Pure Stock Drag Racing: The Way It Ought To Be!


When over a 120 primo muscle cars show up at a drag strip, fun things are going to happen. Especially when any one of these rides could get big money rolling across the auction block at Barrett-Jackson or Mecum. But instead of static displays with the owners obsessively polishing the fenders and using Q-tips to clean off excessive wax build-up on the door jams, we’ve come to a place were the owners are doing high-gear burnouts, getting sideways, and flogging their muscle cars for every last ounce of horsepower.

Where is this mythical place you ask? Well, this is annual Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race (PSMCDR) held every September at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton, Michigan. If you’ve never heard of PSMCDR, well shame on you. This event has been happening for over 20 years and brings together the largest assortment of muscle cars from the 1950s all the way up to 1979. And not just any muscle cars, we’re talking about rarities and oddities along with the usual cast of bad Mopar dudes like Six Pack Bees, Hemi ’Cudas, and Max Wedge Belvederes.

If you’re afraid of getting dead bugs on your grille, stone chips on the lower quarters, and caked-on tire rubber from doing burnouts on your Redlines or Goodyear Polyglas GTs, then park your muscle car in the pits and watch from stands. Just remember, you’re missing out on participating in one of the coolest racing events ever. It doesn’t matter if your Mopar runs 14s or high 11s, the Pure Drags is one of the last remaining grassroots racing venues that you can have fun, even if your win light doesn’t come on. If you’re looking for a safe and cool event to race your prized Mopar, the Pure Stock Drags is where it’s at.

The basic rules are simple. Any car built from 1955 to 1979 in the United States or Canada with a minimum warranty of 12 months and 12,000 miles is allowed. This eliminates factory lightweight Super Stock package cars like 1965 A990 B-Bodies, 1968 Hemi Barracudas, Darts, and Ford T-Bolts. Also, cars must be factory equipped with a minimum of four-barrel carburetion, dual exhaust, and other factory-installed equipment that promotes a high-performance intent and image. Cars are paired-up based on time trial e.t.’s and compete in a best-of-three heads-up shootout. You see, simple and fun.

There are also safety considerations the event organizers and track put in place. Drivers must wear long pants, cars running 13.99 and quicker must have an approved Snell 2005 helmet and seatbelts, batteries must be secured, and radiators must have an overflow catch can of at least 16 ounces. Also, all accessory belts must be in place and tight to operate the water pump, alternator, and power steering.

That said, if you want to play, don’t think you can show up with a pair of disguised aftermarket aluminum heads painted Hemi orange on your 440 Magnum. The Pure Stock tech guys are very savvy and have seen it all. The competitors also police each other to keep the spirit of “stock.” You know some of these motors have breathed-on induction and are super blueprinted, but show up with a 500 cubic-inch stroker engine, and the PSMCDR organizers will show you the gate.

You must run the stock intake, carb, cylinder heads, block, and other items for the year, make model, claimed. The camshaft must be stock lift but there’s some leeway with the duration. The compression ratios and blueprint specs are very similar to the NHRA Stock Eliminator guidelines. Don’t forget, you’re also limited to a street tire that cannot exceed a 60-Series width. Drag Radials are not allowed, even if “DOT approved” is stamped on the sidewall.

There’s also the 11.50 ET rule that basically says if you run an 11.49 or faster, you’re out of the show. PSMCDR folks feel that by capping the e.t., it’ll prevent cubic dollar competitors from ruining the true nature of the event.

As always, there was a great assortment of cool Mopars wreaking havoc on the Brand X competitors at the 2017 event. So check out our coverage and see Street Hemis, Max Wedges, 440 Six Packs, and high-winding 340s do what they were intended for: destroy the competitor in the next lane.

If you’re looking to get off the lawn chair at the cruise nights and do something fun with your Mopar, next year’s Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race is scheduled for September 14 and 15 at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex.



Eric Simpson in his COPO Camaro watch helplessly as Rick Mahoney’s hard charging 1968 Hemi Super Bee goes marching on by with a 11.62 pass to Simpson’s 11.68. Mahoney’s Bee was the number-one qualifier at this year’s Pure Stock Drags and is a real deal Hemi car. That beautiful QQ1 Bright Blue Poly paint is stunning.

For many years, longtime Mopar guru Bob Karakashian made a reputation at the Pure Stock Drags with his strong running 1969 A12 Six Pack Super Bee, however, he parked it and has been flogging his original 1970 Hemi ’Cuda. He was the third fastest Mopar at this year’s event by qualifying with stout 11.73. He was paired against Ken Riebels’ 1966 427 Stingray but the Rat-motored Corvette was no match for the mighty Hemi as Bob won his match up.

