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Whats a Drag Racing Fan?

 

 

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Renton, Washington
Sunday July 24th 2011

Well, there's always been talk that the grassroots drag racing fan is not representative of average Americans. That none of which I cite above is anything drag racing people care about. They're out of the loop. In fact, the perception is the drag racing fans and horror of horrors, "Nostalgia" drag racing fans are a version of an old Joe Sixpack, grease monkey style. Terrible! Who wants to be associated with that!

With all the latest news stories out there? Drag racing fans don't pay attention to what's going on; they just wait until the next race and bring out the beer and another round for everyone - Yee Haw! Actually there might be a few greasy beer-drinking Joe Sixpacks in the litter and in fact it brings up a point; the fan base is very broad and you're apt to find just about anyone at a drag meet.

So where am I going? Hang with me. Perception is a tough wall to climb. I know. Having talked with several hundred drag racing fans over the years, the perception of what drag racing is compared with reality are two different planets. So many people in business, media or wherever believe drag racing is nothing more than a bunch of uneducated, poor, unseemly, aging louts. Those perceptions couldn't be further from the truth.

The reality is our fans are younger, more educated with more spendable income than just about any other sport! Drag racing is the most diverse motorsport… now, think about this. What sport has every ethnicity and both sexes competing head to head? There's only one - Grassroots Drag Racing. When you add Nostalgia drag racing to the fray, you add even more spendable income. These statistics are even more when you consider Nostalgia drag racing fans are increasing in numbers as the meets last year and this can attest to - in spite of the Recession.

Perceptions can be startling but we, the fans of drag racing already knew this. Maybe we do, maybe we don't know if any of the GOP contenders could be the next President or if the aging Celtics and Lakers have what it takes to get back to the top of the NBA. And is Arnold and Maria's marriage about to be terminated? What will be the result of the havoc wreaked in the south?

The reality is drag racing fans are everyone; they're families, teenagers, kids, baby boomers, grandparents, immigrants, wealthy, poor, students, urbanites, suburbanites and small town folks. So the rest of general public and indeed the media and corporate business need to put away any perceptions and realize drag racing is Americana - even if we do like an occasional beer … or two. In note the media needs to take a second of their time and find out who really sits in the stands and spends on the sport.

 
 

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10 Member High School Students Compete for Championship

 

Philomath, Oregon
Sunday May 1st 2011

Sam McGarry slid behind the wheel of the 1968 Pontiac GTO parked in the auto shop at Philomath High School. She turned the ignition key, and the car roared to life. McGarry lightly tapped the gas pedal and jabbed the brake pedal as she backed the Pontiac out of the shop. She was attempting to line it next to the '72 Chevy Nova and '73 Chevy sidestep pickup already parked outside.

The Philomath High School senior is a bit nervous. The next day, she'll race the car for the first time at the Woodburn Dragstrip. "I'm excited about it," McGarry said. "But I know I'll have butterflies in my stomach on race day and be a nervous wreck." McGarry is a member of Philomath High School's 10-member drag racing team. Its drivers will take to the track for five races through August. The first race was April 23.

Established in 1983, it is vehicle against vehicle at its most basic: Two automobiles line up side-by-side, and then compete to run down a straight quarter-mile course to the finish line. An electric timer, calibrated to a nanosecond, determines which car was the faster. Malcolm Rose, whose son Nicholas is on the team, is a professional automotive expert and founder of the Mid-Valley Auto Association. In addition to being an effective champion for automotive instruction in schools, he serves as the team's mentor. Tom Smith, a former drag racer, lends his expertise to what is one of the few school-sponsored drag racing teams in Oregon.

"Most of the time we race against individual students instead of school teams," Rose said. "There aren't many school-sponsored teams out there." Because the team doesn't receive funding from the school, team members raise money and seek donations. And drag racing isn't cheap. Rose said gas alone costs about $2,000 each season because the team has to transport its cars to Woodburn for practices and races. As a result, the team has to get creative to find the cash to fuel their hobby. For example, team members are repairing two donated automobiles that they hope to sell.

