Going fast on 10.5-inch wide tires has been a phenomenon that swept the drag racing community off its big tires since the early '90s. The concept was made famous during the early days of Fastest Street Car racing in a popular category called Super Street. The class was the little brother of the ultra-quick and prestigious Pro Street eliminator. Pro Street catered to the big-money guys and several ex-Pro Stock and Pro Mod racers with tube chassis cars and giant slicks. Super Street, on the other hand, was the heads-up racing class where street racers found a home with their real cars and true 10.5-inch tires. As time evolved, so did Super Street and it turned into a class that caters to back-half rides with unlimited power under the hood and 10.5W (measuring 11.5-inches wide and 33-inches tall) rear tires. Today, the Super Street cars hardly resemble the late-night, grudge-racing machines from those early years.
The street racing roots have long been forgotten in the Super Street category-but history often repeats itself. During the NMCA reorganization, which started in 2001, the folks at Pro Media Events saw the need to build a category to bring back the popular Super Street-type vehicles from the original days of the street legal drag racing organization. The solution was Xtreme Street, sponsored by Vortech Superchargers, and it emulates the popular category from its humble early years. Vortech Xtreme Street contains the most identifiable cars in the heads-up racing portion of the NMCA sanctioning body due to the cars being real with pragmatic engine combinations. This year the times are mostly in the low 8-second range, with a few competitors eclipsing the 7-second barrier in good conditions. We've noticed a wide variety of combinations this season with big-blocks, small-blocks, nitrous, blowers, and makes and models of all kinds-making the class fun and exciting.
The rulebook calls for a maximum of 10.5-inch wide tires, stock framerails front-to-back, any rear suspension, and stock-style front suspension. Under the hood, NMCA officials have restricted the engines to conventional-headed small- and big-blocks and put a limit on the power adders (nitrous and centrifugal blowers only). The limitations are meant to prevent a severe escalation like with the original category. Some might think the handicap is under the hood, but the real limiting factors are the suspension restrictions, namely the lack of wheelie bars, and true 10.5-inch tires. Tuning the suspension becomes a delicate balance between spin and hook. "The biggest thing is that these cars are heavy and powerful. The big-block cars, like what Cameron Coble and others run, are hard to get moving on a small tire at that weight. Some of them are 3,575 pounds or more. Controlling tire spin is key. The Xtreme Street cars are allowed stock suspension, ladder bars, or a four-link. It's nice to run a four-link; it helps control the hit and the power applied to the tire. That is good when you deal with the tire size and lack of wheelie bars," said Steve Matukas of Matukas Motorsports Race Cars (matukasmotorsports.com). The Kentucky-based chassis shop has built several cars for many top players in the high-stakes game of true 10.5 racing.