Tom Hoover Jr.’s legendary father, Tom Hoover Sr., developed and created the legendary Max Wedge and 426 Hemi for Chrysler back in the day. That’s probably why his 1964 Plymouth Belvedere runs so strong. Both he and his father worked on this car until his father’s passing in 2015. The blue Plymouth, with a 426 Max Wedge for motivation, was the second fastest Mopar with an 11.64 at 121.06. Despite being a Plymouth, there’s some Ramchargers magic under that hood.

We love Chargers, especially 1968s. Dan Kruger from Holland, Michigan, ran a best of 13.57 at 104.66 in his four-speed car. This Charger R/T, complete with the correct 15-inch disc brake wheel covers and Hemi exhaust resonators, could’ve grabbed the OE Gold award at some Mopar shows but instead, Dan was flogging it mercilessly.

Frank Remlinger’s 1969 Dart GTS was probably the strongest-running Mopar small-block at this year’s race. The high-winding 340, breathing through the stock Carter AVS carb and cast-iron intake and exhaust manifolds, turned in an eye-opening 13.16 at 103.89. Here, Frank’s about to put the Pontiac Tempest GT-37 on the trailer.

Old-school tricks still work as Norm VerHage iced-down the intake on his 1969 ’Cuda 440 is search of lower e.t.’s and more mph. It worked. He was able to get the ’Cuda 440 solidly in the 13s with a 13.86 at 97.78. Many of the other Pure Stock competitors were doing the same because of the unseasonably high temps.

Former Mopar NHRA racer Jim Keyes is no stranger Hemi-powered machines. He’s had his 1967 Hemi Coronet R/T since it was new, even racing it in SS/DA with WO components back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Now in Pure Stock form, Jim had laid down an 11.59 at 119.39 but on the next pass, he violated the 11.50 rule with an 11.48 run and was forced to withdraw from competition. Jim was not happy!

If you want to go fast at the Pure Stocks, bring carburetor jets, a timing light, and tune for the weather/track conditions. Here, Bob Karakashian changes the Carter AFB jets on Michael Kilano’s 1970 Hemi Road Runner.

There’s something about a black Hemi Plymouth GTX we find very sinister. This one belonged to Steve Abbosh and he’s not afraid to grab gears and thrash on it. Steve went 13.42 at 103.11 and like many of his fellow Mopar racers, shut down his competition.

Dave Watt’s 1973 Duster 340 quickly dispelled the myth that smoggers can’t run. His 13.78 at 98.48 was more than ample for him to get the win light and sending his competitor in a classic 1966 Pontiac GTO packing.

Norm VerHage is seen here on a 13-second blast in his 1969 ’Cuda 440. There’s always debate in the Mopar camp on how restrictive the exhaust manifolds are on a big-block A-Body. We don’t care, neither does Norm. He’s just out flogging his combination in search of more speed on a real M-Code 440 ’Cuda.

Pete Papzian’s beautiful 1968 Plymouth GTX, which is a carbon copy of the one used in the 1968 Plymouth brochure, was running consistent 13.50s all weekend with its tuned 440 Super Commando. Pete bought the GTX back when Richard Nixon was President.

Michael Kilano avoided disaster on his Road Runner as the Air Grabber hood was left unlatched on the run against Tom Hoover Jr.’s Max Wedge Plymouth. Michael noticed the hood coming up at half-track, lifted, and aborted the run.

Mike Marple (in orange shirt) does some bench racing with a spectator at the Pure Stock Drags. Mike’s real A12 Road Runner ran consistent 12.30s at 112 but came up just short in competition.

It may look like a restoration showpiece but under that chrome dome air cleaner sits a Ray Barton prepared 426 Hemi that makes over 700 horsepower. Based on the 123 mph trap speed on Mahoney’s 4,000-lb Super Bee, we’d say it’s probably a lot more.

Like most Mopars competing at the Pure Stock Drags, Jim Bowman’s 1969 A12 Six Pack Super Bee is the real deal and is also a four-speed car. Jim is one of the few brave souls to bang gears and if the glove box door pops open on the 1-2 shift, he knows it’s a good run.

Who doesn’t love a good running Mopar small-block? Tom Cannon’s clean 1970 Duster 340 was clicking off mid 13-second times, which is pretty impressive considering Tom was launching off the line and rowing the gears on skinny 70-Series Goodyear Polyglas tires.

Bob Karakashian 1970 Hemi ’Cuda stretches its legs in high gear as he ran almost 118 going through the traps. Did we mention this is a real R-code ’Cuda?

It’s just as much fun hanging out on the top end to watch these Mopar’s pull away from their competitor. Here, Steve Abbosh’s 1969 Hemi GTX shows its taillights to this poor GTO.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *