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16th World Street Nationals • October 31 - November 2, 2008

story by Aaron Green, photos by Michael B. Kelly

Once again for the 2008 Halloween weekend racers and fans came from all over North America, along with some race fans who came from overseas, for Orlando Speed World Dragway’s annual barn-burner, the 2008 edition of the World Street Nationals. The 2008 race turned out to be the largest race in the 42 year history of the Orlando race track.

At the annual World Street Nationals you never know what you might see, as a wide variety of racing machines showed up. It seems everyone has “an idea on how to build a better mouse trap”, in an attempt to win the World Street Nationals trophy and big prize money in their class. This year’s Orlando event offered over $100,000 in prize money and awards to the best of the best on the fast street car scene. It’s easy to see why everybody wants to win the “Big One” at Orlando!

Following an incredible weekend of qualifying and racing action on the lightning quick Orlando quarter mile the winners were as follows: Mike “Hit Man” Hill of Lithonia, Georgia in Super Pro Street. Hill ran a 6.38 elapsed time, at 220 miles per hour to take his thundering 1963 Corvette to victory over runner up Vinny Budano of Hicksville, New York in his 1968 Camaro. Budano clocked in with his worst run of eliminations at an early shut off 7.61 at 128 m.p.h. for runner up. Budano was the #1 qualifier for Super Pro Street with a 6.36 blast during the qualifying rounds.

In the always popular Outlaw 10.5 class the winner came from Lehigh Acres, Florida, in the form of Bill Futch with his 2002 Camaro. Futch made his move from the #3 qualifying spot to the victory, using a 6.85 at 198 miles per hour to defeat Clarksville, Maryland racer Chuck Ulsch in his 2002 Camaro in the final. Ulsch had qualified #1 (6.55 e.t.) in Outlaw 10.5 early in the race, but shut down to a slowing 8.04 at 129 m.p.h. as the runner up in the final round.

The “Heavy Hitters” came into town for some heavyweight action in Heavy Street and the final saw both cars in the mid seven second zone. Scott Husted took the Heavy Street Champion’s trophy home to Safety Harbor, Florida when his 1969 Camaro produced a final round winning 7.47 at 194 miles per hour. Not bad numbers in a class where all race cars must weigh at least 3,500 pounds minimum! The runner up was Ellettsville, Indiana based Michael Hupp in his 1980 Malibu which turned a final round 7.63, with a speed of 184 miles per hour. Number One qualifier was Kenny Doak racing out of his hometown of Pipersville, Pennsylvania. Doak’s 1969 Camaro ripped to a 7.22 elapsed time to be at the top of the heap at the end of qualifying.

Drag Radial provided the huge World Street Nationals crowd with lots of wild racing! Paul Major of Fort Salonga, West Virginia proved to be the man to beat in eliminations after his 2001 Corvette had qualified #1 in Drag Radial at 7.33 with a speed of 208 miles per hour. In the final round Major’s Corvette stormed to a 7.44 elapsed time at 202 miles an hour to easily cover runner up Scott Bitzer of Hughesville, Maryland. Bitzer could only come up with an early shutoff 10.97 at 82 m.p.h. in the final with his 1981 Malibu.

The 2008 Orlando World Street Nationals proved to be fantastic! Which of course was good news race fans! Orlando Speed World Dragway is going to do it all over again in 2009. Mark you calendars for Halloween weekend and forget about trick or treat, come on out to the biggest, baddest, double throw down drag race of the year for fast street cars - the annual World Street Nationals at Orlando! CN