For years the Memphis International Raceway, formerly known as the Memphis Motorsports Park, was among the premier race tracks in the country, where the who’s-who of drag racing went to run and prove they had what it took. Many historians give the facility credit for really putting doorslammer racing on the map with its Fastest Street Car shootout events that began in the early 90’s. It had faded off a bit in the Midwest and the Mid-south but is now back in full swing as of the past couple years. The popularity of those early races really opened the door for the current crazes in street car racing which has evolved into the three hot classes of Outlaw Drag Radial, X275, and Mean/Ultra Street.
TC Promotions and the team at MIR are taking on the big task of trying to bring this form of racing back to the mid-south and they’re using the original foundation of this centrally located facility to do so. Last weekend was “Outlaws – The Comeback”, which is the first of what is said to be many in the line of events “for the racers, by a racer,” as promoter Tyler Crossnoe puts it. The race featured the three popular heads-up classes and two index categories to cater to a vast group of cars and racers interest, and there was a good showing of support for this event by sponsors and racers alike from across the country. Jason Rueckert from VP Racing Fuels was on hand with their great Lane Choice traction compound that even in the heat of the day with track temperatures climbing over 130 degrees got cars into the 4.30’s in Outlaw Radial and in the 4.60 range in X275.
There were a few stand out stars in each class, but overall, the fields were pretty tight with no clear winner with each pairing of cars to take the beams. Outlaw Drag Radial qualifying saw three cars in the 4.30’s right off the trailer with Mark Micke taking the top honors with a 4.300 in his twin turbo big block Malibu. But at the end of the night, with round after round of struggle between wheelstands and blowing the tires off, Mark Woodruff in his beautiful twin turbo 1967 Corvette took the win over Justin Martins’s twin turbo Nova. Averaging a 5.11 between qualifying and the first three rounds, Mark pulled out a 4.357 at 182.55 mph over Martins still stellar 4.577 at 168.22 mph run. Bruce Johnson’s Firebird cashed in on the fastest sixty foot award with a 1.121 but couldn’t hold off Justin Martin in the second round eliminations.
X275 saw nine contenders make the call for battle and four of them posted times in the 4.70 range during qualifying. Wisconsin native Jim Plimpton in the “Fearmont” Ford Fairmont came out but had ignition issues and put on a light show when he had a hiccup in round one of eliminations against Steve Hopkins. Martin Connelley brought his super consistent nitrous-fed Mustang and not only took the top qualifying spot with a 4.700 at153.54, but averaged a 4.726 on his way to capturing the overall win. The final matched up the pair of Trick Flow-sponsored Mustangs of Martin Connelley and Shawn Ayers, which was a close race. Connelley got the holeshot win over Ayers and turned on the win light with a 4.675 at 154.19 to Ayers’ quicker 4.664 at 153.67. Ayers did go home with the quickest sixty of the night, pounding out a 1.131.
Mean Street was the entry level heads-up class, which had a cap of 5.25 and had most of the field in the 5.30-5.80 range. Billy Kruck had the tightest race of the night in the heads-up classes with his 5.294 loss to Van Burgess’ 5.293 but did turn in the quickest to the sixty foot marker with a 1.196. Top qualifier Tim Oswalt put a 5.263 at 136.15 mph on the board early and ran a 5.268 to propel him to victory lane. Last round the competitors opted to drop the cap and run it all out, which had Tim’s 5.106 taking down Jamie Wayne’s 5.484.
Crossnoe was pleased with the turnout and the response that this first visit to Memphis International Raceway and was quick to offer his praise and appreciation for those that helped make it happen.
“A special thank you goes out to VP Racing Fuels, MacFab Beadlocks, ATF, Mickey Thompson, Steve Johnson’s Induction Solutions, Carbon Fiber Manufacturing, Rick’s Powder Coating, PTC, Menscer Motorsports, PA Racing and Luttrell Belting. With their class sponsorships, it helped us be able to give guaranteed purses to all of our wonderful racers. Many other sponsors helped in the event to give additional prizes and offer a free live feed broadcast around the world thru MotorManiaTV.com. Jason Rueckert and Mark Menscer attended the event and were a monumental help with all of the work they did.
“The Memphis International Raceway team did a good job in their normal positions to keep the event rolling smooth, even while adding an extra round of qualifying and still completing the final round before midnight through all of the breakages. Thank you to all of the racers, fans, crew members, media personnel, track officials and everybody else who assisted in the event. I’ve been saying for years that Memphis International Raceway could be a monumental track in the Outlaw Drag Racing world and with the success of “Outlaws – The Comeback,” I believe we could have just laid the foundation for something great.”
MacFab Beadlocks Outlaw Drag Radial, presented by: Mickey Thompson
Winner – Mark Woodruff
Runner-Up – Justin Martin
Semi-Finalists – Bobby Kruck and Brian Harrell
Quarter-Finalists – Bruce Johnson, Jeff Cooner and Mark Micke
ATF X275, presented by: Induction Solutions
Winner – Martin Connelley
Runner-Up – Shawn Ayers
Semi-Finalists – Shane Crowden and Cecil Whitakere
Quarter-Finalists – Steve Hopkins, Mike Orban and John Gotera
CFM Mean Street, presented by: PA Racing
(Mean Street finals thru out the cap and ran heads up)
Winner – Tim Oswalt
Runner-Up – Jamie Wayne
Semi-Finalists – Stanley Sutton and Van Burgess
Quarter-Finalists – Joe Ballard, Bobby Kruck and Marty Tubbs
Rick’s Powder Coating 6.00 Index, presented by: Menscer Motorsports
Winner – Chris Muckleroy
Runner-Up – Kenny Ford
Semi-Finalists – Jeff Ferguson and Jesse Bobo
Quarter-Finalists – Wes McPeake, Caffey Broadus, Shane Faulkner and Derrick Hubbard
PTC 7.00 Index, presented by: Luttrell Belting
Winner – Michael Hall
Runner-Up – Ron Minton
Semi-Finalists – Jimmy Smith and Woody Privett
Quarter-Finalists – Kevin Schneider, Reggie Lytch, Audrey Jo Hunter and Jim Roach
Proformance Transmissions Outlaw Drag Radial #1 Qualifier – Mark Micke
Salvato Designs X275 #1 Qualifier – Martin Connelley
Woody’s Plumbing Mean Street #1 Qualifier – Tim Oswalt
MacFab Beadlocks 6.00 Index #1 Qualifier – Jeff Williams
BTE 7.00 Index #1 Qualifier – Jim Roach
M&M Transmission Qualifying Shootout
M&M Transmission provided a $250 bonus to the winner of the Qualifying Shootout! This special giveaway pitted #1 and #2 slots on the qualifying sheet, leading into the final round of qualifying against each other for a bonus! Mark Micke, owner of M&M, was #1 and elected to bow out and let #2 and #3 run for the cash!
Outlaw Drag Radial – Jeff Cooner over Brian Harrell
X275 – Martin Connelley over Shawn Ayers
CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE GALLERY OF KILLER PHOTOS AFTER THE BREAK!