NMCA True Street Class - Because ... True Street!
A 30-Mile Cruise Through SoCal Freeways With Three Back-to-Back Passes Down the Dragstrip
From the January, 2013 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Henry De Los Santos
Photography by Henry De Los Santos
All cars are checked for insurance...
All cars are checked for insurance and current registration, including an NHRA tech inspection to make sure all drivers meet NHRA requirements for the speeds they’re planning to go.
The National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) is synonymous with some of the baddest heads-up drag racing in the country, and when we heard they were bringing their program to the West Coast, appropriately named the all-new NMCA West series, there was no way we were going to miss it.
If you aren’t familiar with the NMCA’s True Street class, then let’s just say that it’s one of the most exciting alternatives to heads-up or bracket-style racing. Unlike class racing, where you typically have a test and tune session on Fridays, three rounds of qualifying on Saturday, followed by eliminations on Sunday, True Street is a bit more laid back, but only in the regard that you can make it as competitive as you want.
Sticker up! Up front, an NMCA...
Sticker up! Up front, an NMCA banner has to be set in place, including the sponsor sticker on the lower passenger side, two additional sponsor stickers on the side, and your race number on the front, side, and rear glass.
Since this is a more street-oriented class, all cars are required to pass tech inspection, which includes showing proof of insurance and current registration. From there a driver’s meeting is set, where they showcase the 30-mile cruise that you have to take. Yes, you read that right—a 30-mile cruise. This separates the bogus race cars disguised as pseudo street cars with turn signals and brake lights to those that are truly dedicated street rides.
During the cruise, there’s a lead vehicle to follow, including a chase vehicle at the rear of the pack. If you break down or end up getting passed up by the chase vehicle, your day is done—per se. Should the ugly happen, such as overheating, minor breakage, and so on, you’re still allowed to run down the dragstrip; it simply means that you aren’t in contention for any potential awards.
Typically, the stickers aren’t...
Typically, the stickers aren’t that hard to peel, however the heat made it a little more challenging than usual. Here’s Tech Editor Steven Rupp from Camaro Performers doing his best to keep his cool.
Once you complete the cruise, you’re immediately taken to the staging lanes, where you’re required to make three back-to-back runs; all the while keeping the hood closed. Do you get where they’re going with this? This eliminates icing down the intake or trying to evacuate any additional heat out of the engine bay. Sounds brutal doesn’t it?
To win in True Street, you have several categories that you can compete in. You can go for the gold and try to be become the King of True Street by running the fastest three run average of the entire group or you can win in various tiers. The big guns have run as quick as 7s in the quarter-mile, but the majority of the group can be seen blasting through the traps between 10 and 15 seconds. The idea is to run the closest to the bottom of your tier; say you have a solid 13-second ride, then you’ll want to get as close as you can to a 13-second average in order to win. Of course most folks will slow their car down to try and get into the bottom 11s, 12s, 13s, and their respective class or tier.
At the end of your runs, you’re finished for the event, allowing you to continue on to other bracket programs, spectate, or whatever your heart desires. It’s a quick event that runs incredibly smoothly and a way to participate without having to wait the entire weekend to get a few passes down the dragstrip. Matter of fact, we’ve had so much fun, we’re already looking into transforming one of our rides into a dedicated True Street machine; we’ll talk more about that in the issues to come. For the NMCA West in Pomona, California, we took out Project Twitch, our ’02 Z06 Corvette, and had a blast doing it. Follow along as we share our first True Street experience.
The King of True Street award went to Ed Crowe with his ‘98 Corvette that averaged 9.82. Crowe’s ride was absolutely stunning and had the sleeper theme nailed down.
Project Twitch is powered...
Project Twitch is powered by a factory, stock LS6 with a Magnuson TVS 2300 supercharger, which is good for 498 rear-wheel horsepower. At its svelte 3,100 pounds with a full tank of fuel and no driver, the horsepower-to-weight ratio is rather impressive and able to produce decent mph down the dragstrip.
Notice the sand? This True...
Notice the sand? This True Street competitor applied the brakes a bit too late on the previous run and ended up landing at the beach at the top end of the track. It took a tow truck to pull him out and it ended his day since the undercarriage was filled with kitty litter.
We had no idea what Twitch...
We had no idea what Twitch was going to run. Since we were in true off the street trim, meaning, we didn’t adjust the coilover suspension or swap over to a set of stickies. For our first pass, we launched at idle and granny shifted our way to a 13.44 at 114 mph.
One of the greatest experiences was running down the famed Pomona Dragway. Unless you’re an NHRA Division 7 competitor, it’s been since the mid ’90s that general SoCal racers and enthusiasts were able to run down the track during regularly scheduled Street Legal programs. We couldn’t pass up this opportunity, especially since we’ll never know if we’ll get this chance again.
For our second run, we decided...
For our second run, we decided to step it up a little and go for the 13.00 tier. While it would have been nice to be a bit more aggressive with the launches, we didn’t want to sheer the factory half-shafts, however we still managed to run a 12.66 at 115 mph.
For our final run, we lifted...
For our final run, we lifted a bit earlier to try and balance out the average. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough with a 12.88 at 113-mph run. All said and done, we finished the day with a 12.92 average with the eventual winner Arthur Wolfe running a 13.04 average with his ’71 Ford Mustang.
Out of the 61 cars, only 45...
Out of the 61 cars, only 45 cars made it through the cruise, which still gave us a little time to try and cool down the engine. Even with a late model, our Z06 was running a bit warm, getting as hot as 230 degrees on the cruise. The minimal downtime still allowed us to get down to 200 degrees in between passes. Any hotter and we probably would have bowed out in fear of detonation on the 91-octane pump petrol we were running.