When Drag Week day one 2005 happened, there were about 45 cars on the grounds to attack KCIR on that fateful day in September. Today, more than 200 cars went though the tech inspection process, many of them making hits on the track to prepare for tomorrow’s official opening of the event. To say that this is the most spectacular gathering of street legal (legitimately street legal) drag machinery ever assembled in the decorated annals of the sport would be the understatement of the year. Kids, we’re looking at a week of titanic mania that drag racing has never seen. There’s more horsepower, chassis technology, pure investment dollars, innovative thinking, and whack-nut innovation than I have ever seen in one place before.
Sunday was tech inspection and test day. More than 200 cars were inspected and declared fit for competition, categorized, and registered. Guys have shipped cars from as far away as England and Australia to run this year’s event. I met spectators from Holland and other foreign countries and they all said the same thing. Drag Week is the one to win. This is the undisputed world heavyweight bout of street legal drag racing.
There are a bunch of BangShifters competing and BS stickers can be found on lots of cars as well as lots of people wearing BS hats, shirts, and other stuff. The vehicles range from straight six powered Gremlins to 604ci turbocharged Ford Hemi powered tube chassis Mustangs. The Unlimited field has swelled to an astounding number of cars, the top five or six of which seem wholly capable of launching 6-second elapsed times.
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Big Winner of the day – Dave Ahokas needed a final pass to complete his licensing process for the absolutely insane 1968 Camaro he is driving in Unlimited this year. The Jerry Bickel built chassis is shoved along by a twin turbo Ken Duttweiler engine and looks all the world like a street legal Pro Mod. Ahokas uncorked a cannon shot of a run that saw him launch very lazily in the Camaro but still rocket down to a 7-teen run at 193-mph. With just a hair more emphasis on the short times, that is a six second, 200mph car all day long. Dave has his license, and the attention of the entire Unlimited field now.
Hardest Luck of the Day – Doug Cline, the longtime Drag Week and Pump Gas Drags Competitor had a crash today in his 1968 Camaro Unlimited entry which ended his week before it really got going. According to reports we heard, Cline’s intercooler leaked water, which got under the tires and caused Cline to strike the wall hard. The car will need a bunch of work to be brought back to street and track ready condition. Cline is one of the good guys and we feel genuinely bad for his misfortune today.
Power adder of choice – I am fairly certain that turbos and nitrous cars are neck and neck in terms of count this week thus far. Blower cars are a distant third. There is only a handful of old school roots/screw blower guys, a ton of turbo guys, and enough nitrous runners to keep things interesting. It will be interesting to see how the week plays out with respect to who stays in and who is killed off by mechanical gremlins, turbos or nitrous cars.
Survival is the name of the game – During the tech process and all of the interaction I had with racers today, there was lots of talk about survival, just living to the end. Most of the racers here will consider their week a success if their car is running when we get back to Tulsa next Friday. Most people come here with different goals. Whether it is to escape real life for a week, win their class, simply finish the event, or set records, there are individual goals running the gamut in the pits.
Lots of Fox-bodies – I have never seen the undersides of so many Mustangs in one day. I could literally craft a model Fox body suspension system out of cardboard, coiled wire, and match sticks. It would be accurate and to scale and I could do it with my eyes closed.
Cubic inches – Big blocks of all varieties seem to out number small blocks at DW2012 by a pretty good margin. Be they stump pulling naturally aspirated mills or force fed, wild side engines, the more cubes the better (not for mileage!) on DW.
Shock and Awe – There are engines at this event that would knock your socks off. From the Steve Morris built turbo monster in the former “Sick Seconds” Camaro, to the Monte Smith nitrous killer in the Canadian racers Corvette, to the 600+ inch nitrous motors living in the front ends of lots of nitrous cars here, you can sprain your neck looking at neato stuff. The coolest by far is a 605ci Ford Hemi sporting twin turbos in the front of an Unlimited Mustang. Jaw dropping awesome.
The traveling man – Englishmen Mick Wilke is truly deserving of the iron man award. His shipped his car from Jolly Ol’ to Galveston, Texas and sailed with it on the boat. He then had to wrench on the car roadside to get it worthy to drive down the highway. He drove from TX to Tulsa for tech inspection and testing today and will run the event in his turbocharged 2.0L four banger 1970 Bedford van. This is a little English truck thingamajig that has plenty of storage and can run deep into the 11s when Mick has it tuned up right. The car was a bit finicky today but he’ll have it sorted for day one tomorrow.