Hot Rod Drag Week 2021: Day One

Here’s how the first day of racing went down in Michigan

Photographers: Povi Pullinen

Day One of Hot Rod Drag Week 2021 marked the beginning of an epic five-day, multi-state American racing challenge.

Hard-hitting Pro Mod-style cars mingled with classic rods and even JDM metal on the dragstrip from mid-morning at US 131 Motorsports Mark in Martin, Michigan.

The track crew’s efforts against early rain and several oil-downs gave drivers a chance at multiple passes, before embarking on the 246-mile (396km) road journey to Summit Motorsports Park for day two.

Dave Schroeder’s first pass sent him dangerously close to the left-hand wall in his fresh 872-cube C7 Corvette. The event favourite circled back in the afternoon for another try, and asserted dominance with a blistering 6.52@202mph.

That’s the best time his old C2 ever ran, and there’s still four days of racing left for Dave to get the new car even quicker.

Hot on his heels is Bryant Goldstone and his AMC Javelin. He recorded a 6.79@210mph, taking just 1.11 seconds to hit the 60ft mark.

Joe Barry kept the Unlimited cars honest by launching his ‘56 Chev to a 7.00@209mph. That made him the quickest Ultimate Iron racer on day one, and was enough to earn third overall.

Alex Taylor and her team spent much of day one fighting a wiring gremlin that emerged on their first pass. She eventually rejoined the staging lanes to record a 7.69@185mph — her best ET ever. After replacing a broken overdrive unit, she hit the road at a sedate 2200rpm.

This single-turbo LS-motivated Volvo wagon laid down a 7.16@189mph with Mikael Borggren behind the wheel.

Drag Week veteran David Armentrout drove his 427ci LS-powered ‘67 Chevy II to a 7.63@163mph, lunching one of its 94mm Garrett snails in the process. Undeterred, he motored to Ohio with a single turbo while sourcing a replacement unit.

Flying the Aussie flag this year is Ross Gault, in his four-door ‘55 Chevy. He managed a 11.56@105mph—somewhat off the 10.5-second average pace he set in 2019.

Matt Lamphier’s 1992 Miata ‘Turtle’ ran an 8.61@160mph, placing him third in Super Street Small Block – Power Adder at the end of the day. It’s Matt’s first Drag Week and his primary goal is to finish, though he’s also hoping to maintain an eight-second average across the week.

The car previously ran a Mazda 1.6-litre and big single turbo, which was good for 500hp. The current set-up is a more street-friendly 5.3 LS, with a single Precision 7675 turbo providing boost.

The bonnet of Lonnie Tibbs’s SN95 Mustang flew off during a wheelstand on its first pass, scattering trackside photographers. It was promptly taped down enabling Lonnie to run an 8.07@180mph.

This unmissable milk van is a 1963 Divco. It’s pushed along by a 496ci big-block Chev with twin 76mm turbos. Nick Cryer of Illinois piloted it to a wheel-standing 11.34@114mph.

Packing a 427ci canted-valve LS spitting out over 900hp, Warren Witmer’s ‘85 Fox Body Mustang has the N/A Small Block class on notice. He suffered a poor launch on day one, but still pulled a 9.34@148mph.