"I can relate to this class more than anything else," said one fan to another as the Vortech Xtreme Street category rolled into action at Route 66 Raceway (Joliet, Illinois). The category is one of the most exciting in the NMCA series thanks to the lack of wheelie bars and true 10.5-inch tires. The racing is also tight thanks to a formula of rules that lets racers get wild but not out of control like some of the Outlaw-style categories out there. The rules allow for limited nitrous-injected or centrifugal supercharged small-block or big-block combos. Chevy High Performance joined Vortech Superchargers as one of the major sponsors of Xtreme Street in 2009 and we dropped into Joliet to check on the happenings of our favorite category.
The Joliet outing saw 19 cars roll through qualifying with top honors going to Bill Trovato and his wild Oldsmobile Starfire (complete with a 403ci small-block Olds engine). The wily engine builder at Bill Trovato Racing, Inc. ran the lone 7-second run of the event with a 7.99 at 172 mph. But right behind him were a hungry set of racers led by Steve Cagle (8.05/170.9 mph), Bob Kurgan (8.10/171 mph), Jamie Stanton (8.113/172 mph), and Tony Orts (8.116/170 mph). As we said earlier, the racing was tight and one had to run 8.33 to qualify in the top 10.
Calling this class unpredictable is an understatement and proof is one look at the first round of eliminations. Cagle, who had run a new career best e.t. in qualifying, went out when the 10.5-inch slicks spun hard and he never recovered. As more and more rounds wore on, the less Chevy racers remained in competition. It looked as though Bob Kurgan and his dreaded Mustang was advancing along with Trovato and his unique Olds combination. Kurgan drove his Vortech-supercharged Mustang past David Buckley and his Chevy-powered Mustang in Round One: 8.11 vs. 8.38. Then in Round Two he got by Tim Hendricks with an 8.11 to an 8.38. Kurgan and Tony Orts got into a staging duel that ended with Orts going red and Kurgan simply driving down track and into the final round.
Trovato worked his side of the ladder by starting with a bye run in Round One, then he took out local chassis builder and fulltime X/S racer, Aaron Stapleton with an 8.10 to an 8.23. In Round Three, Trovato continued to freight train the competition with a win over one of his customers, Scott Guiler: 8.05 to 8.30. Trovato would make his first final round of 2009 by dispatching the lone Mopar in the field, which belonged to Andy Mayes. The mighty Olds ran 8.09 to Mayes' 8.39 effort. The barrage of 8.0s runs came courtesy of a small-block Olds engine and a single stage of Edelbrock nitrous in the form of a direct-port nitrous system.
The final round, despite not having two Chevy racers, was an epic battle between the nitrous and blower combos. Trovato was packing the Edelbrock laughing gas and Kurgan pounded the pavement with a Vortech V24 Xi-trim blower. On track, the cars had run within striking distance of each other all weekend long, with Trovato having a slight advantage. Kurgan left the starting line first with a 0.042 reaction time but Trovato was there with a near identical 0.043. The cars remained side-by-side as they rolled down the historic track. At the finish line, Kurgan got the win light and both racers had run identical 8.163 runs! The margin of victory was the 0.001-advantage Kurgan took at the flash of the green. It was the closest race of the weekend, which is quite an accomplishment considering there were over 500 cars competing.