Winnipeg, Canada’s Dr. Dan Boyko drives the Lanap 2000 Firebird in Pro 275 where he qualified third. Boyko and Zack Park in the White Rice 240SX were the first pair out in round two with Boyko advancing with a 4.12 at 192, the number would hold for low ET in the round. The build was started back in 2010 and updated at RK Racecraft in 2018 with power now coming from a PLR 481X. Dan plans on following the LDR series this year, he told us, “We were just out in Orlando and did a 3.92, we just wanted to see what we could do on these 275’s this weekend. I think at Bowling Green we are gonna launch, we have all the weight bars to add in, I think there is two races in April we are planning to go to those and do the series this year.”
Dan’s father bought a new 68 GTO when they lived in California and when he was sixteen he fixed that up so he has been around racing for a long time, the family still has the car which has been restored back to original. He had a 68 Firebird later then a Super Stock 4th Gen Firebird he got from Mike McCinney. Mike actually bought the car back from Dan and now his son is racing in it. This car still has the stock type suspension with the torque arm and has been a 1.05 60 on the 315 tire and 1.09 in the 275 and will make a run for the threes at some point although today’s weather conditions may not be favorable to achieve that here. Proline Racing’s Craig Pettis services the car and acts as crew chief for the team with Josh Ledford doing the tuning to the Fuel Tech engine management.
“Hot Rod Cool Cat” Adam Hodson is the owner and driver of the “Corporate” 1973 Camaro entered in DXP 235 again this year. Many will recall the car’s catastrophic flamefest engine failures here last year from the SBE LS turbo combo. The team is back at it for 2019 with a new engine and we got the updates from Nick Taylor, the head fabricator/tuner/crew chief of the team based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They have a new engine this year from Northwest Automotive with Wagler Rods and Weisco pistons swinging on a stock crank and topped by a pair of Mike Duke Racing prepared 317 heads and a Holly Hi Ram intake pressuring by a Bullseye 75MM turbo. Taylor told us “The car weighs 3700 pounds and we are allowed 3250 but we are just out here trying to have a good time. We do have a PA Racing tube front end coming when we get home to get some weight out of it but Adam won’t cut his car up so we will get a little here and there where we can. We are planning to do Rocky Mountain Race Week this year and Drag Week again. This class is awesome because is gives us a class we can be somewhat competitive in and not have a huge budget to go racing.”
“I think the biggest thing we can take away from this weekend is that radial racing is alive an well…” X275 Motorsports’ John Sears told us this morning when we spoke. “The first few events really set the tone, and the standard and it’s just escalated from there, then with Lights Out VII being just a phenomenal event and it’s just continued on in grown and become what is the pinnacle of radial racing and set the standard for other promoters in this arena.” John got started racing in South Florida and raced with the National Street Car Association in the BFG Street Eliminator class with his 1969 Chevelle. With no small tire racing locally he eventually traded the Chevelle off for a big tire car but soon found that type of racing “Wasn’t what we were about, and we got back into small tire racing in 2003 after I came home from a two year deployment.” John said. Sunshine Dragstrip in St. Pete had an established Heads Up Madness series featuring a Stock Suspension Shootout class, Pro Mods and OL 10.5 along with some index racing and Ralph Hestor opened a dragstrip, Immokalee Raceway, on an dormant airport runway giving a chance to some new ideas.
At that time Donald Long was a local racer recently graduated from the street and grudge scene and was heavily involved with Sunshine’s series and that is how Donald and John met. They both were looking at some things from the same direction and John had worked with Troy Pirez and Big Daddy and Carl Weisinger trying to drum up interest for radial tire racing which has been a long time passion. Sometime in 2007 Donald jumped in and promoted a $5,000 to win Radial Tire Class at Sunshine Dragstrip that brought out a lot of out of town cars including Shane Stack and David Reese who were racing with the ORSCA series at the time. I shot video and photos at that event with borrowed equipment and soon after founded Devastation Motorsports and began covering the local events at Sunshine, Bradenton Motorsports Park and Immokalee. With the growing popularity of radial racing more racers wanted in and was apparent some type of tiered class structure was necessary to even out the competition and a discussion of a new class, Real Street, began with rules developed around small block nitrous combo and it is that class that evolved into X275 as part of the Radial Tire Revolution that evolved into the grand spectacle it is today.
