Once again, multi-time Promoter of the Year Donald Long pulls off what seems to be almost impossible. On top of that, we saw Dewayne Mills drive past Stevie Fast in the finals too.
We rolled onto the property at South Georgia Motorsports Park on Sunday to start covering what is unarguably, one of the biggest drag races of the year. No Mercy 8 was the event, and Donald Long was not going to disappoint. The obstacles that were thrown his way were things that couldn't be avoided.
By the time Tuesday rolled around, it was becoming obvious that we were going to have to worry about weather over the weekend. The original plan was to have RvW run a qualifier on Wednesday night, then on Thursday we start qualifying everyone else. Wednesday got here and the excitement for some amazing racing was increasing. Come to find out, we were in for a lot more racing on Wednesday than we expected. Turned out that we were going to have to start qualifying everyone on Wednesday night. There were a lot of people not happy about this, but it was something that was going to have to happen if we were going to complete this race.
Thursday, people were worrying more and more about the upcoming weather. This caused Donald to really start getting things into high gear. We had to get as much qualifying as possible done on Thursday so that we could move into eliminations on Friday and wrap up on Saturday because Sunday was going to be a wash.
Some may think, well if we are speeding up the program, the racing wouldn't be as good. This could not be farther from the truth. The racing was tight all weekend long. There seem to be more head to head, tree to boards racing then I have seen in a long time. The numbers coming up on the boards were beyond impressive as well. Didn't matter if we were racing at 3 pm in the heat, or 10 pm under the lights. Cars were getting down the track and laying down huge numbers.
Marty Stinnett in his smallblock twin Garrett turbo Mustang went to number one and stayed there into eliminations in RvW. There were seven (8) cars in the 3.70's zone by the time we went into eliminations as well.
The 2017 NMCA Radial Wars Champion Josh Klugger was the number one qualifier in the Pro 275 as well. He went on to win the class, and really wrapped up a dominate second half of the 2017 season. He is running a Proline engine with a pair of Garrett turbos bolted up while running in the 4.10 range all weekend.
Speaking of Champions, the NEOPMA Champion Dean Marinis was on the property with his jaw dropping orange new edge, SpeedTech nitrous powered Mustang. Dean was able to run the table in a tough X275 field. Qualified number one, along with taking the event victory. This meant that Dean bettered 36 other cars to take home the cash, hat, and sword.
On top of the radial classes we normally have at the event, Donald decided to welcome some of the N/T guys over to race. With superstars like Little County, Boddie, Scotty G, No Leg Craig, Memphis Gangsta, AxMan, Larry Roach, and others. This was an amazing addition to the race and the fans really loved it! You put Hype Man extraordinaire Willie Dog on the mic with Donald and that made for even more entertainment.
By Saturday morning a lot of classes were already down to their semi finals. We knew it would be a short day, and that's exactly what was needed. As we were waiting for some classes to run, a brief shower came though and cooled it off for just a minute. the objective was to wrap up as quickly as possible. I believe that by about 2:30 all classes had crowned Champions and Winners Circle photos were being taken. By 6 pm when we left the property, 90% of all the rigs were already gone, which is a good thing if you saw the weather that came through on Sunday.
A big shoutout to Donald, Stephanie, Steve, Jim, Billy, Kay, Wade, Wade, Ozzy, and everyone else that had a hand in getting the event completed early and getting everyone out of there. People are already talking about Lights Out 9 which will be February 15-19th 2018 at South Georgia Motorsports Park.