A little over a year ago, the most controversial car and combination in X275 and its most polarizing figures — brothers Rich and Nick Bruder — ignited a firestorm when they clicked off a then-record 4.36 with their unique roots-blown small-block at the Outlaw Street Car Reunion in Memphis. Since that time, when their one-off combination earned a stay of execution (with a little added weight) from class founder John Sears, the pair have largely flown under the radar, competitive as always but never displaying the back-breaking numbers everyone believed their setup was capable of.
But at this year’s Outlaw Street Car Reunion, completed on Saturday evening, they held nothing back … if for only one pass.
Video credit: TheRacingVids
In pre-race testing, the New Jersey-based team gave a glimpse of what their combination — when happy and healthy — could do in good air, clocking a 4.37 at a slowing 143 miles per hour. But, tricky as the setup is, according to Nick, they never put together another run throughout qualifying or the early rounds of eliminations quicker than a 4.43 — until the quarterfinals. With prime conditions on tap, the rest of the X275 contingent were knocking out career best numbers left and right, and it was then that Ruch unleashed on the field, leaping right through the low-4.30s to a stunning 4.297. Just like that, the internet broke again.
“We didn’t know it was there, but we’ve been testing some things the past couple of weeks — transmission and rearend gear ratios — and the track got really good and the air was killer and everything just aligned,” Nick says. “After the .37 in testing, we felt like a .31 or a .32 was out there. We were racing Kenny [Hubbard] and knew he was going to put a number up, so we had to do the same. The track was phenomenal and it could’ve taken anything we had thrown at it. And the car went out on the back tires and got out toward the centerline a little bit, but my brother drove it really well.”
As has been the case in the past, feelings and opinions were quite mixed after the boards lit up with the first-ever ‘twenty’ in X275.
Sears wasn’t happy at all, but a bunch of people came over and congratulated us. And then the internet blew up.
“Sears wasn’t happy at all, but a bunch of people came over and congratulated us. And then the internet blew up,” Nick shares with a laugh. “Some people will congratulate you, and some will back-stab you, but what are you going to do?”
Their monumental run wasn’t without incident, however, as they hurt some pistons, plugs, and rings and went back to the starting line for the semifinals with the same tune-up but knowing fully well they were racing wounded. Bruder slowed to a 4.37, dropping the match to Shane Fisher’s 4.35 … Nick noting “we really didn’t have time between rounds to fix it right.”
As many have commented in defense of the Bruders’ epic performance, despite their record-setting lap, they didn’t win the race or even appear in the final round.
“The fastest car definitely doesn’t always win; you have to have a consistent car,” Nick says. “The competition is really close right now … almost every combination is in the mid .30s. There’s always room for improvement, and we’re going to be working to make the blower more responsive and figure out why it tweaked itself and all that.”
On the 4.29, Bruder clocked a 1.47-second back-split and the speed, which registered 171.51 on the scoreboards, was in the 163 mile per hour range (event promoter Tyler Crossnoe confirmed some speeds were recorded erroneously in the right lane). He was 1.079 to sixty-feet.
The question now is how Sears will respond; put additional weight on the roots-blown small-block, or perhaps even ban it outright, as was previously suggested?
“Personally I don’t think there’s a lot John can do. All of the back-split numbers are pretty well in line with everyone else. We just pushed the front really hard … anyone out here is capable of doing it,” Nick says. “But I’m sure he’ll do something. It just depends on how much people in the class beat him about it. Shane went a .34 at the end of last season to set the record, so I don’t think a .29 is that far out of left field, especially with the kinds of conditions we had. Whatever they think they’re going to do to us, though, like everything in life, there’s always a plan b.