All the rules that are currently in place in X275, Ultra Street and DXP 235 come out of X275 Motorsports. John and the team involved have tried to create diversity and parity in the classes but it’s been tough for the small block nitrous cars in X275 and Ultra and that is something that they will be evaluating after the event. “We have the data from two years of the Ultra Street series and one year with X275 and we can work with the Pro Media brands NMCA and NMRA and are trying to work Xtreme Street and Street Outlaw rules to sorta parallel with what we have to make sure these guys have a place to race.”
New for 2019 is a DXP 235 Championship Series sponsored by Haltech in development that will feature five races for it’s inaugural year and will run along with the established Ultra and X275 series events. Nitrous Express has stepped up to be a sponsor at each of those and some more companies like Ultimate Converter Concepts, Forced Induction, Vortech Superchargers, Team RC Components Wheels, Team Z and Jeff Salvato Designs. “We want to see that entry level class with limits to keep somebody that may not be able to continue racing with Ultra Street and give them a place to fall back into.”
There are many people and companies who have been a part of this event and radial racing, since the early days and there is one that stands above all others and that is Mickey Thompson Performance Tires. Truly, none of this amazing spectacle would be possible without the innovations they have brought to the sport, developing the tire that started this Radial Revolution. At first it was banned from competition at the established series but the outlaw racing community took the ball and ran with it forcing the hand of the promoters to allow it in. We dropped into chat with Mickey Thompson’s Tom Kundrick. “I think we started with eighty cars and eighty people in the stands at the first event in Bradenton, the Outlaw Radial Tire Championship. There were three of four sponsors back then, actually Donald got money from the racers to put in with $500 and a free entry is how this all got started and look what it’s become today., that’s how it got rolling. Friday and Saturday this place was packed, Lights Out VI there was no place to park in the county, they closed the highway so many people were trying to get in.” Kundrick told us.
The event has balanced out somewhat and the racing it tighter than ever across the classes, and as it’s grown it’s also spread out as the performance progressed and various racers were priced out or performed out and Ultra Street, then DXP 235 were born. There have been an assortment of classes here thought the years with some being phased out and/or developed into something new like Pro 275 evolving from Outlaw Drag Radial and Leaf Spring. “They had probably fifty true RVW cars here this week, I was lucky, I think I was one of the very first sponsor in and to be here ten years later is huge. Mickey Thompson R&D man Jason Moulton was the driving force behind the development of the first ET Street Radial.” Tom said. When asked about the performance achievement and records we talked about how there was Boost and No Boost and Team North vs Team South. Folks like Alex Vrettos, Dave Hinzman and Richie Stine traded it back and forth with Tony Ridenour, Troy Pirez, Shane Stack and others. Hinzman set the quarter mile record at The Shakedown at E Town with a 7.18 though I forget which year. The winners faced off in special quarter mile finals until it was apparent the boosted cars would dominate and the rules were adjusted accordingly.
The technology surrounding power management for the various engine combos took a while to catch up since the early days of digi set timers to control nitrous delivery and boost curves to companies like MSD developed products and new concepts. “Riding the dots” was a term widely used as acceleration curves were plotted to keep the tires hooked up. The best racers stayed just off the dots because really it was a bit of a crutch and was not the fastest way to go A to B. Before Tom’s time at MT the original ET Street was designed on a nine second street car, and that same design wound up going a 3.89 on DeWayne Mills car before the Pro 275 was developed.
