Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A different kind of four-wide

I posted earlier about my first experience with the NHRA – the 4-Wide Nationals – but that’s not the only series that goes four-wide. The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series has a long history of going four-wide to salute the fans prior to starting their “A-Main” (feature race). On Wednesday, May 16th at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, NY, I saw my second four-wide action of the year when the Outlaws took to the “Fast Track.”
Fans have the opportunity to upgrade their tickets to include pit passes, which is exactly what Dad and I did that night. The access to the drivers and the crews in the pits is on par with the NHRA, and these drivers have names in the open-wheel world on par with names like Force and Schumacher in the NHRA: Sammy Swindell, Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Jac Haudenschild…these are names I grew up hearing from my father when he went to WoO races with his friends, and now they’re still racing when I’m heading to the track with him.
My wonderful new camera (love my Canon T3i!) finally allowed me to get a photo of the four-wide pre-race salute:

Can’t wait to go back in October!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

4-Wide flashback

On April 15th (better known in my world as Mom and Dad’s anniversary – this year 40th!), I experienced my first NHRA event…I can honestly say I’ve been spoiled, because that event was the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Man, that was crazy! Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars going four-wide literally shakes the stands. And even crazier was the fan access…Dad and I were walking around the pits at 8:30 in the morning, checking out John Force’s pit area, when an Explorer pulled up. Out walks Mr. Force himself, who promptly walks into his pit stall, puts down his briefcase, grabs a Sharpie and starts signing autographs. Really?? This guy is the greatest driver I may ever see in drag racing or any other form of auto racing, and he just starts signing autographs?? THAT is why I’m slowly shifting from American Ethanol to Nitromethane.

I went into the event thinking the prettiest car there was going to be Courtney Force’s Traxxas Mustang (above) – and don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty. But as a fan of cars black, sleek and shiny (like Dad’s 2005 Mustang convertible), this car took the trophy:

Had this car been available at the DSR souvenir hauler, it would have been going home with me. Don’t know if Beckman will be driving this anywhere else this season, but I’m glad I got to see it.
I don’t know if (or when) I’ll ever see another four-wide drag race, but to say I’ve experienced it once is something I won’t soon forget. (Side note: I don’t think 40 years ago either of my parents, especially my mother, ever thought they’d be spending their anniversary at the drag strip…my parents are the greatest!)
(all photos: Paula Thompson Freelance)