Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Change of Scenery

Usually this blog contains content surrounding the appraising and real estate industries.  But every once in a while I pick a new topic, this time it's drag racing.

I went to my first national event at Maple Grove, PA (The Grove) when I was 10.  I knew nothing of drag racing except that it was LOUD!  That first visit to the hollowed 1/4 mile nestled in the hills of Eastern Pennsylvania would be a seed that would sprout into a life-long dream.

Drag racing is fascinating for several reasons, but the sound and smell is what keeps me hooked.  Unlike any other Motorsports event, the smell of burning tires and racing fuel will leave its mark on me for several days after the event.  The second most fascinating aspect of the sport is the technical side.  How do you propel a car safely from 0 to 320 mph in less than a quarter mile?  How do you harness 6000 plus horsepower, nitro-breathing motors that defy the original intent for which they were created?  How do you consistently run a motor above 100% volumetric efficiency and be able to predict its performance within .01 of a second?
One little known facts of drag racing that is the amount of diversity in it's ranks.  Boys, girls, men, women, and folks from several nationalities all compete at various levels of competition.  But the top ranks are not exclusive only to men.  Women have been winning at the NHRA's top levels since the 70s, and recently Top Fuel has seen it's first African-American champion: Antron Brown.  Check out this article from SPEED recapping last season.

I try to get out to the drag strip at least once a year, and usually I take the kids in recent years.  My kids thought it was hilarious that a front wheel drive Geo Metro was beating up the Bracket 2 field the last time we were at Ohio Valley in West Point, KY.  I'm looking forward to the day that I get to take the family to a National event.  My last trip to a National event was the finals at Pomona in 2007.  I was only there for part of qualifying on Friday, but it reminded me of the raw power of the sport.  Standing beside the track for the sportsman categories is nice, but when the fuel cars get the green light, you can feel the shock wave pass through your body.  It makes your eyes vibrate in their sockets, the inside of your nose tickles from the nitro in the air, and you can feel the hair stand up on the back of your legs under your socks.

In closing, drag racing is my favorite sport, but I'm not obsessed with it.  I work it in when I can, and when my driver doesn't win it doesn't ruin my day.  If you are wanting to try a new sport and you like Motorsports, head out to the nearest sanctioned drag strip and see if it's for you.  Walk around the pits, talk to the drivers, and have a good time, you won't be disappointed.


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