Now before you call me crazy for stating that the second half of the season is about to kick off and we are almost to Labor Day Weekend, let me explain.
Next weekend, in my opinion, is the start of the second half of the drag racing season. While it seems late in the calendar year to make that statement, all you must do is look at the schedule and what races are happening this fall. There are no less than 15 races that you should keep on your radar this fall that are either must watch, must race, or must attend.
NMCA really kicks the fall season off in Norwalk next weekend though. They already have more than 25 pro mods pre-entered. Along with the pro mods, some added storylines there include Jennifer Brooke looking to become one of the only female drivers to win a heads-up class championship, and Shawn Ayers is looking to take his fourth win of the season and try to lock up the Championship.
Once NMCA wraps up their event, most people are going to be headed to one of two locations. Either you are headed up the east coast to the YellowBullet Nationals, or you are headed over to Indianapolis for the NHRA U.S. Nationals. The U.S. Nationals is a point and a half race and will determine who gets in the Countdown to the Championship. Up at Cecil County Dragway that same weekend, we will witness what is arguably one of the best events of the year, when Monty Mikho, his wife Maria, and his brother David host the YellowBullet Nationals. Pro mods, radial cars, great food, and an amazing atmosphere make this an event that E3xtreme never misses.
Since we are talking about races you can’t miss, the weekend after YellowBullet is one of those as well. The Mid-West Pro Mod Series rolls into Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, TX for the first time. The MWPMS is coming off their largest and quickest turnout in the series history. Look for Keith, Todd, Chad, Ron, and the rest of the crews to have it on kill in an attempt to get as many points as possible before heading to Tulsa in October for the series season finale.
Just when you thought that there couldn’t be another race the next weekend, well you’d better pack up and head east, because it time to head to Norwalk, Oh for the Shakedown at the Summit. This was a staple event of the year when it was the Shakedown at ETown, and the Bader’s have been doing a great job at keeping the event’s legacy going at Summit Motorsports Park. This is a huge payout for the pro mods that make the trip, but there is also radial and other classes to go along with the pro mods. If that wasn’t enough to get you there, Shakedown will also host the Horsepower Wars shootout. A build and race contest that featured some of the top names in drag racing, including Pete Harrell, Lyle Barnett, Eric Kenward, Big Daddy Dwayne Gutridge, and many others. That part of the race could be an event within itself.
As you can see, we are on a roll now and not even into October. Well, once you have packed up your trailer in Norwalk and get only a couple days’ worth of rest because it is time to head back to the Indianapolis area for the NMCA World Finals. After a season of hard-fought victories, scratching and clawing for every point, this event will settle it all. Make your way over to Indy and watch whether Jason Hamstra or Don Walsh can become the Pro Mod World Champ. Will Shawn have the Street Outlaw Championship wrapped up, or will Daniel Pharris still be his nemesis and overtake him? Will Jennifer Brooke and Tricia Musi be fighting for the Championship, or can Matt Salminen toss a wrench in both lady’s plans? Jessie Coulter is looking to take the Xtreme Street Championship but has at least 4 other drivers on his tail that want the same thing.
Exhausted yet? I certainly hope not, because after you are done with champagne celebrations in Indy, you’d better load up the trailer and head south. You are either going to be stopping in Bowling Green, KY to check out Corvettes and the NMRA World Finals or you are going to keep trucking south to reach Adel, Ga. & pull into South Georgia Motorsports Park for No Mercy 9. In Bowling Green, there will be some hard-fought battles for the right to be called World Champion. In Georgia though, there isn’t much that I can say about this event that you don’t already know. It is the second largest radial race in the world, only second to its sister race Lights Out. This is a week of mayhem and fun. It really is like a drag race broke out at a party you were having.
You are still with me, right? Well, guess what? It’s time to pick yourself up off the grass at SGMP and get loaded up yet again. This time you have a few different destinations to head to. You can head west and hit up the NHRA Dallas event, or you can head up the coast to Darlington and get you some of that PDRA action. Either way, you get the opportunity to see some amazing pro mods, along with a ton of other things. When you are done at either of these events, you’ll have a day off before heading to the West or North depending on where you are.
