DXP Street: Entry Level Goes Big Time at Lights Out 12

Small-tire legend Donald “Duck” Long announced the creation of his DXP Street category in late 2019, and it debuted at the Duck X Productions’ Lights Out 11 race at South Georgia Motorsports Park race in February of 2020. The promoter intentionally designed DXP Street to be an entry-level eliminator opportunity for racers looking to get in on the heads-up doorslammer drag radial game at a fraction of the price of other, more expensive classes.

Running the 1/8-mile on a .400 pro tree, DXP Street is geared towards racers who have street car-style entries and don’t want to break the bank simply by throwing more and more power at an engine. Instead, the focus is primarily on the spec nitrous oxide setup.

Shawn Pevlor & KBX Performance take the win in DXP Street at Lights Out 12 at SGMP

So as to maintain parity, the only power adder allowed in the class is a single 4150-style nitrous plate (NOS Cheater Injector Plate part# 12500) which cannot be modified in any way, along with a single, conventionally-mounted cast-body carburetor. To ensure everyone sticks to the mandates and plays fairly, the rules are written so that, at any time, tech officials can swap plates from one competitor’s car to another.

Class rules permit a decent selection of OEM bore space small-block V-8 engines, with a base weight set on 440 cubic-inches or smaller and a 50-pound penalty for 441-470-inch engines and fuel injection of any kind is strictly prohibited. This puts more of an emphasis on engine tuning, chassis management, suspension setup, and driver skill instead of big budgets.

After its inaugural season of competition, DXP Street cultivated a strong following as it gives racers an opportunity to utilize the spare or “outdated” parts (and cars) that they may have had laying around.

The 2021 season kicked off over the weekend of February 26-28 at South Georgia Motorsports Park with Long’s historic Lights Out 12 event and plenty of drivers were on hand to show their support. A wide variety of vehicles made up the entry list, including everything from the traditional Mustangs, Camaros, and Novas to Corvettes, Trans Ams, Chevelles, Malibus, and even a Ranger pick-up truck.

Shawn Pevlor with KBX Performance’s Justin McChesney and John Kolivas

Qualifying kicked off on Wednesday night, and the 2019 NMCA Street Outlaw Champion, Shawn Pevlor of Cincinnati, Ohio, went straight to the top of the list with a 4.941 at 140.96 mph hit behind the wheel of John Kolivas’s Fox body Mustang.

As the subsequent qualifying sessions carried on over the next few days, Pevlor continued to chip away at his numbers. By the time the standings had been finalized on Friday night, he was still in the number one spot but had improved while also resetting the class elapsed time record to 4.877-seconds at 141.74 mph.

With backing from the powerhouse that is KBX Performance and support from folks including Kolivas, Justin McChesney, Joel Greathouse, Ben Thomas, and Sebastian Domingo at NLR Systems, it was no surprise that Pevlor dominated throughout the weekend. A Bennett Racing Engines high port-headed small block 440-inch Windsor engine sits between the Mustang’s framerails, with a nitrous plate from Nitrous Express.

“John Kolivas and Justin McChesney tune the car. Kevin Neal [of Neal Performance Innovations] offers nitrous advice, and we’re also running an SP carburetor,” shared Pevlor, who also relies on Tin Soldier Race Cars, Menscer Motorsports, VP Racing Fuels, Mickey Thompson tires, The Racing Vids, Salvato Designs, and others to keep him in the lead. “Running like this takes the whole package, tuning and suspension, and you’ve got to have the right converter, too. We use ProTorque with an awesome three-speed Turbo 400 from RPM Transmissions.”

Jonathan Insley (left) prepares his ’95 Ford Mustang GT for eliminations

Not far behind Pevlor, Jonathan Insley of Marietta, Ohio, was the only other competitor to break into the 4-second zone and the number two qualified driver. His first time into the fours with his ’95 Ford Mustang GT, Insley’s personal best of 4.969 at 139.24 mph was a huge milestone marker in his career.

Insley is also running Bennett-built small-block power, but he’s backed his Nitrous Outlet-injected bullet with a two-speed Turbo 400 from RPM Transmissions instead. The chassis, originally built by Rouge Race Cars, has been around the block several times, most recently in Limited 235 trim. Insley chose to transition to DXP Street so that he could be more competitive and get onto a larger tire than the 8.5 version he had been running for nearly a decade.

“It was tough to get the car to run the number it needed to be competitive with all the blower and turbo technology in Limited 235,” explained Insley of his switch. “We didn’t have to change very much on the car to run DXP Street.”

It truly is an entry-level category and gets guys to focus on something other than the nitrous, because everyone has a plate that flows the same. You have to focus on truly making the car work instead of just spraying more, and all of the guys that run here are really awesome. – TJ Strange

Although he stepped up when it mattered, Insley had a tough time getting going for the race weekend as unavoidable delays meant he didn’t even get to finish putting his SN95 together until the Sunday before the race.

The work didn’t stop there, though, as Insley and his team, consisting of crew chief/tuner Jason Anderson along with crew men Matt Jarrell and Mark Farr, had to take the transmission out several times during the course of the race to change his ProTorque converters and stators.

“It’s a new combination, the fuel is different, the transmission has a different ratio, different converter, and a lot of other things,” shared the driver, accepting of the work it takes to be one of the quickest in the field. “The key to going fast on a limited amount of power is the torque converter, not just the engine. It’s the piece between the rear end housing and the flywheel that makes a difference as to how fast these cars can go.”

Josh Addison went 5.071 at 134.79 mph to secure the number three spot, while Michael Strickland was fourth and Eddie Ramirez was fifth.

