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Outlaw 10.5! Then, now and possible future


   When you think of outlaw 10.5 what drivers come to mind? Tim Lynch, Chuck Ulsch, Mo Hall, Danny Lowry just to name a few right? Well get a good look at these drivers names now because some say with how the rules are going these are just some of the drivers who will be stepping away from the class!
 
  Outlaw 10.5 is nothing new to the sport of heads up racing and has seen its up and downs over the past 15 years. Starting out with 29x10.5’s the cars first made for wild wheels up racing at southern tracks in GA, SC and NC. Macon and Brainerd were packed full in the pits with cars on these little tires and when I say packed I mean 40-60 cars were showing up to some of these events. Names like Terry Robbins, Chad Warner, Sambo Price, Alan Dudley, Stacey Macintyre, Steve Kirk and Jack Barfield were all at these races every time any of the southern track were putting on a “10.5” race. With some simple rules at first with just backhalfs only and by 1998 the “W” was showing up and all hell broke lose! Long gone were the 468 chevys with stacked plate systems and the BIG at the time 540 and 565’s showing up in some of the heavy hitters. The 600 inch movement started and so did the cutting edge chassis’s. Chad Warner’s Twin turbo 67 camaro was really one of the first cars that started the evolution of what we have today.
 
   At this point around 2002 Another car was about to be sent to a very well known chassis shop for building pro mods and all this did was toss the match on the gas! Steve Kirk’s camaro was called “baby pro mod” when it first showed its face and the rule makers and racers known someone was going to show up with a ex pro stock car next with 10.5’s on it and want to race with the rest of the high tech cars that were popping up. Some racers said that the firewall back cars were the death of the class and some say once it went from the 29’s to the 31’s and 33’s that it wouldn’t last long with the bigger tires. Twin turbos and blown hemis were starting to make a big showing but still the main focus was on the chassis. A few cars were a bit legal but slid under the radar and were racing along side the “real” outlaws and once Johnny Fenn took on the job of putting together ORSCA in 2004 and getting a base set of rules everyone could follow and race on things started to settle down and fans of these cars were treated to some tight close racing with long burnouts and wheels up action and the rest is history! Fenn has caught some heat over the years from racers and fans but at same time he was making new fans and getting new racers to build cars for the class and the growth was spreading like a wild fire in the summer woods. Big money payouts could be found at tracks such as Huntsville with $50,000 to win races were drawing “legal” cars from all across the United States and Canada. Things were going strong for around 5-6 years with races like Orlando, Shakedown, Shadyside, The Civil Wars, Clash of the titans and Orsca having packed fields but something was in the air once again and this time is was not going to be good.
 
   With cars now dipping into the 4.40’s some of the drivers and car owners that couldn’t keep up with the front runners wanted the rules to be changed around to let their combo keep up. Either weight or cubic inch size or even limits on the turbo and blowers sizes were really being looked at. Car counts started to get smaller and smaller and it seemed no new cars were being built. Things were not looking good for class and when the car counts fell the fans didn’t show. In 2007 the ADRL came out with Extreme 10.5 or “XTF” and that could have well been the first few nails in the coffin for the class. With no real rules other than safety and running on a 10.5 tire a racer who runs top sportsman or even pro mod could put on the small tires and change some settings and come out and run in this new wild show of shows. Rodney Rosentiel’s 70 Opel GT blown pro mod took the first ever win in the class and the 2,100 lb car set the pace for what was to come over the next 3 years. So with this new group of cars and racers tracks that couldn’t get the real outlaw cars to show up opened the rules up to allow the full tub cars in and it has gotten very ugly since. Lets get one thing straight I for one think the tub cars could run with the legal cars as long as they fit to the look of a “stock” car. Steel roof and quarters for one should be fitted and the same wheel base rules also. No pro mod Vette bodies or Camaros. Cars like Greg Seth-Hunter and Rich Zehring look like normal 10.5 cars but both a full tub chassis Novas. I think things could work if the rules were policed and policed tight. Everyone needs a place to race and some could run other classes but still want to try their hands on the 10.5’s and know they cant keep up with the 3 second cars in the ADRL now. Lets face it who would’ve ever thought that tire would run in the 3’s?
 
   This site has been a big help to trying to get things worked out and it seems it has done its job so far. Everyone has his or her opinion on the rules and what can make the class stick around for years to come but if people cant get on the same page the last few nails of the 10.5 coffin will be hammered down very soon! Talking about racers and tracks by calling them bad names and putting them down is going to be the death of it and its getting really close. The people who are at the top of their game with the “legal” 10.5 cars have not really giving in to the trash talk but its going to happen because if you hear something long enough you start to listen and take sides even if you don’t want too. The PSCA racers have been racing with tube cars for years as well as the WCHRA. Talking with people in both groups about what is going on over in the east coast they say just be glad we have tracks to race on and lots of competition! Without putting names out their for people to jump on everyone in the class seems to just want to do one thing and that’s race! Does anyone think Lynch or Ulsch care if the car sitting beside them has a stock body and a tube chassis? If the rules can be set up where everyone is happy and the car counts pick up and the number of fans start picking up again then everyone should be happy right? WRONG! No matter where the rules go from here the class has leveled out and with cars now running 4 teens it only pushes the slower cars away. Now where do they go? Well if you got a legal car you can put on some 29’s and go race in limited street but that will seen met the same fate as 10.5 has. New classes could be made but for what reason? Every time a new class comes out these days the rule makers bend them so far left or right to get car counts up it starts up controversial topics with the cars and the rules.
 
   Where do we go from here? I myself can not answer that or can anyone else. Big payouts are not the answer. Talking down on racers and promoters is not it either. Is putting a limit on motor combos the answer to make the cars run closer? Maybe. But the big question right now with a lot of people is should the full tub cars be allowed to compete with firewall back cars? That also can be called a maybe. Races are already being ran this season and to the best of my knowledge only 1 of those race a full tube car picked up the win. Lets face it everyone the good old days are gone and things never go back they keep moving forward. So hear everyone out on this matter because the undertaker has already done his job and Grave Diggers are waiting to toss the dirt. in the hole

 

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What next, nitro rails on 10.5's?? Let's hope not!!

Author: Tim Lewis

  
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