Ontario Street Outlaws - Grudge - The Quickest Growing Racing League
Ontatio Street Outlaws (OSO) is the brainchild of Paul and Marisa Norris. A legal way to race, as if you were on the street. Unlike traditional bracket racing, and like an arm drop, the starting "tree" at the track uses a random instant green to start the race. Both cars stage and at a random moment - the green light appears. No countdown lights are used. This helps eliminate people timing the start and using other mechanical methods (delay boxes for example) to potentially cheat/assist their reaction time, which can be especially critical on instant green "Grudge" races.
The rest is even easier, the first person to reach the end of the 1/4 mile wins, with no speed or ET (elapsed time) shown. The reason for no times? Because this is known as Grudge racing. No one tells anyone else how quick and fast their cars are. In fact, in some Grudge leagues, you can be kicked out of the organization for showing your timeslips/sharing your cars ET and MPH. The idea is to "run what you brung", line them up, and both have an equal start to see who's car is quicker to the 1/4 mile towers.
This is as close to an arm drop race as you can get and it is popular and growing, starting in the United States, particularly on TV with the "Street Outlaw" series. In Canada, the Norris series has also been growing at an incredible rate.
So much so that the OSO FB page has nearly four thousand members.
For the largest part of the series, each person represents their area code; with some groups much larger than others. As of this writing, the 905 is by far the most dominant area code with up to three times the cars as others. As the series continues to grow however, some of the smaller area codes have grown considerably, making each division more challenging every season. In the end - there can only be one - so the quickest cars of each division face off to be crowned the OSO King of the Streets. To be in the area code (List) divisions, your car must be street legal and insured - thus the "street" in Ontario Street Outlaws. Unlimited; anything goes. Adding to the fun are "call outs" - where you can call out the person above you on your area codes list (and even those not on your list) - for a real street racing feel.
There are critics of this series of course. Those that would identify as "hard core" racers, on the street or otherwise. They can complain that taking a "Street Outlaw" series to the track is an oxy moron, and don't understand why people wouldn't just race on the street, or just stick to bracket racing.
The answer of course is that most of those involved in this series and Grudge racing in general have been around the racing game for a long time and "have been there, done that" - from street to bracket racing. They are passionate car people, who have invested small to sometimes large sums of money and time just to enjoy the sport and car enthusiam they have had for decades. Very few, if any, are sponsored. Most are just happy to have a place to race. Some are even able to share this passion with their children, who are now old enough to race themselves, or at least come out and support their parent.
Although some of the detractors will behave like professional racers, the truth is, almost no one actually is. Just like any sport, some people can take it very seriously, with many arguments over rules and just the general throwing of shade their opponents way. That said, "trash talking" is very much a part of the racing culture, especially in grudge racing. As long as you don't take anything too seriously, it can actually be a lot of fun.
In the end, what everyone wants to do is have a safe and fun place to run their cars, from the simplest builds (found in the "Recruit Class") to those running near professional level setups found in the Unlimited and Extreme Unlimited Classes.
Racing your car full out in a relatively safe environment; with fire and ambulance onsite as well as a professional track crew, and being surronded by like minded car enthusiasts and those who are just crazy for racing and modding, makes for a very fun day. I believe it is fair to say that the OSO league has helped to revive drag racing in Ontario, no matter what the opinion on it may be. People are excited to build their cars and get back into the drivers seat for each new season. It also helps people keep their racing needs off the streets.
Beyond taking part in it, I will be covering the 2018 OSO Season with many stories, videos and commentary of the multiple events, highlighting the Teams, the cars and the people who drive them, right here on CarNRacer.
So Stay Tuned for much more upcoming coverage of the Ontario Street Outlaws Grudge League!