Losing Mike Ashley, who has raced and sponsored premier teams in almost every class from Competition Eliminator to Top Fuel, will not be easy for the NHRA to replace. How many more professional teams will the NHRA allow Don Schumacher to have?

Unlimited Doorslammer: Watch it while you can

No offense to Bruton Smith and zMax Dragway, but for many drag racing fans, Billy Meyer’s Texas Motorplex is drag racing’s original “speed palace.”  While eating my chicken-fried steak at the Dixie House I pondered what I had just witnessed at the season ending ADRL race at the 'Plex.

There were more than 50 Pro Extreme cars trying to qualify for a 16-car field. In that class alone in eliminations and qualifying there were almost two dozen laps of 3.800 or under for the eighth mile, a couple of dozen laps where the Top Speed was over 200 mph, and a nitrous car made a pass of 3.81-seconds.

Extreme 10.5 cars dipped into the low 3.90/200-mph zone. ADRL’s Battle for the Belts and the 2010 season opener race at Dallas delivered its fans more quick and fast doorslammers than the IHRA or the NHRA could even think of delivering to their fans.

I credit/blame the unbelievable performances I witnessed at Dallas to the current rules for ADRL Pro Extreme and Pro Nitrous classes. Safety rules are paramount and strictly enforced, but everything else – engine size, power-adders, tires and weight -- are only limited by the imagination and wallet of the team owners and engine builders.

Racing’s history is littered with “unlimited” classes. Eventually the guys with the gold or the oil wells dominate and push everyone else out, but right up to the time the class implodes on itself the racing is often historical, unbelievable, and remarkable. That may be where Pro Extreme is going with 50+ teams trying for 16 spots. I don’t plan to miss another ADRL race as long as the top classes remain run-what-ya-brung.

Nitrous cars will never run a three- or a five-second lap!

I’ll bet the racers/engine builders who used scream that mantra from every trailer wish they could go back in time and erase those words.

“If one those nitrous guys ever start spending as much time on a dyno developing horsepower as I do, they’ll make more power … a lot more power!”  -- Jim Oddy.

After looking at the numbers for nitrous-injected racers last weekend at Dallas and what they’ve done at tracks all over this year, you would have to believe Oddy was right. Five-second and over 200-mph quarter-mile laps from nitrous oxide cars are common and at Dallas the three-second nitrous cars -- and especially those using Reher-Morrison, Gene Fulton, and Sonny Leonard engines -- were a dime a dozen.

Although I couldn’t get anyone to go on the record the general consensus is that when RMR started dynoing nitrous engines extensively and applied their 500-inch Pro Stock technology to building nitrous oxide-injected engines they found a lot of power.

Al-Anabi driver Khalid Al-Balooshi used Reher-Morrison power and a state-of-the-art Tim McAmis lightweight car to run low 3.80s all weekend and stepped up to a 3.82 and a 3.81 in the final two rounds on Saturday night. He beat teammate Mike Castellana in the finals, who ran his own 3.89 during eliminations and never ran out of the three-second zone. 

Who would have thought these kinds of numbers would be coming out of nitrous oxide-injected race cars? Supercharged Pro Mod racer and engine builder Jim Oddy and probably David Reher, that’s who.

Ease up on the ADRL

I’m getting a lot of email regarding the supposed unreasonably high number of crashes at ADRL races and wanting me to look into it as if that sanctioning body was somehow less safe than others.

The facts are that there are just about the same amount of crashes in the highest levels of other racing organizations in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Mod classes as the ADRL has experienced in its own doorslammer classes. 

And as a matter of fact the ADRL’s president Kenny Nowling was the very first leader of a professional drag tracing series to REQUIRE its racers to wear a sophisticated head and neck restraint device. And of all the sanctioning bodies that race 200-plus-mph cars, the ADRL is the only one I know of that hasn’t had a crash that killed a driver or required long hospitalization of a driver. Just pointing out that fact.