Well folks, racing is officially back! And that means engine builders, tuners, transmission builders, chassis builders, and racers have all been hard at work these past few months getting things ready for the track. .
Every year it seems the off season will take forever on paper, but in reality, we’re back racing again in the blink of an eye. From the time the industry gears up for PRI in Indy to the time some of the first races of the year take place, that time goes by incredibly fast. And, it seems these past few years have carried much more excitement for racing across the board, which is always a good thing!
For us, the last two years have kicked off in Florida for Sick Week, a newer drag-and-drive event promoted by Tom Bailey. This event, while new, has been a big influencer in the drag-and-drive world and has certainly put a bigger spotlight on drag-and-drive events around the country and the world. Each of the last two events have completely sold out for competitors and each of the five race days are well attended by fans. More on this event and other drag-and-drive events can be found on page 58.
Then, just a couple weeks after Sick Week visited South Georgia Motorsports Park, Lights Out 14 came to town. Again, this event saw great competition throughout the weekend as well as good crowds. For us, Ryan Milliken’s performance in a diesel-powered Nova going head-to-head against the gas guys was incredibly impressive. It’s those kinds of performances and races like this that bring more fans together.
Recently, Bradenton Motorsports Park played host to Drag Illustrated’s World Series of Pro Mod – an invitation-only, $100,000-to-win event celebrating the Pro Modified division. Forty drivers were invited, and 32 drivers qualified for the main field to take on an outlaw eighth-mile format.
The World Series of Pro Mod is the largest inventory of pro-level, heads-up race cars on the planet. This is a brand of drag racing that has a unique cult following and is arguably home to many of the sport’s biggest personalities and most competitive racers. It’s a style of drag racing that has grown by way of regional series all across the country and around the world that are healthy and thriving. The World Series of Pro Mod brings racers from all those various sanctions and series and lets them race for the largest purse in Pro Modified history, and that’s what advancing the sport is all about.
Of course, you can’t speak about advancing the sport without mentioning the pinnacle of drag racing – the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. In fact, the season opener – the 54th Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals – that took place in early March, had a sellout crowd at Gainesville Raceway, according to officials. This crowd piggybacked several sellout crowds last year, and there’s little doubt more sellout crowds will gather at future NHRA Camping World Drag Racing events this year, all looking to experience crazy amounts of horsepower! Check out our feature on nitro engines on page 28.
Of course, here at Engine Builder, we love racing season because many of our readers are hard at work building those engines for customers and that’s why we dedicate an issue each year to various kinds of racing and what it takes to compete at the highest levels. We hope you enjoy this issue, and hopefully we’ll see you at track very soon. EB