Meet Rick Wetherbee. He doesn’t care what stigma you attach to his 1996 Chevy Impala SS. It was built to take on the world. Literally. Rick competed a couple weeks ago at Lights Out V Paid In Full, at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, GA. His class is called Radial vs. The World, it is sponsored by Performance Torque Converters.
Though this year’s eliminations wound up getting rained out, the folks at 1320 Video caught up with Rick and his unusual entry to get the scoop during testing and qualifying. Sitting at 3,400lbs, the “Heavy Chevy” is only a little overweight for the class. But twin 91mm turbochargers and a 540 cubic-inch EFI big-block, backed by a trusty Powerglide, certainly help make up for the added pounds. Why choose a larger body? “We wanted something out of the box.” Got to love that! This brand-new combo is running low 5s in the eighth, and should be a full second faster once it has been fully tested. If you are more familiar with quarter-mile times, this is around a mid to high 6-second car.
For those who don’t know, Lights Out is put on by Duck X Productions, a crew based out of Zephyr Hills, FL that puts on some of the “baddest small tires races in the world.” While some may debate this line, the one that is for sure – these races, particularly Lights Out, draw some large car counts from some of the fastest radial cars in the country. It’s usually a who’s who of racers – LSX racers will recognize Keith Berry (C5) and Mark Carlyle (C6) to name a few. And pretty much anything goes. The action is incredible.
In Radial Vs. The World there is a $10,000 payout to the winner (not a typo), and $2,000 goes to the runner up. Any chassis is permitted, wheelie bars are permitted, and any automatic transmission is permitted. So what are the rules? Well it’s really just a list of weights.
Small-block, naturally aspirated – no minimum weight
Big-block, naturally aspirated – 2,100lbs
Small-block, nitrous – 2,250lbs
Big-block (w/ 4.840-in. bore), nitrous – 2,700lbs
Big-block (w/ 5.00-in. bore), nitrous – 2,725lbs
Big-block (w/ 5.0+ bore), nitrous – 2,750lbs
Small-block, single turbo – 2,600lbs
Small-block, twin-turbo – 2,700lbs
Big-block, single turbo – 2,750lbs
Big-block, twin-turbo – 3,200lbs
Small-block, ProCharger – 2,600lbs
Big-block, ProCharger – 3,150lbs
Big-block, twin supercharger – 3,100lbs
Roots supercharger – 3,050lbs
Screw supercharger – 3,150lbs
-100lbs: Stock-style suspension (for year, make, and model from factory only)
-100lbs: Conventional big-block heads
-100lbs: 29-10.5W tires
-150lbs: “TT5” (true 10.5) tires
-100lbs: 275 radial tires