Will 2018 be one of the best years in drag racing this century? With many changes, new races, and rule changes going on, there are many saying this could be the best year in recent memory.
There are so many things that go into a successful year full of drag racing. The adage about quality over quantity applies here just as it would anywhere. So let’s discuss how this could actually be the best year in drag racing.
Drag racing seems to have many ups and downs within the industry. Whether it’s companies, events, promoters, locations, track prep and so much more. The best thing that we can start with are the events themselves. The events are what get us out of our house, in the car, and to the drag strip. 2018 is shaping up to be an absolute banner year. Multi-time Promoter of the Year Donald Long decided to up the ante this season by adding a one-off, one class, $101,000.00 to win race titled The Sweet Sixteen. What very well might be one of the richest single doorslammer events ever held, is just the tip of the iceberg. Donald is also hosting his two yearly staples, Lights Out and No Mercy.
Donald isn't the only one making news this season though. Tyler has moved his OSCR race to Bowling Green for a new look and is adding Pro Mods as well. NMRA has updated some rules and added a Limited Street class, which I am personally hoping is a throwback to the old Real Street days. NMCA will be featuring some of the most amazing Pro Mods in the world again this season. There are so many once a year races that there is no way to list them all here. With everything from Grudge to Pro Mod and No Prep to Super Glue, there are races for everyone.
What else about 2018 is going to make it a banner year? Look at the steam that the No Prep world has been gaining over the last two or three seasons. You can bet on Shannon Morgan and others putting on some of the most entertaining races of the season. Add that in with all the Street Outlaw track events that are happening across the county, and you have a recipe for some huge crowds and great racing action. They have proven that they will get the racers and the fans.
You certainly can’t forget about the Pro Mod scene either. First off, you have NEOPMA, which has been around longer than some of you have been following drag racing. Wes Buck from Drag Illustrated will be again hosting his World Series of Pro Mod in August. Follow that up with PDRA, which we already know is bringing Tyler in for track prep and the Hore’s have been brought in to help with their social media exposure. Then there is the hottest up and coming Pro Mod series in the country. Keith Haney and his Mid-West Pro Mod series launches into their second season, and they don’t look like they will have any sophomore blues. Keith has them well on track to becoming a premiere pro mod organization. Let’s not forget about the NHRA, and their Pro Mods. While we talk about them a lot over the season, I don’t see 2018 being any different. Rickie Smith is looking for backing, Stevie Fast is looking to back up his 2017 performances, Mike Catellana is looking to finish out front, while Melanie Salemi is looking to show the boys what Purple Reign is all about. Add Lizzy Muzi, and maybe even Pro Stock World Champion Erica Enders in the mix, and it may certainly turn into a war. Never forget that Clint Satterfield will be back out, along with all the others to mix it up and put on one hell of a show.
NHRA Pro Stock racing seems to be gaining some steam as well. With the rule changes, allowing whatever engine in whatever body, we may actually see other drivers coming out in something beside a damn Camaro. It appears as though V. Gaines in going to make his return to the class, as he was testing a brand new car recently. Can Erica may a run at the KB cars? Will Alex be back out pushing everyone to work harder? Or will Jason and Greg just make it another year of watching them dominate the field?
Looking to the Nitro ranks, we will see another Ford full time in Funny Car when Bob Tasca makes his return in a Mustang. Cruz Pedregon looks to make some serious strides and back to winning ways after bringing in some new team members during the offseason and resigning with his longtime sponsor Snap-on Tools. Seems to be a lot of talk swirling around the camp of Leah Pritchett and her Top Fuel dragster. While we are unsure what role Papa Johns will play in 2018 within NHRA, we are sure that Leah will be out there winning races and giving the fans a hell of an experience. The darkhorse of the field this season is the CatSpot Litter backed dragster of Scott Palmer. We certainly believe that Scott has what it takes to bring home some Wallys this season.
We talk about all the racing, but what about the tracks. Some of the biggest offseason news that we have seen is track news. Jeff Miles exclusively announced with E3xtreme that he was moving over to become an NHRA sanctioned track, along with making some big track improvements. Russell and DeeDee Miller announced before PRI that they were tearing up the track surface to lay down what is certain to be one of the best surfaces in the country. Can’t forget that Bruton Smith, owner of the dragstrip in Vegas is going four-wide in April for the first time. We have also heard that there are more Carolina tracks that plan on making the switch to NHRA as well.
There doesn’t appear to be a weekend from Lights Out all the way through SCSN Vegas that isn’t jammed packed with racing. NMRA and NMCA have big plans and great races all season as well. And need you not forget about the extensive grudge and N/T scene all the way from N.Y. to L.A. and everywhere in between.
2018 is the year that you need to spend some of that vacation time at the track. Stay tuned to E3xtreme, and our extensive event calendars. Whether you are going local, regional, or national, this year will be a can’t miss season of drag racing.