“WOW!”…That is the only word that really truly describes top-fuel drag racing.
On August 14th I got the experience of a lifetime at the IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals at US 31 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
I have been to a few drag races in my life, but none which have hosted Top Fuel Dragsters or Funny Cars and the experience was nothing less than awesome!
Many thanks go out to Dan Van Koevering who gave me a full up-close tour and answered countless questions about different class specifications.
I dropped in for the 2nd and final day of the event and was amazed at the number of competitors in each class, especially once most of the elimination rounds had concluded and many holes were left in the long-stretching pit area where teams had packed up and left.
I absolutely loved the Sportsman classes, especially Stock Eliminator. There is just nothing like seeing an old Challenger or Mustang do a wheel-stand as the torque propels them down the ¼-mile.
Drag racing is much more than horsepower, it is a competition of speed for sure; but more than that it is a sport based on mental preparation and engineering.
Sportsman classes must dial-in their estimated E.T., and are penalized for going over that time with a potential loss. The car with an E.T. closest to that which was dialed in wins the round. Barometric pressure, track temperature, elevation and wind direction all effect the cars performance down the ¼-mile and with rounds that will stretch from early morning to well after sundown, drivers and teams are constantly changing their game plan in order to achieve premium performance.
In the Nitro classes it is all out to the line with no dialing in, but the strategy is still the same with the added element of making the perfect Nitro Methane mixture. When the 8000+ horsepower machine takes off from the line, not only is the noise deafening; but the atmosphere literally changes and the ground rumbles like a full-on earthquake…It is scary, it’s fun, and it is absolutely amazing!!!
My only regret about my trip down to Martin…The season is nearly over and I may have to wait months before taking in another drag racing event!