We are now a couple of weeks out from wrapping up what was another amazing event at South Georgia Motorsports Park with Lights Out 9. We are also only a few weeks away from one of the most lucrative door car events in the history of drag racing, Sweet Sixteen. There was nothing that could stop Donald from pulling off this event. Didn’t matter if it was rain, fog, dew, or even traction compound issues.
We rolled through the gates on Sunday afternoon to make sure that we got our usual parking spot. Little did we know that was going to be the nicest weather we would have for days to come. Of course, the best laid plans always have obstacles. I had planned on getting our audience some amazing feature shoots, and driver highlights. Mother nature had much different plans. For two days, it was staring out the window of the RV and watch it rain. Which didn’t only screw our schedule but put the entire program behind the eight ball.
Tuesday was supposed to be a day of testing, which become obvious that we weren’t going to be able to make that happen. Wednesday rolled around and the plan was to have a rd or two of qualifying, but we needed to get some testing in as well. Then came the unthinkable, a mix-up with the traction compound caused the track surface to become unproductive. This certainly wasn’t an intentional mess-up, but it happened and there wasn’t much that could be done except to keep working the track to get it to come around.
Since the track surface wasn’t ready for qualifying, that got pushed to Thursday. This is when we finally got to see the cars start to turn it up. Most were still struggling with the track, but some were able to get it down the track. For the rest of the week, the track kept getting better and coming around. Which was obvious by some of the amazing wheel stands and some drivers running new personal bests.
Everyone was wondering what kind of times we would see of out the Radial vs. The World class as well. None of us thought that records would be broken in that class, but by the time qualifying was done we also didn’t think we would see names like Mark Woodruff and Jeff Miller not qualified. Two of the biggest names in the radial game weren’t going into eliminations with the rest of them. It certainly wasn’t the first time that we saw Stevie in the winner’s circle, but it was the first time he faced off against his social media shit talking equal, you know his name…Keith Haney. A nitrous vs. a blower was not something that anyone really expected to see in the finals. We will see both of them back at the Sweet Sixteen vying for the $101k.
On the flip side, we got to see Alex Hays and his N/A powered Ultra Street car run near record times. Unfortunately, the broke shit bug bit the team more than once over the weekend and put them in the trailer early as well. In the same class, Joel Greathouse was on property driving Joel Greathouse’s old car which has been sold to the new owner. It was another KBX car that won Ultra though, when Rodney Ragen took out Bart Tobner.
Speaking of KBX, it was yet another KBX car in the winner’s circle when the moonshine man John Keesey took the win in X275. To say that his team was emotional would be an understatement. John was able to get through a very tough field that included a lot of early round upsets as well. With his win, KBX was able to double up at one of the toughest races of the year.
Lights Out 9 might have just turned the N/T world on its head as well. Phil Boley took his car to the winners circle in fine fashion. After getting though one of the toughest N/T fields in the country that included Bodie, Lil Country, Jimmie Blackmon, J.R. Gray, Scotty G. and others. The fact that a turbo car won in dominating fashion has a lot of the N/T world on notice, and some even crying that Nitrous cars need to be in a class by themselves, so they don’t have to race against car’s like Phil’s. While I am sure that Lil Country and others will race anyone in the damn country, it’s interesting to see a mindset about turbos that we saw in the early 90’s.
There were so many surprises and upsets early in the event. Things that no one saw coming. There were performances that surprised some and pissed off others. The stands were packed to the gills, and the walls were inundated with world class photographers. We wrapped up at a very decent time as well. So yet again, Donald Long and his team managed to do what everyone thought wouldn’t happen, and that was to have a great event and get it all competed.