Types of Street Racing Cars
Joe's out tonight. So are a few other heavies, mainly that kid from Royal Oak with the Challenger—a goddamn pro stocker sitting right here in the parking lot of the Nugget Restaurant—and everybody is milling around, waiting, fantasizing, vibrating with anticipation over the moment when Joe will get into his sinewy little silver Mustang II and head out onto I-696 to run that Mopar. By God, they're going to do it; they've got to do it, for the sake of the guys who've driven in from all over Detroit, all the guys who are prepared to stand around for most of the night in the parking lot of the Nugget dealing with the central subject of their lives: the preservation and prosperity of that uniquely American brand of automotive anarchy, street racing. Joe has got to run that Mopar. He is The Man; he is maybe the king of the street racers, and it is clear that he did not drive out to the Nugget parking lot to stand around and take the night air in Farmington, Michigan.
"Sure, I'll run him, " Joe Ruggirello says, dragging confidently on a long cigar. The heavies in street racing tend to smoke cigars, hanging around their cars in clots with monster panatellas poking out of their faces. Actually, Joe doesn't look too crazy. He's slight, round-shouldered and somewhere in his mid-30s. His hair is neatly trimmed, and he is wearing a suburbanite's light yellow windbreaker—hardly what you'd expect to see hanging on the shoulders of a confirmed highway crazy.
"The guy says he can't run, " Joe complains, his voice edged with disdain as he gestures the panatella toward the Mopar, which is surrounded by legions of youthful, slack-jawed spectators. "The guy brings that thing out here and parks it. He comes all the way out here and tells me something is busted on the suspension and he can't run. Why the hell does he bother, except maybe he likes all that attention?"
"If it doesn't run, chrome it, " announces Morton Genser, who is walking around the parking lot of the Nugget Restaurant looking like maybe he is the promotor of this whole deal—the Bill Graham of the highway crazies! He is wearing a light tan business suit and a cinched-up tie, and his beard-wreathed face is dominated by the gleaming eyes of a messiah. "We are wasting our time. If he can't run that thing, he ought to get out. Hell, his mother probably wants him home by 11 anyway. Does he ever run it? Yes, that is the question. Does he ever run it, or does he just tow it around for people to look at?" Genser is speaking loudly, posing rhetorical questions about the kid with the Mopar, circling the parking lot in tight company with Ruggirello, waving his panatella in disgust.