Larry Larson Makes S-10 No Prep-Legal With A Sawzall And Duct Tape

The no prep genre of drag racing, initially a wild-west trove of anything-goes combinations — all the way up to composite-bodied Pro Modifieds that hardly resembled the real thing — has undergone a swift sea of change over the last year as promoters worked to put a lid on costs, maintain parity, and retain the original spirit of the street-to-track movement before it got out of control. Or, at least any further out of control.

About two weeks ago, I finally got a confirmation that if I added on to the bed, I’d be good and it would fit the rules. So I said stand back, hang on, here we go.

While some competitors have been more blatant offenders of this “spirit” of no prep racing, the newly-written regulations on wheelbase and bodies have pushed out others, whose vehicles would almost certainly be permitted if left up to the court of public opinion. One such example is chassis builder and street legal drag racing icon Larry Larson and his venerable Chevrolet S-10. Larson’s short bed, standard cab pickup measures 115-inches in wheelbase; factory is 108. A standard cab, long bed, however, is 117-inches. If the truck could be converted to a long bed, it would then fall inside of — and in fact on the short side of — the +/- 2-inches of factory wheelbase requirement for many of the Big Tire no prep venues. In particular, the Discovery Channel’s current run of highly lucrative Street Outlaws no prep filmings.

Larson has been frank about his desire, not to get his few minutes of television fame — but for the opportunity to race for the payouts that have ranged from $40,000 to $100,000. Especially so given how competitive he and his truck have been thus far in no prep racing. And so, around the time the recently-aired Bristol event was announced in August, he began petitioning the rules committee behind the show to allow him to run the S-10 as a long bed, thereby making it permissible for the class.

Finally, just before the holidays, he got the call he’d been waiting on.

“I would have done it a long time ago, but nobody would tell me that if I spent the time to do it, I would be legal. About two weeks ago, I finally got a confirmation that if I added on to the bed, I’d be good and it would fit the rules. So I said stand back, hang on, here we go.”

Fortunately, Larry lucked out, having built the truck in 2014 at exactly 115-inches; any shorter, and it would have fallen inside of the +/- 2-inch ruling and he’d be out in the cold. Of course, the fact that it’s a truck and can be added on to at all is of considerable fortune, as well.

And so he got to work at his Larson Race Cars facility in Oak Grove, Missouri, spending about a week fashioning a section of steel bed-side aft of the existing bed.

I told those guys that I’m not welding it on, I’m not going to permanently make this thing that ugly.

“It’s actually a section off of a short bed. I took a Sawzall, went down to the pick-n-pull, and got after it,” he said.

“It’s not nice to my standards,” Larry continued, “but it’s not a total hack-job. I didn’t spend near as much time on it as I would have if I was trying to make it nice. It’s 12 bolts and everything comes off. I can take it off by myself. The parachute and everything comes off. It’s just duct tape — I got some grey and silver duct tape and painted the stripe on with a rattle can. We can take it off in about five minutes. I told those guys that I’m not welding it on, I’m not going to permanently make this thing that ugly.”

Larson and racing partner, Jeff Stacy, are in Tucson, Arizona for this weekend’s Street Outlaws filming; Larry was headed to tech inspection this morning where he hopes, barring any changes of heart on the execution of the conversion, the now-long bed S-10 will be granted the seal of approval.

“So far, what few people that have been by here, the reception has been okay. The entire reason for building the truck was to call BS on some of the rules of Drag Week. Now, here we are with a different sanctioning body and we’re doing the same thing.”

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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