Truth be told, in many forms of racing, May's decision to go with new technology may have created some ill-will, but the competitors behind him have been, for the most part, gracious about his switch. In this regard, the KOS program has indeed created something of a family during its almost decade-long existence, and these racers enjoy the camaraderie as much as anything else.
"This is a chance to get out here and race heads-up," says Bernie Ewing, whose '68 Charger is just beginning to get converted to KOS trim. "We might not have a big chance of winning, but we have a lot of fun hanging out."
Miss KOS South, Annette C...
Miss KOS South, Annette Crawford
B-Bodies look great, but face an uphill battle going heads-up with May. However, Mike Robbins and Leon Hudson may still have something left for him, especially in the event that May deals with traction problems due to the lack of rear overhang on the Avenger. Robbins is piloting a '71 Demon stuffed full of B1 parts that cranked out a string of 8.10s at the 2001 finale during the Monster Mopar Weekend in St. Louis, while Hudson is using a W8-style Comp motor in his '65 Barracuda that's knocking on the door of the 8.20s. These heavy steel cars leave the starting line in almost violent fashion as the 10.5-inch tires grapple with a minimal traction footprint.
That tire rule is the one equalizing factor in the KOS series; regardless of how the car cuts the air, it still has to get power to the pavement. For a comparative example, NHRA and IHRA Super Stock cars use a wider tire than this. So there's a delicate edge as to how much power can be applied to the tarmac. May must deal with the fact that the Avenger doesn't have the traction-aiding overhang found in the earlier cars, but has the advantage of up-to-date suspension geometry.
If Bill May is the king of Super Street, Andy Mayes is the king of E-Z Street. The College Grove, Tennessee, racer has blasted all the way down into the 9.10s (9.14/150 at Rockingham in the spring) in his '70 Challenger. Like just about every other competitor, Andy sees the racing as a great deal of fun.
"These are great guys out here," says Mayes. "This is like one big family, and we enjoy just getting out here and racing heads-up."
Battling Mayes are several other spirited racers, though none have had the success he's had. Chris Fairchild has been down in the 9.30s with his '69 Barracuda, with the others also in the 9-second zone. To a person, they all mention the need to remove more weight out of the cars; under the rules, the only fiberglass allowed is the hood and the decklid. As in all forms of racing, the quest for better performance never stops.
For O'Malley, the just-completed season was a good one. There were no major incidents (Sheila Bowman's fire at Rockingham being the worst), the cars were going quicker and faster, and parity wasn't a major problem. However, with the performance margin increasing, O'Malley is keeping a close watch on things.
Scott Koffel thrashing on...
Scott Koffel thrashing on Tony Marclewicz's entry
"I'm concerned about some of these things; we've tried to make the rules identical to NMCA, so these guys can run in more than one place. If the cars go too quickly, I don't want anyone being in danger. Look at Earnhardt's deal; our guys are going faster, and those cars are stronger than ours. The safety rules will have to catch up."
Of course, having trophy queens the stature of Miss KOS South, Annette Crawford (pictured on page 18) doesn't hurt the program. O'Malley has gotten contingency support from a number of companies (Moroso, Nitrous Works, Nitrous Express, and Ray Barton Racing Engines), with Ross Pistons as the title-rights holder for Super Street and A&A Transmissions the title-rights holder for E-Z Street. The per-event payout totals $3,000 ($1,300, winner; $700, runner-up; $350, two semi-finalists; $75, four quarter-finalists). For someone getting started in KOS racing, these are the words from the wise.