ADRL World Finals Represent Both End and Beginning
O’FALLON, MO (Oct. 23, 2008) — Unlike other racing series that follow NASCAR’s lead and arbitrarily reset their points order after a prescribed number of events, the Flowmaster American Drag Racing League (ADRL) presented by the National Guard employs a unique, end-of-year “playoff” amongst its top racers to determine each season’s world champions.
The top eight points earners in each of four professional ADRL classes will face off in the Battle for the Belts tournament this Friday night (Oct. 24) to open the 4th annual LenMar Motorsports ADRL World Finals at the Texas Motorplex, just south of Dallas. Only Belts contenders will race each other, eliminating the potential for non-qualifiers to play the role of “spoiler.”
It’s a format guaranteed to create excitement and tension and one that’s prone to upsets, as evidenced last year by 18-year-old Pro Nitrous driver Jamie Hancock rising from the eighth and final position to become the youngest major drag racing series champion in history. But the ADRL’s Battle for the Belts was born more out of necessity than the stroke of competitive genius it’s become, admits president Kenny Nowling.
“That first year (2005), we needed a way to convince the top guys to come all the way out to Texas for the final race,” Nowling explains. “Most of them were used to running these outlaw Quick 8 races wherever they lived, so I came up with the Belts idea for the top eight guys in points to battle it out, but I also needed some kind of incentive for everyone else to show up, too.”
That’s where the decision to apply all points earned by all competitors throughout the World Finals—including Battle for the Belts racers—toward establishing the fields for the next year’s Belts showdown. As added enticement, a 50-point bonus is paid to each driver that competes in all races leading up to the World Finals each year—which of course makes the last race of the season just as important to attend as the first race of the following calendar year.
“It’s a little confusing to describe at first,” Nowling concedes, “but it’s worked out better than I could ever have imagined. Our racers have really embraced the total concept and it’s become a real point of pride for them just to make it into the elite eight that gets to race for a championship on Friday night.”
So, ADRL fans in Texas will get to see world champions crowned Friday night after three rounds of racing each in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Extreme 10.5, Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme, the quickest and fastest full-bodied, doorslammer cars in the world. Then they’ll get to see another complete race of 16-car (and bike) fields on Saturday, with all racing all weekend from a standing start over an eighth-mile distance (660 feet).
“The emotion on Friday during the Battle for the Belts is unbelievable,” Nowling says. “You can sense the tension and desire to win in every driver and crewmember you see. It truly is a championship atmosphere.”