When I first started the Outlaw Vintage Racing class, we had a couple of cars join immediately. The racing and the camaraderie among the racers was good. However, I soon realized how hard it would be to recruit others into the class. Cars take time to build, and drivers in the HPDE ranks have to work their way up into and out of comp school. Recruiting outside of NASA is also a slow process.
Traditional period-correct drivers and sanctioning bodies looked at us with disdain, and even in our own region, some directors were concerned we would pull cars and drivers from other classes. But over time, as new drivers came in, it became apparent we were no threat to either group and had something unique to offer.
In fact, some period-correct sanctioning bodies are now referring drivers to us. They now see us as a legitimate alternative to period-correct for those with modified vintage cars looking for a place to race. After all, there is no downside to having more vintage cars racing, regardless of the series.
The first two seasons of OVR were hit and miss with repeat cars, but last year we had an energetic personality and talented driver named Matt Isbell join the OVR class. With his outgoing personality and unwavering enthusiasm, along with his over-the-top LS7 powered 240Z that puts out 530 horsepower at the rear wheels, he has helped draw several more drivers into the series. His 240Z has been a consistent race winner and it has also been a featured as a “Shutter Speed” photograph in Speed News.
With his car leading the way in the unlimited V1 class, we now have several other unbelievable cars competing for the V1 class win, like Joe Freda’s wild 1971 Camaro, a 434-cubic-inch, LS2-powered monster with a Jerico five-speed transmission. He is giving Matt a strong run for his money, along with a couple of extreme Porsches, like Fred Benedict’s seriously modified 914 that also has started calling V1 home. Ironically, the OVR V1 class has now proven to be the fastest of all classes in the NASA Southeast regional races, much to the chagrin of drivers of some of the most top-notch modern cars they are on track with.
In V2, I’ve kept my 1968 Pontiac Firebird racing within class rules, and I am slowly building it toward the extreme edge of V2, making changes that would never be allowed in period-correct groups. Now, several others have become regulars in the V2 camp, like the father-son team of Keith and Kyle Campbell, and Dan Long in his 1966 Mustang, creating some exciting racing in the class.
At a glance, the V2 cars look like any other Vintage series race cars, but look under the skin and the modifications are readily apparent.
The modifications the OVR rules allow us to make to our cars have created some of the most unique racing machines you will see anywhere. Where period correct gives you set line of parts to use and limited modifications, we allow most any part to be used, and almost any modification. You’ll see cars with 17- and even 18-inch diameter wheels, 13- to 14-inch multipiston four-wheel disc brakes, tubular front suspensions, and rear leaf springs swapped out in favor of swing arms and coil-over systems.
Engines can be modified however you like. Rather than build an old iron engine, you can opt for a modern aluminum block, or just swap on a set of aftermarket aluminum heads, or buy a crate engine from nearly any supplier and drop it in. You want to run a modern EFI system? Go for it, throttle body or multi port injection is fine within the OVR rules. LS and Coyote engines are not a problem, either, and there is no cubic-inch limit. It’s almost like the Can Am days of old, when you could run what you brung.
Our choice of transmissions is whatever you want to run, whether it’s a standard OEM four speed, later-model five speed, or an aftermarket gear box. It doesn’t matter. It’s your choice.
The power-to-weight rules really work well to even out the classes, although we do have several bump rules, such as wheel widths, to keep the cars even. This rule is in place for several reasons. One is so owners are not required to cut up their car’s body just to keep pace with someone running much wider rims and tires, which would be a competitive advantage. The driver with the advantage would get bumped into the next class. He may have a handling advantage, but he would now be lower on horsepower in his new class, keeping him even with those cars in his new class that have more horsepower, but narrower rims and tires. In the end, though, he was allowed to modify his car to his choosing.
Other bump rules pertain to aerodynamics. We do like to maintain a certain vintage appearance, but we do not want to restrict those who would prefer to run such things as air dams, or a tall rear pedestal wing. The rear wing is a distinct competitive advantage, so that would get the car bumped into the next higher class. Again, they get to build the car to their choosing, but they also have a class that has cars setting equal lap times within it. So far these simple rules seem to be working well, and the past couple of seasons the racing has been equal and exciting.
