X275 - John Sears Unedited!!

It seems in the past 3 years the 275 class has seen it's ups and downs along the way. Combos change and so do rules but where is it all going? What happened to the class from the start and where it is at now? Lots of people were jumping in the waters but when the sharks started to bite the waters turned bloody and the sharks are to lurking. These questions are straight forward and nothing will be held back. This will make some happy and others not so happy but the truth is within and the future of the class is also to be determined! John Sears was one of the guys who started to push the class outside of what groups such as the PSCA and WCHRA have been doing for some time now. John brought his ideas to VMP and MIR and the rest is history as they say.

Tim: John give us a little background on yourself and how long you been into drag racing.

JOHN: Well Tim at 45 years old I've been around drag racing for about 25 years and racing for 20 years. Back then I was working on a sprint car crew in Texas for my wife's uncle and bought some stuff from a bunch of those guys and put the parts in my 69 chevelle street car running a solid roller on the street back in 1989. Racing some in the streets and at Houston Raceway Park was a blast back then and really what hooked me on small blocks and this type of racing. We moved to Florida in the early 90's and just continued to race locally and I even opened up a shop with a buddy working on turbo buicks and attending a quite a few buick events in Bowling Green, Ky with the GS Club. With our shop car running inthe low 10's and my daily driver running mid 11's it was alot of fun but I always kept the chevelle and knew one day we would get back to racing it. Fast forward to 99/00 and we started racing with the NSCA in Street Eliminator using the Chevelle and did well with a runner up at the Silver Dollar event and a semi in Hattiesburg. Not having the cash to travel north put an end to following a series and we stayed local running at Moroso occasionally and the Orlando race even qualifying the first year in Drag Radial. From 2001-2003 I was placd back on active duty with the Air Force making 3 tours in the desert which really put racing on the backburner. When I returned we started racing at a local 1/8th mile track called Immokalee Regional Raceway and worked with them building up the local stock suspension class, 6.50 index, and Real Street 275 over the years. 

Tim: How and why did you choose to get the class started.

JOHN: Always wanting to run ODR but never having the wallet to afford it drove me to start the Small Block Nitrous Shootout when we moved to Virginia in late 2007. I saw a need for the small block nitrous guys to have a place to race and worked with Bill Harris of the OSBA and the folks at VMP for a spot to race in July of 2008. That first race had 8 cars and was the precurser to X275. As the class struggled to gain identity, sponsor support, and car count I needed to do something to improve our chances for success and in 2009 opened up a few races to big block nitrous combos, sb blower combos and sb turbo cars. Car counts and support for the class with the additional combos proved successful and in 2010 X275 was born with a set of rules that included all the different combos. 

Tim: Why the 275 tire size?

JOHN:As with any class (or most anyway) we look to the tire to define the limits of how fast people can go and with the small contact patch and smaller roll out of the 275 it seemed like a natural step down from Outlaw Drag Radial.

Tim: In the start its was nitrous small blocks only. Do you think it would have gotten the people involved like it has if it had stayed that way?

JOHN: I really liked the idea of nitrous small blocks only but car counts were very limited as was the support. We may have been able to continue pushing the idea forward but track owners and sponsors want to see cars in the lanes and the diversity that the adjusted rules brought on was hard to argue against.

Tim: Ok lets start getting down to it. Cheating! How many racers are running illegal in the class right now?

JOHN:That's a GREAT question! With our races being held on a single night one would think that it certainly could happen and even though we see the cars on a regular basis I'm always looking for significant increases in performance or differences in the set up under the hood.

Tim: Ok with that being said how about the big block cars? A lot of people say most are over the cube limit. Why not start pumping the motors?

JOHN:The big block cars are certianly suspect for violating the cubic inch rule of 588 and we have a few surprises for them with "the pump" coming out at a future event.

Tim: Are the big blocks going to get a new set of rules for 2012 and leave them where they are and see what happens?

JOHN:There seems to be a big push by some to allow the bigger cube big blocks in the class but I really want to leave them as they are. The 3250 lb big block combo hasn't really been explored to it's fullest potential like some of the other combos have been but I look for that to change this year as we have already seen some of the guys really start to get a handle on their programs and pick up quite a bit in et and mph.

Tim: Vader! Whats the deal with this car for the rest of the season? Lots of people love it and lots hate it. Lets hear what you have to say!

JOHN:I love the car but hate the controversy that follows it. They used the rules accordingly and built a bad ass piece that really shows the maximum horsepower potential of the large frame turbo. We all know that once the 60 ft gets worked out it could be a class killer but as of right now (mph aside) nitrous cars have won every race and the et's are all well within what I thought they would be and NOBODY can argue wth that fact.

Tim: Goss! A man some love to hate! I myself find the guy a very smart person to have a conversation with and can learn a lot from him. What does Goss mean to the class as a racer and a public figure to the growth of the class?

JOHN: I think Goss is a really good racer, fabricator, and supporter (in his own way!) of X275. He's the guy that's going to make you really think hard when you write rules and hold me accountable to make sure we have parity in the class. I would like to see him be a bit more diplomatic when it comes to posting on the Bullet though as I want our racers to always try and represent our class in a positive manner and show our sponsors that we are a group worth supporting.

Tim: Outlaw 275? I know you have seen the races with 10.5 and limited street cars putting on 275's. Whats your take on that and is there really a need for another 275 class?

JOHN:I think the need for Outlaw 275 is great for a once or twice a year big event where you are trying to get as many racers to attend as possible, the downside to it is that it fractures X275 and the more traditional drag radial classes.

Tim: The 2nd chance! What is the need? I mean this is the only class this happens in and its going to get very ugly when guys in other classes who are racing at tracks the same day see all the 275 cars running and they have to load up and go watch or leave because they dont have a 2nd chance.

