If you have been a fan of Ford based drag racing for most of the 21st century, then you are well aware of what World Ford Challenge. This was by far the biggest Ford race in the country at the time..
Back in the early 2000’s, we Ford racers all gathered in St. Louis around this time each year for what would be a giant party that happened to have racing involved. Year after year we would check out of our hotel and book for the following year as we knew exactly when it would be. All that changed when the promoter at the time decided, for stupid-ass reason, to move the 10th anniversary of the event to Indy . Once that occurred, you could see the writing on the wall that our event was done.
For about a decade now, we Ford diehards have been dreaming of a “reunion” of sorts, and finally, our lone savior for this was able to work it our. The NMRA, which has been around for about two decades now, has come to the rescue. Rollie Miller & Steve Wolcott made the decision to bring the Ford based drag racing series to Gateway, and do it on the most historic weekend possible. They brought it back on the weekend that meant the most to all of us.
I know that if you aren’t a Ford fan this may not seem like a big deal. Let me tell you though, WFC as it was commonly know as, created such a buzz in the day of Mustang forums on the internet. There was AllFordMustangs, Corral, StangNet, CPonyGo, Midwest Fords, and many more that would discuss this event all year long. Car clubs would organize cruises from all over the country on the way to the event. One of the first years that I went to WFC, we had a caravan of over 20 cars from Wisconsin cruise straight through Illinois and down to the track.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Ford person, a Chevy person, a Mopar person, or an Import person, there is absolutely nothing like rolling in a caravan of your friends and fellow gearheads. We didn’t care if there were five of us, or 25 of us, it was some of the best times I have ever had in the industry. or with friends in general. When I look back at those times, it was really the best. The hotels in Collinsville, the burnouts while people sat in lawnchairs with coolers outside their hotels, the mistakes of going into East St. Louis well after 1am, all of it was fodder for the memories I carry today.
NMRA is making it possible to relive some of these memories. While we are all a decade older now, I don’t think most of us have really grown up. We still love cars and play with cars. We love bad jokes, inappropriate behavior, the occasional burnout, and the memories we can make. I personally hope that NMRA makes this weekend a permanent stop on the tour, so that we can make this voyage every year. St. Louis is a mecca when it comes to Ford drag racing and we need to make sure that everyone knows it. The mid-west has the quickest cars in the country, and the most beautiful show cars in the country.
The only way that we can keep coming back year after year though, is if all of us make the effort to support this inaugural event. bring your car, truck, suv, etc. out to the track this weekend and really enjoy what are some of the best people in the industry. I promise you will make memories that last a lifetime.
Also, a big shoutout to my friends from the mid-west on coming out for this. Keith, Dale, Tony, Doug, and so many others. This will be an amazing weekend.