During the 2013 season, things have really taken off, with multicar fields in the V1 and V2 classes at nearly every event. The racing not only has been good for the drivers, but now spectators are beginning to come by to tell us it is some of the best grassroots racing they have ever seen. And who doesn’t feel a touch of nostalgia seeing vintage cars racing each other on any road race track, banging out gears and swapping the lead multiple times a lap while racing within run groups of cars 30 to 40 years newer? It is quite a contrast of eras watching one of our races. The lap times of OVR cars are on par with some of the other classes. It just takes some modifications to get the Vintage cars lap times in line with modern technology.
We also have V3 and V4 classes, which have higher power to weight ratios. This is primarily for smaller, lighter or lower horsepower race cars. We have had cars like a four-cylinder Datsun 200SX run well in this class, along with Triumphs and MGs coming to compete, as well as lower-horsepower vintage pony cars. The V3 and V4 class cars can still be modified to the owner’s liking by providing them with a format to compete against similar vintage cars while also being equal in lap times to the modern cars within their run group. This way no one gets run over on track by being out-classed.
One of the most exciting things to happen lately is the inquiries we’ve been getting from all over the country asking about Outlaw Vintage Racing. Unfortunately, I must tell them that at least for now it is a NASA Southeast regional series only. However, we have had a couple of other NASA regional directors begin asking questions about how we operate the OVR classes, so just as in the beginning, we are hopeful that this new class of vintage racing will take hold nationwide and become a national race series.
Until then, we in the Southeast Region will continue to enjoy one of the most unique forms of vintage auto racing anywhere in the country, and with some of the fastest and coolest cars you’ll find on any race track anywhere. But, the ultimate goal is to get a large group of OVR cars together to compete at the NASA Nationals.
We welcome anyone to come check us out. Whether you are a racer, car builder or just a fan of cool vintage cars, we’re open and up front about all our rules, so come see for yourself what Outlaw Vintage Racing is all about, where the cars truly are in a class of their own.
For more information, visit: www.outlaw-vintage-racing.com
Keith Campbell and his son Kyle recently joined the NASA Southeast and are campaigning a pair of vintage Ford Mustangs in Outlaw Vintage Racing.
Their affinity for Mustangs goes a way back. Father and son both got their driver licenses in the same 1965 Mustang, albeit 42 years apart, as did Kyle’s younger sister Kerri. That Mustang is still sitting in Keith’s basement and has a lot to do with his lifelong interest in all things fast.
Kyle has raced an Acura Integra in other organizations to a few wins and several podiums. He also road raced motorcycles on his dad’s team for several years. But after a bad fall at Daytona, Kyle decided to give up bikes for good.
Kyle is now looking forward to competing with the “old man” in one of their two Hourglass Racing Mustangs. After racing the Acura, he now says the rear-wheel-drive vintage car is much more fun on track than the modern Integra.
“You’re more involved than in the front-drive cars, and I never realized how much fun it would be to race a car that is 15 years older than I am,” he said.
Kyle’s steed is a silver 1966 Coupe. It sports a 331 stroker engine, a five-speed transmission, 17-inch wheels, 13-inch Baer brakes and a few aero mods.
Keith began racing in 1968 in stock cars at local dirt tracks around the North Georgia area. He also road raced motorcycles at tracks all over the country until age 60, when he realized, “I don’t bounce as well as I once did,” and the rehabs after the inevitable injuries were getting harder and longer.
Still looking to race, but without breaking bones, he went back to stock cars, this time on asphalt circle tracks. But then, like so many others, he was bitten by the vintage bug after attending “The Mitty” at Road Atlanta a couple of years ago.
Keith now races a white 1965 fastback built by a Ford dealer in California who did some road racing in Mexico with it. Keith has done some aero modifications on it as well, but not much else has been changed thus far. It runs a stroked 427 Windsor block Ford, a Jerico four-speed and Wilwood brakes inside 17-inch wheels.
This father and son duo, together with their pair of vintage Mustangs, are now enjoying tack time together running NASA Southeast events. Will sister Kerri be far behind?