A firework start to the season
In my many stories and talk about NHRA Drag Racing being on the downturn, losing racers, losing fans, and losing sponsors I believe this season is in totally different spectacle. For myself there seems to be a special essence in the air for this season of racing, it’s not just me, there is a certain hype in the air and its full momentum is moving into the Gatornationals this week in Florida.
For sportsman racers they had their shot at the track this past weekend for the “Baby Gators”, this race pulled in over 500+ entries showing us that racing is no where near dead. The “Baby Gators” race also had something special that most divisional races do not have. Thanks to D3TV on Youtube they streamed the entire event, and made all of us sitting at home in a Nor’easter want to load up and get down there as quick as possible. The stream was really cool to see, I believe it would be a huge hit around all of the divisions. During the stream it had over 800 viewers at most times. Oh, and yes, it was free.
Going into Gainesville the hype for this class is truly unreal for the Factory Stock Showdown Class. Some of the racers had a chance to get some testing at the divisional race last week and some chose to race down the road in Bradenton at the NMCA race. Where records were set. The first Factory Stocker to dive into the 7s! Geoff Turk in the ‘15 Challenger ran 7.996 at 170.1 mph. Even though he is the fastest, many are knocking on his door. Factory Stock Showdown Champion David Barton in the 2018 Wolkwitz racing Copo Camaro ran an 8.024 at 168. In reality, a slow reaction from Turk, the Top 13 qualifiers are right in striking distance. At the end of the day Turk ended up with the runner up, bowing out to number three qualifier, Joseph Welch in his ‘15 Drag Pak running an 8.02. An all Mopar final, just a few years back we were questioning if the Mopars could even be competitive, I think we know that answer now. Looking at the the entry list for Gainesville there are currently 31 entries and they will be battling it out for the eight spots on race day. Many of the competitors from the super close race at Bradenton are making their way to Gainesville. Will anybody else dive into the 7s? Will it be another all Dodge final round? Place your bets, I’m sure none of these racers will be holding anything back.