Photos Courtesy of Lane Automotive and FSC Archive
There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to capturing street car bragging rights, Cal Hayward is the man. The seasoned NMRA/NMCA QA1/Gear Vendors True Street record-setter and Hot Rod Drag Week veteran added yet another title to his impressive portfolio recently when he scored the True Street class win at the Lane Automotive No-Prep Triple Crown race on June 16, 2018.
In 2017, the inaugural Lane Automotive No-Prep Triple Crown race spanned three separate events; Hayward won the first running on 315 drag radials, the second got rained out, and he made it to the semi-finals on 275s in the third. For 2018, though, the event format was revamped to combine three classes into one main event with bigger purses going to the winners.
Usually, Hayward has to hike long distances to get to the track but he enjoyed an unusually short jaunt from his home in Dowling, Michigan, over to US 131 Motorsports Park in nearby Martin for his best payday yet with his ’91 Mustang known as “Pinky.”
Over the winter and spring, Hayward made only a few minor changes to his Fox body. “All we really did was freshen things up a bit and had Total Engine Airflow do up our Trick Flow Specialties R heads. The rest is all the same,” he casually explained of his stout combination which consists of a Baker Engineering-built and Bullseye Power-turbocharged bullet backed by a Rossler transmission and PTC torque converter. “I’ve run four seasons on most of that stuff and it was time to take a look and get it checked out.”
With minimal testing under his belt, Hayward checked his To-Do list and made sure Pinky was all buttoned up. “We had some issues when we went testing on 315s earlier this year, and we knew this race mandated a smaller DOT-approved tire so we would be running on 275s,” Hayward noted. To prepare for the Triple Crown event, he hit up another No-Prep race the week prior with the 275 Mickey Thompson drag radials bolted on but encountered more trouble. “We went to the semi-finals but punctured a tire in the burnout box and nobody noticed it. When I launched, the car went hard right. We also found out the steering rack was bad, so we got a new one and some new tires and that was that – we didn’t have much time on the no prep surface.”
Finally, it was time for the main event but rain forced the event promoters to nix the cruise portion of Hayward’s True Street category in order to get the race run to completion with the weather-shortened schedule. “All we had was one pass when it started,” Hayward said casually with no hint of stress in his voice. “Then, I couldn’t get it down more than half-throttle without skating all around and I wasn’t feeling confident.”
Making minor adjustments, Hayward finally got Pinky to hook and got down the track even though he had to pedal it a few times. “We kept working off that tune with no big changes. I knew other guys were hooking out of the hole, but we needed to stay consistent and not blow the tires off because we were on a no-prep surface, well, you won’t make up any ground after that,” he continued. In round two, he wound up paired with his friend and LS legend John Capizzi. “I knew he would be tough, but we just edged him out.”
Eventually, Hayward and Pinky worked through to the last round of the day. There, he was challenged by Adam Hodson and it was a battle of epic proportions but ultimately it was Hayward who came out ahead. “I must have turned it up too much because I spun, but I pedaled and when I looked back, he [Adam] was way back there and I just sorta cruised through,” Hayward laughed of the unconventional way which he scored the $10,000 prize.
“It really was an uneventful weekend overall, though. The car was all fueled up on E85 pump gas, the windshield wipers were on, and it was totally NMRA/NMCA True Street-legal,” added Hayward. “And I really appreciate Lane Automotive putting on a great race so close to home!”
Next up, Hayward will consult his calendar and pick and choose where he’ll be for the remainder of the season. He’s hoping to be the first True Street’er to dip into the 6-second zone and eclipse the 200 mph mark – entirely possible given he’s already run in the low 7-second zone – while seeing what else comes his way.