Whisnant: The Pros and Cons of Racing at Atlanta COMMERCE, Ga. -- Most people would think that drivers would look forward to racing at their home tracks. You would think that it would be exciting to race in front of your family, friends and...
Whisnant: The Pros and Cons of Racing at Atlanta
COMMERCE, Ga. -- Most people would think that drivers would look forward to racing at their home tracks. You would think that it would be exciting to race in front of your family, friends and local drag race fans. Mark Whisnant, driver of the PiranaZ / Snap-On Tool Chevrolet Cavalier, has mixed feelings about this weekend's 24th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern in Commerce Ga.
Whisnant, from near by Stockbridge, Ga., has claimed the Atlanta Dragway as his home track since before he could walk. His Father Reid Whisnant raced Pro Stock at the Atlanta Dragway, and now Mark is following in his Father's footsteps fielding the PiranaZ Pro Stock Cavalier at the same track where he grew up.
When asked how he felt about racing this weekend in Commerce, Whisnant's response was:
"Honestly, I would rather be racing some where very far away from here; say Canada or Alaska. All kidding aside, I love racing here in Atlanta, but I also hate it.
"Racing at your home track brings with it a lot of extra headaches and problems that we do not have to deal with at other races. This weekend our pit area will be filled with family, friends and business associates. Throughout the weekend, we will have lots people stopping by, and hanging out. Who needs tickets, taking care of the suite, feeding everyone; these are some of the worries that we do not have at other races. We enjoy catching up with everyone, but it can become a distraction, and right now we do not need any distractions.
"We have missed the show at the last three races. At each race, we have been 17th or 18th and only a couple hundredths out of the field. The field is so close that the slightest miss calculation or lapse in concentration can cause you to throw a run away. In Pro Stock, throwing runs away puts you on the trailer Saturday night. We do not like being on the trailer Saturday night. We do not come here to qualify; we come here to race.
"Right now this PiranaZ team is making gains and moving forward. We are working our tails off to try to find that extra something that will have us racing every Sunday. We are building momentum and are close to being back to where we were last year. Therefore, the distractions that come with racing at your home track could not come at a worse time, and are not very appealing to us right now.
"On the other hand everyone wants to win at their home racetrack. To win in front of all your friends, and family, to win in front of all the people who have supported us clear back to when we were racing comp., there could be no greater feeling. All the negatives aside, if we could win the Southern Nationals it will be worth all the headaches."
Qualifying at the 24th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga. will take place on Friday May 14, and Saturday May 15. Eliminations will take place at 11:00 AM EST on Sunday May 15.