Now that we are a couple of days removed from the first ever Shakedown under the control of Tyler, and held at Virginia Motorsports Park, it is time to look back.
Shakedown is a name synonymous with excellence in drag racing. It was started back in the day by drag racing Legend David Hance. The race was simply know as Shakedown, or Shakedown at ETown. There is a lot of history behind this event and the faces that have competed. Dave did such an amazing job with the race until he decided to step away and concentrate on his family and business. That is when everything went, well it went. It went straight over to Norwalk Ohio, and it certainly wasn’t the Shakedown that everyone absolutely loved. I am not sure if it was destine for failure there, or if it just fell off when Dave left in behind him.
After last year in Norwalk, there was a lot of jabber about it moving and being taken over by the Wunderkind Tyler Crossnoe. And to no one’s surprise, that is exactly what happened. Tyler, along with Judy and Tommy Franklin were going to host Shakedown at VMP. Back on the east coast where the race belongs. Back in the home of 10.5 racing and pro mod racing. We were all looking forward to heading to VMP in September to see what would happen.
When you are taking over a race like this, with the namesake behind it that Shakedown has, it can be pretty damn overwhelming. The questions will come up about whether it should be called Shakedown, whether Tyler could make the race great again, whether racers would support it, etc. What certainly didn’t help is what we saw in April when there were weather and track timing issues in Bowling Green. That again brought up questions of what would happen in September, and again would racers show up.
The hype that came with this race only increased as we got closer to the event actually happening. When it was announced that there would be a special Pro Mod vs. Radial shootout, there was some surprise, as it was previously discussed that someone else had planned that. Nonetheless, it was going to happen at VMP. Add that to the fact that we were going to see Ultra, X275, LDR, DXP235, Top Sportsman, Outlaw 10.5, Pro Mod, RvW, NCSB, and more, it was certain to be killer.
I rolled through the gates on Wednesday afternoon for my first look at VMP, and damn I was impressed. The facility was laid out very well, the staff was friendly, and the track looked amazing. They really went all out to make the place perfect for this event. And let’s not forget the lighting at the track. I would put it in the top three or four in the country..
Records…I don’t think that anyone expected to see what we saw over the weekend. Number crushing pro mods, ultra, LDR, and RvW times. First off look at Mark Rogers during testing on Wednesday. He drove right out of everyone’s view in Ultra and right past the current record (Yes I know it’s testing and doesn’t count) but it was still a hell of a run. Jim Howe Jr. apparently was trying to make the entire LDR class look bitterly slow as well. In fact, Jim went on to win LDR. Pro Mods were dipping into the low 3.60’s and then you had the RvW cars.
There is, and always has been competition to see what promoter and what track would hold certain records and redial records are no different. All the talk over the summer was if Jamie Hancock could compete with Marcus Birt when it came to nitrous RvW combos. Jamie came out blasting off low 60’s and it left it up to Marcus to see who was going to get the first official 50’s pass. Leave it to the Musi powered Vette of Marcus Birt to crack off a number that was right next to a World Record pass. But wait…there’s more. Marcus wasn’t done. After getting his chute sucked under the car on Friday afternoon and tearing up the wheel tub and brake, it was going to be interesting to see what would happen. Well in typical Marcus fashion, he busted his ass, along with his entire crew and got everything back together and dropped the hammer. Eventually Marcus would walk away with the Radial vs. The World record, and reset his own quickest 1/8th mile nitrous powered record as well. In the finals he faced off against his tuner and friend Stevie Jackson. Marcus was a touch to jittery on the tree and handed the win to Stevie. When the boards lit up everyone went nuts though. Stevie ran a 3.59 and Marcus a 3.58. Side by side 50’s on a radial tire. What in the hell would have thought we’d ever see that.
I have to hand it to Tyler, this event was run smooth. Obviously I have my personal opinion on what should change, but for the first year under his belt with this iconic race, Tyler, VMP, the racers, fans, and everyone involved did an amazing job! Can’t wait to come back in 2020.