Goodguys/VRA Season makes pivotal stop at Pacific Raceways this weekend
Kent, WA -- Nitromethane fuel, thunderous engines and ample tire smoke will fill the air at Pacific Raceways this weekend in Kent, WA as the Goodguys Vintage Drag Racing Association presents the 2nd Northwest Nostalgia Nationals -- a full scale vintage drag racing event featuring 300 racing entries in 14 different and unique classes. The event serves as the third stop of the four-race 2006 Goodguys West Coast Championship Points Series - the nation's only points chase for vintage drag racers. With only two events remaining on the schedule, drivers will be jockeying for position, valuable points and the ultimate goal of winning a Goodguys/VRA Championship. This weekend's event will be a pivotal turning point for top contenders.
In the Nostalgia Top Fuel division, a rivalry has rapidly developed between the top two drivers in points -- 39 year old Brett Harris of Kayesville, Utah and 35 year old Brad Thompson of Visalia, CA. The two met in a thrilling final round earlier this month at the Goodguys Nitro Nationals in Pomona with Thompson seeking his first-ever Goodguys event victory. At the Christmas tree, Thompson "deep staged" his dragster (pulling far inside the starting light beams to flicker them) in an effort to throw off his competition. The ploy worked as he got a two-car length advantage off the line but lost traction several times during the run, allowing Harris to sneak by for the win at 5.86 seconds at over 258mph. Past the finish line, Thompson's parachute failed to deploy and he wound up crashing into the sand trap at the far end of the dragstrip. "I guess they won't play any more games on the starting line," Harris commented. Harris holds the advantage of being the quicker and faster racer. At the 1st Northwest Nationals here last year, he set the top speed of the event at 258.96mph. He also set the national speed record in Pomona which now officially stands at 260.26mph. The record holder for elapsed time is Santa Rosa, California's Jim Murphy at 5.71 seconds. Both marks could be in jeopardy at Pacific Raceways. Local Northwest top fuel competitors include Jason Howell of Tacoma, Dale Carlson of Olympia and Phil Ruskowski, of Victoria BC.
Thirty year old Kris Krabill of Orange, California is strictly the one to beat in the Nostalgia Funny Car division. Coming off a dominating win in Pomona, his first-ever Goodguys event win, he was quick to defer the spotlight. "I attribute a lot of credit for our Pomona victory to our team. Down to the last guy on the crew -- they're all very professional. With Donnie Couch (who tuned top fuel dragsters for Shirley Muldowney) and sprint car legend Ray Porter calling the shots on the engine -- we've come up with a real nice combination. Having a car owner like Gary Turner (of GT Bicycles fame) who's been drag racing for 30-plus years helps too. We're all having a blast and can't wait to run in the Northwest," he said. Krabill will be challenged by a field of at least nine to ten other Nostalgia Funny Cars.
Other classes competing at the Goodguys Northwest Nostalgia Nationals include: AA/GAS, A/Fuel, Junior Fuel, Junior Fuel B, A/GAS (7.60), B/GAS (8.60), C/GAS (9.60), D/GAS (10.60), Nostalgia Eliminator (7.60), Nostalgia II (8.60), Nostalgia III (9.60) and Not Rod Eliminator
Goodguys will honor Northwest drag racing icon Walt Austin of Tacoma as the event's official "Hot Rod Hero." Austin, who raced top gas dragsters and early Funny Cars in the Northwest during the 1960s and 1970s went on to own the 4th winningest team in NHRA history when he and his son Pat competed in Top Alcohol Funny Car and Top Fuel on the NHRA circuit from 1986 through 2002. Austin and his sons Mike and Pat will be on hand along with some of Walt's early dragsters which have recently been restored including a twin engine gas dragster. His original driver, Rich Rogers will make exhibition runs in the car throughout the weekend. Austin will also sign autographs for fans.
Event hours are Friday through Sunday 8am to 5pm. Professional qualifying is scheduled for Friday and Saturday with final eliminations Sunday. Opening ceremonies including a US Marine Color Guard presentation in honor of fallen war heroes will begin at 9:45am Sunday, May 28th.
General admission is $25 per day, kids 7-12 $10 and kids 6 and under are free. Adult weekend (three day) passes are $65.