Southern California summer heat welcomed the inaugural JE Pistons NMRA/NMCA West Coast Shootout, presented by Lucas Oil, over the weekend of July 8–10, but that didn’t deter the hardcore muscle car enthusiasts from turning out for the series’ first appearance at the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California.
For years I had read about the awesome NMRA and NMCA events in Race Pages and Fastest Street Car, respectively, which are put on by the ProMedia group, but they were always a few thousand miles away from the PRI offices in California. But this time I was only a short drive away from the Inland Empire track, so I took advantage of the close proximity.
For any horsepower aficionado, what a great place to see the latest Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, Chargers, plus a number of classic muscle cars on the drag strip and on display at the Manufacturer’s Midway. I personally wouldn’t mind pulling into my garage with the little number that I saw in the Hurst Shifter booth. I was partial to the black Challenger (see photo below) while my son was scouting out the white Camaro next to it.
One thing that I noticed very quickly is that this is one fine and well-run event. I could not stop bumping into ProMedia President Charlie Harmon. He was literally everywhere making sure that each and every detail was taken care of properly. And the professionalism showed. Each and every ProMedia team member I came in contact with was first-rate. They kept the program moving steady and I saw many cars continue to make a number of passes down the drag strip throughout the event.
One treat for me was that I was invited to participate in the Media vs. Manufacturers True Street Challenge. Steve Wolcott, of ProMedia, described the Racers Against Street Racing True Street Challenge class, presented by TREMEC, as an event that “combined street-type racers with media and manufacturers, who all raced together for a good cause to promote taking racing off the street and putting it on the track...where it belongs!”
Over 50 cars participated. We took a cruise on the grounds of Auto Club Speedway (see photo below) to prove our cars’ street-worthiness, including several laps around the two-mile oval before lining up for three passes down Auto Club Dragway.
I’m already anxiously planning for the series’ return to Southern California next year. Maybe by then I can figure out how to get my hands on that Challenger!