As a valuable benefit to the thrill of racing, team members learn how to maintain and repair vehicles. Oil changes are child's play for them; rebuilding engines is their idea of fun. Most of them are self-proclaimed car aficionados and many of them grew up around mechanics. Nicholas Rose, a senior, said being on the teams offers students a different educational experience."Some of us aren't academic types," Rose said. "We're more of hands-on types. So being on the team allows us to tap into our mechanical sides." Freshman Keith Strawn joined the team even though he won't be eligible to race until he's 16 and can obtain his driver's license.

"My uncle is into drag racing and I have been to a few races, so I already knew quite a bit about cars," Strawn said. "However, I have learned so much more in little bits and pieces." McGarry said the key to a good showing for her first race is timing. If she isn't off-and-running when the light turns green, her racing debut will be disappointing. She has been on the team for two years, waiting for the opportunity to race the Pontiac. She listened closely as Malcolm Rose stressed the importance of a strong start to a good finish. "Consistency is the name of the game," Rose said. " ... Races are decided by one-hundredths of a second.

 
 
 

 

 

Student Turns 18 and Then Turns 176 MPH Same Day

 
 
 
 
Brandon, Florida
Tuesday April 12th 2011

A high school student turns 18 and then turns 176 mph in the same day. Kelsey wanted to give a go fast event a try. "My dad used to race shifter cars, so I grew up at the track," Kelsey said. "I thought it'd be cool to try racing." Fred who raced for about 25 years and is now president of construction company helped his daughter figure out which type of racing would be the best fit.

The two decided on drag racing. Turns out the junior dragster was just the start of a memorable birthday. On March 10, she turned 18 and became the youngest-ever competitor at the Gatornationals, an annual National Hot Rod Association event in Gainesville. "It's the best birthday gift I could have ever possibly asked for," Kelsey said. She's come far in her year as a drag racer. She raced her junior dragster – which topped out at about 85 mph – for about three months but realized she wanted even more speed.

Before committing to buying a Super Comp dragster, Lay attended the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School which featured sessions in Gainesville and Pennsylvania – and earned her competition driver's license with the NHRA. The only condition was that Lay had to find sponsors to help fund her endeavor. Lay Racing – with Fred as president and Kelsey as the sole driver – presently is sponsored by Moe's Southwest Grill, Transitions SOLFX Sunwear and Construction Services, Inc. of Tampa.

Last fall, Lay began competing in NHRA events across Florida and the rest of the Southeast, including Georgia and North Carolina. She said her top speed so far is 176 mph. She has gained an entirely new appreciation for the sport. "I used to wonder why anyone would want to go in a straight line for about two seconds," Lay said. "Now I know how tough the competition is and how much there is to think about with the car.

She competed in a March 10 time trial at the Gatornationals but lost her race the following day by 0.03. "The people with the Gatornationals and NHRA were great in helping make it possible for Kelsey to compete since she didn't turn 18 until the day of the event," Fred said. "Qualifying was a great honor, and it was a fantastic experience for all of us."

 

 
 

 

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The Secret Is Out On Street Fights

 

Bristol Dragway Street Fights

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Bristol, TN
Monday April 4th 2011

 
Drag Race Lovers, a delightful scene at Bristol Dragway Saturday was a sight to behold.
There were powerful muscle cars, fast imports, rugged diesel trucks, modified family cars, exotic street bikes and even an electric car. Welcome to the Fas Mart Street Fights, where anyone can race a street-legal vehicle for just $10.00. “You can see everything in the world out here,” said Larry, a longtime Bristol Dragway sportsman competitor from Elizabethton, Tennessee.
 
The Street Fights is very much a family affair. High school and college students compete against their classmates, while husbands run against their wives and kids. With no prize money or trophy at stake, the atmosphere is low-key. Participants run solely for the sheer joy of competition. After weeks of good-natured bragging, racers and mechanics can settle their arguments on the track in head-to-head showdowns. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the stressful, corporate-driven worlds of National Hot Rod Association and NASCAR.
 
“It’s great to see how this program has grown. I love everything about it,” said Larry, who has also competed in the high-profile Pinks event at Bristol Dragway. The Street Fights will continue through October, with most of the programs held on Thursday night. Other events on the crowded Bristol Dragway this season will include the Super Chevy Show, Mopar Thunder, the Thunder Valley Dragbike Shootout and the Thompson Metal Monster Truck Madness.
 
