STICK-SHIFTED PINTO: NO RIDE LIKE THIS WHOA RIDE
It’s not fast, but it’s slow.
Ellis Buth has heard all the jokes, and while they might be good for a chuckle, he’s all business when he pulls his 113 horsepower 1976 Pinto to the starting line.
Buth runs W/Stock with his 140-cubic inch gear-jammer with inspiration from his brother.
“My brother started with an automatic Pinto and he found this Pinto and we decided to go with a stick shift,” Buth explained.
Buth ran 15.68s in Friday’s qualifying at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, an impressive but unqualified -.718 under the 16.80 index. Rarely does Buth start first once eliminations begin.
“When they’re coming at you 80 or 90 miles an hour faster than you’re going, its makes you wonder,” Buth admitted.
In Stock Eliminator the name of the game isn’t in being the quickest and fastest - it’s who can master their index the best.
“You’ve got to be under the index especially at this race to qualify,” Buth said. “At a divisional level you just have to be under the index and that’s it. But here you’ve got to be way under.”
Being the slower car does have both its advantages and disadvantages.
“You do get to leave first,” Buth explained. “The other guy has to wait. Other than that, I don’t know that we have a whole lot of advantage. Just that we get the chance to make a mistake first and then the other guy has to wait.”
Let the record reflect, Buth has doled out a head start before.
“There’s a few front-wheel-drive cars that are just a touch slower than me,” Buth said with a smile.
The best thing about the old Pinto?
“It does get a lot of attention,” Buth said. “They must have sold a million of them because everybody had one.”