The benchracing stops here. The Pure Stock Drags, the two-day drag race for stock musclecars only, separates fact from fiction, truth from myth, winners from losers. It happens each year two weeks after Labor Day at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton, Michigan. This year, a record-breaking 152 cars rolled through tech and were cleared to race.
Friday is open track. Run all you want, tweak your car, and run your best time. Your runs will be averaged, and on Saturday you'll be paired with the car running closest to your average elapsed time for a best-two-out-of-three shootout.
The racing is spirited and highly competitive, and the variety of musclecars is truly amazing. Small-block, big-block, rare or mainstream, you'll see it all, and see it run. One of the best things about the event is that the pits are wide open and the racers are friendly and usually welcome a conversation about running better.
Most of the cars in the Saturday shootouts qualified within a 10th of one another. Winning the shootout means tuning your car right and driving your best. Cutting a sharp light can overcome a faster car. A consistently quick 60-foot time can mess with your opponent's head, put him on the defense, and often cause him to redlight.
But win or lose, it's probably the most fun-packed weekend on the calendar. There are no electronic leave boxes, air shifters, or any of that kind of stuff. The Pure Stock Drags is all about old-school vintage musclecars running heads-up on a full tree, just like how we raced back in the day.
For most of its first 10 years, the fastest car at the race went back and forth between Mopars, Buicks, and Chevrolets. But since 2005, Chevrolet has had a mortal lock on the Top Gun spot. The L88-spec Corvettes have outpowered everything else in sight. This year, the top three cars were Chevrolets. Feel free to rub that in the faces of your Brand X buddies.
The Pure Stock Drags happen in the boonies of Michigan. You can fly into Detroit, Lansing, Flint, or Grand Rapids, then drive an hour or two to Stanton. You have to put forth some effort to get there, but once you do, you'll discover the greatest little undiscovered event in the musclecar world. Once you've experienced it, you're hooked. The great majority of attendees come back year after year. The basic info can be found at www.purestockdrags.com.