In terms of diversity and grassroots drag racing appeal, few events in the Mountain Empire can rival the Street Fights. “It’s a good time,” Larry said.
 
More information and be found at http://www.bristolstreetfights.com/

 

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4000 Supporters Want Drag Strip To Boost Economy

 

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Tuesday March 22nd 2011

Drag Racing supporters told a Indiana's News Station in Fort Wayne, that leaders should build a quarter mile dragstrip to boost the city economy. They believe if the city owned the drag strip, the city could lease it and make their money back with local and national events. Supporters also believe the dragstrip would bring in tourism dollars and be the catalyst for new small-businesses near the track area. The city has a legacy fund of 78 million an deciding want is best for the city. Some fans gave thought and they quoted saying:

"I think the dragstrip would be a great idea for both the city of Fort Wayne and also all the car enthusiasts that surround the area," typed Mark from Fort Jennings, Ohio, to Indiana's News Station".

"We've had Baer Field Raceway for years, so why not a dragstrip?," typed Tina from Fort Wayne.

"A dragstrip in Fort Wayne would be a no brainer. I still drag race and would visit often," typed a Fort Wayne Native named Charles, who currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Please build a dragstrip to give us more places to go," wrote Cathy from Wabash, Indiana.

"There are more people into Motorsports in the area than people realize. I hope Fort Wayne thinks real hard about this project," shared Steve from Pierceton, Indiana.

Meanwhile, voting at feedbackfortwayne.org ends this month. The Legacy Task Force will go over those community submitted ideas and group proposal in April, May and June. The Task Force is expected to give Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry their recommendations in June or July. Mayor Henry is expected to share initial decision for part of the $78 million legacy fund in the fall of 2011. We will have to wait and see as the supports are gathering to let there voices be heard in fall.

 

 

 

Nascar Star Kurt Busch Takes No Weekend off

 

Kurt Busch Dodge Drag Car

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Gainesville, Florida
Sunday March 13th 2011

 

Kurt Busch celebrated a slim defeat in his professional drag-racing debut on Sunday, different then a Sunday Nascar race. Kurt Busch was a rookie in his first pro event, facing a experinced veteran and merely trying to have some fun during NASCAR's open weekend.

"This was a weekend that I'll never forget," Busch said. Erica Enders edged Busch by half a car length on the quarter-mile drag strip. Enders, the No. 5 seed, covered the distance in 6.538 seconds. The 12th-seeded Busch crossed the finish line in 6.541 seconds.

Kurt Busch had the fifth-fastest time in the opening round _ good enough to beat most of the field. It also turned out to be his best run ever, better than any of his 50 testing passes, better than his four qualifying efforts and better than anyone expected. "We just came up short," Busch said. Had the 2004 Sprint Cup champion been at a NASCAR event Sunday, he would have jumped on his private jet and been home in a few hours. Instead, he stuck around Gainesville Raceway to experience the event.

Busch made his NHRA debut last year in Gainesville. He entered his 1970 Dodge Challenger in the Sportsman division, but got only two passes over four days because of heavy rain. Despite his lack of experience, Busch decided to turn pro. He got backing from Dodge and his NASCAR sponsors, then rented a car from Pro Stock veteran Allen Johnson.

His pro debut got off to a slow start. Busch had two error-filled qualifying runs Friday, but rebounded with two solid passes Saturday and made the show. His elimination race was one of the closest of the day, with Enders beating Busch off the line and then holding him off near the finish. "People just don't get in these cars and do well," said Enders, who's been racing for seven years in Pro Stock. "What he did, I think that speaks volumes for how good a driver he really is. You see people work years and years and years and not be able to do this."

Busch's endeavor might just be getting started, too. He will take the dragster back to his shop in Charlotte and will spend the next few months deciding whether to enter the NHRA event in Denver in July, the only other race than coincides with an off weekend for Sprint Cup.

It also remains to be seen what Busch's appearance will do for NHRA or the sport's third-tier series. Enders said it was a shame that the Pro Stock division typically got five minutes of attention during a two-hour telecast. "It's just good for our sport and our fans," said 15-time Funny Car series champion John Force. "That little girl did her job and he did his. It's really cool to have the NASCAR kid here." Busch was grateful for the opportunity.

