By Mary Lendzion
While Paul Smith was competing in the Cheap Street category in the early 2000s, he was intrigued by and interested in NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street.
He was attracted to the cars and the close competition, and after careful consideration, he and his father, George Smith, began preparing his Camaro for the eye-catching category at their shop, S and S Race Cars, in Kentucky.
They installed a 12-point rollcage, and replaced stock suspension with a four-link set-up, fabricated a K-member and rear-end housing, and put under the hood of the car a nitrous-enhanced small-block Chevrolet which they built. Then, Smith made his NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street debut in 2012.
“Unfortunately, we only made one Xtreme Street race before we hurt the engine, so that, coupled with life events like getting married and having children, put an end to racing for a while,” said Smith.
He returned to NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street in 2017, and after ramping up his efforts, including attending more and more events on the series’ six-event annual tour, he had what he considers to be his most successful season in the category in 2019. He went as quick as 4.75 in the eighth-mile, rocketed to his first runner-up finish at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Dragway at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois last July and finished seventh in points in his car with a nitrous-enhanced 450 cubic-inch stock valve angle small-block Chevrolet which he and his father built on a Dart Iron Eagle block and topped with All Pro raised-runner 23-degree heads and backed with a Turbo 400 transmission.
“The highlight of 2019 was definitely the runner-up finish against Mike Thompson at the race at Route 66 Raceway,” said Smith. “Part of that is because we went through so much to get to the final round that weekend. We were going through pushrods left and right that weekend. We would get two runs in and then have to replace them.”
As fall turned to winter, Smith, set on putting down even more power and even more passes in 2020, turned his engine block over to Phillip Oakley of Oakley Motorsports to be honed. Then, he and his father rebuilt his engine.
“My engine had been together for 50 runs without us doing anything to it last year, so it was time for a freshen-up,” said Smith, who added that his block wasn’t honed enough to require an increase in displacement.
Smith and his father also opted to replace the intake that was on top of the engine with a Mopar 420 intake.
“Changing the intake required adding adapter plates and a valley pan so that it would adapt to my Chevrolet engine,” said Smith. “Having the Mopar 420 intake will help us balance the fuel distribution to each cylinder, so we won’t have to run as much individual cylinder timing, which means we won’t have to take power away from some cylinders in order to balance the rest of them.”
To pair the new intake with his existing fogger nitrous system and BLP carburetor, Smith relied on Paul Klyczek of PKRE in Florida to handle reflowing and plumbing.
“PKRE blueprinted it and made it the best that it can be,” said Smith, who also competes in Ultra Street.
To be sure that his Turbo 400 transmission was in tiptop shape, he sent it to RPM Transmissions to be upgraded.
“We’re shooting for consistent low 4.70s and occasional high 4.60s,” said Smith, whose car rolls on Mickey Thompson 275 drag radials. “We think that would put us where we need to be. We’re also shooting for our first win in Edelbrock Xtreme Street.”
While Smith missed the first NMCA event of the year, the18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, he’s counting the days, hours and even the minutes until he can head to the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by HPJ Performance, May 28-31, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
“This will be my first race of the year, and I can’t wait,” said Smith, whose crew includes his father, George Smith, and uncle, Mike Smith. “I love racing in Edelbrock Xtreme Street. Everyone in the category would help you however they could off-track, but they’re as competitive as can be on-track, and that’s one of the things that makes it so great.”