Eddie Ramirez qualified 5th in DXP Street

Ramirez, who is based out of Sanford, Florida, drives a sleek, gunmetal gray ’88 Ford Mustang and doesn’t carry the big backing that some of his competitors do. His Fox body’s simple yet effective combination consists of a Hart Beat Racing & Competition 430 cubic-inch small-block Ford engine with a Tony Morris carburetor, FTI Powerglide transmission, and FTI torque converter.

“We had a great weekend overall and bettered our elapsed time from last season,” said the happy driver, who reset his personal best to 5.20 at 132 mph and has been racing in the class since its inception. “I love racing in the DXP Street class because, thanks to the limitations in the rules, I feel that I can be competitive and not outgunned.”

Following Ramirez, Troy Frederickson was sixth, Cliff Williams was seventh, Gary Wright was eighth, Jamie Wayne was ninth, and TJ Strange took the number ten spot.

TJ Strange and his father, Terry, with their “Hillbilly Deluxe” ’89 Ford Ranger DXP Street entry

Strange’s was a somewhat unconventional entry, as his wheelie-producing “Hillbilly Deluxe” ’89 Ford Ranger pickup epitomizes the spirit of the DXP Street class.

“We raced it about five years ago in NMCA N/A 10.5 a couple of times, but it had been sitting in a corner untouched,” Strange recalled. Thinking it would be a perfect platform for the category, he worked with his father at their shop, Strange’s Competition Engines, on the 469-inch small-block which is topped by Blue Thunder cylinder heads and makes use of a carburetor from Dale Cubic at CFM Performance. Strange also runs a nitrous system from Induction Solutions, and a two-speed Turbo 400 from RPM, as well. “We trashed the last three weeks; we updated the cage, redid everything front to back, and built new headers.”

Strange is a huge supporter of DXP Street, and works hard to get the word out to other potential competitors about the benefits of the class. “It truly is an entry-level category and gets guys to focus on something other than the nitrous, because everyone has a plate that flows the same,” he added. “You have to focus on truly making the car work instead of just spraying more, and all of the guys that run here are really awesome.”

Jason Hall’s DXP Street ’90 Ford Mustang

Although he had trouble putting the power down, Jason Hall of Bessemer, North Carolina, still produced one of the higher trap speeds overall. He qualified eleventh, positioned well in the middle of the pack, after running 5.425 at 134.73 mph with his ’90 Mustang.

Hall relies on a 452 cubic-inch small-block Ford engine from M&E Engine Service, internals from Callies, a Pro Systems carburetor, and Nitrous Outlet nitrous system. Cameron’s Torque Converter Services supplied both the transmission and converter, while the Mustang chassis was built by the late Craig Bradshaw.

“We thrashed hard to get ready for this race…the motor wasn’t even in the car and running until the Sunday before,” noted the driver, who himself hosts an annual race at Shadyside Dragway called the “No Brainer Nationals” that is a cancer fundraiser in honor of his son Jackson’s own battle with the disease.

Rounding out the qualifying list was Raymond Pumyear in twelfth, Steve Cannizza in 13th, Mike Walker in 14th, Dean Fluhart in 15th, Chris Griffith in 16th, and Daryl Dempsey 17th.

Chris Griffith is working hard to improve his ’78 Malibu’s performance

Griffith, too, is having a blast racing in DXP Street without busting his budget. His ’78 Malibu has been his competition vehicle for many years, and he likes that he’s able to get into the mix with it. His SB2 headed 400-inch engine and Turbo 400 transmission have served him well as a straightforward setup, but Griffith knows there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

“We’ve been struggling with shock issues this weekend and getting the car to hook off the line,” confessed the man who had been repeatedly blowing the tires off. “We’ll get there. I like that this class is easy for the not-so-savvy guys to get into, and that’s a big part of the reason why I’m here.”

The stage was set for exciting elimination action as the first round kicked off on Saturday evening. Pevlor’s stellar performance had earned him a bye run, while Frederickson, Wright, Insley, Strange, Strickland, Williams, Ramirez, and Addison all advanced to round two. The battles continued through the subsequent rounds with racers taking home both success stories as well as lamentations.

I love racing in the DXP Street class because, thanks to the limitations in the rules, I feel that I can be competitive and not outgunned. – Eddie Ramirez

By the time the final matchup was decided on Sunday evening, the only two men left standing were Pevlor and Insley. It was anyone’s guess who would take the strip as both had been running consistently close in numbers all weekend long, but when Insley red-lighted at the start, Pevlor was immediately deemed the uncontested winner overall.

Despite the bobble, Insley still ran a solid 5.006 at 139.16 mph pass, although Pevlor’s impressive 4.919 at 141.82 mph hit would have been a winning one regardless.

“It takes hard work, dedication, and the help from a great team to be on top,” asserted Pevlor of his victory. “I’d like to thank everyone that has been involved and gave me the opportunity to drive this car.”

Still showcasing Long’s beloved radial tires, although restricted to the 275 size only, DXP Street gives the “little guy” a chance to play on a big stage in front of a huge audience.

Long’s primary goal in developing DXP Street was to bring back the racers who felt left out by the skyrocketing costs of radial tire racing, and he has certainly achieved that goal and then some. In DXP Street, everyone can come enjoy the action – from professionals to privateers.

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Ainsley Jacobs

P.TEN Marketing's Ainsley Jacobs is a freelance motorsports marketing professional with extensive experience in marketing and communications, website development, social media management, photography, journalism, and more.
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