Extreme 10.5 is not Outlaw 10.5—
and Vice Versa
It’s not every day you get to see something new in any sport, so when the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) debuted its Extreme 10.5 series earlier this month at the eighth-mile Houston Motorsports Park, everyone on hand was fortunate to witness a little genuine drag racing history. Will it have the long-term influence of something like the first official Funny Car show? Probably not, but its impact on 10-wide racing will surely be felt for a long, long time, regardless of its eventual success level.
Extreme 10.5 is derived from the highly successful Outlaw 10.5 scene so popular in the southeast and rapidly spreading across the country. According to rules established by the Atlanta-based Outlaw Racing Street Car Association (ORSCA), generally recognized as the country’s leading 10-wide racing authority, the primary features of a traditional Outlaw 10.5 car are that it must weigh at least 3,000 pounds (2,700 pounds for small-block nitrous or V-6 applications, with minor breaks for nostalgia bodies); practically any size engine or power adder is permitted; it must retain the stock firewall and stock front frame rails and suspension type; it should be outwardly stock appearing; and of course, it must ride on the somewhat misnomered 10.5W slicks that are actually closer to 11.5 to 12 inches wide after a couple of passes down the track.
The ADRL’s Extreme 10.5, on the other hand, does away with practically all of those rules save for allowing any engine combo and retaining the tire width limitation. The result is a wide-open class best suited to full tube-chassis cars with lightweight bodies, such as ex-Pro Mod, Top Sportsman or Pro Stock entries fitted with the smaller 10.5W tires compared to those on which they originally rolled.
The performance advantage of this new breed of 10-wide racing became immediately apparent when reigning ORSCA Outlaw 10.5 champ Steve Kirk unloaded Greg Mitchell’s ex-Pro Mod ’63 Vette in lightweight Extreme 10.5 trim and proceeded to go 4.32 to qualify number one and easily surpass the official 4.36 Outlaw 10.5 record set by Tim Lynch at ORSCA’s 2006 season ender.
But to compare the two runs is irrelevant and those who do are being misleading. Yes, they both came on common rubber, and yes, Kirk can now lay claim to being the quickest ever on 10.5Ws, but that’s where the story ends. All it means is that Kirk is now the Extreme 10.5 record holder and Lynch remains the quickest Outlaw 10.5 pilot. Nothing more, nothing less.
To say otherwise is to say it’s significant when a Top Fuel car goes quicker than a Fuel Coupe, which goes quicker than an A Fuel dragster. Sure, all three burn nitro and they all ride on similar tires, but so what? No one confuses the three or expresses concern about their comparative performances because they’re recognized as competing in distinctly different classes—as are Extreme 10.5 and Outlaw 10.5.