Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 10, Page

[10-9-06] Shortly after he purchased the former Palm Beach (FL) International Raceway in 1981, Dick Moroso began looking for a signature event to compliment his new facility. Being a former racer and an individual with a deep respect for those who shared his “work hard/play hard” philosophy, Moroso was determined to create an event to showcase and reward drag racing’s grassroots E.T. bracket racers. With that, the annual Moroso 5-Day E.T. Championships was born and a quarter-century later, the event is still going strong and still continues to attract hundreds of participants from all over North America.

The brainchild of Moroso (left) and Byron Dragway promoter Ron Leek, the Moroso 5-Day was launched and, while it wasn’t drag racing’s first big money E.T. race, it quickly became the standard bearer for such events. Paying a then-hefty $5,000 to win each day, the inaugural 5-Day attracted a field of just over 200 participants, many of whom traveled from the Northeast and Midwestern states, longing for one last weekend of racing before parking their cars for the winter.

After the success of the inaugural 5-Day race, Moroso was quick to realize that he had something special in the making and he immediately began working on a plan to make the event bigger and better for the next year. Never one to settle for second-best, Moroso hatched the idea of using a points system to crown an overall champion. He initially was going to pay cash to the champion, but later decided to present the high points-earner for the weekend with the keys to the Moroso Outlaw Camaro, a specially-modified 1983 Camaro which was originally constructed as a rolling test bed used to develop products for GM’s then-new third-generation F-body.

Craig Spell (above), a modestly successful racer from nearby Lake Worth, FL, drove his Mustang to a victory in the opening night of the 1983 5-Day race to take the early points lead. Spell sealed the deal three nights later with his second win of the week, winning the points title and the Camaro by a landslide. With the Camaro valued at more than $30,000, and more than $10,000 in prize money, Spell enjoyed what was at the time, one of the most financially lucrative weekends for any sportsman drag racer.