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.

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.

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.