Memphis Street Outlaws Invade Intermountain West

A Story of Hard Work and Determination

Words and photos by Brian Losness

Tricia Day (far lane) took the Big Tire win over Dennis Bailey.


To paraphrase an old saying, “Hard work and determination will persevere in the long run.” This is exactly what happened when Frank Greenough, a bracket racer and fan of the Memphis Street Outlaws reality show, decided that he wanted the group to come race his group of friends and racers in Idaho.


To many people that would be nothing more than a pipe dream. Not to Greenough. “I thought about it and then I heard on a show one night, ‘If you have a problem with JJ just email him at blah blah blah email address and he will get back to you.’”


So that is exactly what happened Greenough took a shot and sent and email seeing if the MSO crew would come out and race in Idaho.


“Honestly I never thought I would hear back from them,” admitted Greenough. But on the way back from a race in Boise, Idaho, his cellphone rang, and he almost didn’t answer it, thinking it might be some robo call. Then his wife, Carla, noticed it was from Tennessee, and it was one of those surreal “no way” moments. Greenough took the call and was met with, “So, you want us to come to Idaho and race? Sounds good,” came the voice from the other end. That voice was from Jonathan Day, better known to millions of MSO show fans as “JJ da Boss”.


And so Greenough and his car club friends set out getting thing ready for the MSO racers to come to Idaho. The first call was to the local track in Idaho Falls, Sage Raceway. The track is relatively new, just three years old. It’s an eighth mile, perfect setting. However, track owner Terry Ray wasn’t actually thrilled with the idea at first.


This meant that Greenough and team would have to reach out to the Snake River Dragway in Gooding, Idaho.  Arrangements were made with the track ownership group, and contracts signed, and the deal was “locked in”. And then the Government stepped in. The track in Gooding was part of the small municipal airport in the rural agricultural town.  The track had been in operation for nearly ten years.


Two days after the deal was “locked in” the Federal Aviation Administration informed the track management that the track was to be shut down immediately and that the ownership group had thirty days to remove all its belongings and vacate the premises. What?!


It was believed that that would be the end of the event. Greenough also had his doubts. However, his friends and other racers in the area convinced him to keep going, and this necessitated another trip to see Sage track owner Terry Ray again.


“We had heard that there was an effort to move the race to Winnemucca, Nevada, and I just wasn’t gonna give up that easily,” Greenough said, “so I to go back to Terry again. I wanted the race here in Eastern Idaho.”  Greenough went back to Ray and they were able to hammer out an agreement, and the race was locked in for May 17-18.


Sage Raceway is northwest of the small city of Idaho Falls and is located next to a very expansive wheat field and Idaho State Road 105. Which, ironically, is the road that back in the day Greenough and others used to street race on.

The racers and fans came out in large numbers to see the Memphis Street Outlaws.


The eighth-mile facility is small but well appointed, very clean and color coordinated. Teal and white are the track colors and the starting line borders are painted the track colors as are the permanent buildings. There is ample pit parking as well as spectator parking.

Kent Fowlkes


Donn Gingrich

Anthony Smith


On Thursday, May 16, a majority of the MSO crew showed up for a test and tune session: Dennis Bailey (Silverback Gorilla), Donn Gingrich (Gangster), Lee Roberts (Nightforce), Doughboy (JJ’s son) and Brian Britt (Assisan) along with newcomer Kent Fowlkes (Buster). Day (JJ da Boss) and his wife, Tricia, and their companion, Precious Cooper, would be arriving later that evening.

The group would also bring out the famous Heifer Nova, Ol’ Heavy truck and the Ziptie Nova for this event.


While nearly everything was perfect, the one variable that cannot be controlled was the weather. In this part of the world the weather gods were confused. It was very overcast, cold with rain and wind arising intermittently. But this did not dampen the efforts of the MSO crew or the racers from Idaho as they did their test and tune runs and got ready for the small tire event on Friday evening.


It is apparent that these racers from the MSO are very adept at playing the “street racing game”. However, as the build up to the event was taking place as there was some internet trash talking and call outs were being done in preparation of the small tire race on Friday.

Curt Millege drove from Montana to compete.

Local racer Frank Greenough (near lane) brought the Memphis Street Outlaws to Idaho and met Lee Roberts in Nightforce.

Adam Anderson in his small block turbocharged Chevy Luv truck. Anderson fits right in with this type of event. He is very self-confident and very focused when it comes to his racing and he proved that on Friday night’s Small Tire event against JJ da Boss. JJ was driving the Ol’ Heavy Chevy Pickup truck. As Precious Cooper did the arm drop the white Luv truck took off like a shot. In the other lane JJ was more like an astronaut, as Ol’ Heavy went into a huge wheel stand. JJ attempted to run down the white Luv but ran out of real estate and for now Anderson would hold the title as worlds fastest small tire pick up.


Anderson would go the deepest of the locals, making it to the semifinals, and then lost to Tricia as he overthought the starting line processes in arm drop. Tricia had been taking advantage of the MSO rule of “Chase is a Race.”  She would leave just as JJ would begin to drop his arms, and this would catch the Idaho racers off guard, and they would react to her leaving. This would put the Idaho challengers a car length or two behind, which is hard to make up in an eighth of a mile.


Anderson played the percentage and decided not to leave the starting line, however, as the video replay put it, Tricia was right on the arm drop this time, and she won the round. However, that winning feeling was short-lived, as Tricia by some reports drove the car a way past the finish line and then in an attempt to get the car stopped it began to bounce and she ran off the track into the sand trap and then through the catch nets and vaulting over the chain link fence that borders the facility. She was able to walk away from the scene, however, the car was not at lucky, and would have to be retired for the rest of the event.

This then gave the Small Tire win to the winner of the other semifinal, Dennis Bailey in the Silverback Gorilla.


Saturday for the Big Tire event, the weather was even fickle. First it was over-cast and it was raining, then the sun came out, and then the wind would start to blow. This did absolutely nothing to dampen the spirits of those who came out. There were twice as many people to come out on Saturday as there were on Friday. With the increase of attendance there was an increase in energy, along with an increase in “friendly” side bets that were taking place.


As the racing played out the local Big Tire racers worked hard but just didn’t have the experience of arm drop and racing in the no-prep scenario. There would be no local heroes, and the final would come down to the two racers from Friday night’s final of Tricia driving the Ol’ Heavy truck and Bailey in Silverback Gorilla.


Tricia took the win and the ten thousand dollars in cash as Bailey’s car spit the header collector off the car.


Even though none of the local racers made the finals, to a driver everyone said they had a splendid time.

Tricia Day holds the money while husband “JJ da Boss” gives two thumbs up.


As the event wound down, I tried to get a few moments with Jonathan Day (JJ da Boss). As brash and bold as he is when he is “on”, he is quiet, reserved and humble when he is one on one. However, it was difficult to carry on a conversation with him as he would accommodate every person who wanted a photo or autograph.


When I was able to ask Day a question or two, he was engaged and gave very thoughtful answers. I asked him if he felt that his show and the Oklahoma Street Outlaw show had any influence on the increase of NHRA viewership or increase of attendance at drag racing events.


His response was thoughtful. “We get nearly three million viewers per episode and we are showing racing at the grassroots level,” he said. “We are working people who love racing. It’s not about whose checking account is biggest; it’s about who works hardest.”


When asked if ever thought five years ago that he and his friends would be in the position they are today, his response was almost shy. “Oh gosh, no, I just want to race with my friends and family and have a good time, and it has led us to this.”


Then a group of about ten kids and their parents came up looking for a selfie and to a sign a shirt and he was off being JJ da Boss. 




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