It seems like twice a year there is a race at South Georgia Motorsports park that is run on radials and must fight with mother nature to get completed. No Mercy 9 was no exception.
No Mercy 9 is usually a cooler temperature race, and a much more laid-back atmosphere. This one certainly did not seem that way to the outsiders looking in, or even the insiders that have been there for years. There was something different about this race. Something in the air that made it feel like we were seeing something out of the norm.
We arrived on the Saturday before the event to get all set up, and make sure that we were there to catch anything rolling out of trailers that wasn’t expected. We also showed up early to made sure that we got the same parking spot we are always in. To say we were a tad early might be an understatement, but it comes with the territory.
As we rolled through the gates, the first thing that I noticed was the lack of big rigs that are usually there the weekend before the event. Even if it’s Sunday, there are usually a good number of rigs on the property getting all set up for the week-long adventure that is Donald Long’s event. It really was eerily quiet on both Saturday night and Sunday night throughout the pits though. Monday, the atmosphere didn’t change all that much. I know we weren’t doing anything on track until Tuesday, but for those of you that have been to this event, you know that most of the rigs are on property well before testing starts.
The weather certainly the hell didn’t help at all throughout the week though either. With temps in the low 90’s and heat index exceeding 100 degrees, there were a lot of people trying to find some shade, and a way to cool down. While we were one of the only media outlets on property Tuesday, staying in the comfort of air conditioning was not an option. Plenty of heavy hitters took a shot at the track on Tuesday, with KenJo Kelly being the final car down the track, while at the same time, he apparently wanted to get a pilot’s license, as his N/T car went sky high before coming down and safely making it to the top end.
Some of the chatter around the pits was all the controversy regarding the X275 class and all the internet drama over the last month that has been occurring. Whether it be jabs back and forth about rule changes, or jabs back and forth that went well out of bounds on the personal side. It left many wondering what cars we would see on track at the event, and what cars decided to stay at home. Most of the frontrunning X275 cars were in fact on the property at SGMP for the event though. Due to weather conditions, we certainly weren’t going to see records broken, but we certainly were going to and did see some great side by side racing, with Rob Goss, who won at NMCA the week before, defeating the KBX powered Mustang of Shane Fisher. That apparently started a whole new controversy online after the race was completed as well.
Radial vs. The World is the show. There is no denying that fans and racers alike come to see the quickest and fastest radial tire cars in the world. This time though, it wasn’t going to be the usual suspects taking home the big payday, as names like Mills, Pharris, Micke, and Woodruff all suffered early exits. Chatter all week was that a nitrous car had the best chance of earning the big payday, and that is exactly what happened in dramatic fashion. Before we discuss the final though, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Wade Wagstaff and Jet Martin. Both of these fantastic drivers brought cars over from Australia to compete in the toughest radial class known to man. Jet was also driving the most unique ride in RvW, which was none other than a right-hand drive four door Holden Commodore. The Commodore quickly became a fan and media favorite. The fact that the Commodore also defeated Mark Micke, who is the quickest and fastest 1/8th mile radial car on the planet was jaw dropping.
I mentioned earlier that there was some drama when it came to the RvW finals though. All week we were fighting mother nature, whether it was extreme heat, or rain. On Sunday afternoon though, there was a damn good chance that rain was rolling in and going to wash out the finals. After seeing two nitrous cars, and two blower cars in the semifinals, it was going to be the nitrous fed beast of Jeff Naiser taking the tree against NHRA Pro Stock Star Alex Laughlin. Jeff rolled into the lanes, and ready to go. It was chaos in the lanes as everyone that made it to the finals were all rushing the lanes to get the event completed. Patiently Jeff waited on Alex as Alex, Frankie Taylor, and the rest of the crew tried to get the car serviced and back up for the finals. Alex rolled up and it was game time, but that wasn’t the end of the drama. Alex’s car still had a mechanical issue that forced Frankie to reach in after the burnout, only to have Alex tell him “I’ve Got This”. Jeff and Alex took the tree and it was Jeff with a 3.79 defeating Alex who dropped a 3.80 on the boards. One of the best RvW finals you could ever ask for.
Donald managed to get this event completed within 30 minutes of some rain rolling in. As we were shooting winner circle photos, the rain came in. It wasn’t the event cancelling rain, but at that point it didn’t even matter because No Mercy 9 was in the books. There are still few if any promoters that could pull off what Donald did at No Mercy 9. Love him or hate him, there is a reason that his is considered one of the best promoters of my lifetime. We at E3xtreme are already making our plans for Lights Out 10, which is sure to be another Epic Event.
RvW – Naiser over Laughlin
X275 – Goss over Fisher
Ultra – Ragen over Greathouse (Redlight)
Pro 275 – LaMana over Ziff Hudson
632 – Stavrinos over J.D. Campbell
DXP235 – Insley over Nicely
6.0 – Hallmark over Henderson
O/C – Grant over Taylor Jr.
LDR – Martin over Pharris
315/29 - Bohley over Meissner
275/28 – Jason Richards over Holy Ghost
N/T Small Block – Pirez Jr. over McCain Racing