This time we are headed to Oklahoma and Tulsa Raceway Park for the Mid-West Pro Mod Series World Finals. If you have not been to Tulsa, you need to go no matter what event they are having. By far and away some of the best people and the best staff in all of drag racing. The owners Todd and Keith put on an amazing show their and know how the fans should be treated. This is also where we will crown World Champions. Will Ron be able to hold off Jim Sackuvich, Jonas Aleshire, Aaron Wells, and Todd Martin to take the Championship? Bring your ass to Tulsa and have an amazing time while watching some of the best pro mods in the world. Now if you happen to be on the east coast from partying with the PDRA clan, you can certainly head over to Charlotte and see the beauty that is Zmax Dragway for the NHRA event. The NHRA stop will also see the pro mods at play.
We have managed to make it to the middle of October at this point, and the ride certainly isn’t over. The weekend after Tulsa leads radial fans and drivers to the deep south of Huntsville, Alabama for Radialfest. This event has become a staple at Huntsville and attracts some of the biggest names in all of radial racing. Along with RadialFest in Huntsville, you can head over to Virginia Motorsports Park for the PDRA World Finals. Jason Harris, Lizzy Musi, Jay Cox, Tommy Franklin battling it out in Pro Nitrous, along with Chuck Ulsch, Tommy D, Rick Fleck, and more battling in Pro Boost. And watch for the Pluchino family to try and take home two World Championships (Pro Stock & 632).
If you have made it this far, you are a hardcore drag racing fan. PDRA and RadialFest have wrapped up and you must make a choice the following weekend. Your two choices are going to be the OG of grudge, Mike Hill and his race at South Georgia Motorsports Park, or hop on a plane and head for the bright lights of Las Vegas. The NHRA Pro Mods are wrapping up their season in Vegas this weekend, and it might be a battle that isn’t settled till the last pair take the tree. If you are heading to Vegas, and have the ability, check out SEMA as well.
I think I am even exhausted after looking at this. We certainly aren’t done yet though. If you survived Vegas, you need to head over to Texas for what is going to be the biggest 1/8th pro mod event in history. Keith Haney, along with Elite Performance, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, and Summit Racing Equipment are hosting the Inaugural Elite 16 at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis Texas. This is a $50K payday to the winner of pro mod, along with a second chance class and a Top Sportsman class. Now, with that said, if cool crisp air along with imports and American muscle is your thing, you should head over to Maryland International Raceway and catch one of the longest running door slammer races in the country. World Cup at MDIR is that weekend, and the Miller Family does a fantastic job with this event.
No matter what side of the country, continent, or planet you are on, the weekend after Elite 16 and World Cup is in my opinion the most important week in drag racing during the 2018 calendar year. Get in your car, truck, airplane, helicopter, boat, bicycle, or walk your ass to Orlando for the Granddaddy of all door slammer races. The one and only, original World Street Nationals is celebrating its 25th anniversary that weekend. Wade and Ozzy are pulling out all the stops to make this an event to remember. The pro mods will fight for a $25k payday. It’s the Outlaw 10.5 points finale, along with radial and big tire classes. WSN is a drag racing icon when it comes to events. Along with the racing, there is going to be a live band, car show, and food/drinks on Thursday night. You cannot afford to miss this event.
At this point, I am going on vacation after WSN, but for those of you even more hardcore than us, get on that plane from Orlando and head back out to the bright lights of Vegas for Mel Roth’s SCSN Vegas event. This event has become a standard bearer regarding pro mod records. Make a week out of it and enjoy everything that Vegas has to offer.
To finish off the year, head back to Orlando the first weekend in December and enjoy the World Sport Compact Finals. Since you are already in Orlando, you should stay for one of the best grudge races of the year also. The following weekend is No Guts No Glory. If you are in the Tampa area, you can head to Bradenton for the Snowbird Nationals the first weekend of December as well. I mean really, who doesn’t love Florida in December?
I don’t want you to forget that these are just some of the amazing events happening in the second half of the year. There are other events that are well worth paying your hard-earned money to attend. Events like Redemption that is put on by Shannon Morgan in Texas. There is also RTRA at Denton, Ford Fever at MDIR, numerous NHRA races, and so much more. Don’t waste your life sitting on the couch. Get up and go to the track. Doesn’t matter if it’s a local test and tune or if it’s an NHRA event. There is nothing better in the world than live and in person drag racing.