corvette, you don’t get to argue about what color it is—you just drive the crap out of it with an insane smile on your face! In this case, we got handed the keys to a track for an entire day to do whatever we want on it. The kicker is that our track day is the Monday following the Columbus Nationals—July 9, 2012. And the track is National Trails Raceway, about 26 miles outside of Columbus, Ohio. How convenient. The world’s top Pro Touring muscle cars will just happen to be in town.
We’re calling our competition the Popular Hot Rodding Muscle Car of the Year competition. Heck, we may even put one of those little trademark thingies on the end of it. Over the next few months, we will be picking out a limited group of cars to invite to MCOTY. The invited cars will be scored based on how well each competes in three events. These activities will include a high-speed autocross, quarter-mile drag race, and a 0-60-0 (or a 60-0) braking event (depending on the tarmac available). Each car/team is allowed the driver of their choice (one driver per car, one car per driver), one set of DOT-legal tires with a minimum treadwear rating of 180, all cars must pass both NHRA and SCCA tech inspection, and we will be selecting primarily muscle cars (no trucks, late-models, imports, kit cars, or street rods). Being Ohio in the summer, cars that are chosen must plan on a rain date for the following day.
So how do you get invited to the Muscle Car of the Year competition? Just send us a package with the specs of your car, a CD with some high-res images, a one-page story on why we should choose you, and your contact information. (There is no entry fee.) It would also be cool to know about any prior racing or autocross experience, and the past project cars you’ve built or raced. If you are sending in an entry for our Readers’ Projects issue (see the news item on page 8) and want to also be considered for the MCOTY, please note that on the outside of the envelope on your Reader’s Projects entry with the letters “MCOTY.” Send your MCOTY entry (photos, car specs, story, contact info) to us by April 2, 2012 at this address: Source Interlink Media, attn.: PHR Muscle Car of the Year, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606.
Ideally, we are looking for a balanced field comprised of equal parts Mopar, Ford, and GM. Homebuilt, pro built, bolt-on, custom fabricated, old school, new school, budget built, or shoot the moon—we’re looking for the biggest mix possible. We plan to choose the bulk of MCOTY competitors by May 31, so that it gives competitors time to prepare their cars and make travel plans. We will be reserving a couple of slots for new cars that appear at the Columbus Nationals, but don’t rely on getting one of those—send us your entry by April 2. The winner gets crowned Muscle Car of the Year, with a spot on the cover and a full-length feature inside. (All competitors will be featured.) But the best prize of all is getting to hang out with some of the coolest cars, drivers, and car builders on the planet while getting to thrash your creation on the track!