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Dornbos Reviews...

Pure Stock Muscle Car Drags at Mid Michigan

By Doug Dornbos

I attended the annual Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex last weekend. It was a very nice event.

A few observations:

1. The rules were VERY strictly enforced as far as I could tell with people needing stock everything including valve covers, color of spark plug wires, etc. Tech must really be an effort here (but I did not get a chance to watch any inspections themselves). I did talk to one person who was DQ'ed in tech due to an aftermarket carburetor. He completely agreed with the decision.

2. It was great to see 110 cars in the staging lanes and not a sticker on any of them!

3. Elapsed times ranged from the 12.4s to the mid-16s.

4. No water box.

5. Traction on street tires (with no softening allowed) certainly proved elusive for some of the guys. Many of them retained their rear anti-sway bar though. It seemed to me they would've taken it off for the drags in hopes of a better launch.

6. The format was "test and tune" most of Friday with two qualifying runs at the end of the day. On Saturday, each car was paired with the car that had the closest E.T. to theirs and they raced them in a best 2-out-of-3 match race.

7. The car that got the largest fan reaction was a red supercharged manual trans Studebaker Lark. He was matched up against a mid-60s Corvette and beat it twice in a row. The crowd went nuts. A Yenko Camaro had its competitor break and unable to return for the second round so they challenged the red Lark to a race. The Lark beat the Yenko with a 13.54. The crowd went nuts again. The Stude guy had a bunch of friends out for the event I must say.

8. Weird! Only one Mustang out of 110 muscle cars. A Mach 1. A few Torinos though.

9. Not a Chevy dominated event by any means. They were there of course, but not in the ratio usually found at a drag race. A lot of Buicks and Mopars. A few AMCs. Two Studes.

10. I met Joel Naprstek's friend Ed Evans on Saturday morning. Ed did the T-shirt art for the event.

11. A bunch of these cars were show cars that never get raced. There were some gorgeous cars here.

12. The guys who put this event on have a website at

13. A funny thing about racers: Their goal at the beginning of the day is very different than their desires at the end of the day. For instance, I talked to a racer at the start of Friday whose one wish was to just get into the 13s. He ran several low 14s and then a 13.99. I congratulated him on it at the end of the day and his response was something like "Well, I only did it once." It's never enough! Been there!

14. I am amazed by how much the devotees of each car marque have their own set of tricks and knowledge like "Those are wheels from a '72, right?" or "They didn't make a hood scoop that year but that one looks like the one from '69" or all such stuff. And to the casual passerby unfamiliar with the nuances of the marque, these things are unnoticeable. It's almost an inside joke. (I am of course only talking about the cars in the parking lot here since the cars that raced were all correct year).



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