It was the seventh running of the Street Car Super Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in what has become the premier heads-up race west of the Mississippi. The event’s humble beginnings started with the notion of being a West Coast–based event that is a big deal, much like many events in the eastern part of the land. In the seven years of existence, the Street Car Super Nationals has blossomed into an East versus West showdown as several East Coast hitters make the cross-country trek each year. The promoters of the PSCA racing series put the SCSN extravaganza together and the racing categories are a mixture of the PSCA series rules with an outlaw influence. The late season race date before Thanksgiving provides cool conditions for exceptional performances.
The Pro Street field always leads the crowd of quick racers and this year the top players dipped into the 5.90s with regularity. All three power adders were represented in the coveted time zone—supercharged, nitrous oxide, and turbocharged. As the smoke cleared and the track cooled off, the 32-car field was set with a 6.43 bump spot. Of those 32 qualified positions there were 23 Chevy vehicles entered for eliminations. We aren’t going to pretend here, there wasn’t one qualified car that rolled off the Chevy assembly line but the speeds and performances dictate the bodies to be lightweight and aerodynamically altered. The owner’s intent of being a Chevy vehicle is there so we will roll with that fact. Many of the powerplants under the hood are also loosely built off Chevy-style engines but not an actual Chevy engine—we’ll just chalk that fact up to how far this style of racing has progressed in the past decade.
Mike Maggio pushed his ’701/2 Camaro replica to the top spot with a 5.91 at 249 mph. Maggio turned to Chris Duncan Race Cars to build the ride and he hired Pro Modified stand-out Kirk Kuhns to make the calls as crew chief. He was following closely by another Chevy entry, a ’69 Camaro belonging to Goodguys promoter Marc Meadors. The Tim McAmis–constructed, Pro Modified–style car stopped the clocks in just 5.94 seconds at a speed of 244 mph. Jose Gonzales was the lone non-Chevy car in the top five qualifying positions as his Pontiac GTO cleared the top end at 254 mph, and that was linked up with a 5.95 e.t. Shannon Jenkins shoved his Speedtech Nitrous entry in the field after several attempts at getting down the tricky track. The Al Anabi Racing Pro Modified racer was fourth with a 5.96 at 238 mph. Troy Coughlin ran his Jeg’s-sponsored ’68 Camaro into the 5s for the first time with a 5.98 at 255 mph. The 255-mph effort was top speed of this Pro Street meet and perhaps one of the highest mph runs in all of door-slammer history.
Anything can and will happen in the Pro Street ranks as we watched cars go every which way but straight on occasions. The drama and side-by-side action peaked in the finals when Gonzales and Maggio were the only two heavyweights standing at the end of eliminations. Both were proven 5-second machines and each was eying up the $20,000 winning prize. Maggio and his crew swapped engines for the final as the Twin-Screw supercharger put too much boost into the team’s main bullet. It was a dramatic thrash as the team fought the clock to get it swapped. The NHRA Nitro ranks make it look easy but the game changes for the weekend warriors who make up the Pro Street division. The team got the car fired up and into the staging lanes with only minutes to spare. Maggio and his team would come up short as the cooling track surface from nightfall caused the car to go into tire shake and he watched as Gonzales grabbed the win.
The Street Car Super Nationals was more than just a Pro Street fistfight as we were impressed with the level of cars that came from far and near to take a chance to collect the prize money and garner attention as a winner. The big winner for Team Chevy was Rich Hoyle in a ’63 Chevy Nova as he took home the $5,000 top prize in Extreme Drag Radial. Hoyle was one of the few nitrous entries in the turbo and supercharger dominated drag radial category.
Another outstanding highlight of the weekend was the impromptu meeting on the real Strip of Las Vegas between two insane street machines belonging to Larry Larson and Joe Barry. The two Hot Rod magazine Drag Week superstars decided to cruise around town for a few hours and we were happy to tag along. Keep a close eye to the pages of CHP for a feature on Barry’s sensational ’56 Chevy. Both cars performed admirably and didn’t have one hiccup on the grueling haul up and down the strip.
The west side of the country certainly shows it knows how to throw a street-legal bash and bring out the quickest cars for great side-by-side fun.