 

 

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Come Walk With Drag Racing Legends

 

The Great Don Garlits

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Concord, North Carolina
Monday February 28th 2011

Some luck fans got to Come walk with Kenny Bernstein, Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta and Shirley Muldowney and have the honor to be around the greats of grassroots drag racing. Anyone who purchases a grandstand ticket on April 17th race at Concord’s Z-Max Dragway got to walk down the four-lane concrete drag strip with some of the biggest names in the motorsport’s history.

This year it is NHRA 60th anniversary and wanted to honor and share the men and women who help made the sport we all enjoy today. Fans felt be a part of history that not only will be shared, but that it was felt.

 

 

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New Index Classes Added to Division 2 Lucas Oil Events

NHRA Lucas Oil

 

 

Bradenton, Florida
Monday February 7th 2011

The 2011 Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events will feature an addition of three  select "index" classes to the program.  All three index classes will be running for the coveted Wally trophy and will be collecting points toward the 2011 Division 2 Championship title.

Rules will parallel the popular NHRA Unleashed program. Deep staging is allowed in all index classes. Courtesy staging is not required. The Tree is in Autostart mode, and will not be held to allow extra time to deep stage. Index classes will be laddered on a Sportsman ladder beginning 1st round.

Index classes will be run on a Pro Tree.

Delay boxes and/or timed throttle stops prohibited. Mechanical type throttle stops permitted. Any adjustment during the run prohibited. Timers of any kind associated with, but not limited to, fuel and/or nitrous delivery, throttle control, vehicle performance criteria, etc. are strictly prohibited. Transmission brake and two-steps are permitted.

Entry fee for each of the 10.0, 11.0, and 12.0 Index classes is $100 with the winner taking home $1,000.  The runner-up will receive $400.  And semi-finalists will collect $200.  In accordance with the current NHRA rulebook, a competition license is not required to participate in these classes.  However, in order to earn points and be in contention for a 2011 Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Championship title participants must have a current NHRA competition number. 

Index racing has dramatically increased in popularity throughout the Southeast Division and the addition of these 3 classes to the 2011 Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events provides an opportunity for NHRA member tracks to further develop their Index programs.  This is the first time that Index racers will have the chance to collect points and run for a division championship as part of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.  

The current 2011 Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Schedule includes:

Bradenton Motorsports Park, Feb. 11-13

Gainesville Raceway, Feb. 18-20

South Georgia Motorsports Park, March 4-6

Atlanta Dragway, May 20-22

Silver Dollar Raceway, Oct.14-16

 

 

 

Exciting News and Features Coming to GrassrootsDragRacing.com

 
 
 
 
 
By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Renton, WA.
Friday January 28th 2011

The boys got together over dinner at a local Red Robin here last Sunday and discussed plans for the upcoming season. After getting feedback from Roger, John & Eric, we are happy to go forward with a Grassroots Drag Racing 2011 Season 4 Videos this year. We are lucky once again too have Wendy behind the scenes filming all season long and are grateful for her hard work that she has given us over the years. New inside shots in all 4 cars this year too. In other words, more cameras and they are everywhere.

 

Roger currently is redesigning the Camaro rear-end and will be ready to go by end of March. John and Eric are making minor tweaks but are ready when the weather gets warmer for some test and tuning. I, myself am installing a new 1050 carburetor, bigger intake manifold, alloy axles in the rear-end and for heaven sakes a new set of full slicks in the rear. I am hoping to hit mid to upper 10’s by test and tune time in March/April.

 

This season GrassrootsDragRacing.com will be showcasing new features coming in March and April. Currently in development but will be released by March 1st, GDR will have a bracket racing app available on all android devices and we follow up on the Apple Iphone and Ipad. The app is design around bracket racing and has useful features. The GDR app will feature a realistic drag tree simulator like no other. First ever digital drag racing log sheet that also will help predict your future ET’s. Drag G-force video recorder for helping out with car setup and other vital information. We are very excited to release a tool that we think every drag racer in any class will find very useful in the pits and in the staging lanes.

 

April will be the month we will feature Twitter and Facebook real time results from the track on all four GDR racers. Also in the works later this season, we will be providing Live drag racing videos directly from inside the drag cars to the GDR website on the last few drag races in 2011.

