The NHRA Full Throttle Series tour passes through 20 cities in all regions of the United States, bringing its excitement to millions each year. The events are four-day spectacles of color and speed, chrome and flash, ingenuity and engineering. NHRA will be at the famed Texas Motorplex for the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Fall Nationals, Sept. 23-26, 2010. Want to know what to expect? Here are some quick fun facts about the quickest and fastest form of motorsports on the planet.
Though every NHRA sanctioned track measures the same distance, each venue differs. For the uninitiated, here is what to expect when you head out for a day at the drags.
Unlike a typical three-hour football game or two-hour concert, NHRA drag racing is an all-day affair. The best advice for you as fans might well be the same advice given to the teams you’re coming to watch: Come early, stay late, and be prepared.
As you would for a ball game or a rock concert, plan ahead, beginning with your tickets. Get your tickets early! Go online at www.texasmotorplex.com or call the Motorplex at (800) MOTORPLEX. Buying ahead gives you a better choice of reserved seats, and you never know when you can take advantage of advance-ticket discounts ranging in amount and availability.
OK, you’ve got your tickets and your car is loaded with the essentials — a hat, sunglasses, earplugs, and a blanket (to sit on or bundle up with depending on the weather) — now what? Race-day attendance can be massive, so it’s a good idea to be early. The first round of Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock eliminations on Sunday comprises 24 heats: the remainder of elimination rounds consists of 21. And that’s not counting the Pro Stock Motorcycle rounds. Miss the first round, and you’ve missed half the show.
At the end of the day, don’t make a headlong rush for the gates the instant the last nitro car runs. While the majority of the crowd heads for the parking lot, hit the pits, where the teams are relaxing after a long day and likely to be more than accommodating to autograph requests or the opportunity to talk about racing. You can also get up close to the day’s winners at the Full Throttle Winner’s Circle.
Everyone knows that the action on Sunday determines who wins and who loses, but if you attend only the final day, you’ll miss the spectacle and variety of qualifying. At Pomona fans get the chance to see three days of qualifying, with one session on Thursday and Friday and the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday, to set the 16-car fields in each pro category for Sunday. Most other races feature two days of qualifying, on Friday and Saturday, with two sessions each day.
Qualifying is your chance to see all of the cars run, not just the quickest 16. You’ll get to see some of the local cars that run only once or twice a year and are attempting to make the competitive fields in their respective categories. Saturday, you’ll witness the high drama of final qualifying, where drivers have a last chance to fight their way into or are bumped from the field. Track and weather conditions can change from session to session and affect performance, so to get a better idea of how the drivers rate, compare runs made within a single session, not across sessions.
Try watching the races from different spots in the stands. Seeing a race unfold from a finish-line vantage point is a world apart from watching it from the starting line. The difference in the sights and sounds will amaze you.
Drag racing is unique among motorsports because fans have direct access to the teams, watching from as close as five to 10 feet away as the highly-skilled mechanics service their race cars. Hot tip: Some of the most frantic action takes place in the first 30 minutes after a car returns to the pits. If you want a front-row seat to watch the teams at their best, head for the pits a little early. If there’s a major engine meltdown on the track and you don’t mind missing the rest of the action, you can secure a great vantage point in the pit area to watch the hectic engine rebuilding process and probably won’t have to fight as hard for elbowroom.
If you want to get a real feel for the power of a fuel-burning engine, hang out until a team test-fires its engine, generally 45 minutes to an hour before it expects to run. (For run times, click here for the event schedule.) You’ll get a nose full of nitro fumes and a genuine body-shaking thrill whenever the driver taps the throttle.
Every drag strip and every drag race is different. Take the time to scout the track layout, talk to other fans who have attended the race before, and listen to the buzz in the pits. You may well discover your own secrets for taking in an NHRA Full Throttle Series event at the Texas Motorplex.
Full Throttle TV is a trackside digital network that takes fans behind the scenes and in the pits with the drivers and crews of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. FTTV which features stories and interviews with the personalities of the NHRA, also can be found online at NHRA.com.
Texas Motorplex officials have moved Sunday’s bracket race to Saturday night (June 5) in an attempt to give racers cooler conditions to run down the all-concrete track. Please note the schedule and time changes below. This is the third O’Reilly Bracket Racing Series event of the season and will count toward the 2010 Texas Motorplex championship points program. The schedule will run as planned.
Gates open: 2 p.m.
Time trials begin: 4 p.m. (eliminations will follow TT)
ENNIS, Texas – People thought Billy Meyer might just be crazy when construction started for the first all-concrete facility dedicated to drag racing. Construction had not even begun when he signed an agreement with NHRA officials to host a national event in the fall and his plans for the facility seemed to be something out of a fairy tale.
After all, it was 1986. No other “stadium” for drag racing had been created. That’s what makes the Texas Motorplex, and its 25th anniversary, so special. Without the Motorplex, who knows how long it would have taken to create other tracks that have been built specifically for the quickest and fastest form of motorsport?
“It’s exciting to be part of the growth of the sport and be connected to a special time in the sport’s history,” Meyer said. “Since the Motorplex was built, the quality of the facilities has greatly improved and it’s nice to be part of that and help the progression of building bigger and nicer places for the sport.”
Fans have been thrilled by the action on the track for 25 years with the nation’s top drivers and racing series. The awe-inspiring milestones didn’t take long to start piling up. During the first NHRA event, Darrell Gwynn turned in a 5.280-second run, setting the record in Top Fuel.