“We want to be the baddasses in radial and we will push and fight to do it, you look out there and it’s a sea of Micky Thompson, you wanna go fast you have to have our stuff, we thrive on that and we love it. It’s been near and dear to my heart, Jason who is head of R&D, my motorsports guys work closely with him. We lost the 275 market for a year or so to Hoosier and Jason had the idea for some new concepts and once that Pro tire came out we had the market back in a week. The development of the Pro 315 was delayed for a bit as the cars kept getting faster and there came a time when it needed to be put out with the crazy fast runs the guys were making and now the guys are running sixties and knocking hard on the next barrier. I said a couple of years ago I think 40’s are possible but I think it’s gonna take something pretty substantial to get the cars through the middle faster cause the splits guys are getting now are just sick, .919 60′ now on a 30 in DOT tire you can drive on the street is pretty sickening,” Tom Kundrick.
Chad Henderson Rebounds At Lights Out 10
Radial tire veteran Chad Henderson has experienced some consistency issues the past few seasons but those troubles seem to be in the past now. Bringing on Steve Jackson and the Killing Time Racing crew to help with tuning Henderson has seen a resurgence in his performance at Lights Out 10. Henderson is now a player in the Limited Drag Radial class with a string of low four-second passes in his nitrous-fed Buick.
To run at the front in radial tire racing it requires a very detailed approach to make sure everything is working correctly across the racing operation. Henderson has augmented his already great team by enlisting the help of one of the best nitrous tuners in the game.
“We got a really good crew and we can’t do anything without the people around us. My wife and my son, along with all of Stevie Jackson’s team help make this happen for us. A good team effort is what it takes to make these cars work and Stevie is a huge asset,” Henderson says.
Figuring out how to go fast may seem like it’s all about cubic dollars, but it also requires the ability to know what works. Henderson saw an opportunity to improve his program with an engine change and the new bullet between the fenders of his Buick is working out well.
“We changed engine combinations from a five-inch bore space to a 5.3-inch engine because we needed something different and the horsepower to keep up with the class. That has worked out well because we went a 4.102 this weekend, our best pass ever. The class record is a 4.09, so we are right there with the fastest in Limited Drag Radial,” Henderson explains.
Lights Out 10 hasn’t been a complete drama free picnic for the Henderson racing team. Making a ton more power is great for elapsed times, however, it also finds a way to break parts. Henderson and his team had to pull an all-nighter after the Buick ate a transmission and gear set during eliminations on Saturday.
“We broke an intermediate shaft in the transmission and were up all night working on getting that fixed. The transmission was in and buttoned up around five in the morning. Then we figured out the ring gear was broken as well. We got a lot of help from some nice people to give us parts and assistance to stay in the hunt,” Henderson says.
The outlook for things in 2019 is positive in Henderson’s eyes when it comes to racing. Things are starting to come together and he feels their team could be a significant threat to win the Limited Drag Radial championship this season
“With all the changes we think we can compete with everyone. When the heat and sun comes out it will tighten the times up. With the rules that are in place, we think this combination will do well during this year.”
Final Results Sheets
Alex Laughlin met with Daniel Pharris in the PTC Radial vs the World final round with Pharris having lane choice by virtue of his 3.69 at 209 in a close win over Tim Slavens’ hard charging 3.70 at 213 in the semis. Laughlin dodged a bullet from Kevin Rivenbark who went red by .006 and ran out the back to a 3.66 at 201. In the final it would be Laughlin away first with a stellar .004 tree to Pharris’ .015, both racers scored their best top end charge of eliminations with Pharris .004 quicker to the stripe and Laughlin earning the holeshot win. Laughlin is tuned by Jeremy Parsley and Frankie “Mad Man” Taylor who have who have tuned cars together off and on since 1994. It’s a big win for the team and we spoke with Parsley back in the pits after the event. “It’s a huge win for us this weekend..” he said, “You don’t go anywhere else in radial and race the top guys, this has all the top guys right here to win one of these is just phenomenal, beyond belief for us to win this weekend.
