Former ADRL president Kenny Nowling

Is Track Prep Ruining Drag Racing?

As a lifelong drag racing fanatic I have had the great pleasure of participating in and promoting this great sport for nearly twenty-five years. First and foremost, though, I have been in love with drag racing as a fan since I watched my father, Les, compete in his ’67 Camaro “Ecstasy” at the now defunct I-55 Dragway in Pevely, Missouri, when I was just three years old.

To this day I set my DVR to record anything related to our beloved sport. While enduring another grueling St. Louis cold spell, I thought I would watch some of what I had recorded, so I tuned in to MavTV’s coverage of the Australian National Drag Racing Association’s 2014 year in review show. After watching about thirty seconds of their Top Doorslammer coverage, a great big light bulb went off in my ridiculously oversized head!

I was instantly reminded why I fell in love with drag racing, and particularly fast doorslammer drag racing, in the first place. These cars were on the ragged edge and out of control on nearly every pass! It immediately took me back to the early days of IHRA Pro Mod when fans held their breath on every lap.

From 2002 to 2005 I promoted the NHRA AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge. I can remember thinking, as great as it was, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as the glory days of IHRA Pro Mod. Were the drivers that much better? Were the cars and crew chiefs that much better? Nope! It was the track prep that was that much better.

My dad, back in the day.  (photo courtesy Kenny Nowling)

My addiction to fast doorslammer drag racing hit its peak in 2004 when myself and a group of amazing people promoted the inaugural American Drag Racing League (ADRL) Dragstock event at the legendary “House of Hook” Carolina Dragway. From the time the first car, who just happened to be outlaw doorslammer legend Hugh Scott, approached the water box you could sense something special was about to happen.