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7-17-04

I ran into Sam Scarpelli at Old Dominion Speedway this past Saturday night.  Sam was the 1981 Street Stock (Grand Stock) champion at ODS.  After the races, Sam was standing around talking with Terry Butler, another former Street Stock driver, chatting away about the ?old days'.  Sam is still an active competitor at Myrtle Beach Speedway but seeing those two talking together got me to thinking about the original ?street stock' series. 

The Steer Stock division started in the mid 70's as an entry level division.  At the time, the late model sportsman and limited sportsman divisions were the top draws and they were quickly becoming more and more expensive to run.  The Street Stock division was designed to give drivers an inexpensive way to race.

Early drivers included future LMSC champs Danny Bennett and Billy Earl; Street Stock champs Tony Lowe and Wayne Loy.   Sherrill Pardue started his racing career in the Street Stock division, driving a tomato red 1965 Dodge Dart. 

Today's grand stock car shares almost nothing with it's ancient ancestor.  The street stock cars were almost completely stock with a roll cage inside and a few other safety modifications.  Today's grand stock is a purpose built race machine that is practically identical to a late model stock car. 

The old street stock cars raced with 6 cylinder engines on skinny street tires and the fields were huge; 28 cars was the norm and over 32 was not unheard of.  The field would barrel off into turn one and the street tires would scream and chirp beneath the heavy load of race car. 

The cars would wiggle and slide through the corners and drivers would battle lap after lap, side by side.  Fans would scream and cheer and drivers would yell and cuss; all in all it was great fun.

This past Wednesday a meeting was held at Old Dominion Speedway to pass out rules for the new U-Car series.  Already there is talk of several folks bringing these cars to the track and word is the fields will be quite large.  The cars must be stock, with some safety modifications.  Those are pretty much the rules.  An inexpensive way to go racing, it's touted as the newest, greatest concept to ever come to short-track racing.  The tracks who have already started running this series are considered the saviors of short track racing.

Well not to burst anyone's bubble but it sounds a whole lot like the mid-70's to me and that is just fine. 

We'll call them U-Cars, but to me they're Street Stocks and they should be a lot of fun to watch.          

 

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