Racing at Cordova
FIFTY ONE AND
Words and photos
by Jeff Leonard
Cordova (IL) Dragway Park may constitute Undiscovered
Country to most drag racing fans around the
country, but to thousands of Midwest-based
quarter mile fans and racers, the venerable
track by the Mississippi represents nothing
less than hallowed ground. And once a year
they trek to the Quad Cities area to take in
Cordova’s annual World Series of
Racing. This year’s edition carried the
number fifty-one, which makes the World Series
of Drag Racing the longest continuous running
drag racing event on the planet.
One could argue that the World Series isn’t
a “true” national event, but that
point is moot to those who have adopted the
World Series as their event of choice. To fans
and racers who make the annual pilgrimage,
a chance to be at the World Series supersedes
the need to be at other, more “relevant” drag
racing events. It truly is a unique event,
blending nostalgia cars (and people), current
stars, beer by the six-pack, thrill ride track
food, and small town good neighbor manners
to pull off a “good time was had by all” weekend
of the first order. Track owner Scott Gardner
and the extended Cordova Dragway Park family
are to be congratulated on keeping the World
Series tradition alive and flourishing. A streak
of any kind can be a burden, but Gardner and
company continue to defy the odds and keep
the World Series in play, and in good health.
The theme this year was funny cars, funny
cars and more funny cars.
Thirty-two were advertised, thirty-four showed,
and the fans loved them for it. Where else
but the World Series could you find a jet funny
car eliminator? Throw in an eight-car nitro
FC show, ten nostalgia floppers (eight raced,
two displayed), seven jets and nine alky funny
cars, and you have the proverbial wall-to-wall
plastic fantastic barn burner.
It all would have been a fantastic show at
night, under the lights. But day-long rains
forced the postponement of the traditional
Saturday night show until Sunday afternoon.
Now in the past, that would have spelled disaster,
financially speaking, for the World Series.
But this event has turned the corner, becoming
the kind of event that can draw a crowd, no
matter what difficulties occur. Let’s
hope it stays that way for many years to come.