Since then, eight national records have been set at the Texas Motorplex – in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle alone.
John Force – 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion – has made the Motorplex his personal playground, earning seven national event victories here.
“Texas Motorplex fans have seen some of the best racing by some of the most accomplished drivers,” Texas Motorplex General Manager Gabrielle Stevenson said. “Our fans get to see the NHRA’s best drivers, the ADRL’s top performances, they get to race in the Fast Friday series, be part of the bowtie party during the Super Chevy Show weekend and so much more.
“The Motorplex caters to racers, fans and sponsors. It’s top-notch entertainment for the entire family nine months out of the year and we certainly are proud of our annual schedule of events.”
The 2010 season, however, will be even more special as fans will benefit from a season of anniversary celebration activities. There is a series of collector mugs that will be given out to fans highlight four events: The Lucas Oil Divisional, the VW Bug In, the Super Chevy Show and the NHRA Fall Nationals. The collector set of four mugs will be available during the Fall Nationals.
There also will be extensive giveaways that will include suite passes, meet-and-greets with drivers and other exclusive opportunities.
The Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, The Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champions Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.
ENNIS, Texas (May 23) — The Texas Super Chevy Show at the Texas Motorplex ended in grand style on Sunday.
It included another day of high entry counts among racers and car-show participants. In all, 160 sportsman racers took to the all-concrete drag strip; 210 show cars, 68 Show and Shine entrants and 55 vendors for the swap meet. And the pits were rocking with live music from The Morticians and a BBQ.
“It was absolutely wonderful to see so many enthusiastic car owners, racers and fans out this weekend,” said Texas Motorplex general manager Gabrielle Stevenson. “It started with an amazing cruise on Saturday morning and ended with a packed car show award ceremony, nearly 200 passes made on the autocross course and great racing.”
Here’s a brief rundown of Sunday’s activities:
TRUE STREET CHALLENGE: The title of one of the more popular classes at the Super Chevy Show went to Jeff Kmosko. The True Street Challenge has competitors take a tour away and back to the track, then make three passes on the drag strip, with the lowest elapsed time average determining the winner. Kmosko topped all contenders with a 13-second average.
CAR SHOW REPORT: The Texas Super Chevy Show produced one of the highest entry list of the season. And the awards reflect that. There were several awards, including the Custom Classic Trucks Magazine Slick 6; Super Chevy Magazine Drag Racing Editors’ Choice and the Super Chevy Magazine Car Show Editors’ Choice. Ron Hafner was the top choice for the CCT Slick 6, with his 1961 Chevy Apache 10. Wiley Anderson, with a ’78 Camaro, took the top honor for the Super Chevy Drag Racing award and Gary Eller, of Crowley, Texas, took the top prize for the Super Chevy car show award with his ’64 Chevelle. Specialty awards were also handed out and those went to Anton Alford (Transport Award), of Citronelle, Ala.; Daryl Williams (ISCA Award), of Witchita, Kan. and Tom Potts (Trick Stick), of Rockwall, Texas.
Here’s the complete list of the Slick 6 and the Top 10 for the drag racing and car show awards, along with the special awards:
Custom Classic Tuck – Slick 6
1. Ron Hafner – ’61 Chevy Apache 10
2. Mike Henderson – ’71 Chevy C-10 (Greenville, Texas)
3. Kelly Baird – ’56 Chevy (Mt. Vernon, Texas)
4. Dan Roberts – ’54 Chevy (Orange, Texas)
5. Melvin Champagne – ’59 Chevy Apache (Harlingen, Texas)
6. Jay Roberts – ’72 Chevy C-10 (Tyler, Texas)
Super Chevy Magazine Drag Race Editors Choice
1. Wiley Anderson – ’78 Camaro
2. Rudy Ortiz – Lubbock, Texas, ’66 Chevy II
3. Robert Watson – Forney, Texas, ’71 Vega
4. Richard Watson – Forney, Texas, ’55 Del Ray
5. Laurie Vontur – San Antonio, Texas, ‘ 66 Chevy ll
6. Heath Mitchell – The Colony, Texas, ’53 Pickup
7. Jeff Saldivar – Odessa, Texas, ’66 Chevelle
8. Danny Hatfield – Canton, Texas, ’63 Nova
9. Randy Perks – San Antonio, Texas, ’67 Camaro
10. Jeff Kmosko – Fort Worth, Texas, ‘02Camaro Z28
Super Chevy Magazine Car Show Editors Choice
1. Gary Eller – Crowley, Texas, ’64 Chevelle
2. Russel Ely – Hutchinson, Kan., ’66 Chevelle
3. Joe Gonzales – Dallas, Texas, ’52 Chevy
4. Clark Kirby – Arlington, Texas, ’75 Cosworth Vega
5. Mitch Tate – Conrue, Texas, ’63 Nova SS
6. Mike Yale – Tumball, Texas, ’70 Camaro
7. Tony Dyran – Arlington, Texas, ’74 Z/28
8. Cris & Emily Gross – Colleyville, Texas, ’69 Camaro
9. Joe Ortega – Grand Prairie, Texas, ’57 Bel Air
10. Mike Beerden – Emory, Texas, ’37 Packard
Transport Award: Antton Alford – Citronelle, Ala., ’66 Chevy II
ISCA Award: Daryl Williams – Witchita, Kan.,, ’57 Nomad
Trick Stick: Tom Potts – Rockwall, Texas, ’69 Camaro