ET Drag Racing

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Groups 1 & 2 at Phoenix

The Season Begins

Frank Merendez, A/Gas.


NHRA’s 10th year of its Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series got a jump-start to its new season at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park January 14-15. Although it was a somewhat cool and overcast weekend, the racing on the drag strip was hot and harried.

The big news coming out of Chandler, Ariz., was the record-breaking performance put on by the Austin family Pro Max A/Fuel dragster driven by Drew Austin. It was just a few months ago that Adams-Bates rattled the Earth’s orbit with a dazzling run of 6.076 at the 25th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California. The skeptics should no longer need to concern themselves with the validity of that run. On Sunday, Drew Austin, paired once again with his main antagonist Kin Bates, backed up an earlier 6.111 with a thundering run of 6.064/224.85. 


John Harless

Meanwhile, lurking behind the scenes was Jon Brooks’ very potent Grand Prix Racing injected nitro dragster capably driven by John Harless. Harless, the number-two qualifier at 6.235/227.27, would later pop Drew’s balloon and win the class when Austin’s powerful Randy Parker slingshot developed a leak and had to be shut off. It was the Tulsa, Oklahoma team’s first ever Wally in Nostalgia A/Fuel dragster.

In 7.0 Pro, one of the class’s most dominant drivers in recent years, Bobby Cottrell, was back and looking as tough as ever. The 2013 and 2014 champion had things pretty much his way again, qualifying #1 (7.023) and setting low e.t. before dispatching Dwight Garland and the “Ape Shaker” in the final round.