Drag Illustrated Issue 175, March / April 2022 - Page 56

PDRA PRO STREET SEEING GROWTH , WITH SUPER STREET ON THE WAY

SMALL-TIRE SHOWDOWN

PDRA PRO STREET SEEING GROWTH , WITH SUPER STREET ON THE WAY

BY NATE VAN WAGNEN • PHOTOGRAPHS BY TARA BOWKER
Special Section
WHEN THE PDRA LAUNCHED ITS PRO STREET CLASS AS A THREE-RACE TRIAL IN 2020 , THE CLASS ALLOWED DRAG RADIALS OR SLICKS TO ATTRACT RACERS FROM MULTIPLE DIFFERENT SMALL-TIRE CLASSES . BUT AFTER A REWORKING OF THE RULES FOR 2021 , THE CATEGORY ’ S FIRST YEAR AS A PDRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CATEGORY , PRO STREET HAS FOUND ITS NEW PURPOSE : REVIVING THE SLICKS-ONLY , ORIGINAL OUTLAW 10.5-STYLE RACING THAT WAS SO POPULAR WITH FANS AND RACERS .
The plan is working , as several new participants are expected to join the class this season . The class will also race with new backing from title sponsor Menscer Motorsports and presenting sponsor AFCO .
For racers like Tim Essick , the defending world champion and a vocal proponent of the class , the increase in participation is exactly what he wants to see as he looks to go back to back in his Pro- Charger-boosted “ Brown Sugar ” ’ 18 Mustang .
“ There was a small , core group of guys that we had in the class last year and we ’ re all great friends ,” Essick begins , “ but the whole
meaning behind this class is trying to revive Outlaw 10.5-style racing and grow the class . The more people we can get , the better off the whole show is .”
Jesse Lambert , who finished second behind Essick , agrees that the class is heading in the right direction .
“ Back when Tyler [ Crossnoe , PDRA race director ] and I were talking about trying to implement the class into PDRA , I think we all agreed three years was the mark ,” Lambert says . “ The first year we got a good following , a stable base , and it grew last year . Honestly , what we ’ re seeing right now is what I was hoping would happen . Last
year , let ’ s say we had 6-8 cars at each race . I ’ m hoping we can get 10-12 at each race and have a couple races where we have a full 16-car field .”
One of the strengths of Pro Street are the limiting factors , which include factory wheelbase guidelines . But the max tire size – 33x10.5W bias ply slicks – is what really makes Pro Street so attractive to racers like Essick and Lambert .
“ The tire takes away the big budget ,” Essick says . “ It doesn ’ t matter how great your equipment is , how much technology you have , or what resources you have behind you . The limiting factor is that little tire .
“ There ’ s a more level playing field ,” Essick continues . “ You ’ re always going to have a couple cars that are a little faster than the rest . That ’ s going to be in every single class across the board . But there ’ s more of a chance for anyone on the property to win on that particular tire than when it ’ s a slip or go situation on like a radial .”
Lambert raced on radials from 2004 through 2015 before getting into his current car , a twin-turbocharged ’ 04 Mustang , to go Outlaw 10.5 racing . He switched back to radials when those tires started to take over Outlaw 10.5 , and he believes the slicks-only arrangement in Pro Street is the way to go .
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