Crandall: Series spotlight - Bobby Lagana

Lagana gets first crack at new facility It is an event years in the making, but in just a few short days drivers from all over the world will roll their cars into the staging lanes at the brand new Dallas Raceway for the Amalie Oil Texas...

Lagana gets first crack at new facility

It is an event years in the making, but in just a few short days drivers from all over the world will roll their cars into the staging lanes at the brand new Dallas Raceway for the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals May 29-31 in Crandall, Texas.

And so far the response has been outstanding.

From the track's all-concrete design to its state-of-the-art facilities, Dallas Raceway has been the talk of drag racing for some time and the track and owner Kenny Barnes will finally get their moment in the spotlight this weekend when Nitro Jam comes to town for the third race of the 2009 IHRA season.

But for some drivers, the chance to try out drag racing's shiny new toy has already come to pass. One driver in particular, IHRA Top Fuel ace Bobby Lagana, had nothing but praise for the newest facility on the IHRA circuit after making the track's first four-second pass in his 300 mile per hour dragster Saturday night.

"We ran a pretty darn good lap. The track is just so flat and smooth it is unbelievable," Lagana said.

During an evening testing session last weekend at the new facility, Lagana made a single pass of 4.87 seconds at 243 miles per hour before shutting it off at roughly 1,000 feet, not a bad lap for the first ever Top Fuel run on a track some believed wouldn't even be ready for this weekend's race.

"Kenny has put so much money and effort into this place, it is awesome. This will definitely be the fastest facility in IHRA. It might need a year or so to settle in, get a few cars down the track, but this is going to be a fast track even this weekend," Lagana said. "It is so flat, the shutdown is so smooth -- the guys have put a lot of effort into making it right."

Leading the charge in getting the track ready for the national stage is a crew of dedicated individuals from IHRA and Dallas Raceway headed by IHRA Director of Field Operations Jim Weinert.

Weinert and his crew have been in Dallas for over three weeks prepping the track for its first national event and from a completely green track to Lagana's first nitro-fueled pass this weekend, the track has transformed into one of the marquee events on the schedule.

"I really can't even explain how hard Jim, Russell, Dave, Carrie and Matt have been working. They have been down here for almost three weeks busting their butts, pulling all-nighters and the proof in how hard they have been working was the other night when we ran," Lagana said. "The track is very green, but we were still able to go 4.87. We shut it off early just too kind of test the track. The place is just amazing and I think will have some awesome racing this weekend."

And the track isn't the only thing Lagana enjoyed in his first trip to Dallas.

"The concessions are awesome. They have an unbelievable BBQ sandwich," Lagana said with a laugh. "Everything about this place is beautiful and nicely done. Even the lights are unbelievable. He had half the lights on when we got here and it is like why did he even put lights on the other side, you don't even need them it is so bright. Under the lights this place is going to really be amazing."

Dallas will get its first taste of racing under the lights Friday and Saturday during the SafeAuto Night of Fire, which will also be Lagana's first competition pass on the new track.

"I can't wait for Friday, it can't get here soon enough," Lagana said. "Kenny is an awesome guy. He is committed to this and has done a great job and hopefully a bunch of fans turn out because it is going to be a great race."

While Lagana already has the track's first four-second pass, he hopes to record a few other firsts before the weekend is out.

"We got the first four-second run on the track and whoever gets the first 300 mile per hour run that is a cool thing to have. The first couple of pairs are going to have the first shot at it and hopefully we can be right in the mix," Lagana said.

Records and wins aside, Lagana said the thing he is most excited about this weekend is an event filled with great racing and lots of fun with friends, family and fans at the newest jewel of the IHRA -- the "Concrete Palace" of Dallas Raceway.

"It is going to be a really fun weekend. I can't wait for all of the racers and fans to get down here, it is going to be a great time," Lagana said.

-credit: ihra

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