Day 5 of Hot Rod Magazine’s Drag Week 2009, presented by Gear Vendors, has come to a close, but not before some on-road drama, and a lot of on-track parts breaking action. When we arrived at Muncie Dragway at 2:30 pm, the drama had already started. Competitors had been told that they would not be allowed into the track until 3 pm, but apparently the track decided to open early, and some competitors weren’t happy about it when they showed up at 3. They got over it. The biggest question swirling through the pits was whether anyone had seen or heard from Eric Yost and his ’82 Firebird since they had last been seen with a blown up transmission at the track in Columbus. We had talked to Eric multiple times during the day, and knew he was on the road and would be there in time despite a flat tire and more broken rockers arms. The crowd was not as confident.
At 4 pm, racing started and we began seeing winners emerge. A few classes were clinched with only one representative pass, and we started announcing them here at BangShift.com immediately. But the big draw for day 5 was Larry Larson, who came out and ran a mid 7.6 second pass to clinch the Unlimited and Overall wins and then went back to the pits to turn it up and try to break 200 mph. His first attempt at 200 earlier in the week at Norwalk resulted in a 199 mph pass but he knew the car had more in it as it had slipped the clutch all the way through the lights.
His second 200-mph attempt at Muncie on Day 5 was met with standing fans, and words of encouragement, but he came up short at 198 mph. After the run, Larry told us he had clutch slip again, and that it just wouldn’t hold after all the abuse it took during the week. There was a moment of disapointment before Larry informed us he had a brand new clutch with him and he was going to put it in as soon as it cooled down, and then we’d see the 200. He lied. We saw 204! It was great, and Larry became the first member of the Hot Rod Magazine Drag Week 200 MPH Club, which was the Hot Rod staff week just thought up mid week when they saw it coming.
The last truly dramatic moment of the evening came when Eric “Bigun” Yost and his passenger FW in their white ’82 Firebird actually made it to Muncie after his all-night thrash with the broken trans, and went to work getting it ready for its first pass. Their plan was to take it easy on the relatively stock TH400 they had put in the car the night before, and get their win in the Pro Street Power Adder class. If it was still in one piece, they were going to turn it up big and blow it up or be heroes. They were already heroes. As Eric pulled to the line, every person in the house was on their feet, especially Michael Roy, who’s chances of winning the Pro Street PA class were looking slim. All Eric needed was a low-14-second pass or better to win. The car left soft, and at the one-two shift lost power. He revved the car madly, and it wasn’t working. Everyone stared at the scoreboard waiting to see what the number was, since it could have easily coasted to a 14. But it was a 15. Eric had just lost the Pro Street PA win after dominating the class all week long, and Michael Roy, a Drag Week veteran, had pulled off the win with a string of 8.5 second passes all week. It was a fitting end to a week of drama and action.
Our hearty thanks and congratulations go out to all the competitors who helped BangShift.com bring you the stories and photos of Hot Rod Drag Week 2009 and who survived to win or race another day. We’ll be back next year. We also want to thank Rust-O-Leum, Mickey Thompson Tires, Amsoil, NOS, Rockett Brand Racing Fuel, and Gear Vendors for the support, enthusiasm, and cash they brought to the table to make Drag Week a reality. In these tough times, it is inspiring to see sponsors like these who’s passion and drive for our hobby never faulter, and who’s participation shows they truly are “one of us”. Rick Johnson of Gear Vendors spoke to me multiple times this week, and was truly thrilled with the chance to be involved with Drag Week 2009. If his dreams and vision are any indication, they will be involved with Hot Rod Magazine’s Drag Week for years to come. We are glad to hear it.
Now it’s time to start scheming about next year’s Drag Week entry. We’ve got some ideas. How about you?