Racers come to the Haltech World Cup Finals: Import vs Domestic Presented by Wiseco (WCF) each year to race against the best in the world and be a part of something special. This year, racers Jim Howe, John Odom, and Jeff Lutz came directly from the “Street Outlaws No Prep Kings” (NPK) series finale to Maryland International Raceway (MDIR) to have some fun and be a part of the WCF.
The trio of No Prep Kings racers jumped right into the deep end of the WCF and entered the Outlaw vs Extreme class. The bump spot for Outlaw vs Extreme is typically in the mid 6-second zone, so it wasn’t going to be easy to make the field.
According to Howe, coming to the WCF was a great way to expand the NPK brand and set some records too.
“We got a chance to meet fans that didn’t get to see us this year and people who haven’t been exposed to the NPK world. This was a good opportunity for us to expand the brand and have some fun. This was an important event for John Odom because he wanted to set the GTR world record and this is the event to do it at. I have a lot going on since we need to get our small tire cars ready for the big cash days event, but I told Jason [Miller] we would be here, and what better way to end the year with the no-prep cars than at the WCF.”
Lutz has done his fair share of 1/4-mile racing in his career, and even has an NMCA Pro Mod championship on his resume from when the class still ran the full 1320. The WCF had always been on his radar, and this year seemed like the best time to come check it out.
“Normally this event falls on one of our races so I couldn’t make it in the past. I’ve always wanted to check this event out and I love MDIR, so it made sense to come out this year. The GTO had never made a full 1/4-mile pass and I haven’t been 1/4-mile racing since 2015. We changed the rear gear before we came and that was it,” Lutz says.
Before Howe won his Limited Drag Radial world title and started no-prep racing, he was a successful bracket racer. The WCF gave Howe an opportunity to return to his roots and make some full pulls at a world-class facility.
“It’s fun to try and run some 1/4-mile stuff like I used to. I hadn’t run this car in the 1/4-mile under power, so it was neat to see what it can do. We weren’t trying to hurt parts and didn’t bring any gear sets to try. The plan was to run the cars in full NPK trim and see what they could do. The only changes we made were to the tire pressure and the wheelie bars. There’s a lot of people that don’t understand how fast these cars really are, and we want to show people what they’re capable of,” Howe explains.
The NPK race format doesn’t include qualifying and that was an adjustment for Lutz coming from a traditional drag racing background. Lutz loved the idea of coming to an event and having to race his way into the field again.
“It was exciting to go through qualifying again because it’s great to see where you stack up against the competition. The import cars and the racing scene has always fascinated me, and that started back in the days when I raced at the Orlando World Street Nationals. There are just so many badass cars here and I didn’t know what to expect. I came to have fun, there was no pressure on me,” Lutz states.
So, how did the NPK racers do? Howe secured the number two qualifying spot with a 5.74 at 248 mph, however, his raceday ended in round one when he broke a rearend. Lutz had an interesting first qualifying session when both parachutes ripped off his GTO on a 238 mph run. He was able to get the car repaired, and qualified in the number nine spot, but fell in round one, as well. Odom had the most success of the three at the event. After qualifying number five in the field, Odom made it all the way to the semi-final round of the WCF.