The drag racing world saw Outlaw 10.5 rise to national prominence in the late 1990s as it gripped the community with its unpredictability and big dollar shootouts. Names like Tim Lynch, Steve Kirk Jr., Brad Brand, and so many others became legends of the sport, continually pushing technology and proving that outlaw style drag racing was here to stay. Over twenty years later, seemingly one of the last true Outlaw 10.5 holdouts has been Cecil County Dragway with its monthly Strange Engineering Street Car Shootout, a series that culminates at the Yellow Bullet Nationals. There are hints of Outlaw 10.5 races at other local tracks along with a limited run at PDRA and racers north of the border enjoy a Canadian version. However, the Cecil County Dragway program is the flagship of 10.5W tire genre—could its future be in jeopardy?
This past weekend the crowd saw Mo Hall dominate eliminations after qualifying third with a 4.10 effort. His game time performances included a string of 4-oh runs with a 4.08, 4.06, 4.01, and 4.008 to take the category win. The significance of the performance is that for the second straight race a radial-equipped Outlaw 10.5 car took the victory. The notion of a specially prepared racing surface is quickly fading after these two event wins and more diehard Outlaw 10.5 racers are making the switch to the 315/60R15 drag radial. Credit Ken Quartuccio and his brand-new Skinny Kid Race Cars C7 Corvette as the catalyst for the whole notion of running Mickey Thompson radial tires on a “slick-prepped” track and being successful in doing so. He won his first race at PDRA last month and a week later he ran the tables during the Street Car Shootout at Cecil County Dragway and Quartuccio even dipped into the 3.90s in the heat of the day.
Flypaper track preparation is a hallmark advantage at the big races like Lights Out, No Mercy, and the Sweet 16 and it is thought to be the only way to run a radial-equipped racecar with ridiculous outlaw type powerplants. The reason for the prep is because once a radial tire spins, its stiff sidewall makes it difficult to recover, unlike a bias-ply slick tire that is more forgiving. The sensitive friction has made diehard Outlaw 10.5 racers skeptical of its capabilities outside of the Radial vs. The World arena.
The chassis adjustments are the key element for the radial’s recent success at Cecil County Dragway and PDRA. Quartuccio works with famed tuner Jamie Miller from the Red Hat Mafia to get his Corvette to perform quickly on the different surface conditions. The chassis tuning technique and experience with using radial tires on slick tracks isn’t foreign to Quartuccio. Astute fans can recall his domination in Outlaw 632 while rocking a pair of radial tires instead of the big slicks that the rest of the field utilizes. The nitrous-enhanced 632ci powerplant might make a significant less amount of power than Quartuccio’s twin turbo Corvette, but the chassis preparation provided great feedback in the direction that him and Miller took with the new car.
According to Miller the entire approach varies greatly than what he uses with a dedicated Radial vs. The World setup for customers like DeWayne Mills and his Golden Gorilla Camaro. He explained to RPD that the weight bias is drastically different with a lot of it sitting past the midpoint of the chassis. Miller also slings the four-link bars differently than any Outlaw 10.5 or Radial vs. The World vehicle and, of course, the Menscer Motorsports shocks are tuned uniquely. The turbo Vette has run a best of 3.95 and 200 mph within a handful of runs since it rolled out of Skinny Kid Race Cars.
Will the future of Outlaw 10.5 be centered around the Mickey Thompson 315 Pro radial tire and require a name change to Outlaw Street? Time will tell with the tire choices but one thing is for sure, the outlaw world continues to evolve even after two decades of competition.