The Event

The NORC and its twin-brother event, the Silver State Classic Challenge,takes place on a stretch of highway 318 (north of Las Vegas) beginningat White Pine County just south of Lund, and ending 90 miles later atLincoln County mile marker 7. This two-lane highway is a speeding ticketwaiting to happen on any day other than race day. The race is brokendown into 15 different categories ranging from 95 mph to 180 mph in 5mph increments. Then there's the Unlimited Class for the very specialpeople where the fastest average time wins. In all of the other classes,the goal is to try and maintain your class average speed. Closest oneover or under wins. Seems simple, but 318 isn't a straight ribbon ofhighway. It's a challenge and a blast. We highly recommend it. Eventsponsors include K&N, Rims by Ronal, Optima Batteries, HotchkisPerformance, Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, Hotel Nevada-Ely, andlastly, Recarro.

Wheezing in Thin Air

Ely, Nevada, is high up where the air is very thin. In fact, the HighNoon Shootout and NORC are run on a stretch of highway a mere 6,500-feetabove sea level. That turned the Diplomat into one very sluggish player.At least during the NORC, the elevation drops significantly as you headsouth, and your car progressively runs better. Hell, we got windedgetting dressed in the morning. We even bumped the timing up a fewdegrees to make it more peppy, but this four-door,which has greatdifficulty not laying down prodigious amounts of rubber all the waythrough its long-legged first gear, couldn't turn a tire to save itslife. Running a marathon breathing through a straw, indeed. The thin airobviously didn't hurt Hugh Hoard or his '97 Viper as it was able toachieve a terminal velocity of 183 mph in the one-mile shootout! Can'timagine how fast he would have been at sea level. Fuel-injected carstend to fare a bit better, while cars with blowers and turbos bringtheir own atmosphere to the party. We're not saying they are notaffected, it's just not as dramatic as a normally aspirated andcarbureted machine. Needless to say, we only managed 101 mph in thehalf-mile shootout, with each climb through the gears an agonizinglyslow process. Next year we'll have to bring our own air.

110 Class Race Results

The point of the NORC and Silver State races is not to finish with thefastest time (save for the Unlimited Class), but to come as close toyour class speed as possible over the entire 90-mile course, neverexceeding your tech speed (highest allowable in class, which in thiscase is 124 mph), and never dipping below 80 mph. We did reasonably wellwith a Fifth place finish behind four Corvettes and ahead of even moreCorvettes, a Viper, a BMW M5, a Porsche Boxster, a Ferrari 360 Modena, aMaserati Coupe, some Camaros and Mustangs, and a smattering of othermore aerodynamic offerings. The competition was so tight in the 110class that the winner ran an average of 109.9980, which was darn nearperfect. Our high trap speed was 124 mph, which is the maximumallowable in our class. Is there more left in the Stealth Bomber?Absolutely. 120 mph comes by at only a bit over 4,000 rpm and overfour-grand the 360 is just getting started.