‘ I ’ m Either Having Fun , or I ’ m Incredibly Stupid ’
Jim Howe is all-in on Street Outlaws : No Prep Kings By Craig Cook
Jim Howe has just finished his morning cardio , and is on his way to the gym for a weight lifting session . Physical fitness is just one of many facets he ’ s focused on as the sixth season of the popular TV show Street Outlaws : No Prep Kings draws near .
Howe enjoyed a breakout year in season five , debuting his brand-new 1967 Camaro named “ The Guardian .” He won the Invitational class in both Norwalk , Ohio , and the season finale at the Texas Motorplex . Despite missing five events while waiting on the new car , Howe finished sixth in points .
“ We were out there in season four getting our teeth kicked in ,” recalls Howe . “ I was running my drag radial car that was never intended to run NPK . I kept telling everybody , ‘ When I get a car that ’ s built for this , you guys are in trouble .’ Once we got the new car sorted out , it was absolutely a game changer .”
With a successful background in radial racing , the decision to change course and enter the world of No Prep Kings might ’ ve surprised some , but Howe believes the move was necessary .
“ We ’ d gotten stale in ( Limited Drag ) Radial ,” Howe says . “ I had a very dominant year in 2019 , and won the championship . However , the payout was horrible . You don ’ t build a quarter-milliondollar car to go run for a trophy and a piece of bubble gum .”
“ I went to a No Prep Kings event in 2018 , and had a great time ,” Howe continues . “ We looked at it , and said this speaks to everything I want to do – a bigger payout , and an organization that provides exposure for their racers . And the fans at an NPK event are second to none . The amount of energy in the air , the amount of people … it ’ s a completely different feeling . That ’ s what decided it for me .”
Howe ’ s success with his combination – a screwblown Hemi with a Liberty 5-speed transmission – also brought its own unique set of challenges . For season six , Howe must add 50 lbs . to his current set-up .
“ I had a pretty good idea they were going to punish my combo ,” says Howe . “ And they ’ re not picking on me in particular , they ’ re just trying to get the combos as close as they can . I feel like the rule set we have right now looks good .”
But Howe also acknowledges that NPK can re-evaluate the rules after three events , and make changes if necessary . In an attempt to stay one step ahead , his team has also been testing with a roots blower , which comes with a significant weight break – and that ’ s where the gym and cardio routines come in .
“ I couldn ’ t quite get to weight ,” Howe says . “ So that meant I needed to try to lose some weight myself , which is the cheapest way to lose it . I ’ m down 38-40 lbs . from where I was last year .”
Howe also joined forces with John Odom in season five , a partnership that quickly proved
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS SEARS
28 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 182