Dallas native looking forward to 'home court' advantage While Texas has become one of the more popular destinations on the IHRA drag racing circuit, it wasn't until 2003 that races inside the Lone Star State became a regular fixture on the Nitro...
Dallas native looking forward to 'home court' advantage
While Texas has become one of the more popular destinations on the IHRA drag racing circuit, it wasn't until 2003 that races inside the Lone Star State became a regular fixture on the Nitro Jam schedule.
And you have to go back even further to find the last time the IHRA came to the Dallas area -- 1988 to be exact -- and for Top Fuel driver Todd Simpson that is 21 years too long.
Simpson, who lives just minutes from downtown Dallas, has been waiting for an IHRA national event to return to his "hometown" and after years of waiting he is finally going to get his wish when Nitro Jam invades the brand new Dallas Raceway May 29-31 for the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals.
"It is great for us because we have a lot of sponsors from the Dallas area," Simpson said. "And having another hometown track is great because it is another chance for my friends and family to come see us race. It is going to be a great weekend."
Simpson is a longtime veteran of the sport, getting his first ride in an Alcohol Funny Car in 1989. He is also no stranger to winning races in his hometown, winning in his very first Alcohol Funny Car race at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis.
"When I first started racing Ennis was IHRA and I was in an Alcohol Funny Car and we won the first race there in Dallas," Simpson said. "It would mean a lot to me to be able to do that again when we go to Dallas Raceway next week. We are really hoping to do well over there."
Since then Simpson has spent most of his time driving floppers with the IHRA and NHRA before switching over to Top Fuel this season -- a brand new endeavor for the Ponder, Texas native.
In fact, the IHRA season opener in Baton Rouge was the first time Simpson had been behind the wheel of anything but a Funny Car, and he admits that the differences are going to take some getting used to.
"The dragster has really responsive steering and it doesn't take much movement to turn it while the Funny Car is a bear to handle," Simpson said. "And you have to be quick behind the wheel of a Funny Car because it doesn't take much to get it out of the groove.
"It is different, but I enjoy it. You can see a lot better in the dragster and it runs a lot quicker, much quicker than our Funny Car. It is just exciting to drive."
Now Simpson will try to tackle both a brand new race car and a brand new race track he hits the track in Dallas.
Dallas Raceway is a one-of-a-kind, all-concrete facility in Crandall, Texas and after years of design and building is finally set to host its first national event. And no one is more excited about being a part of the inaugural race than Simpson.
"I heard it is a fantastic facility and will be a really nice place to race," Simpson said. "I will be anxious to see how much rubber is down on it with it being so new, but if the weather holds up and everything goes according to plan I expect a great race down there."
And part of Simpson's excitement heading into this event is the new list of new sponsors joining his team for the event, many of which are from the Dallas area.
"We just picked up Nexplore, Bobby and Sissy swimming pools, Eye Candy Auto Wraps and a few others we are very excited about," Simpson said. "This year has been a big learning curve for us and we are just going to go down there, have some fun and hope everything works out for the best.
"I can't wait to get on the track and fire that thing up."