Words by Andrew Wolf
Bob Curran doesn’t always win championships, but when he does, he dominates.
The veteran street legal drag racing star affectionately known as SpongeBob capped off what was already a dominating season with a crushing performance at the season-ending NMCA World Street Finals in Indianapolis, doing everything one could do but win the final event of the year.
Curran won in Georgia, Chicago, Bowling Green, and Norwalk — every race he attended in 2013 — and entered the final event at the Lucas Oil Raceway with a virtual lock on the Xtreme Street championship in his familiar Strange Engineering-backed Corvette.
During Friday morning’s test and tune session at Indy, Curran unleashed a stunning 7.69 at 183.72 mph, which was more than a tenth of a second under the existing national record elapsed time of 7.80, which he’d set one race prior in Norwalk. Proving the numbers were the real deal, Curran came back around in the first session of qualifying and fired off a 7.661 at 183.82 mph with his Vortech-blown combination to put a couple of tenths on the field. Curran had a bracket car on race day in three of the four rounds, running a career-best 7.63 in round one, a quicker 7.62 in a round two defeat of Phil Smith that officially sealed his third NMCA title, and a sensational 7.61 in the semifinals. The only blemish on the weekend came in the final round, when Curran slowed from his torrid pace, allowing Steve Wardlow to sneak by for the win.
Curran relies on Hughes Performance drivetrain components to power his Corvette to such stout numbers, with their Pro Series Powerglide transmission (with a Pro Mod option) and a Heads-Up Radial Tire Series billet torque converter moving all the grunt from the Automotive Engine Specialities-built, supercharged LSX powerplant to the 10.5-inch tires out back.
2013 was Curran’s first season using Hughes Performance products, and an impressive season it was for the Bartlett, Ill. native.