The Corvette’s prowess on the twists and turns of road courses across North America and worldwide is well documented. It is Chevrolet’s ultimate road performance machine that has taken the track fight to the European contingent for years. However, there remains a select group of hard-core Corvette enthusiasts who look to the 1,320-foot straight line as their measure of performance. Anyone who thinks the quarter-mile adventures of organized drag racing are easy probably have never pushed themselves hard enough or have had the kind of horsepower to make that energized strip of asphalt and concrete all that exciting.
Some of the wildest and most compelling drag race-themed Corvettes are part of the NMCA sanctioning body, which has two racing series, one on each coast, and is home to the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series. The showdown at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis is the wrap-up event for the NMCA Flowmaster eastern drag racing series as well as the conclusion to the LSX Challenge Series. Think of it as two races on one dragstrip for the admission price of a single ticket. The NMCA side of the race is its famous Fel-Pro World Street Finals, the final points race in its highly competitive heads-up and index-style drag racing. For the LSX crowd, it is the largest drag race for that engine platform and is dubbed the LSX Shootout.
Both series are made up of all types of vehicles, with most Corvettes representing the NMCA Radial Wars class. The category is one of the last heads-up eliminators with minimal rules, governing some basic chassis and body restrictions but with nearly limitless engine combinations. We saw a few Vettes in the LSX category of Real Street where the cars are restricted to conventional-style engine packages and limited power-adders. Several Corvettes had been entered in Pro Mod, Top Sportsman, and a variety of index categories as well. Enjoy the highlights of some of the hottest Corvettes in NMCA and LSX Challenge Series competition.
That is 3,500 hp neatly packaged between the factory framerails of the Crisafulli Brother’s ’07 Corvette. They ran 4-teens at 194 mph and finished in the semifinals of competition.
Rodney Massengale lent his C5 race car to Adam Preston for LSX Real Street competition. The 468ci LSX engine motivated the IRS-laden ’01 Corvette Z06 into the 7s with a best of 7.94 at 170 mph. Preston finished runner-up for the weekend.
Keith Berry owns and drives perhaps the wildest LSX-powered vehicle in the drag racing world: a C5 Z06. Proline Racing built a 454ci small-block LS using a billet block and cylinder head package and attached a couple of Precision 94mm turbochargers to it. Final output is near 3,000 hp as Berry runs bottom 4s at 190 mph in the eighth-mile. Berry was crowned the 2014 Radial Wars champion.
Rob Farley is a hard-core drag racer with his ’98 Corvette Pace Car, logging 3,800 dragstrip runs. The New Jersey racer has collected nine track titles at Englishtown, multiple LSX and NMCA victories, and is a three-time LSX Challenge Series champion in the LSX Rumble class. He went out in round three during class eliminations.
Ron Belcher lit up the LSX Real Street class with mid-8-second performances. The C6 features a 440ci LSX small-block with Chevrolet Performance DR cylinder heads, stand-alone EFI, and a single-stage Induction Solutions nitrous system.
The most radical looking Corvette in competition is without a doubt the Pro Mod driven by Jennifer Green. She ran 6.40s at almost 220 mph from a nitrous-gulping 903ci engine by Pat Musi.
“Darth Vader, your C6 Z06 is ready for you.” Mike Fisher’s evil ’08 Corvette Z06 ran in the 11.00 index but he pushed the car too hard in round two of LSX Rumble and broke out with a 10.86. His 117 mph trap speed shows Fisher tried to put on the brakes to avoid dipping under the 11.00 dial-in but failed at that task.
Rodney Massengale of RPM Transmissions jumped behind the wheel of his ’10 Corvette, entering in the Radial Wars class. The Proline Racing engine displaces a massive 670 ci while a pair of Precision 98mm turbochargers stuffs nearly 50 psi of boost into it. The car runs 4.25 at 186 mph and went a few rounds in the tough crowd of 3,000-plus horsepower race cars.
Paul Smith Jr. and his LS2-powered ’98 Corvette are normally tough competitors. The changing air conditions in round two caused his Vette to run its quickest pass of the weekend but, unfortunately, the 9.90 at 138 mph performance was under his 10.00 index in LSX Rumble.
One of the neat features of the LSX Shootout is that it just isn’t a drag race but a celebration of LSX fun. The NMCA officials host a pre-race party and nearly $15,000 prizes was given away with this engine block from ERL being the big prize of the evening, worth $3,000. Ron Belcher (second from right) walked away with the block this year.
The baddest IRS-suspended drag racing car of all time belongs to Mark Carlyle. The Atomic Orange Z06 packs a twin-turbocharged 427ci LSX; the car smoked the tires and finished runner-up in LSX Drag Radial. Carlyle has been 6.60s at 210 mph in quarter-mile competition.
The ’04 Corvette replica race car (top) is driven by Shane Cowan. Cowan entered the exhibition Top Sportsman category. The fast bracket racing class is new to NMCA in 2015.
Corvettes flat-out dominated the car count in Radial Wars, and one of the nicest examples is the ZR1 driven by Mark Woodruff. A Proline Racing 620ci big-block with twin turbos pushes this car deep into the 6s in the quarter-mile (6.40 at 212 mph) and 4-teens at speeds near 190 mph in the eighth-mile at NMCA competition.