 

We are overwhelmed with all of the attention from the fans and racers around the world. Everyone has said we have something special here and we need to build off of it. Well with your help and every bracket, weekend warrior and grassroots racer. All those who believe and have the passion of strapping themselves down to a rocket and going for it, we applaud you and thank you. Have a happy, safe and winning season from all of us at Grassroots Drag Racing.

 

 

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Season Opener Just 125 Days Away

 

 

By Garth Tillman
Garth Tillman Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Saskatchewan, Western Canada
Monday January 24th 2011

If you're anything like me you have started thinking about your local track's opening day. It's been a long cool snowy winter here and the sound of engines revving are a faint memory now. Plans for the new season have been made and schedules are being setup or already made. Many racers have worked on their cars during the off season and new setups are ready to be tested and tweaked.

 

My local track is the SIR (Saskatchewan International Raceway) a few miles south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This past season our track was honored as the 2010 NHRA Northwest Division 6 Summit Series Track of the Year. I would like to congratulate the staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication. 

 

The opening day for the track is Sunday May 1st with a Test and Tune scheduled. This year the track has 28 events planned for the season, a few more than in past years. This is great to see as more racers and fans are attending the events. There are a number of feature events planned during the season for Jet cars, Alcohol funny cars and Dragsters. These events draw large crowds and every racer loves to run his or her car in front of an audience.

 

In closing I wish every racer a straight and safe pass and good luck in the new season.

 

The Painter/Racer.... Garth.

 

 

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Local Racers Get New Drag Strip In Lewis County, WV.

Lewis County Future Drag StripLayout Plans For Lewis County Drag Strip

 

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Lewis County, WV
Wednesday January 19th 2011

A New 1/8 Mile Dragstrip is coming to Central West Virginia and the local racers are excited to see a track being built by a local land owner.

The Dragstrip will be Located on Route 33 between Weston and Buckhannon at the Wilson Siding Exit. This track will be the First of its kind to Operate in our area since Eldora/Fairmont Dragway near Fairmont closed in 1999.

With easy access from Pittsburg,Pa (120 Miles), Charleston,WV (100 Miles), Fairmont WV, ( 36 Miles), Clarksburg,WV (22 Miles), Buckhannon, WV (9 Miles), Weston,WV (3 1/2 miles ) all of this on Modern Four-Lane Highways right to the Track.

This Facility is close to the Geographical Center of West Virginia.

They will offer Modern Day Drag Racing to All Classes of Cars from Street to Strip and are currently taking any suggestions that the local racers might have.

Construction of the Track will start As Soon As Weather Permits in around March. The cost to open the track is expected to run $500,000. So far land owner has gotten volunteers and donations from locals to assist in the building. Not only does racing keep the family together is also shows it brings a community together.


Opening Date for the Track is scheduled for July 2011.

 

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Growing Grassroots Drag Racing Strip, The Barona

 

 

 

By Rob Roy
Rob Roy Grassroots Drag Racing Editor
GDR Editor
GrassrootsDragRacing.com
 
Lakeside, CA
Wednesday December 15th 2010

The Barona 1/8th mile track last week held a drag racing school at their local track. The turn out was a huge success and many showed up to grab information on the grassroots drag racing sport. The track is expanding the grassroots drag racing sport with new plans coming together and will be revealed soon. 
 
Barona is a NHRA sanctioned 1/8th mile facility and can presently accommodate approximately 180 race cars, that number is about to grow.  "One of our key strengths is our connection with Sportsman Racers in Southern California, Mexico and Arizona," Bob Mendenhall says. On an average night there are more than 400 spectators in the stands, during our Special events that number has grown to more than 3000.
 
Barona is located near the city of Ramona, the only true entertainment in Ramona on a summer evening is to attend the drag races. Located 30 miles east of San Diego on the Barona Indian Reservation. The track is not compelled to comply with any City, County or State regulations at this time, so they can run 'em day and night without interference. Bob quoted “We are excited about the Grass Roots Series and see this as a great opportunity to grow the sport". The sport is thru out the country big and small but all share the same thing. The sport as we see will continue to grow thru out the country as more and more fanatics see what it’s all about. It’s the last place to get in, sit down and shut up because you're just strapping yourself to a rocket and are ready to launch.
 
 

 

 
 
 

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