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For me the 2012 drag racing season will officially begin Thursday afternoon, February 9, at the hallowed ground of the Pomona Fairplex. If you are there and care, you’ll find my butt parked at a thousand feet to watch the first pro session of the 2012 NHRA season. I just can’t get too many 300-mph nitro funny cars!
I usually start my drag racing season with a trip to the annual Bakersfield March Meet where there are likely to be twice as many fuel coupes - not to mention more than a few I’ve never seen before - than there will be at the NHRA Pomona race, but in the interest of being a well-rounded drag racing journalist, I’m going to pass on the March Meet and take in a few days of the NHRA Winternationals.
To be honest, the drag racing I’m really looking forward to isn’t the NHRA season opener but rather the Mickey Thompson Tire-backed season opener for the 2012 DRO AA/FC Challenge at Texas Raceway in Kennedale, TX and the ADRL season opener at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, TX.
The reasons I am so geeked about the season openers at the two Texas races and less so about the opening race at Pomona are simple. First, despite a few new paint jobs and sponsors, the nitro teams at the Winternationals will be mostly the same ones that ended the 2011 season. The drivers and teams will be polite, well dressed, polished and politically correct. In a word the race will be “Nitrotainment”.
Second, the DRO AA/FC Challenge season opener on April 27-28 and the ADRL season opener on March 30-31 will in many ways, important ways, be the total opposite of an NHRA event. At the DRO event I’m going to see Nitro Funny Cars and Fuel Altereds I’ve never seen before. At the ADRL event there will be new teams and drivers in almost all classes. Both the ADRL’s Dragpalooza and the DRO AA/FC Challenge will be eighth-mile races. Both races are unique events. The ADRL event will in many ways mark the rebirth of the ADRL. They will once again charge spectators a parking fee and an admission fee. All racers will pay to participate, both of which are departures from the norm for that sanctioning body.
Also, the Houston race will be the first for a brand new class of heads-up racing for the ADRL called “Supercar” Eliminator. The class was designed as a class for the factory-built Stock/Super Stock Mopar Challengers, Ford Mustangs, and Chevy “Copo” Camaros to race each other. To have the mystical “level playing field” each car will have its own minimum weight.
To be honest, the cars remind me more of the NHRA’s much-missed Factory Experimental class. At any rate I really like the idea of stock-appearing high-performance factory sedans racing in a heads-up no breakout class. That’s my kind of racing.
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