Outlaw 8.5 racing is nothing new, but now that the NMCA WEST series and the other west coast series are all incorporating the wild, tiny tire heads-up class, I’m expecting we’ll see resurgence in this wicked 8th mile category. Think of Outlaw 8.5 as a “Mini-Outlaw 10.5,” where instead of the 10.5W slick tire under your car, like in O/L, a 26 x 8.5-inch slick is required and being that this class is ran in an 8th mile format, it makes for some very exciting door-to-door battles between a wide variety of combinations. From stock suspension to four links, big to small-blocks, nitrous to superchargers, this class can cater to nearly any combination….as long as you have the balls to run on a tire that’s only about 9-inches wide. The typical elapsed times for Outlaw 8.5 range anywhere from 5.80s to 5.20s, with the quicker racers like former NMRA stalwart Trace Meyer running 5-teens on a Mickey Thompson slick and there are even some rumors that a racer named Vern House actually broke into the 4-second zone with his IROC Camaro back in the day.
With the 2012 season starting, the unofficial title of “baddest dude on the smallest tire” is up for grabs right now, and with how close the racing is due to the limited traction and halved track, I’m looking forward to seeing who rises to the top by the end of the season. Potentially we could see three different Outlaw 8.5 champions on the west coast, WCHRA, PSCA and NMCA WEST. The quickest anyone has gone in competition so far in 2012 has been DJ Reid, who recently ran a string of 5.2X passes to take his first win and the PSCA season opener with his supercharged combination. Veteran nitrous racers like Mark Washington and Gary Brandt will be gunning for DJ this season, and with rumors of a wild turbocharged car coming out in ’12, this class will be an exciting one to follow this season.
Over the years I have compiled a whole bunch of pics of O8.5 rides, and for those that think the small rear tires just look silly, don’t worry, the look grows on you – especially after you see how these cars perform. Check out some of the links below to see how these cars run and also be sure to check out the gallery I have posted at the end of this article.
If you have never seen these cars run, check out the link below from 2009.