The Nitro Road Tour Continues: Nostalgia A/Fuel Adventure Part 2

The Nitro Road Tour Continues: Nostalgia A/Fuel Adventure Part 2

(Words and photos by Brad Klaassen) – You ramble across the open road, race car in tow praying for a good trip with no breakdowns or blowouts thinking about what waits once you finally reach your final destination, the drag strip. Yep, a real glamorous life is you want to experience the feeling of being a traveling gypsy with the carnival. Another public service announcement for race fans crazy enough to consider this endeavor, racers are always in a hurry because we live life milliseconds at a time. That means we don’t make restroom stops every fifty miles, so closely monitor your fluid intake at all times while traveling to or from a race or be prepared to suffer the consequences. However, if you do join this traveling circus like me, you’ll amass a lifetime of road stories funny enough to make the most stoic person you know laugh uncontrollably.

Being this was our team’s first trip to Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, there are always a lot of unknowns to deal with at a track you’ve never been to before. However, before ever entering the tracks main gates there’s one task that’s a must after all those winter weather salt covered roads, a truck wash. Any self respecting team wouldn’t think of rolling in dirty. So, Blue Beacon Truck Wash was our friend in Elroy, Arizona, and man they got the rig sparkling like a new penny in record time. The wipe down and tire shine gals were my favorites of the crew. Of course they asked about what was inside our red trailer so I showed them one of my shots of the car conveniently stored in my cell phone. They wished us luck and sent us off to Chandler in a rig looking sharp and clean. Next up was the team. It was way past due for us to check into our hotel and erase all those miles of road grime we’d accumulated as well.


So, on Thursday, January 12th we checked into our new home away from home for the next few days and after a long hot shower is was time for the nitro burning Okies to check out some beautiful Arizona weather. Leaving Oklahoma’s thirty degree crappy winter weather behind us it was time to work on our tans in sunny sixty seven degree weather poolside. Another word of advice, if you live in a winter climate and post a swimming pool photo from Arizona in January on social media be prepared to be called numerous colorful names you weren’t given at birth. But trust me, to be able to go swimming in an outdoor pool in January when you’re from Oklahoma is pretty sweet. After soaking up some much needed rays of sunshine on our pasty skin it was time for dinner and then an early check in for some much needed rest because all the brutally hard work and fun was about to begin on Friday January 13th trackside when we rolled through the gates of Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park for the very first time.


Friday would prove to be a relatively easy laid back day because we were only going to make a test pass. The NHRA Heritage Series race didn’t officially begin until Saturday with two qualifying passes, weather permitting. So, we rolled into the track bright and early on Friday morning to ensure we could snag a prime pit stall, which we did. Seeing the track facility brought no big surprises. Since Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park hosts both an NHRA Mellow Yellow National Event drag race annually and twice annual Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series events on the liquid quarter mile one knows this place has to have its act together and it did. Just a quick word on the staff at the track, as part of the traveling media that covers drag racing all over God’s green earth, to a person the staff at Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park were some of the nicest and most helpful I’ve ever had the joy to experience. In other words, I’d jump at the opportunity to work another race at the facility any time I had the chance.


So, with an unrushed pace we began the task of unloading the trailer and setting up our pits all the while stopping to say high to fellow racers from the west coast we’ve all become good friends with. You see us Okies are a pretty friendly sort and are the only ones crazy enough to travel all the way to Arizona, Utah or California to burn nitro, which we love to do. Here’s another insight for racing fans. Distance doesn’t separate friendships when it comes to drag racing. We are a very dedicated and tight knit family. If you’re ever lucky enough to join a team be prepared to be part of a very large family that will try their hardest to beat your brains out on the starting line, but after the race they will be the first to give you a hug and a handshake no matter the outcome of the race. We are a very passionate type about racing, life, love and friendship. Why, I don’t know? But, it’s a fact. When you break a part your competitor will give you his spare so you can make the next round. That’s just the way it is. For me personally, 95% of my friends are associated with some form or fashion of racing, but of course most are drag racers. That’s my tribe, the people I enjoy spending time with both at and away from the track. We share a very special bond in what we do that most think we’re crazy for pursuing and truth be told we are all to some extent, some more than others.


Okay, it’s time to put up my laptop and get to work building Grand Prix Racing’s temporary Arizona headquarters for the weekend. Stay tuned here because the real fun is just getting ready to begin. That’s right, we’re going to burn some nitro, the magical elixir that has the ability to make full grown men laugh and cry. The 2017 Okie Nitro Tour is fixing to get real!


-Bad Brad


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