GUEST opinion w/ Richard Burk

Richard Burk: Why I Like No-Prep Outlaw Racing

I called my brother, Jeff, the esteemed publisher and editor of this online rag, a few weeks ago to discuss the things old men talk about. Our aches and pains, who died, and how we miss the good old days. Particularly the good old days of drag racing at Amarillo Dragway.


The racing we did back then, we did ourselves. Jeff had 1962 Ford Galaxy with a 406 cu. in., and a single four barrel that raced D/ Stock trying to win Stock Eliminator. A pro class because you got money if you won. We were “pros”. They had classes you could run for trophy’s, but that was amateur; we were “pros”.


However, we drove the car to the strip (except for that fateful tip to Tulsa that one time but that’s a different story.) When we got to the strip we would we drive through inspection, and then in the pits we would put on the ”wrinkle-wall cheater slicks,” disconnect the exhaust from the headers, and change our rear end to our “Detroit Locker”. We had one primary target at the strip: Gary Moore and the “Acre Maker” Pontiac from Plainview, TX. We were hooked for life on drag racing.


We are still hooked, but drag racing is way different today. Today it’s corporate sponsors and 20-man crews with hospitality tents. It just doesn’t feel the same. However, I was watching cable TV the other day and saw “Street Outlaw No Prep Kings”. I never watch the “Street Outlaw” racing just because I have a problem with anybody racing on public streets, but this program was different.


These guys built their own cars and raced heads up. The cars looked like cars, which I like. But they had blowers or nitrous or multiple turbos and they had grudges and rivalries. All the cars were different. They were racing at Tulsa Raceway Park, another place that has some memories for us. It reminded me why I love drag racing so much.


When I told Jeff about watching the program he informed me that it was a “staged, made for TV program” that wasn’t quite what I thought it was. I was disappointed for a while.


However, now that I think about it, there are some things that are worth thinking about. Such as:


1. Less track preparation may require more ingenuity of the racers but make racing safer by lowering speeds.

2. Race cars that look like cars we drive or drove tap into our own lives and experiences.

3. Blowers, multiple turbos, et al. add to excitement as well as speed.

4. Personalities are interesting, and thanking your sponsors isn’t.

5. Public interest brings sponsors, but sponsors don’t bring public interest. (not against sponsors.)


In a time when all organized racing seems to be losing popularity, Street Outlaws are doing pretty good.


I really enjoyed watching it better than I enjoyed analyzing why I liked it. 


- Richard Burk

Former “Pro D/Stock Drag Racer”


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