Junior dragsters Irwindale preview

NHRA Junior Dragsters return to Irwindale -- 5th Annual Del Cox Classic: Saturday, November 16 Irwindale, Calif. - - Irwindale Dragstrip has been chosen as the site for the 2002 edition of one of the west coast's most prestigious NHRA Junior ...

NHRA Junior Dragsters return to Irwindale -- 5th Annual Del Cox Classic: Saturday, November 16

Irwindale, Calif. - - Irwindale Dragstrip has been chosen as the site for the 2002 edition of one of the west coast's most prestigious NHRA Junior Dragster events. The fifth running of the Del Cox Classic will take place at Irwindale's eighth-mile drag strip on Saturday, November 16 and is expected to attract 200 to 250 top teams from all over the southwestern U.S.

"It's quite an honor for us to be selected as the site for this year's Classic," said Dragstrip Director Gene Bergstrom. "In the five short years that this event has been held it has more than lived up to its name -- This is a true 'classic' in every sense of the word -- Every team out there feels very keenly about competing in this special event."

"There's a beautiful perpetual trophy on display at NHRA headquarters in Glendora with the winners' names engraved on it," Bergstrom went on, "-- Everyone in the western Junior Dragster ranks aspires to see their name on it."

Fred Cox, long time NHRA competitor and brother of the event's namesake feels that the event may have found a permanent home at Irwindale after staging races at Pomona, Bakersfield, and Las Vegas. "Everyone loves the track and the atmosphere at the new Irwindale Dragstrip," explained Cox. "We'd like to keep the race at one place and build the participation and quality. Irwindale is perfectly-located and one of the best facilities in the country. Being an 1/8-Mile Street Legal 'strip, it's also perfectly in scale to our half-scale Junior Dragsters."

Del Cox, a victim of cancer, passed away in 1998. Cox one of the first people to build and field an NHRA Junior Dragster when the class was first announced in the early 90's. His 21 year-old son Del Jr., who started out in the Juniors only a few short years ago, is now an active driver racing in the in the Super Comp., Super Gas, and Super Eliminator divisions of the NHRA.

Fred Cox, who owns and operates an automotive shop (Cox Performance in South Gate) and is known far and wide as "Uncle Fred", also wears the chapeau of a racing promoter. His fervor for the sport and great respect and love for the memory of his brother "Big" Del Cox has thrust him into the latter role. "I've really been lucky, it takes a lot of real friends to do something like this, especially for an event to have gained such importance to so many people in such a short time. When George Phillips sort of challenged me to do it, I thought 'What am I getting myself into?' now, I know that whatever work that it took on my part was much more than worth it. Seeing those kids out there so serious about competing, and their moms and dads supporting the effort -- Well, that's the payoff for me."

Proceeds from the one day event will go to the local chapter of RFC (Racers for Christ) a non-denominational Christian motorsports outreach organization. There will be special event T-Shirts from Classic Graphics in patriotic Red, White, and Blue colors, available for purchase and a mid-day Bar-B-Que to which all fans and competitors are invited free of charge.

This unique Junior Dragsters ONLY event carries a $50 entry fee which covers the car and its driver and fans will only pay $10 (kids under 12 FREE) for a full day of watching some of the finest young NHRA driving talent in the country compete on Irwindale's straight, smooth, and plenty tacky 660-foot race course.

This event will afford the general public an excellent opportunity to investigate the sport of Junior Drag Racing with displays of equipment and hundreds of very eager family racers who will show any and interested fans just how easy it is to get racing in one of the quick little machines.

A number of top drag racing names have donated some unique racing memorabilia for special drawings and two of them have "threatened" to make a surprise visit to the event. "We can't for sure say that John Force and Gary Densham will be on site for this one -- But then again, we can't say that they won't be here either," winked Cox.

Gates open for this event at 7AM and the racing action begins at 9AM. The Irwindale Dragstrip is located on the grounds of Irwindale Speedway at 500 Speedway Drive in Irwindale, California. Freeway-easy from anywhere in the southland, the track is directly adjacent to the 605 freeway between the 10 and the 210 freeways. The track's website (www.irwindalespeedway.com) has a built-in door-to-door mapping service for out of town visitors and the track's official hotel, the Four Points Sheraton in Monrovia (626-357-5211) is conveniently located less than 5 miles from the track.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Densham