The atmosphere in the pits is friendly, but the competition is intense. Rob Clary, who dro
Have you ever wondered how well your favorite Chevy would do if you put it on the dragstrip against a grab bag of other musclecars? Well, wonder no more. That's what the Pure Stock Drags (www.purestockdrags.com) is all about.
The 2006 Pure Stock Drags was a record-breaker, and Chevy lovers have a lot to crow about. In fact, the quickest car at the meet has been a Chevrolet in four of the last five years. This race saw the record for best e.t., set last year by an L88-spec'd Corvette, shaved by over two-tenths of a second to 11.54 at 120.75. It looks like Chevy dominance is here to stay.
To go fast at the Pure Stock Drags requires three basic elements: careful planning to maximize power-to-weight ratio, careful tuning to get the engine in top shape, and skillful driving to get the best possible launch. The car owner does everything-no sponsors or pit crew is needed. That's why fans of this race find it so enjoyable and challenging.
"COPO" Pete Simpson, a chicken rancher from Glencoe, Ontario, Canada, is big on COPO Chevy
It all happens in September, the second weekend after Labor Day. Musclecar lovers converge on the Mid-Michigan Motorplex, a fast quarter-mile dragstrip near Alma, Michigan. All American makes are welcome, and all model years from 1955 through 1974 are invited.
Early Friday morning, an amazing array of performance cars from Detroit's golden era line-up to be teched in. It's an incredible cross-section of top-shelf iron like you've never seen-big-block, small-block, road racer spin-offs, ZL1s, full-size Impalas with the big 409, 454 Chevelles, El Caminos, COPOs, Yenkos, Corvettes of all years and displacements, even the odd Caprice and Monte Carlo SS. And they're all here for one reason-to light up the quarter-mile.
The rules are pretty strict: The car has to be as the factory built it, stock block (up to .070-inch overbore is OK), heads (no big valves, porting, or gasket matching), cam and valvetrain (no rollers), and carb. Exhaust must use the OEM manifolds and tailpipe exit. Carb jetting, distributor tuning, and low-restriction air filters are OK, as are X-pipes systems and aftermarket mufflers. The great equalizer is that all cars must run on stock-sized tires. This may shock you, but the hot ticket for a quick launch is repro bias-plys pumped up to 45 psi. Low 60-footer so far on 'em is an incredible 1.81.
Jim Maher ('67 L78 SS396 Chevelle) and son Eric (1968 Z/28) duked it out at Mid-Michigan.
The Pure Stock Drags is a Friday/Saturday event. Here's how it works: Friday is open track. Tune your car, run your best time. Saturday, the fastest and slowest times are tossed out and all runs are averaged. Then you're paired with the car running closest to your time for a best-two-out-of-three shootout.
Lots of new cars showed up in September, boosting turnout to a record 136 cars. The weather was ideal and many regulars ran their best time ever. Those on hand witnessed one heck of a shootout in the final rounds between two heavy-hitter L88 Corvettes. Jimmy Johnston, nicknamed the nuclear power shifting machine, was a runaway winner in 2005 with an 11.75 e.t. This time he was battling for his life against newcomer Julie Pennington, also in an L88. Coached by her husband Terry, Julie staged for the last run of the day, and cracked off a mind-bending 11.54 at 120.75. More good news: Seven of the 10 fastest cars were Chevrolets.
They have a saying at the Pure Stock Drags-Pure stock is the way to rock.
10 Years Of Fastest Cars At The Pure Stock Drags
In 1996, the quickest car at the Pure Stock Drags ran a 13.43. Ten years later, the quickest e.t. was 1.68 seconds and over 22 mph quicker. Here is a list of the best e.t.s (in competition, not qualifying) from the meet, going back a decade.
|Year||Winning Car||Engine||Best ET @ MPH|
|2006||1969 Corvette||427 L88||11.54 @ 120.75|
|2005||1969 Corvette||427 L88||11.75 @ 121.49|
|2004||1963 Plymouth Fury ||426 Max Wedge||12.07 @ 116.24|
|2003||1969 Camaro||427 ZL1||12.23 @ 115.57|
|2002||1969 Camaro||427 ZL1||12.38 @ 112.0|
|2001||1969 Super Bee||440 6-Pack||12.41 @ 111.57|
|2000||1972 Buick GS455||455 Stage 1||12.42 @ 111.56|
|1999||1969 Nova SS396||396 L89||12.37 @ 111.92|
|1998||1969 Super Bee||440 6-Pack||12.77 @ 107.69|
|1997||1970 'Cuda||426 Hemi||13.27 @ 105.69|
|1996||1967 GTO||400 Ram Air||13.43 @ 99.45|