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I went to my first ADRL event since Kenny Nowling was fired and Tim McAmis took over running the series for owner Sheikh Khalid al Thani last weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park, and I saw some of the best doorslammer drag racing I’ve seen since the halcyon days of factory-backed Super Stockers.
In the interest of truth in journalism, I didn’t stay for the full race on Saturday, but I didn’t need to stay to the end in order to know that there was some great racing at the event. The race delivered at least seven new ADRL records and a ton of firsts and personal bests, not to mention some great “slide-by-slide” races.
The ADRL may have some pressing issues -- not the least being how to keep it viable as a racing series -- but one issue it doesn’t have is quality racing.
There are a few things about ADRL doorslammer racing that, in my opinion, not only makes it the best doorslammer racing in the sport, also set it head and shoulders above other ‘slammer series:
1. Eighth-mile racing. From any seat in the grandstands you can watch cars race from the starting line to the finish line and not have to guess who left first or who crossed the winner’s stripe first.
2. The door cars of the ADRL represent the ultimate in engineering and ingenuity as far as making a race car go fast with few rules other than safety -- especially the Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme classes.
3. Despite all the racers and tuners do to prevent it, these cars spin the tires and “sashay” down track more often than not. Long wheelies are standard fare and a “pedal fest” is a common occurrence. Despite all of the automatic controls on these cars, they still require a lot of driving skill and some luck to get down the track.
4. And lastly, these are truly dangerous cars prone to the occasional “wall banger”, much like their NASCAR brethren. Also like the NASCAR racers, a Pro Mod-type car crash looks worse than it is and crashes seldom results in serious injury to the driver. Frankly, those are traits that I want in drag race cars. I don’t apologize for that either.
I would have to say right now that any fan (hardcore or casual) of fast doorslammers simply cannot see any racing in any series as entertaining and exiting as what the ADRL offers.
The money the ADRL charges for parking and a ticket is simply the best bargain in drag racing right now. Where else can you see more than 100 of the best door cars and drivers in the sport make three qualifying laps for a $20 outlay on Friday or eliminations on Saturday? (And the ADRL doesn’t care how many of your friends you stuff in the car.)
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