Charles would make up half the X275 final round against Manny Buginga and was very consistent this weekend. Running a string of low 4.40’s with a best in qualifying of 4.37. Buginga would earn lane choice by taking out Ron Rhodes with a 4.39 at 161. Hull ran a 4.41 in a tight match to get by his racing partner John Keesey, an improvement over the previous round to set the stage for the final. Buginga was .021 on the tree and Hull was forced to catch up. He had a game effort, scoring his best run of eliminations with a 4.409, quicker than Manny’s 4.416 but not enough to run him down. “It’s like Pro Stock racing, everybody is on top of each other, you gotta be on top of your game, get a pulse on the track and do the best you can.” said Buginga, “Jamie Miller is very instrumental, Eric from Proline, Anderson from Fuel Tech, Marty Chance brought us a converter, we broke a converter earlier this weekend, Dave Klaput from Proformance, it’s a big team, Bobby, my wife, Petty, I just let go of the button on time this time and we won the race.”
Joel Greathouse and team KBX reset the Ultra Street record this weekend with a 4.62 meeting with Brian Keep in the finals. We spoke with John Kolivas about the teams weekend: “Today was tough getting the car to run the air was just horrible and when you run these small power adders on these cars you can’t make it up, it’s all in by the sixty foot and there is nothing left, it is what it is after that, we had good luck with this car but no so much with some of the others but that’s racing unfortunately. Rodney Ragen’s car locked up the the oil pump after the burnout and that locked up the fuel pump and it shut off right before he went to stage it. The last race was Rodney and Joel in the finals here and we wanted to see that again but it didn’t happen.”
Kolivas is a long time radial racer and a their whole program thought KBX is a top tier team with Bennett Racing Engines and Pressurized Solutions it’s a full service business. “It’s spectacular, we were just talking in the staging lanes earlier about the performance of these cars and I won, I don’t know if it was the first race or second one here when we had Boost vs No Boost in Outlaw Radial you remember. Myself, Ridenour, Stevie Jackson… I won the overall run off with my white car with a 4.72, that was the fastest cars that were here. Ultra Street is faster than that now. That is crazy. I think it was in 2010 or 11, Stevie set the record with a sixty seven or eight, maybe in qualifying but he spun in the final and I won. It was high 4.60’s and .70’s back then, the top cars that was it. Big blocks, big blowers, twin turbos, lots of nitrous and Ultra is a tenth faster now. It’s hard to win here cause every single class has the best of the best in every class. I mean you got top NHRA tuners out here tuning cars, we have Billy Stocklin out here tuning Mike Terry’s Ultra Street car. There is nobody better than that, you see guys like that you look around and then think, man, what has this come to when you got guys that are that high up on the totem pole tuning in Ultra, it’s super competitive and very difficult to win here in any class.”
I will just add that John is not even wrong but it’s Joel Greathouse and team KBX in the winner circle again here today. Greathouse faced off with Brian Keep’s Procharged Camaro in the final with the weather change effecting Brian’s performance a little more than the turbo combo of Greathouse. Keep’s car rocked at the starting line and bumped the red light, ending his chance at a win at the starting line but the team is happy overall with the weekend and looks forward to competing again in the Ultra Street series this year and making another run at a championship.
Limited Drag Radial had several cars in the four teens and lots of attrition during eliminations this weekend with Shane Stack running a 4.113 in round one and a 4.118 in the finals for low ET and a picture of consistency with only one falter on a round two single and his slowest pass being a 4.127 in his semi final match with top qualifier Justin Martin with Stack nailing a .008 reaction and earning lane choice against Chad Henderson who also had a stellar outing this weekend. R&R Speed and Machine does his engines with Chris Terry Race Cars proving the platform to put the power down. Billett Atomizer Injectors, F.A.S.T., Diamond Pistons, Total Seal and VP Race Fuels are a part of his program and Eagle Collision back in Hunstville keeps the paint looking fresh.
