No Prep races gather some of the fastest race cars from around the country, and the events often have large single payout, winner-take-all pots. This has quickly grown the popularity of these events with both participants and fans alike. Some racers and their cars have even grown to celebrity status, being instantly recognizable to fans and enthusiasts around the country.
In the world of No Prep racing, there may not be a more feared competitor to line up next to than James Finney, also known as "Birdman". Hailing from Texas, Birdman's twin-turbocharged Firebird has a history of flying away from those that line up next to him. His car is ultra-light, ultra consistent, and very fast.
It is for that reason that those in attendance at Galot Motorsports Park (and later the entire internet) were stunned into silence when witnessing the final race of the North Carolina No Prep Kings event. On that day, when Birdman lined up against the Vortech V-30 128A Supercharged Chevy Nova of "California" Chris Poncia, the one flying away with the win would actually be Cali Chris.
Faced with the reputation of the driver in the lane next to him, plus a potential $40,000 payday on the line, Cali Chris gambled by what is called "guessing on the light". This is the practice of anticipating when the green light would come on (running the risk of going early and being disqualified), rather than waiting to leave until after the green light is clearly visible.
With Poncia guessing correctly on the light, coupled with the power of his Vortech Supercharged Steve Morris-built Big Block engine setup, Birdman quickly found himself 2 car lengths behind and desperate to catch Chris' orange Nova. However, no "scramble button" would save Birdman in that contest, and at the finish line it was Poncia's Vortech Supercharged power taking the victory and the sizable payday.
The win has since lit the internet on fire, and helped slingshot Cali Chris into the spotlight of Street Outlaws fame. Birdman took to Facebook himself after the race, clearly upset with the loss, stating “We were clearly the fastest on the property." and attempted to explain away the loss by admitting "The dude got a huge advantage on the tree and I just couldn’t catch him.” However, we know that a win is a win and, massive upset or not, Birdman lost the race and was clearly not the "fastest on the property" that day.
Although this may be the first, it most certainly will not be the last you hear about "California" Chris Poncia and his Vortech Supercharged Chevy. Keep an eye out for more victorious upsets on future episodes of the wildly popular Street Outlaws program on the Discovery Network, and at No Prep race events near you.
Video credit National No Prep Racing Association