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Bench Racer—With Steve Turner

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Bench Racer—With Steve Turner
Written by Steve Turner
Photography by the FSC staff
I have to laugh at myself because I have become the old (read, experienced) guy that can look back and say the kids don’t know how good they have it. I am not the type of person that will say things were always better in the past however, as I have long been a fan of what is fresh and new. 
There was a time when generating several hundred horsepower in a street car or running a 10-second quarter-mile elapsed time was a huge accomplishment. Doing so while maintaining any semblance of streetability or creature comforts took that challenge to an even higher level. 
However, when the creative people in the aftermarket took advantage of the ever-evolving automotive technology available to them and brought us to where we are now. It began with programmable fuel-injection systems, but nearly every aspect of high-performance hardware from the OEMs and the aftermarket has seen huge improvements. 
Today it is commonplace to watch single-digit passes in the grueling NMRA Circle D Specialties True Street and NMCA TorqStorm SuperCharger True Street classes. Moreover, the wild success of the Suncoast Performance 8.60 Street Race class further emphasizes how accessible single-digit door cars have become. However, running that quickly is not without considerable cost.
Just below that level, there are throngs of 10-second machines that don’t quite fit the rules of a rigid heads-up championship class. Many of them battle in the 10-second range in True Street, but at the final NMRA race of this season there a new class will welcome these cars — Street Bandit 10.10.
As if I needed more reasons to look forward to the Whipple Superchargers NMRA World Finals Presented by Competition Clutch Featuring the Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, now there is another reason to get pumped up. Using a similar format to the 8.60 Street Race class, Street Bandit 10.10 will be open to Ford-powered and -bodied street-legal cars running quarter-mile elapsed times as quick as 10.10 seconds. 
Much like cars competing in True Street, the Street Bandit 10.10 machines must carry a license plate, proof of current registration, and valid insurance while running on DOT-approved tires. These kinds of machines have always drawn my attention because they show what is possible with the same cars we drive on the street. 
The drivers will play a big role in what cars succeed in the class, but I am intrigued to see what combinations rise to the top as they tickle the low-10-second index. Sure a power-adder combo might be the obvious choice, but could a naturally aspirated car triumph? Will an aggressive build win or could a bolt-on street machine make a run?
While the new class will add excitement to the premiere Ford event of the season, it is just a tease. Not because it won’t deliver, but because its run at the World Finals isn’t a one-time occurrence. Street Bandit 10.10 will move to a full championship class in 2024, allowing racers to run for points and contingencies, which should rachet up the level of competition as there will be a trip to the podium at the annual awards ceremony next year on the line, as well as those spiffy Top 10 jackets.
And, those already having fun in True Street can compete in both classes if they so choose, which might lead to more of those quick street cars following the series next season, and I can get behind that any day. 
If you enjoy fast street cars as much as I do, there are already plenty running with NMRA, and I suspect we’ll see even more moving forward, which should make for some fun racing.

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