Michael Galimi
September 1, 2007
Contributers: Frank Cicerale Photos By: Steve Baur, Frank Cicerale
Nick Owens goes sky high with his New Edge Mustang as the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial tires dig into the starting line at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Owens owned the ProCharger Drag Radial class as his turbocharged Stang blistered high-seven-second runs.

A decade of decadence has passed as World Ford Challenge celebrated the 10th running of the annual Ford event, sponsored by Mobil 1. Super-promoter George Gonzales switched venues for 2007 and brought his wild show to the mecca of motorsports known simply as Indy. The O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis is host to the most prestigious drag race in the world-the NHRA U.S. Nationals-and now it's the home of World Ford Challenge. The switch in racing facilities has allowed racers the chance to do battle on what is considered the hallowed ground of drag racing.

Since day one, Gonzales has always dazzled the racers and fans with outstanding payouts, and this year was no exception. WFC officials guaranteed big bucks in Pro Mod 5.0 where the winner walked away with $40,000 in stone-cold cash. The Edelbrock Street Outlaw and Vortech Pro Outlaw categories awarded each king of the hill with a $10,000 payday, while the Outlaw Drag Radial champion pocketed $5,000. Nitto Wild Street rewarded the winner of the open road with a cool $3,000. In addition to those heads-up classes, the pits were packed with a variety of Open Comp-style categories, truck-specific racing classes, and the usual assortment of bracket showdown eliminators.

Pro Mod 5.0 is the headliner at WFC, and we have watched this class progress from the 7.90 range in 1998 (WFC 1) down to the 6.30s turned in by this year's champion, Chuck Samuel. Evolution has helped push the competitors from basic back-half cars to full-on Pro Stock and Pro Modified-style efforts in less than 10 years. Variety is apparent in the pits as racers utilize twin-turbocharged and supercharged small-blocks, IHRA Pro Stock engines, and big-block Fords on nitrous to push their Ford entries deep into the 6-second zone with blistering speeds as high as 224 mph. The Pro Mod 5.0 field represents the ultimate in doorslammer racing as the Mustangs battled with Escorts, Cougars, and other Ford-bodied cars. In the end, Samuel came out on top of the field packed with IHRA Pro Stocks, Pro Mod rides, and Pro 5.0 racers. He fired off a 6.36 at 224 mph in the final to nail down his second WFC class title for team owner Kevin Marsh.

Vortech Pro Outlaw is every bit as wild as Pro Mod 5.0 and allows virtually any Ford powerplant under the hood. The handicap comes in the form of chassis and tire restrictions along with higher minimum weights. Pro Outlaw mimics the wildly popular Outlaw 10.5 scene-the upper echelon of the street-legal drag racing segment that is so popular across the United States and Canada. Competitors run back-half chassis combinations and roll on 33x10.5W slicks.

The talk of Pro Outlaw was Billy Glidden and his newly revamped Mustang. He was the lone nitrous car in a field full of turbocharged entries. Glidden pocketed the cash as he rolled to a stellar 6.90 at 202 mph, winning over Ed Rice.

Edelbrock was back in 2007 to sponsor the Street Outlaw racers who competed on tiny 28x10.5-inch slicks. No "W" tires are allowed, and the 28x10.5 size is as measured-but don't let the size trick you. The top runners were in the 7.40s at speeds well over 190 mph. Sam Vincent dominated the field of nitrous, blown, and turbocharged competitors. His lightweight notchback Mustang was flawless, and he took out Travis Franklin in the final round with a 7.47.

Outlaw Drag Radial racing is not for the faint of heart as racers stuff 2,000hp engines under the hood and run on DOT-legal drag radial tires and stock suspensions. ProCharger posted the big bucks for these radical radial runners.