/ HEADS-UP STREET CAR RACING—SMALL-TIRE STYLE!
NORTH CAROLINA MAY BE KNOWN AS THE HEART OF NASCAR RACING, BUT LOCAL SMALL-TIRE HEADS-UP RACERS ARE BEGINNING TO TURN SOME HEADS. Mark Rogers of Salisbury, North Carolina, is definitely a case in point with his ’03 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra. Running as quick as 4.73 seconds in the 1/8-mile at 147-plus mph in Ultimate Street, he’s among the quickest in his category.
What is Ultimate Street? It’s one of several different big-buck, small-tire classes popularized by
Duck X Promotions out of Crystal Springs, Florida, best known for their Lights Out and No Mercy events. Held annually at South Georgia Motorsports
Park in Valdosta, Georgia, these events have become Internet darlings, drawing huge interest from Millennials and
Gen Y participants and fans. Marketing types are beginning to take notice of the demographics of this fan base, including NHRA, which featured X275 racing at the Houston and New England Nationals this year.
We caught up with Mark at Piedmont Dragway, where he had just set an
E.T. record running in the Carolina Heads-Up Racing Association (CHRA). He’s recorded a 4.73 pass in the eighth at 147-plus mph, running at 3,100 pounds with a 4.30 gear on M/T P275/60R15 tires. Putting it in perspective, this number is quicker than any of the 45 cars that attempted to qualify for this class at Lights Out 8. In fact, only four of those 45 were even in the 4.70s at all.
Ultimate Street is not “run whatcha brung” racing. Typical class rules mandate stock location, stock-bore engines and cubic-inch limitation. Single carburetor and cast intakes are the norm with limited amounts of nitrous. Blowers and turbos are limited and allowable only on small-block combinations with stock valve angles. Rear suspensions are limited to stock type or ladder bar only, and wheelie bars are prohibited.
Eric Yost at Customs by Bigun built Mark’s 3,100-pound racer, powered by a 281-ci Ford DOHC mod motor, which came with 32-valve factory heads. Pete Harrell of Harrell Engine & Dyno built the engine combination using a Work Turbochargers 76mm T6 with a cast wheel and a 1.32 A/R exhaust housing with
Tial 38mm wastegates. Mark does not use an intercooler, since he’s running methanol for fuel. Dave Klaput of Performance Racing Transmissions built the Powerglide, featuring a torque converter from Greg Slack’s
Converter Design Specialists. Mark gives credit to Pete Harrell for Pete’s tuning skills, as well.
Becoming known as the World Series of Small-Tire Racing, these Lights Out and No Mercy shootout types of events offer a number of classes including, but not limited to, Outlaw Drag Radial, X275, Outlaw 632 and Leaf Spring. Local tracks across the nation are adapting rules from these classes to create their own local formats. Members of the aftermarket are coming on board as sponsors as well as new start-up chassis builders, tuners and engine shops.
Does this represent the future? Possibly. Racers like Mark Rogers and his compatriots represent not only a new breed of competitor, but most likely a bright outlook for the next generation of competitors, as well. Sit back and enjoy the show!