Danny Niceley scored the DXP 235 win this weekend after qualifying in third with his 2000 Corvette after facing off in the finals with Jason Andeerson’s 69 Nova. Anderson fouled away his chance by .056 after earning lance choice with a 5.14 in the semi. He repeated the number in the final but it would be Niceley taking home the win.
Greg Powrie said he was very, very lucky to make the finals as the team faced an untraceable issue after running a 4.06 in testing. “The car just didn’t respond to what we asked of it and we fought it most of the weekend after running a 4.06 shutting off early and qualifying with a 4.19. We did about everything we could here to track down the problem.” ET Cheffer told us. Powerie wants to go to Bowling Green for the OSCR but as of now plans call for stripping the car down to figure out what the problems were this weekend. The Pro 275 semi final had the crowd on it’s feet with McGee and Powrie engaged in a pedal fest with the nod going to Greg with a 6.10 at 158 to McGee’s 6.26 at 164.
Number three qualifier Dr Dan Boyko waded his way through the field setting low ET repeatedly and scoring a 4.08 at 197 in the final against Powrie. This is Dan’s first win ever and what a place to score such an accomplishment. “The car is going dead straight, RK Racecraft did such an amazing job and Josh Ledford tuning and keeping the engine alive and getting me from A to B like a bracket car.” Dan said. “ We went our best ever on 275’s in the final a 1.13, 2.82, 4.08 at 197.86. I’m really, really happy with the Proline power plant, it’s like a bracket motor.” Dan’s father Jerry made the trip down for the weekend and let me tell you the big smiles on their faces tells it all after such a great weekend. Dan’s good friend Sheldon Chapko also came down from Winnipeg. “I have won some trophies before but this is my first time winning a big event or a cash prize, being up against the best of the best, there’s no words to describe it. I still feel like I’m in a dream in some surreal experience right now. To be at Duck’s race to do this is just incredible.” – Dr Dan Boyko.
Jim Aldous has been racing just four years and three of those in Outlaw 632 so his win this weekend has him and the whole crew in a state of shock and excitement all blended together scoring their first win. He has qualified number one here previously but was bit by gremlins and engine issues but worked through it all with the help of engine builder/tuner Scotty Gudagno and a determined crew as well as working with Nitro Dave at Nitrous Outlet. Crew chief Stacy Covey and Jim built the car in house at Performance Welding and did some updates over the winter. “We use a Proformance transmission and a Pro Torque converter and Menscer shocks…I’m a little shook up right now, I’m so excited this is the first win ever, I’ve never won a race, ever. Our car ran flawless through the weekend we never ran slower than a four thirty flat and we went a four nineteen best. I have to thank Mark for the wonderful track support that he gives us on the shocks. We do all of our work in house except Scotty building the engines, we are rookies at this. I also can’t forget to thank my girlfriend Ana Taylor for all her love and support.” Jim told us. Jim did race go carts for fourteen years before getting his drag racing feet wet with a six oh car for a year before jumping into OL 632.
Jim’s opponent in the final was Dillon Voss out of Live Oak, Florida, he runs a big tire clutch combo in a Suncoast Race Cars built Corvette with a Voss Racing Engines power plant. The Voss team has struggled here in the past with that combo but found the missing piece over the winter to get down the glued up track here at SGMP. He qualified second in class and was a 4.28 to a 4.30 in the earlier rounds but fell off a touch to a .31 in the final as bad air conditions moved into the area Sunday afternoon. The MOV was just twenty-five ten thousandths of a second. Voss made six solid laps this weekend. “ We can’t complain at all” Voss said, “we found something over the winter with the sticky prep and came here, made one qualifying hit and went right to number two so it worked, and we’ve been there all weekend long, we had a really good race car all weekend.” Voss uses Ram clutches, Frankenstein heads Nitrous Outlet and Voss wheelie bars. They do their own engines in house as the family business with his brother Cory as crew chief on the car.
