Picture the best finish you can remember seeing at a racing event. How close was it? A car length? Now imagine that race taking place between a 32 Ford Roadster (with a supercharged straight six) and a 34 Ford 3 Window Coupe (with a Ford V8) – That was the result in Nashville on Saturday at the 3rd Street Challenge Autocross. It was a real shoot out all afternoon between Lowell Grooms and Pat McGinnis in the Street Rod Street Challenge Class.
Lowell Grooms 1st Place Street Rod
Pat McGinnis 2nd Place Street Rod
Of course, they didn’t cross the finish line together, they were running one at a time against the clock, but the margin of victory was only 0.368 seconds. I’m not a math genius, but at an average speed of 30MPH (which is what the course was designed to be) that translates to about 15 feet.
What made it even better was the “passing” going on, with each competitor making multiple laps all afternoon lowering their times and swapping the lead. It was a last minute run with only a few clicks on the clock before the 4:00PM course closing that put Lowell on top. You couldn’t have asked for a better show.
Then again, if you did want more, you could have been watching the vendor class battle unfold between Air Ride Technologies & Detroit Speed. This friendly rivalry for bragging rights is resumed all across the country at Street Challenge events and always proves to be a great show. This weekend was no exception and in a battle that went right down to the wire with Brad Coomer in the Air Ride 1969 Mustang chasing an elusive 0.049 of a second gap on first place Kyle Tucker.
Each driver made multiple consecutive runs, and at the end of the day, when the gates to the course closed, Brad had run out of chances. What a show! Using the same formula as before, if these cars went across the line together the 0.049 gap could translate to less than one foot of space between them. Consider the last time you witnessed a race between a 69 Camaro and a 69 Mustang that was that close!
Now consider getting your tickets for the Columbus Good-Guys Street Challenge because chances are very good this battle will pick up in Columbus right where it left off in Nashville.
We can’t overlook the Street Machine class (54 and up cars and trucks). This class saw more competitors and many more laps, most of which were made by the class winner Brian Finch in his 66 Corvette. At this time I don’t have a final count on laps made by Brian, but it had to be well into 3 digits, and each one put a smile on his face as well as the hundreds of spectators watching him push his car to the limit to shave another decimal place off his time.
All in all, it was a great event, and if you haven’t witnessed the Street Challenge events, consider taking a look. Better yet, consider getting in on the action and take a run through the cones like Scott Bawcom did in his 1940 Ford Coupe – bias wide whites and all.
I talked to Scott after he made his passes and I don’t think he will stop smiling for weeks after his drive through the cones. He may not have ended up winning the prizes but I’m sure he’d tell you it was a fun time!
Street Machine Winners:
Street Rod Winners:
53 Ford Truck
(A.K.A. Birthday Boy)
Detroit Speed 69 Camaro
Air Ride 69 Mustang
Detroit Speed 69 Camaro