The So Cal .5 Pro Lite Series was created after the NMCA announced their West Series was not returning. To give the people a place to race, Steve Cox and Dan Marciano created the So Cal .5 Pro Lite Series.
In October of 2017, the NMCA announced their NMCA West Series was not returning to Southern California after after six seasons of racing. This left a number of Southern California drag racers without much choice for bracket racing. So, Steve Cox and Dan Marciano decided to do something about it.
After the news broke, Steve and Dan looked at the classes which had the best car counts and support throughout the years. They discovered the .5 Pro Light classes had the best support from the racers and decided to make a big leap and start their own series for these racers.
Steve and Dan met with Auto Club Fontana Dragway management and received the go ahead for a six-race series in 2018. The new series was named the So Cal .5 Pro Lite Series. The guys got a bunch of good companies on board as series sponsors and partners, set up a Facebook page, a website, wrote the rules and got ready to race at the series debut on April 5, 2018.
“One feature that we really like about the So Cal .5 Pro Lite series is that the rules are designed to take bracket racing back to where it all started,” Steve Cox stated. “With door car drivers who have to rely on their reactions, skill and wits instead of on electronics and techno-wizardry.”
Every car in the series must have operating doors. No dragsters, altereds, roadsters, or motorcycles are allowed. Trans brakes and 2-3 step rev-limiters are allowed, but no delay boxes, electronic throttle stops, crossover boxes or any other reaction time aids are allowed.
With a half-second pro light, the drivers must react and go, just like the professionals do.
“The difference from the .4 pro light and So Cal’s .5 light allows for the average bracket racer to afford a car for the series,” Cox said. “In our experience, it takes a lot more money to build a car that can cut close to a perfect .4 light than one than can do it on a .5 light.”
For the first race, Steve and Dan were blown away when 23 racers showed up. This was a great turnout for a brand-new series with only one class. For the six races in 2018, that racers had a lot of fun and there was some seriously competitive racing.
For 2019, the series will move up to six races with two classes, the original being the .5 Pro light and a new .500 Sportsman light class.
“We had a successful 2019 with 14 sponsors on board,” Cox stated. “We currently have 12 marketing partners with a few still in the works for 2020.”
The 2020 season will have just the Pro Lite class with a Top 8 shootout and a new for 2020 Race of Champions. The ROC will include the past three champions and the current 2020 points leader. The winner will receive $1,000 and a special trophy.
The first event is set for February 15, 2020.
About the author: Megan Strassweg is a 22 year old Super Comp racer from Louisville, Kentucky. She races a 2015 American Dragster sponsored by Coolshirt Systems. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May of 2020 with a degree in Photojournalism and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Megan works at Jim Butner Auto in the Finance Department. Growing up at the racetrack, drag racing is all she has known and never plans to give up on it.