The Grudge Report: From Darlington To ‘The House Of Hook’
I am both psyched and humbled that I am able to report on the who, what, and when of GRUDGE RACING to the news hungry fans of Dragzine. This exciting and sometimes unpredictable genre of racing is my life. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Prostock Joe, well connected and objective grudge news reporter. I travel all over the country to be front and center when the hot grudge action goes down. I make it my business to be in the know, because of my motto: “This is Prostock Joe and Now You Know What I Know.” So, I gotta’ go, in order to keep you in-the-know. Each week I will tell the grudge, the whole grudge and nothing but the grudge, so help me. And, being the objective reporter that I am, I must tell ALL the news, no matter who it gives the blues.
Now, for those that don’t know, grudge racing is a turbulent mix of three primary ingredients. First, there’s the Smack Talk, which is a juicy blend of good natured jokes, along with some all-up-in-your-face, not-so-friendly words of race encouragement. In other words, the pre-race hype.
Second, there are the Stipulations, which are the unique set of rules, created by the two intimates that will govern their race and their race only. Stipulations can be different for every race, although some are the same. They may address anything ranging from tire size, to cylinder heads, or from power adders to the start time of the race. Bottom line, “stips”, as they’re more commonly known, keep it fair, because there are no rules in grudge racing. Anything goes unless you stip it!
Lastly, we have the actual Race which must be broken down into two distinct parts; the tuning and the driving. Every grudge fan, including me, will analyze and look at who left the line first and who was able to help his car win simply because he was between the wheel and the seat. In grudge racing there’s always some stiff competition about who is better at tuning, so every car’s performance will be closely critiqued. A driver or a tuner can both win a race for you, or lose a race for you, so each will be examined when needed.
That said, let’s get our grudge on! This week was an exciting one for the grudge race world. We saw two of the preeminent grudge tracks in the nation showcase some thrilling mid-week big time grudge match-ups.
Darlington Dragway: Little Flipper Vs. Go Hard Racing
At Darlington Dragway located in Darlington, S.C., hump day is Fight Night. Racers from as far away as 150 miles converge on the newly named House of Speed, the very befitting moniker of the track. Last Wednesday saw two key grudge battles.
The Little Flipper Mustang of Go Hard Racing did a double-dip into the grudge hot-tub. The first action of the night for Go Hard, from nearby Union County, pitted them against one of the perennial powerhouses in the small-tire world of grudge racing. The pretty copper-gold Mustang of the Big Ball Factor Racing team, hailing from the great state of North Carolina, is as formidable an opponent as any in the grudge racing universe.
After some spirited smack talk was exchanged, and one or two stips were agreed to, the table was set. After two blistering side-by-side burnouts, Mickey, cockpit captain of the Big Ball Factor Stang, did a hell-a-fide gate job on Kevin McGee, who was piloting the go Hard Stang. Mickey was so far in front once they both left the line, the race looked like it was over before it had really begun. But not so fast, as the eventual winner had to travel the whole 660-feet to claim the pot, plus the bragging rights prize that accompany a trip to victory lane.
About 500 feet into this one-sided, 1/8th mile, dash for the cash, the Factor Mustang had a significant wobble and the captain had to ease up on the throttle. The Flipper Stang, which had been trailing badly to that point, quickly took advantage of this miscue and sprinted to the finish stripe first. Go Hard had a hard, but sweet, sweet victory, in what most described as an upset win. And boy, did they talk plenty of smack back at the trailer after the race.
Darlington Redux: Money Maker Meets Lil’ Flipper
That sweet taste of victory wouldn’t last long. Next up for the Go Hard Boyz was the nationally known Primetime Racing team, hailing from Augusta, in the great state of Georgia. They were led by the three-time National Grudge Racer of The Year, Tony “Boss” Bynes. So named The Boss, because he is not only the irrefutable leader of the Primetime Racing family, but moreover, of the entire grudge racing ethos.
Team Primetime has a whole stable of cars ranging from small block stock suspension up to an extreme backhalf, but on this night they would pit their newest addition to the camp against the Lil’ Flipper Stang. Tonight the Money Maker Camaro, an all-steel 1970 big block nitrous-aided machine sitting on 29’s with no wheelie bars, would be the grudge weapon of choice. To add even more intrigue to the highly anticipated match-up, Money Maker was making its Darlington debut. Most grudge racers believe that any debut may be an omen of things to come, so the outcome of this one was important.
Both sides seemed supremely confident as they constantly threw verbal jabs at each other all evening and right up until race time. In the end, the race was more hype than substance, because not only did “Boss” beat Kevin off the line badly (that’s 0-for-2 in the holeshot department), but about 100 feet into the race, the Mustang made a sudden hard right turn into the wall. Thankfully, the damage was not too severe and the driver was unharmed; however, the race was over at that point, as the Money Maker Camaro cruised on to victory lane.
Boss Bynes patted the gas (or “hossed the gas” as some would say) as he crossed the finish line, adding insult to injury; patting the gas on a man is a sure sign of great disrespect. It means, I’m so far in front of you, that even if I lift my foot off the throttle and go back down, you’re still too far behind to catch up. I, for one, am certain that little act will not be forgotten the next time these two rivals meet up. I’m also certain that Tony did not know that Kevin wrecked, he just knew the other car had faded and any time you get to pat the gas, you do, so no harm, no foul. It’s just grudge!
House Of Hook: Primetime And Team Hitter
Next, we move to another of the south’s powerhouse grudge facilities, some would even argue that it was the Mecca of all grudge racing. I speak of, none other than, the fabled House of Hook, Jackson Dragway, situated just outside of Aiken, South Carolina. Thursday night is their mid-week night to shine the bright lights on the wonderful world of grudge.
Thursday night, Money Maker had another date, as team Primetime locked in to run the newest addition of Team Hitter. Mrs. Hitter is a fire-breathing backhalf Nova sitting on 31’s, and owned by the president and CEO of Hitter racing, Mr. Tony “Hitter” Wright. In addition to the Nova, team Hitter also sports a Pro Mod 63 split window Corvette, as well as a couple of stock suspension Mustangs.
The Nova was stipped to give the Camaro the stage of the back tire, which equates to almost a car-length advantage at the starting line. The smack talk was hot and heavy with some unspeakable and unmentionable things said on both sides — things I cannot and will not mention here. Needless to say, somebody was going to have to eat a whole lot of crow after this one. That somebody would not be team Hitter — not on this day. Both cars left about the same time, so there was no real tree advantage, but the race was a runaway. The Nova did a drive-by on the Camaro. No word at press time if Team Primetime wants any get-back, but stay tuned. Tony Bynes always says, “Anybody that beats me is on borrowed time.” We will see…
This is Prostock Joe and Now You Know What I know!