Wheels Way Up: The 2020 Byron Dragway Wheel Standing Championships

There’s really no other show in drag racing like the World Power Wheel Standing Championships (WPWSC) at Illinois’ Byron Dragway. Every year, brave racers try to put their cars on the back bumper for as long and as high as they can as the crowds cheer them on. The WPWSC has become the ultimate arena for those who love wheelies, and the 26th edition of this event didn’t disappoint.

It probably seems pretty counterintuitive to compete in a competition like the WPWSC for most racers — you’re not running your car all-out to the finish line, and there’s a good chance you will do some damage to it during the event. What seems like madness to some, though, is a really good time for others, and that’s why people build cars specifically for the WPWSC. The goal, of course, is to be the overall champion, but, competitors can also win awards for the most violent, highest, most photogenic, and most unique wheelstand, too.

Last year’s champion, Chris Pearce, called his shot early and said he planned on putting his Chevrolet-powered Pinto back in the winner’s circle. While early on it looked like that would happen, Pearce’s third attempt turned ugly in a hurry as the Pinto jumped the wall and landed in the grass. While that crazy ride didn’t earn Pearce the title, it did earn him the runner-up spot, along with most violent, and highest honors.

Brian Ambrosini showed why he needs a pilot’s license to go along with his driver’s license once again at the WPWSC on his way to winning the event. The 1972 AMC Gremlin that Ambrosini brings to the WPWSC is perfect for big wheelstands and can easily be kept on its bumper with some well-placed throttle whacks. Ambrosini put on a good enough show for the crowd and that earned him the win, even after putting the Gremlin on its roof at the top end.

Check out this great footage from victoryredcolorado that shows just how crazy the WPWSC was this year.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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