Greg Henschell was double entered in X275 and the second chance RVW class to get a few more passes, he was put out early in X275 and wound up as runner up in the second chance part of the program. He put up a tripple zero light in the semis and ended up in the final vs Brian Chin who is here for the first time and his first time on drag radials. Henschell was looking for extra runs to test a new turbo combo and is entered in the Sweet 16 in X275 and hails from Vancouver, BC. Chin is based out of New York and races Outlaw 10.5. “We never thought we’d make it this far but I have great people behind me helping me out and we made progress every step of the way and it’s surreal that I am here right now.” Chin told us while waiting for winner circle photos. “ There were some mis matched cars in the class but we just concentrated on our own car and the progressions that we made, leaps and bounds with the tuneups and the car and everything. We are really happy the way things turned out.” Chin plans to stay on the 315 tire and go back to OL 10.5 and see where that takes them this year. Brian made his first three second pass here this weekend and improved on that to a 3.96 Saturday night using a Fulton 903 with Switzer Dynamics systems with fuel injection. The car is a Montana Brothers piece tuned by Greg Maialetti with his father Glen Chin and Nova Joe Albrecht on the crew as well.
The No Clocks Small Block shootout came down to “Bowser”, the McCain family’s 1971 Datsun 1200 driven by D.J. McCain and tuned by brother Ryan campaigned out of North Augusta, South Carolina and Troy Pirez Jr.’s “Stonewall Jackson” S-10 from Tampa. Pirez built the truck in house at Innovative Racecraft and uses a Fast Forward Race Engines built power plant with with PKRE Nitrous. “Bowser” started out in Puerto Rico with rotary power before being transformed at NRC Motorsports with an Abby’s Performance Racing Engines LSX topped with Area 51 Heads and a CID intake plumbed with a Nitrous Express fogger. Brian Tooley Racing is a major sponsor and the engine is filled with goodies from Cam Motion, MGP rods, Diamond Pistons with a Callies crankshaft. The fuel and engine management is all Holley using a Dominator ECU, fuel pump, injectors, the EFI 7 dash.
At Lights Out 9 McCain put on a show with a giant wheel stand and a shower of sparks but that didn’t knock out the hard working team then, and despite facing adversity once again this year rose to the top in faced off in a epic side by side match with Pirez Jr. The pair were basically locked from start to finish with the edge going to the little LS powered Datsun.
“I have to take a minute to thank those who are involved with our program and get the car to Lights Out 10, I’m sure I’ll skip a few people there are so many. Brian Tooley Racing, Diamond Pistons, MGP Rods for getting us rods in two weeks, Bob and Jay at NRC for the winter updates. 2 Keys Paint and Body, Nitrous Express, I gotta thank Mo’s Speed Shop, my crew for all the help and hard work, Nick, Mark, Travis, Phil, Eric and Rodney. Jimmy Bradshaw for giving us a place to test, Steve at RJS for the radios, a SFI 15 suit and everything else.” D.J. said.
The team faced a hard road to the final from having to final assemble the engine here, breaking a push rod, hurting a cylinder and narrowly avoiding a serious mishap after getting tangled with Justin Martin’s chute during eliminations. “Not even sure where to begin..”D.J. Said, “..We overcame a lot to even get to South Georgia, thanks to many people including my bro & my pops. Their willingness to work all day and night is something I’m grateful for. From the engine not getting done & shipped to us in pieces, to breaking a push rod in Q1, to a mishap with a cylinder, then getting caught up with Justin Martin’s Limited Drag Radial Nova’s parachute & dragging “Bowser” off the return road into the field. There were many obstacles and I’m not sure if it’s really hit me yet what was accomplished but thanks to all involved.” Others sponsors involved with the family operation include Carolina N/T Small Tire Racing Productions, Cameron’s Torque Converter Service, Menscer Motorsports and The Driveshaft Shop. We initially did not include comments or photos from the McCain team, we humbly apologize for that mistake.