Day 4 of Hot Rod Magazine’s Drag Week 2009, presented by Gear Vendors, can be summed up with three words: misdirection, breakage, and teamwork. The event, which takes competitors and their cars to the limits for 5 days at 5 different drag strips while driving over 1,200 miles, is the ultimate road test. For those of you sitting at home thinking this is an easy deal, think again, and shut up or show up. Things that don’t break, break on Drag Week. In fact, as of 9:15 pm there were still four cars sitting in the pits at National Trail Raceway. One still didn’t have a transmission. And they’ve got to get back to Muncie, Indiana, tomorrow in order to stay in competition.
The route we took today from Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk to National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio, was a tough one, but beautiful. Small state roads are hard to navigate, and we weren’t the only ones who showed up to the track late today as a result of getting lost. Some of the top, and therefore smart, racers drove through last night rather than this morning. Our tardiness meant we missed the runs of class leaders Doc Fox, Larry Larson, and Jim McEntire.
The thrashes we saw today included yet another set of lifters being replaced, a 2004R transmission being swapped, two distributors being replaced, an engine management system being rewired, a fuel pump being changed, new coils being put on, new tires being installed, and a TH400 being pulled apart and virtually thrown away due to all the damage. And that was just the stuff I could get to.
Also, Jon Huber and his turbo four-cylinder Mustang, which is leading in Small Block Power Adder, had the C4 trans being rebuilt in the pits. It’s the second time that transmission has been out of the car this week, and the first time was at the side of the road.
Jeff Dugopolski and his 8 and 12 year old sons not only offered up a spare transmission they had with them, but also helped to put the new one in into Keith Harrison’s 1971 Camaro after waiting for a replacement to show up. And Jeff wasn’t alone. At least five other unidentifiable competitors legs were seen sticking out from under the car in the pits, and at 9:30 pm he drove into the hotel parking lot under power. He’s still in Drag Week.
And don’t forget the ’82 Firebird driven by Eric Yost, the leader in Pro Street Power Adder who has been in the 7s all week, running the fastest times ever for a Drag Week Pro Street entry. He blew both planetaries in the TH400, then borrowed someone else spare Th400 and were heading off to a transmission shop an hour from the track. They still hadn’t left the track to go for the rebuild, as of 9:15 pm. We expect they will nap at the track after getting back and doing the install, and then hit the road in the morning. We wish them luck because they have proven their commitment once again.
Friday in Muncie, Indiana, is the last day of Drag Week 2009, and it’s an afternoon/evening track day. There is still time for some of these care to get repaired, and still time for lots of potential winners to lose their positions. The Drag Week rules require every car to compete every day, so even the guy with the biggest lead can break on the starting line on the last day and be out of competition.
BangShift.com will be there to bring you all the winners very late Friday night. Also hit Hot Rod’s site for live streaming video and full results.