Wednesday Work Break: The Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing

The NMRA and NMCA recently hit the strip at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL, for the annual Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing. This event, which brought together over 600 race cars from both sanctions to one of the drag racing world’s crown jewel facilities, offers a unique take on the street legal racing movement. After the racers do battle in their respective classes and sanctions to crown a winner, the NMRA’s competitors are then pitted against a corresponding racer from the NMCA in a winner-takes-all scenario, where each racer from the team with the better head-to-head record is awarded a special Diamond Tree ring from event sponsor Nitto Tire.

Photographer Mike Pryka of Mike Pryka Photography was on the scene for Front Street to capture some of the exciting action, so here’s a quick break from your Wednesday work mental drain.

Tricia Musi took home a holeshot win over Jennifer Brooke Rice in the NMCA’s Nostalgia Pro Street class in a final round battle of lady drivers. This car—Popeye II—was made famous back in the day by Tricia’s dad, well-known engine builder and racer Pat Musi and has a storied history within the racing community.

Astute Front Street readers may recognize the car above, owned and piloted by engine builder Nick Bacalis of BES Racing Engines. We featured the engine build in this car back when Nick and the BES team first conceived it, and it’s been one of our most popular articles ever. Nick is finally getting the car lined out and is on pace with the other cars in the Street Outlaw class.

As part of the event, Chrysler GenIII Hemi owners were invited to participate in the Hemi Shootout, which offered street legal participants to take to the track in a no-pressure, fun environment as part of the well-known NMRA/NMCA True Street class.

After nine years in competition in a variety of classes, Sondra Leslie finally captured her first victory, and did so in style at her home track. Not only did she enter a new class this season—Limited Street—but she graduated from a mid-10-second car to a Vortech-supercharged mid-8-second car tuned by Ken Bjonnes at Palm Beach Dyno. After winning Limited Street, she went on to earn the win in her portion of the Super Bowl, eventually winning herself one of those Diamond Tree rings.

One of the great things about any NMRA/NMCA gathering is the wide range of vehicles there on the property. There really is something for everyone, from Pro Mods to late-model Mustangs and sweet old-school Detroit Iron. Enjoy the gallery!