While we won’t jump into any of the politics or the reasons why NHRA’s long running Sportsman level—Competition Eliminator—has been contracting in size and/or seemingly stagnant in recent seasons, we did observe something hopeful recently.
That finicky category, which features drag racers in a very wide variety and mixture of cars (75 individual classes encompassing dragsters, altereds, trucks, and door-slammers), requires a very different mindset from its teams. It features considerably more rulebook measurement and performance index adjustments than most and that has proven to be problematic at times, affecting some entry lists.
Chevy High Performance thinks, however, that Californian’s Kurt and Brian Moscini have delivered a perfect example of what the class category should be looking for. The father and son duo hit the nail on the head when they debuted a creative and highly unlikely Chevy HHR to the fold. By delivering something both unique and innovative, they have captured exactly the spirit that Comp Eliminator is supposed to be striving for.
Brian (Redwood City, California) began driving the 2015 HHR panel during the 2017 season. It’s for sure one-of-a-kind and he runs it as a G/AA (altered automatic).
“My dad (Kurt) and I ran in Comp before but we wanted to build a new car,” Brian revealed. “We both were seeking something a bit different and originally we were thinking for Super Gas. But my dad found this HHR, which he really liked, brand new at a dealer parking lot with only 100 miles on it. So we took it home and began to cut it up. Eventually we sent it off to Gary Hansen Race Cars to handle the chassis and the tinwork, and about a year later we had it home to finish it up.”
The HHR is a very lightweight entry that features a 304ci small-block built by Colorado-based engine experts MadCap Racing Engines. With that high-revving mill, the HHR has been propelled to a best time of 8.38 and over 158 mph.
One of the possible inherent problem areas for racing an HHR is its perceived lack of driver visibility. But Brian, who is behind the wheel, reports that really has not been an issue.
“Because we do run it in one of the slower index categories, we are getting chased a lot,” he admitted. “But the HHR actually comes from the factory with some pretty big side mirrors, so we kept them on and that actually works really well, as I can usually judge what’s coming. This HHR body is actually very stable at speed, too, so it’s really fun to drive.”
Brian and Kurt fund their racing operation as independents from the proceeds of a couple of Mountain Mike’s Pizza outlets, which they own and operate, based in both San Carlos and Campbell, California. They proudly display the Mountain Mike’s Pizza logo on their HHR after being with that franchise for the past 25 years.
The team concentrates most of their drag racing in the western part of the USA, running within NHRA Lucas Oil Division Seven. Racing fans can look forward to seeing the HHR in action at a couple more NHRA national events soon as the team plans to enter Comp at both Las Vegas and Pomona later this season. CHP
Photos by Bruce Biegler and Dave DeAngelis