Hot Rod Drag Week is run and done for another year.
The final day of competition sent exhausted racers on yet another 500-kilometre road leg as they returned to Michigan’s US 131 Motorsports Park. 341 entrants fronted up at the park on Monday, and 292 battle-hardened racers came back for a shot in the finale.
Having led the field all week, Dave Schroeder cemented overall victory with a dominant 6.46@209mph – his quickest DW 2021 time by almost a tenth of a second.
Schroeder’s average ET of 6.793 in the Corvette is an improvement on his old C2, which won DW 2017 with an average of 6.813.
While Schroeder triumphed, there was heartache for second-place favourite Bryant Goldstone.
His Unlimited Javelin broke traction just after the ⅛-mile and skidded across the centre-line, before slamming nose-first into the right-hand barrier and flipping onto its roof in echoes of Magnus Frost’s 2019 Ascona rollover.
Thankfully, Goldstone walked away from the brutal crash with little more than a cut finger, thanks in no small part to his HANS device and other safety gear.
Speaking to commentator David Freiburger, Goldstone said a misting of water under the rear-right tyre was likely to blame for the car’s slide. To add insult to injury, he said the Javelin’s 4.41-second ⅛ mile time would have made for a pass in the 6.60 range.
While crossing the centre-line invalidated the run’s time, Goldstone still broke the beams and thus completed DW, accepting a 20-second day five ET.
The smashed Javelin is unlikely to return to competition, as the veteran racer contemplates building a new car or calling it quits.
Second place went to Mikael Borggren, who had a much brighter day behind the wheel.
His fan-favourite Volvo 240 finally ran a six-second Drag Week pass, clocking a 6.93@203mph.
Finishing with an average of 7.33@185mph, Jason Sack took out third overall in his Unlimited-class Nova.
Unfortunately, Goldstone wasn’t the only racer to meet the walls of US 131 on day five. Jay Grabiak had a wild ride in his ‘55 Chevy, which appeared to experience a stuck throttle in the deep end.
The gasser ricocheted off both barriers in a cloud of smoke, before throwing a front tyre. Grabiak was uninjured, and received some consolation from a second-place finish in his A/Gas class.
Less than an hour later, Jacki Steinke came loose in her 1994 Mustang after running a 9.10@150mph. She crunched hard into the barrier, as husband Rick watched on from his Malibu sedan in the left lane. Once again, she walked from the crash.
Ed Ensor won Super Street Big Block NA with this sanitary Fox-body, recording an average 8.51@162mph. He broke two class records in the process, recording both the fastest-ever single pass and highest average speed.
The car is motivated by a JLO Competition Engines 632ci big-block Chev, while the build was handled by Fast Forward Race Cars. With Ed behind the wheel, its PB is 8.19@168mph.
It was a successful week for Alex Taylor, who turned in five seven-second timeslips over the 1900km journey. She took third in Unlimited, her first time placing in a class since her debut in 2013.
11 of the 18 class victors wore Chevy bowties, including Jason Tabscott’s 1970 Camaro. He ruled the NA division of Street Race Small Block, finishing with an 8.97@150mph average.
Lone Aussie Ross Gault called it quits after his day four pass at Byron Dragway, as oil pressure in his ’55 Chev fluctuated to zero. His best for the week was an 11.65@105mph on day one.
Rick Russell stayed in the mid-nines all week with his cool Dodge Lil’ Red Express. Underneath the bonnet is a 6.4 Hemi with twin 66mm turbos, feeding a TH400 auto.
Richard Flint represented the Honda fraternity with pride, running a string of mid-eights in his turbo LS-powered S2000. A blown rear main seal on day two made for a slower 9.00@149mph, but Flint pulled the transmission and got back on the road. Outside of Drag Week, it’s done a best of 8.07.