JOHN:The second chance race is possibly the single biggest reason for our success! With great sponsor support from Mark's Tax consulting, CA Services of Frederickburg, Mike's Mustang, and now for 2011 Mickey Thompson and Goodyear the guys in the second chance will do quite well for payout and contingency. Everyone wants a chance to race and go rounds and the second chance race gives those guys that opportunity without having to be one of the "sharks".

Tim: Payouts! You know I talk to a lot of guys in a lot of classes and everyone is concerned with money these days and racing for the payouts in some races dont even cover 1/2 of what was spent trying to win the race. Where do you see this headed?

JOHN:I'm very happy with the payouts this season in X275! The promoters actually got together before the season and discussed this at length and we felt that for X275 at the local level $1000 to win and paying back further was more important than raising just the winner's payout. I'd like us to look at making an effort to keep things in check and supporting those that have the classes (all classes) best interest and longevity at heart 

Tim: If there was one thing you would like to change in the class for 2012 and further down the road what would it be?

JOHN:For 2012 I'm hoping for very limited rules controversy, the whole turbo deal this season really started to make me question why I do this and how much longer I really wanted to continue heading up the class. Down the road I'd like to just be able to race in the class and get back to having some fun and hand the reigns over to my son Matt or someone with the energy to take things to the next level.

Tim: How about doing some races at the local tracks in VA,NC,MD where the guys who race on 28's can come join in and race? Clocks turned off and no weights!

JOHN:I think that's a great idea! A true 28 vs 275 deal with 8 on the 275 side of the ladder and 8 on the 28 side of the ladder along with X275 and some NDRRA Real Street thrown in could be a cool event.

Tim: No matter what you do or say John your going to have people pushing the keys on their keyboard and not coming out to any races but claim they are coming to beat the class up! Anything you wanna say to those people?

JOHN:Yea I'd like to say something to them..............the time is NOW to put up or shut up. Getting on the message board and trying to drag the class down isn't doing anyone any good, if you want to run the class great! If you don't that's fine also, with 50+ races on the schedule and a set of rules that won't be changed until the end of the season (and even then it will only be some small adjustments to things we learned this year) by staying home you will just be missing out on some geat racing.

Tim: What all is being done to try and keep order in the class? 

JOHN: I'm always trying to learn more about each and every combo out there and what the potential is for horsepower gains. Turbochargers just keep getting more efficient and have become very tough to keep in check when you compare them to the nitrous and blower combos. I think the biggest benifit to us expanding to so many different locations this season is that so many different ideas will come to the table and people will continue to push the boundries of the class giving me a much broader group to base the rules on.

Tim: I know you hear what rumors are going around! Some say you favor certain people or have in the past! Well?

JOHN: I actually think this one is kind of funny! I got a call from a turbo guy after I made the inlet adjustment to the LF88 turbo saying I was all about the nitrous guys and about the same time I got an e-mail with a link to a post that said I was a turbo lover based on the 2011 rules. In 2010 since I didn't clamp down on the blower guys with the F1R combo I was accused of being a blower lover! I guess when an N/A guy comes out and wins one event I'll be accused of loving the N/A guys! LOL

Tim: Tires! What brand do you think has the upper hand in the performance were seeing these days?

JOHN:This one is pretty tough to pin down, I think they all have their good and bad points. We raced on the Mickey Thompson all last year on the Malibu and we just tried to adjust to track conditions and work on the chassis as the tracks started getting tricky in the summertime. Many racers look to see what tire is in the winner's circle and will purchase them based on "what's winning" today. When radial tire racing first started taking off many said the MT was the single biggest reason for the rapidly advancing et's versus the BFG and now we find ourselves going down that same road with the MT vs the Hoosier in the 275 arena. I do know that MT and Goodyear are working on closing what some see as a gap in tire performance and I hope that X275 is the reason for this! Each of these tire companies has been extremely supportive of our series and I hope we can continue to support them in a positive manner.

Tim: What would you like to see happen with the et's? Stay around where they are now or?

JOHN: I'd really like to see things keep here in the 4.90 - 5.0 range, tough choices will have to be made with power adders, weight, and possible changes in format to sustain the class and keep parity

Tim: Well John is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you along the way with this venture?

JOHN: Tim I guess first and foremost I have to thank Laura for putting up with my obsession, to say my life has pretty much revolved around this for the past couple of years would be an understatement! Also with out you and Monty getting together on this people wouldn't know where my thoughts are regarding the class, so a big thanks to the both of you! All the racers and fans of X275 are a HUGE part of our success, without them we wouldn't exist. My son Matt has also been a big part of things putting together promo videos and a dvd that showcases the class as well as being a racer in the class. Our other promoters and track owners like Mke with the NDRRA, Marco at NE Dragway, Dave at Cecil County Dragway, Atco Dave, Alan at BMP, Donald Long, Blake and Kenny Holcomb, Jason Miller, Nate and Adam of the Ultimate Outlaws and many others. We also have a very large and diverse group of sponsors that support us:
Mickey Thompson
Induction Solutions
Woody's Plumbing
Ultimate Converter Concepts
BAER Brakes
Exile Turbos
NLR Systems
CA Services
Pro Systems Carbs
Diamond Pistons
HoleShot Racing Wheels
Media 1/Headstron Media Special thanks to Sean Snodgrass!
Race Flow Development
Mike Mustang
Mark's Tax Consulting
McKeown Motorsport Engineering
Jordan's Carpentry
Powercell Batteries
Come Correct Motorsports
TRZ Motorsports
Robert's Transmission Service
Fastmover Motorsports


X275 race at Virginia Motorsports Park on May 8th 2010

 Video shot by geezus181

X275 at MIR for War on Wheels

Video shot by 
Author: Tim Lewis

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