BY: TOM BRAY
Thanksgiving has just come and gone, which means it’s that time of the year for “The Editor” to throw some end of the year thoughts out there. Going through my notes here, I just realized this wraps up the Eighth season of NSDN sand drag racing coverage. That to me is absolutely mind boggling. It brings me to think about all of the miles traveled, flight delays, long days at the track, and insane weather endured. The stories I could write about would fill a novel, but we’ll leave some of those for another day. But in the end, it is the great folks in the sport that keep me going. I’m honored to bring the service NSDN does to the good folks of the sport for the past eight years and into the future.
The 2014 sand drag season was a lot of fun from start to finish. Visiting only the highest quality tracks and working with the best people in the sport was truly refreshing. I also was able to cross a couple items off of my sand drag bucket list by visiting Newtown Dragway in Newtown, Virginia and Albany Sand Drags in Albany, OR for the first time. I had always wanted to attend a race in the Northwest, and was not disappointed as I found a great group of racers in Oregon with some exceptional racing action as well as a lot of high quality Cars and ATV’s. A couple weeks before that trip was the journey to Virginia. This was another great trip, as it was my first time to Newtown Dragway. I had seen photos and video from Newtown as well as followed its history of big races from back in the early 2000’s. Looking back, I will not soon forget visiting Willard Hammond’s amazing facility in Central Virginia. This was an absolute treat. Some of the features include an incredible grading system that keeps the track paper smooth & watered, a Super Bowl-style lighting system for night racing, and top notch timing equipment with scoreboards. This is only scratching the surface of cool details at this track. I was finding small details as well as fit and finish perfection from the moment I arrived at the facility until I left. I highly recommend for anyone that’s loves sand drag racing to be sure to add a trip to Newtown Dragway to your Bucket List. The visits to Newtown and Albany brought the number of sand drag venues I have attended up to 22. That truly is an incredible amount of tracks that I am grateful for having the opportunity to visit.
The biggest change for me in 2014 was that this was the first race season since I started sand drag racing as an 11 year-old Junior Racer in 1995 that I did not make a pass down a 300’ track. With the lack of quality sand events to attend close to home, and being booked up to cover any decent races within reasonable traveling distance it just didn’t come together to bring out the Jeep. But I was able to embark on a new journey as I burnt rubber for the first time by tackling drag racing on the asphalt. My Dad and I acquired a ’90 Camaro Drag Car early in the year. After a busy Summer on many fronts and finishing up a few upgrades to the car we took to the track in August at our local 1/8 mile track, Northern Michigan Dragway. I had an absolute blast nearly winning my first ever race and going rounds at each event I attended while turning Low 7-second ET’s at just under 100MPH. That was a breath of fresh air to go racing, and just race. Our minds can easily get clouded with tons of external factors, but the basic foundation of drag racing is going fast and turning on win lights. It doesn’t matter what surface you are racing on, Drag Racing is Drag Racing. I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be able to race either type in the New Year & enjoy the basic fun that drag racing offers. I hope all the readers of NSDN are able to enjoy the fun that Drag Racing has to offer in 2015.
NSDN is preparing for the 2015 race season with business as usual. I hope we can continue to provide the highest quality sand drag coverage online. Everyone knows that sand drag racing is a cyclical sport, simply put it’s a roller coaster of up’s and down’s. A lot of this is caused, because it is an extremely tough business to be in. Being a tough business, this causes a lack of quality tracks and organizations to race with. I’ve been on all sides of the fence when it comes to sand drags, and the bottom line is that the bottom line sucks financially putting on events. The sport is reliant upon folks that care greatly about the sport of sand drag racing and its people to suffer through long, hard days with little to no profit so that we can all enjoy what sand drags has to offer. On the “glass half full” side of the coin, there are some definite bright spots in the sport still with some new venues opening up in 2015 & existing groups stepping up their game. I’m optimistic that the new season will bring about great opportunities to race, and for NSDN to showcase all of that excellent 300’ sand drag racing action.
Before I move forward to 2015, I would like to thank all of the fine folks that helped bring National Sand Drag News to you in 2014. Dollars and cents are hard to come by in this economy, and I’m grateful for every bit of support that NSDN receives. Here’s a list of the NSDN Standard Ad & Daily Race Coverage sponsors for 2014: Good Vibrations Motorsports, MKE Motorsports, Morris Family Racing, Pro Truck Nationals / Mid-West Coatings, Inc., d’Artenay Motorsports / Avenal Sand Drags, Albany Sand Drags Sandstorm 2014, Kingman Sand Drags / Route 66 Wings & Wheels, Las Vegas Jeep Club, The Dirt 300 Sand Drags / Motiva Speedway, Coldwater Kid Top Fuel, Whitmore Speed & Custom, ATVDragRacer.com, Shearer Brothers Racing, Swag Racing, Rialto Trophy / Team Under The Influence, and Hammerdown Racing. Please thank these folks for their contribution to NSDN when you see them.
Some of the greatest contributions to NSDN come from the fantastic photographers that submit amazing photos for our viewing pleasure. The fine folks at Lonestar Graphics, Gary & Michelle Burrow do an exceptional job touring the country snapping photos and selling great merchandise. Please support www.LoneStarGraphics.com; shoot Gary & Michelle a line of thanks as well as a quick order when you get a chance. The service they do for the sport is second to none. I’m also honored to have worked with some great contributors throughout the season. Please thank these folks for the photos they have contributed in 2014: Max Cackle Photos (covered Dome Valley), Jeff Tomlin / Tomlin Racing Photography (coverage of Newtown & other East Coast events), Noel Smith (covered Albuquerque / The Dirt 300 races), Outlaw Photography (covered Albany Sandstorm), and Mike Biel (covered Avenal Fall race). It’s always a pleasure working with these high quality folks throughout the season to bring the absolute best sand drag racing coverage to you.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Mike Sommer from Sand Sports Magazine for allowing me to publish the “Sand Drag Scene” column in each issue of his publication. Mike is a big supporter of us in sand drags and I am grateful for the space to bring sand drags to the sand sports industry as a whole. Be sure to subscribe to Sand Sports at www.SandSports.net.
Thanks to all for a great 2014 sand drag season, and an even greater 2015 season ahead. See you at the races.